Grow Fifa As an Esport: Increased Prize Pools + Broadcasting Mode

165 posts Has Potential To Be Special
Last year’s FIFA Interactive World Cup took place in Rio in the same year as The World Cup, while this year’s event will be held in Munich, but the winner will pocket $20,000. Not bad for playing a game of FIFA, you might think, but it’s not in the same league as the $400,000 Denial picked up for winning the Call of Duty Championship in March.

So, how can FIFA grow as an eSport?

Increase the prize pools
To be recognised as one of the world’s biggest eSports not only do you need millions of people watching on Twitch, but a big prize pool. League of Legends World Championship had a $2m prize pool, Call of Duty offers $1m every year, and $10.9m was shared out between the top teams at Dota 2's The International 4. Even newcomer Smite had a $2.6m prize pool for its World Championship earlier this year.

FIFA lags a long way behind..

Introduce Broadcaster mode
It seems FIFA could learn something from Call of Duty, Halo, and Counter Strike: Global Offensive as these successful eSports have all featured a Spectator mode.

Now, you may be thinking, you don't need that for FIFA - it's the same view for everyone, regardless. Sure, it is for local events, but for online events to happen, like a league, you need a spectator or broadcaster mode to get involved. Now, as an outsider you would expect it wouldn't be too hard to implement a spectator mode. And with a studio the size of EA Sports Vancouver, you'd feel this would be a huge feature to add to the game, for a big outcome.

If this ever happened and competitive FIFA teams came about, live streaming would be the main platform for teams to get their names out there and create a fanbase, showcasing online tournaments and practises on sites such as Twitch or MLG.

What are EA's thoughts about this and growing fifa as an eSports in general? I hope a community manager could come in and share some light on this. Thanks.


  • Kurt
    1995 posts Fans' Favourite
    Well Rob ( the community manager ) as you can see has clearly taken an interest in this and while it's still baby steps for this year I'm extremely excited for fifa 16 as hopefully they have some big things planned
  • Rob
    1215 posts EA Staff (retired)
    Neither large prize pools or broadcaster mode are essential for an esport. Key word being essential because the ability to spectate offers a lot of course.

    FIFA's primary challenge is with its modes.
    • There is no mode right now as suitable for esports as there is in CS:GO, dota, LoL, Hearthstone etc.
    • H2H offers little in the way of strategical choices that others can copy. ie the pick phase in dota or the gun choice or positional decisions in csgo - all things that will take experience to fully understand the reasoning of but on a basic level can just be copied.
    • H2H (by default) fundamentally relies on the balance of real football.. which isn't balanced. Teams are not 'equal'. There is of course the option for fixing ratings at 85 but then you're back to the previous point.
    • FUT resets every year. This is awkward from an esports perspective. Hearthstone and to a much lesser extent LoL avoid this because whilst you have to unlock/earn content they don't reset. This isn't to say FUT shouldn't reset because there are lots of positives from a non-esports perspective. Does make it awkward though.
    • Regarding the last point, why not have rules about player choice? Ok that helps with the previous point but now for a potential spectator it's a whole lot less relevant for their team copying aspirations and all the new content throughout the year (depending quite what the rule is).

    There's a lot more to this and all the points I've mentioned of course but maybe it'll give you some food for thought.
  • Michaelvb86
    165 posts Has Potential To Be Special
    Rob, thanks alot for your reply. You're right about the fact is very hard to get a Fifa to become a real eSport. I understand the difficulties with the game modes like h2h and FUT.

    But there has to be a way right. EA is a big company with smart people and huge resources.

    FUT has the potential to be great. It's action-packed, fun to watch and could provide strategic depth with using different formations, players and custom tactics. The reset that takes place each year has alot of positives too like new links and new teams.

    However, things like chemistry and player attributes should be clear, open and bad chemistry should affect player skills (also when subbed in).

    Anyway, whats EA point of view on how to improve fifa for competitive players (if that is what you want). What actions can we see in the future to improve competitive fifa?
  • Rob
    1215 posts EA Staff (retired)
    I think there will be a way eventually but I believe there's no value in rushing it. I'd like to spend time on growing the competitive community from the point of view that it's meant to be fun to play. Not from the point of view of how quickly can we get in a stadium.

