EA Sports, Please create a stand-alone title, or full update, for World Cup 2018 content.
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EA Sports must fully leverage the license they hold for the FIFA World Cup competition, and include the full range of competing nations and all qualifying events.
EA Sports has been the exclusive license-holder for the FIFA World Cup competition for many years, and has produced a stand-alone title every World Cup years since 1998. This includes France 1998, Korea/Japan 2002, Germany 2006, South Africa 2010, and Brazil 2014.
On April 30th, 2018 EA Sports announced a free update for FIFA 18 that would include the World Cup packaging for Ultimate Team and the final 32 format for the competition.
This title will add only a handful of national teams, bringing the total to a number not much more than Korea/Japan 2002..released for PlayStation 2, XBox and Gamecube nearly two decades ago.
The Germany 2006 release saw 127 national teams, South Africa 2010 saw 199 national teams, and Brazil 2014 saw 203.
These latter titles used their depth of nations to create an authentic qualifying experience, allowing players to compete over a two-year journey, culminating in the host country's final 32. Ironically, in this reveal trailer from EA Sports, Ronaldo picks up the FIFA 18 title from a shelf containing the past stand-alone World Cup games.
The removal of the qualifying process, as well as other modes such as Captain Your Country, are a blow to the full gamut of emotions and intensity that constitute the entire World Cup experience. The final 32 are the end of a process, not the beginning.
This decision by EA Sports is similar in spirit to releasing a title for the NBA, NFL, or NHL that only includes the playoffs at the end of the season, and the teams that qualified for them.
EA Sports can fully leverage support for Ultimate Team and casual online players with a free update to the FIFA 18 title, while also maximizing the potential of the World Cup license and providing a fully-featured, stand-alone World Cup 18 video game. This mode, to include qualifying and the missing national teams, can also be released as premium DLC for the current FIFA 18 title.
There is some concern within the community that the 2022 World Cup may also not be represented, as that competition will take place shortly after the release window for FIFA 2022. This makes the utilization of the current World Cup that much more critical to players, for an event that comes only once every four years.
There is no sporting event in the world that garners as much international coverage and attention as this. There are players that have/had faith in EA Sports to use the licensing they hold and produce the best representation of this competition that they can. This faith has been let down by a lack of communication (typically World Cup game announcements were made in February, for an April release window), and a seeming lack of awareness to the potential disappointment this would bring to fans of the series.
Additionally, there are national teams around the world that are given exposure through this title, and the entire football/soccer world benefits from this level of heightened awareness.
As the late FIFA Creative Director, Simon Humber, says here, the tournament is about more than just the finalists...the World Cup is a truly global competition.
It can be imagined that his belief in this would have spurned a creative burst after learning that this World Cup would be the first time in the competition's history that every eligible team registered for qualifying.
And yet, in the virtual world there will be more than 120 nations not represented. Their fans filled the stands with as much hope as the final 32 did.
EA Sports, please make this right.
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