Electronic Arts has announced that the FIFA16 game will feature 12 women’s national football teams for the first time in the game’s history when it launches later this year. It was about time!
FIFA is the best-selling sports video game in the world and has sold more than 100 million copies since it launched in 1993. FIFA 15 sold 11.3 million units worldwide and sales of FIFA 16 are expected to hit 12.1 million. The game is the biggest annual release for $3.6 billion-in-sales Electronic Arts.
Women football has reached a high level of popularity and according to a UEFA report, there has been a 4% increase in the number of registered female players, with the total rising by 46,244 to 1,208,558. In fact, the number of female players has grown five times since 1985.
More and more young girls are playing football, with the number of registered players under 18 now standing at over 750,000. The major challenge for associations, the report says, is not only to promote women’s football, but to keep youngsters playing in the long term.
On September 25th, Electronic Arts will release FIFA16 with 12 women’s national football teams for the first time ever. Germany, USA, France, Sweden, England, Brazil, Canada, Australia, Spain, China, Italy, and Mexico will feature their mens and womens teams.
So why has it taken so long for EA to feature women in their flagship game? According to David Rutter (VP & GM FIFA Console), it was a technical issue.
“We’ve been talking about it seriously since 2009. The problem was, we weren’t at a point then where the graphics would’ve been able to clearly articulate visually the differences between men and women. It wasn’t just an ethical and moral question that needed to be answered—it was a technical one.” Rutter told ESPN
“We needed to make sure they did women’s long hair justice—a task that took extra time and effort because most male players have shorter hair”.
Last year, Forbes released an interesting article outlining how the FIFA video game helped fuel interest in the World Cup. Having women in FIFA16 will play a strong part to the ongoing growth of womens football worldwide.