Without doubt, FIFA is the biggest football game in the world and for good reason with all of the licensing agreements it holds and with its direct links to many of the biggest teams and leagues in the world – it has been hurt somewhat in recent years with little change from release to release and the recent focus around the player pack loot boxes that have garnered some negative attention, but as esports continues to grow and different sports look to gain their own foothold in the virtual space, FIFA has been the obvious go-to choice for footballs representation online, and with the successes found in 2020 during the pandemic, could FIFA be well on its way to being the permanent online representation for football in virtual leagues?
The simple answer seems to be a resounding yes – recent investments from the likes of the Premier League look to have aimed at kickstarting a virtual league for FIFA directly that will provide both online entertainment through virtual sports and offline opportunities off the pitch too, but the biggest esports in the world have all found the most success when there is direct backing from the big bodies that push any other sport forward and so this will certainly help – with advertising opportunities directly linked to on the pitch games too, there will certainly be no shortage of viewers being made aware of the existence and growth of the online leagues – similarly many professional players on the pitch have been vocal that they enjoy playing the game in their spare time and have also had showcases where they’re playing against both other players and with the esports counterparts too which grows legitimacy for fans who may not have otherwise been too interested in the change.
Other markets are also in part responsible for helping the growth over the past year as betting through this FIFA 2020 review helped provide familiarity for new and existing players and help to bridge the gap between the offline and online options. There is one challenge that needs to be overcome and has been a heel for other big esports games that follow the same path too – and that’s the yearly release cycle. Releasing a new title year after year means players have to continue buying new titles to compete, and that infrastructure also needs to change for the new game too, which has hurt other big titles in esports before – but with the huge support behind it and the familiarity of the game itself, it does certainly look to be leading the traditional sporting titles into the online space, and certainly has an opportunity to be the biggest and most successful.
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