Monday, February 20, 2017

FIFA 17 Video Game Challenges Human Soccer for Audience Share

















Last night, while channel flipping during the primetime hours, I came across the FIFA 17 Ultimate Team Championship Series regional final on ESPN2. I found out the promotion with EA Sports has 1.3 million dollars at stake in prize money for the video game winners of FIFA 17.

I can say that the crowd was into it. The announcers sounded smooth and loquacious (Jimmy Conrad formerly of KickTv is a host). The technical display of 'the beautiful game' and the purity of the viewing experience of FIFA 17 is easy on the eyes. It's understandable to see why the public is down for it.

Is it more fun to watch soccer through a video game console of wonderment, rather than in a live stadium on natural grass and/or with real humans playing against each other on a broadcast for television? For some, their true answer is to watch a video game.

Wow, just what MLS needs, one more soccer competition, as if international competition and foreign leagues weren't enough. Video game competition can't even be called 'fake.' There's a tendency to call it 'fake', or to call human soccer as 'real'. but those terms would be too insulting to the video game makers, players and watchers. Simply put, video game soccer is one more avenue of soccer to digest.

Out of all the sports video games to play, EA FIFA is the most popular one, according to surveys. But, there is one aspect of the video game that appears to necessitate human soccer. The video game is based on players who play live soccer in world leagues. The most noticeable players moving on the screen have the names Pogba, Messi, Ronaldo, Bale and others well-known around the world.

Could there come a time when these famous names are not needed on the video game? Yes, it's possible. The video game play is joyful and the passing and movement of players are accurate and sharp.

For me, though, I will always prefer to see live entanglements, authentic moves and spontaneous decision making on the field between humans on opposing teams with internal motivations that are not understandable to anyone other than themselves.

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