The last time FIFA caught this much attention, it wasn't on a positive note. Fortunately for soccer’s international governing body, this particular news – that the eWorld Cup was well underway – has been hailed as a step forward.
Back in the fall, gaming company Electronic Arts (EA) and FIFA launched the largest EA SPORTS™ FIFA competition ever. The new program, in which players worldwide were able to compete to become world champion, was made available on Xbox One and PlayStation®4.
According to EA, the eWorld Cup includes multiple levels of competition:
Official football league competitions – Players are being given the opportunity to represent their favorite real-life club through official league competitions.
FIFA Ultimate Team Champions Cups– Open to all eligible players, this mass entry tournament starts with online matchmaking with top players qualifying for live events throughout the winter and spring.
New FIFA Interactive Club World Cup – An All-Star tournament featuring players signed to clubs.
Top-tier competitive gaming organizations are becoming involved in order to deliver the gaming program to players on more levels.
The ramping-up of publicity and accessibility is no accident. The IOC is moving toward acceptance of eSports with one caveat: according to Thomas Bach, games, to be considered for competitive purposes, will have to be based upon actual sports. In addition, Bach notes, games must be free of violence, killing and explosions, and be designed to “promote peace among people.”
In other words, Mortal Kombat, Call of Duty and so on are out of the picture.
Soccer is showing full buy-in to the idea. In fact, one of the sport’s greats on the international circuit, Ruud Gullit, has opened a FIFA eSports Academy.
According to SportTechie, the academy, meant to assist previously undiscovered FIFA players, provides coaching along with support in developing each player’s personal brand. It was actually Gullit’s two sons who pushed him toward venturing into the world of FIFA. One son is a professional soccer player while the other is an avid player of the popular video game.