I’ve been thinking a lot recently about how to capture the essence of FIFA online and the FIFA eWorld Cup, luckily enough for me, the captain of South Africa’s soccer team actually summed it all up –
“Real footballers and gamers have a lot in common. It’s all about patience, interest and fighting spirit and has a lot to do with the love of the game. It’s great because kids fall in love with football by playing these games.” – Benson Mhlongo
What’s interesting about his words is that it’s how he described the inaugural FIFA Interactive World Cup in 2004. Fast forward to 2018, nearly a decade and a half later, and the FIFA Interactive World Cup has put forth record-breaking numbers and is connecting audiences from all around the world:
- In 2004, players from eight countries competed in the tournament, in 2018, players from over 60 countries competed in the tournament
- In 2004 the FIFA Interactive World cup garnered roughly 8,000 players (Game Industry)
- In 2018 more than 20 million players competed
While the tournament has changed and evolved over the past 14 years, the successes seen in 2018 clearly indicate progress in the right direction. This year alone, the FIFA eWorld Cup 2018 Grand Final achieved a record global audience – generating more than 29 million views across online platforms during the three-day event, according to FIFA.com. At its peak, the tournament saw over 300,000 players tuning in, but the most interesting number is 400 – the percent gain in digital viewership the tournament saw from the 2017 to 2018 campaign. Todd Stritin, the General Manager and Senior Vice President Competitive Gaming Division at EA SPORTS, said:
“The power of real-world sports and eSports is a massive multiplier, and this year’s increase in online viewership is indicative of this power coming to life. We’ve dramatically accelerated the growth of competitive gaming through the EA SPORTS FIFA 18 Global Series and this year’s Grand Final, rallying the global football community together within this singular ecosystem that we know will only grow in the seasons to come” (FIFA.com).
2018 was a benchmark year for online competitive gaming and for FIFA it was an exciting tournament. However, it is probably safe to say the best is still yet to come.
In April, we wrote about the potential value and size of the FIFA eWorld Cup. Needless to say, this year’s iteration surpassed all of our forecasts!