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FIFA Esports x IGGalaxy Competitive Gaming Platform
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FIFA Esports x IGGalaxy Competitive Gaming Platform

EA Sports’ FIFA 19 was the first esports game to be supported in the IGGalaxy. As we have progressed through our developmental roadmap, we have tested the core components of our competitive gaming platform; namely, the tournament flow, social and streaming elements. Today, we are pleased to share an insight into competitive FIFA and what to expect from competitions around this game on our social competitive gaming platform.

Overview:

  • Introduction to the FIFA franchise
  • The competitive FIFA scene: FIFA esports and beyond
  • Current state of competitive FIFA in IGGalaxy
  • EA’s tournament guidelines
  • The future of competitive FIFA in IGGalaxy

Introduction to EA Sports’ FIFA franchise

The boundaries between sport and esports have been blurring for some time. For traditional governing bodies, that has created a wealth of opportunities.

It is clear to see what appeals about the esports audience, which is young, highly engaged and active on growing, data-rich platforms. The difficulties many in the traditional sports world face, however, range from credibility within protective communities to the challenges of aligning regulations and competitive goals.

The most popular sport of them all, however, is perhaps better placed than any other to fully embrace this moment of change. As many commentators have pointed out over the past decade, a generation of fans associate the word FIFA not with governance, but with gaming.

EA Sports’ officially licensed FIFA series has a thriving online community and given football’s governing body a credible route into esports. Since 1993, North American publisher EA Sports’ officially licensed FIFA series has become the most successful sports title in video game history and one of the biggest franchises of any kind, selling over 280 million copies to date.

High-profile football stars and influencers are active within the community, and the enormous breadth of playable teams, competitions and game modes generates powerful and sometimes unlikely exposure.

There are three main online game modes played in FIFA:

  • Online Friendlies
  • FIFA Ultimate Team (FUT)
  • Pro Clubs

The competitive FIFA scene: FIFA esports and beyond

In recent years, millions of members of the FIFA community have migrated online. Over a million players have been known to be competing online concurrently at peak times.

The FIFA’s Ultimate Team mode, which further incentivises online play through in-game enhancements, has become central to the experience for a huge number of regulars. It was making US$800 million a year by 2017. Between unit sales and in-game purchases, FIFA 18 made EA $3 billion worldwide in its first year of release.

All of that makes FIFA one of very few actual sports simulations to make a serious impression in the world of esports, whose most lucrative competitions are otherwise based on multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) games and first-person shooters like League of Legends, DOTA 2 and Counter Strike.

Christian Volk, the director of gaming and eFootball at Fifa: “where you have the producer and publisher of the most successful sports game and the governing body of the biggest sport in the world working hand in hand together for such a long time, and trying to accelerate and really build something that is sustainable, that is healthy, and that has a future.

The professional competitive FIFA scene is supported by the publisher of the game, EA Sports. However, the mode they focus on and invest in is Ultimate Team. The other game modes are neglected as a result of this focussing. That is not to say that competition does not exist around the two other online game modes.

A focus on FIFA Ultimate Team EA Sports are putting all their eggs in the Ultimate Team basket, most likely due to this being the mode that they generate the most revenue from. In this mode, EA Sports offer micro-transactions as players are able to purchase FIFA points which can be used to open packs. These packs contain a variety of cards, including players and consumables to support the player in building their Ultimate Team.

The pack mechanism has come under scrutiny as some deem it to be gambling in the sense that users spend considerable amounts of money in order to have a chance at obtaining an icon or player such as Ronaldo or Messi. There has been countless occasions of users spending hundreds of pounds and not getting anything substantial in return. EA have taken the position that this is ‘surprise mechanics’ but regardless of whether it is to be considered gambling or not, this mechanism negatively impacts the integrity of competitive FIFA.

By providing a route for someone with no skill to spend significant money in order to have a very strong Ultimate Team, they would now have a greater chance of beating a better player who is at a disadvantage by the quality of his team. This ‘Pay to Win’ approach breeds toxicity and no doubt reduces the skill gap between players.

EA Sports run the FIFA Global Series which involves a number of competitions over the year where players compete in the Ultimate Team game mode for cash and qualification to the FIFA eWorld Cup.

