By Andrés Uribe, Expedition PR
The Fédération Internationale de Football Association, FIFA, is among the longest running, most internationally recognizable sporting associations in history. Founded in 1904 and headquartered in Zurich, Switzerland, FIFA boasts a following of 209 member nations. That’s 209 nations with different cultures all bonding over the love for one game, soccer (football to the rest of the world); this is solidarity at its finest.
Just as the FIFA brand is recognized around the world, so is the video game. Being THE best video game franchise ever created (perhaps a somewhat biased opinion), it is important to note that today FIFA turns 20! This day will undoubtedly put a smile on FIFA fans faces across the globe as they reminiscing on the various consoles that facilitated their goal scoring and epic comebacks throughout the decades. But to all those who didn’t quite get why some of your friends at times elect to stay in on a Saturday night, here are two reason that FIFA should put a smile on your face as well.
FIFA is for everyone – Throughout its history, the FIFA franchise has sold over 100 million copies worldwide. According sales numbers released by EA Sports, FIFA 12 holds the record for the fastest selling sports video game ever with 3.3 million copies selling within the first week; and for those without a game consol, no worries, iPhone and iPad sales accounted for just over 25% of those first week sales.
Unlike other top selling franchises, such as Grand Theft Auto and Call of Duty, FIFA has always been an E rated game (E is a video game rating designating that the game’s content is suitable for Everyone). Taking this Everyone rating a step further, FIFA 13 came with full mouse support built in. This aspect allowed disabled players with muscular dystrophy, cerebral palsy, multiple sclerosis and players who could only use one hand the ability to still play the game. For this feature FIFA 13 was named the Accessible Game of the Year by the AbleGamers Foundation, an organization that advocates on behalf of the 33 million disabled gamers around the world.
FIFA promotes solidarity – Having recently read an article describing an American college student trading in his camouflage shirt and confederate flag for an AC Milan Jersey and matching banner, I couldn’t help but smile. The story is not unique; in surprising numbers Americans are finding themselves bonding with the international community over soccer after having first picked up a liking for the FIFA video game franchise. For Americans ages 18-24, soccer is now the second most popular sport. Social scientist Rich Luker, the creator of the ESPN Sports Poll, has discovered through his research that “games like FIFA have done more to advance the popularity of soccer than [he has] seen with any other sport.” What this means to me is that, thanks to FIFA, it’s been a long time since I’ve heard a racist remark due to my wearing of a soccer jersey.
So, for all those who weren’t smiling at the beginning of this post, when you check your Facebook/Twitter today and see a stream of FIFA 14 status updates, I hope you can now at least have some understanding of what’s going on here. It’s more than just a game, it’s bringing people together, both on and off the digital realm. Happy FIFAing everyone!