    As for EA's point of view, I think that will be a case of wait and see - it's not really something I'm in the position to comment on right now.
  • Kurt
    1995 posts Fans' Favourite
    Rob while I completely agree with you on head to head, there is no fun in watching Real Madrid against Real Madrid every single game, I could not disagree with you more on fut.

    Rob fut as it is is more then a suitable enough game mode for e sports, now I can think of a 100 things you can do to improve it. The potential it has is ridiclous and resetting evey year is a positive not a negative in my opinion.

    I could go into a lot more detail and any concerns you have I'm more then willing to answer.
  • Orison
    54105 posts Ballon d'Or Winner
    My biggest problem with Fifa being an eSport wouldn´t be that the the teams aren´t equal or that FUT resets every year. My biggest problem would be that Fifa, like real football, is sometimes so random.

    In COD or CS you could improve your aiming and your reflexes and if you are the fastest and most accurate player out there, you will win H2H fights, yeah you can be shot in the back, but in direct confrontations, you will most likely win. Fifa is a bit different, because it can be incredibly unfair, you can have 20 shots and dominate your opponent, but still lose 1:0, that brings a level of "randomness" to Fifa and randomness is what pro players in every eSport fear.

    And that´s why many pro Fifa players pass around and keep possession for the sake of their life, because they try to avoid random actions, they want to control the whole game, but this makes the games a bit boring to watch.
  • Rob
    1215 posts EA Staff (retired)
    @Kurt You may as well at least expand on why you think resetting is not a challenge otherwise you're not adding anything to the discussion

    @Orison RNG is acceptable within reason in a competitive environment. Case in point being the various card games.
  • Orison
    54105 posts Ballon d'Or Winner
    @Rob Don´t get me wrong, as a spectator you love random action that´s why pack openings are maybe the most watched Fifa videos and streams, but as a pro player I would hate random actions in a game that should be decided by skill, not by a 90th minute corner :D

    I just think that that contrast between the pro players who want to avoid randomness and the spectators who want action, end-to-end gameplay and a 10:10 after 90 minutes, makes it a bit boring to watch professional Fifa players play.
  • Rob
    1215 posts EA Staff (retired)
    @Orison This will just come down to how gameplay is balanced over the years. There are slow matches at times but if you've watched any of the forum cups lately you'll know the total opposite can be true. Same goes for dota - some very boring games, some very exciting ones. It's not a huge concern imo provided that's not the only reason to watch (ie there's strategy game to game, what players are picked and so on).
  • Michaelvb86
    165 posts Has Potential To Be Special
    Rob wrote: »
    I think there will be a way eventually but I believe there's no value in rushing it. I'd like to spend time on growing the competitive community from the point of view that it's meant to be fun to play. Not from the point of view of how quickly can we get in a stadium.

    I agree rushing it is not the way to go (you need a solid plan to implement) but right now it's like watching paint dry. This is going on for years.

    Fifa has millions of players and billions of views on youtube by people who love to watch fifa gameplay. I'd love to see EA experiment alot more with different modes or features that would improve competitive play.

    Give the players some more freedom to setup own tournaments, create game lobbies with spectators and other features and see how it goes.

    Yes, this might require big investments but it can also help create more revenue and exposure.
  • RadioShaq
    15848 posts Moderator
    With futscope and nexus helping will ea ever reveal or add leaderboards like those? Understanding where you stand would go a long way in helping be competitive.
  • Rob
    1215 posts EA Staff (retired)
    @RadioShaq Perhaps. It's not something I can say for certain
  • RadioShaq
    15848 posts Moderator
    Could you say how close with a percent futscope and the nexus are to the real data?
  • DeanCoombes
    45 posts Park Captain
    edited July 2015
    While I agree to some points to a extent It will be literally impossible on a "Esport" definition to have FUT Anywhere involved unless something was created to work around it, FUT Is purely Online Based meaning you can't share offline meaning you will have to play on the servers, Everyone who has played offline at a competition like myself knows that Offline is absolutely 0.000000* delay/lag effecting the outcome meanwhile online you have the issue of P2P Latency even if in the same room it's still not accurate

    It's good to see that EA are looking at Esports now in a bigger matter and competitive aspect, What rob said maybe limiting the stats so they are all equal? That happens in FIWC online qualifying quite a bit then you get guys running running with peter crouch with Ronaldo like abilities again not much choice.

