Why FIFA Failed as an Esport

And the Lessons the Gaming Industry Should Learn From It

Uncompetitive Play

The concept of FIFA esports is very similar to the concept of Mario Kart esports. Seems like a great fit in principle, but the more you think about it, the less it makes sense. Both games are very much casual in nature and mechanics, based on randomness, stats and designed to create a fun couch-play experience. These elements are bound to not fly well with the very controlled and meticulously balanced world of esports.

Priced Out

Ever since EA moved its esports structure to the FIFA Ultimate Team mode, it became clear that it wasn’t an even playing field. In Ultimate Team, players collect players to create squads. These squads have to be linked together with “chemistry”, a system that gives big stat boosts or penalties to players who are played out of position, or have nobody from their League or Nation surrounding them.

Inflating Numbers

I’m not going to lie. As a FIFA player, I tune into FIFA tournaments. Not because I enjoy watching two pro gamers recreate Jose Mourinho’s wet dream by filling the box with familiar-looking AI pawns, but rather because EA offers drops for people watching the tournament.

The Lesson

There are a lot of lessons for would-be esports entrepreneurs here. The first one, of course, is that a game cannot be “made” an esport by just creating a tournament circuit and integrating it into your game. All the best esports were created because people wanted to play them competitively. You cannot fit a square peg into a round hole.

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Adam Koscielak

Canadian-Pole. Copywriter by day, leftist activist by night. Feel free to drop me a line @ adam.s.koscielak@gmail.com,