Online Friendlies This mode is the best for the casual players who do not have enough time to commit to building their Ultimate Team. It allows for players to play with official teams from licensed leagues against others online or their friends, on a one versus one basis.

The competitive scene for this game mode is pretty non-existent, with little provisions for those who solely play this game mode.

Pro Clubs This game mode is a big favourite of ours and really brings the key ingredients of an entertaining competition to the forefront. Pro Clubs allows for up to 11 players in each team, making matches as a participant and viewer much more exciting. It is much more of a simulation of football as each player controls one pro player.

In contrast to Ultimate Team, there is no pay to win element as well. It is based purely on merit and commitment. You have to spend time to improve your pro player stats and must work on team chemistry when playing with other FIFA players.

As far as the competitive scene for Pro Clubs goes, there is a huge online community of FIFA players that compete regularly in unofficial leagues and competitions. Despite the lack of substantial updates to this game mode over the years, the Pro Clubs scene remains a strong community who enjoy the nature of this mode.

Current state of FIFA esports in IGGalaxy

IGGalaxy competitive gaming platform currently supports two out of the three online game modes:

  • FIFA Online Friendlies
  • FIFA Ultimate Team

In terms of competition formats, we have successfully tested single-elimination bracket-style tournaments with a maximum of 64 players in our PS4 and Xbox tournaments.

EA’s FIFA Tournament Guidelines

As an independent FIFA tournament organiser, it is important we comply with the EA guidelines for hosting community FIFA competitions.

Key points from the guidelines include:

  • Prizing: Total cash or value for tournament prize pool cannot exceed $2500
  • Entry fees for tournaments
    • $20 max for Online Friendlies and Ultimate Team tournaments.
    • $50 max for Pro Clubs
  • Prohibited sponsors & partners
    • Cannot be sponsored by particular companies that sell or promote anything that are inconsistent with applicable age rating of FIFA, such as gambling.

You can read EA’s FIFA community tournament guidelines here.

The future of FIFA esports in IGGalaxy

In the short term, as we deploy team-based competition capabilities, we will introduce support for the Pro Clubs game mode. This will allow teams of up to 11 players to compete on the IGGalaxy competitive gaming platform.

Furthermore, we will deploy the Tournament Creation Module, allowing for any user to use the IGGalaxy’s technical infrastructure to organise FIFA tournaments easily.

Over time, we will begin to test and deploy further competition formats. The categories of these competition formats include:

  • Bracket formats (support for further types)
  • Group formats
  • Challenge formats

As the 3 online game modes for FIFA are supported and our capabilities in terms of competition formats are increased, we will then begin to introduce various other features to enhance the competitive experience for FIFA players. These include:

  • Progression system
    • Ranked mode: on-demand head to head matches
    • Points earned from competitions contribute to ranking
    • Level system where experience points are gained for competing on IGGalaxy platform.
  • Seasons
    • Periods of time where players can compete in order to improve their ranking and earn big prizes.
  • Qualifying competitions
    • Through hosting competitions in which players can qualify to compete in tournaments with larger prize pools, we will be able to bring more FIFA players into our ecosystem.

This is a taste of what is to come. There will be a variety of other components that are introduced to empower and reward competitive FIFA players and teams in IGGalaxy. As per the guidelines, we will also begin to host competitions that require an entry fee that will typically be paid in IGG tokens.

We will incentivise players and teams to consistently compete and perform well, earning rewards and qualification to higher prize pool competitions.

Final Note

FIFA 20 is just the first title supported and will be the beginning of competitive FIFA on our social competitive gaming platform, IGGalaxy.

We have allocated 1 billion IGG tokens towards competitive FIFA in our ecosystem, demonstrating our intent to become the leading online platform for the esport. Every year, around September, EA release the next title for FIFA. This September, EA will release FIFA 21 and we will be ready to continue building IGGalaxy to support the millions of FIFA players around the world.

We anticipate that eventually EA will transition into a subscription model where they can continually update the FIFA title throughout the year. This is the logical step and we will welcome this change.

That concludes our update for FIFA esports in our social competitive gaming platform, IGGalaxy. Stay tuned for further updates on Fortnite, Call of Duty and Black Salt Coreuption in due course.

To keep up to date with developments, please follow us on our various social media channels:

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