    The way forward would be for the Developer to Support Esports directly, Not through a third party as in previous years but themselves, Having a ranked system which gains you points such as a Visible Elo System on Head to Head(at the end of the game to prevent people backing out as back on fifa 10-11 IIRC) Having a Higher ranking would give you perks such as Unlockables on FUT such as Pack Openings when you maintain a ranking of sometime so it keeps the Interest in "Why should I play Competitive, What do I get out of it" , Deduction points for Inactivity, 1-3 Month seasons on a fully integrated leaderboard across the game combining FUT AND H2H (Similar to FIWC 1 month seasons) Which would reward you with Cash in H2H Competitive and X Amount of packs and FIFA points in Ultimate Team and qualifying for offline events in X country again directly supported and sponsored by EA, No third party, EA have the advertising powers to create something big but it's all in there court and how they think how it can improve, Remember competitive players potentially only count for roughly 5-10% of everyone who plays FIFA, that's very small and EA would need some good reasons on why they should support it

    I see many users bring up a issue about "Assisted vs Manual" Controls, Yes it may seem a bit too easy for some but it's just the way it is as it would just be taking "Aim Assist" of call of duty on console off, Maybe you can bring it down to a Semi-Assisted which would be perfect cross over between the both and have a LOT more competitive feel if users actually had to aim but again it's the user in it's own who can change this in the menus and again EA would have to approve this and create the modes which limit this which would most likely no thought to be seen to that till about fifa 17/18

    Again, EA have got on board with competitive players for what many have requested, Small Steps by EA but rome wasn't built in a day :)
  • RealM
    6229 posts Big Money Move
    edited July 2015
    Me personally, I don't see Fifa as a competitive game and I don't think it can be. It's more of a fun game to play because everybody loves football.

    If you look at all the top games, they are all mainly team games. From a spectating point of view you want to see fast paced action ( Like Black Ops 2 was, and that was by far the most entertaining CoD to watch ).

    To many flaws in Fifa for it to be competitive, skill means nothing when you can win by having lucky deflections all game or a godlike goalkeeper one game.

    Listening to commentary, there isn't that much that can get you hyped up like there are in other games.
  • emperior
    124 posts Has Potential To Be Special
    edited July 2015
    Rob why are you guys ignoring Pro Clubs, the most competitive mode FIFA has?
    You could even make it so that Pros don't reset every year, make accomplishments easier to get and balance it a little more so that not everyone uses same traits and same height and weight or always CAM/ST.
    Really, just focus on Pro Clubs if you want to go eSports. Let people enjoy the casual gameplay FUT and H2H offer, which is already quite good and fun.
    Isn't something like this entertaining enough?
    Post edited by emperior on
  • KingBarca
    395 posts Sunday League Hero
    edited July 2015
    Get Sony as your partner would be the biggest increase in popularity and marketing potential.

    Fifa gets mainly played by Europeans
    Sony has in every European country at least 70% market share and outside of the UK mostly 90% market share.
    The PS4 Version sold ~8 Million Units and the X1 Version less than 2 Million worldwide.

    You exclude directly most of your potential playerbase.
    People are more excited about something if they can participate without buying an unwanted product like the Xbox.
    Sony of course has a far bigger marketing reach than Microsoft too in Europe.

    Its not about pricemoney or anything.
    Its how many people are actually able to connect with it and currently it is not many.

    And obviously
    Fix all the Random BS in Fifa - Keepers,defenders,collisions etc
    Make everyone equal if its competitive.You either give in a competitive mode with its own leaderboards everyone every card to use or you finally shut down the potential of coin sellers/buyers.No problem with people playing 10 000 games or pumping a million Euro or $ into FIfa Points but buying coins from russian 3rd party sites(who hacked other players) to have everything instantly is going to far.
  • Michaelvb86
    165 posts Has Potential To Be Special
    @Rob Could you comment on adding a Broadcasting/Spectator feature into H2H and FUT?

    That would give us the option to organise tournaments, broadcast them on twitch, post them on youtube and give increased prizepools to the pro's who play on them.

    Everyone wants to see the best players play eachother with good live commentary. We would have the option to create online and offline tournaments, interview the pro's, create personalities and get to know them.

    If EA would introduce this, it would be a great step forward imo. Let me know what you think :)
  • Viz
    31 posts Last Pick at the Park
    Fifa won't be taken seriously as an E Sport for 3 main reasons in my opinion, those are balance, depth and entertainment value. I made mention of this in a previous thread but it was closed, as a disclaimer this will only be in relation to head 2 head seasons as UT is strictly a singular console game mode.

    Straight off the bat Fifa is a game that is balanced poorly and has very little tactical depth. Games that are tactically shallow with very little room for varying play styles tend to have little longevity as far as E Sports go. Games like Dota, the Smash series (not Brawl) , KOF, League of Legends etc all have the room for numerous play styles and are rife with tactical depth, there isn't any single character or map you have to use and some characters will do well vs some and poorly vs others. It pays to know the ins and outs of every MU ( MU = Match Up, the dynamic of how one character fares vs another) and how stage selection affects those MUs.

    To draw example between 2 Smash games, Smash Melee was released in 2001, Brawl was released in 2008. Within 3 or so years the Brawl competitive scene was dead, Melee is still going strong today and averaged a prize pool of rough half a million dollars spread across 300 + tournaments. What caused Brawl to be such a failure but Melee such a resounding success? Balance.

    The single biggest determining factor in Brawl's demise was a character called Meta Knight, this character could not be counter picked and had no negative MUs. ( Negative meaning assuming equal levels of skill a MetaKnight would lose), moreover he had no equal MUs either ( meaning assuming equal levels of skill players had equal chances of winning) . As such people would often choose the character that allowed the greatest chance of winning and there was a proliferation of MetaKnight players at every tournament. The obvious solution was to ban MetaKnight but he wa so popular that tournaments were boycotted or the turn outs were very low. At MK legal tournaments the overwhelming majority of players were MetaKnight users, the scene died in a few years.

    Now the obvious comparison that could be drawn is between MetaKnight in Brawl and Real Madrid in Fifa. There are pitfalls in this comparison as unlike Brawl, Real Madrid and Fifa on a whole is supposed to be a representation of a real world team and sport. As such there will be imbalances present, however by the same token EA have an absolute gold mine of information that could be accessed in relation to a sport that has been played for centuries and that is the task they are presented with.

    As a very overarching header I'll draw upon two examples.

    1. Formations and team chemistry
    2. Player movement and positioning

    1. Formations are treated in a very secondary way in Fifa. In real life formations are selected bearing in mind usually 2 things, the opposition strengths and weaknesses as well as your own. In Fifa 15 the former isn't possible as you don't know who you're playing. This is relegates formations to a one size fits all approach and goes against the cerebral nature of the sport. In actuality the work around is simple as it's been in Fifa before on more than one occasion. Simply have a display of who you're playing. EA could go more in depth and display previously used formations, highest goal scorer/ assister etc all in list format to one side of the screen, it would make formations and by extension any tactical set up more meaningful but a conscious decision.

    As an example in the 2014/2015 system Chelsea played Tottenham in a match and lost 5 - 3, Chelsea played Tottenham later that year in a Cup final, Mourinho bearing in mind the previous defeat put a CB in midfield to deny Tottenham striker Harry Kane any space and as a result he was largely a non factor.That current thought process isn't remotely possible in Fifa currently.

    Moreover a team rarely plays with a single formation all match and often rotates between two when in offense or defense, this isn't possible in Fifa but is already possible in PES.

    2. There isn't as of this writing any lateral passing in Fifa, I will leave this video here to explain it.


    To put a long story short, if Fifa is to grow as an E Sport from a tactical point of view the game has to be deeper and more diverse. Coming from someone who's been in gaming communities Fifa is simply too shallow tactically to attract any concrete audience. This is separate and apart from the balance aspect I touched on earlier but failed to elaborate on as my post was getting too long winded.

    Fifa has the potential, it must be said, but at some point the game has to evolve immensely to live up to it

  • Smudge
    4717 posts National Call-Up
    There's a new CoD game every year which people have to learn to play with new maps etc, I think this can be seen as similar to the idea of FUT resetting every year, and Call of Duty is pretty successful as an eSport. Not as big as CS, Hearthstone, LoL, Dota, but still big.
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