It is without saying that soccer is the most popular sport in the world. Call it what you will, a “child’s game” or “3rd world country sport”, but at least someone you know has played it in some form or another. This summer, as an avid watcher and follwer of soccer, I feel that there have been a large amount of important tournaments and national games being played like the Under 17 and Under 20 World Cups, the Women’s World Cup, the Gold Cup, and the Copa America. In particular I’ll be referring to the Women’s World Cup as I try to make an argument for why EA should make a women’s soccer game/DLC.
Mascot is...a cup of coffee? Actually...its a parrot.
As I was saying before, this summer had a surprising amount of national soccer games for a few different tournaments. Currently the Under 20 World Cup is being held in Columbia, while the Beach Soccer World Cup is coming in the first week of September in Italy. The most noticeable of all the tournaments this summer was without a question the Women’s World Cup. I usually tend to not follow women’s soccer, but due to national pride for two countries, USA and Brazil, and my own soccer drought I decided to follow along. The games were great, with the group stage providing some interesting games. As always, the knock out stage was where the tournament got interesting. Japan defeated the 2 time reining champion and home country Germany and the USA defeated long time rivals Brazil (heart breaker for me). With the hype train at full steam and national pride and emotions at an all time high, Japan and America squared off for a rematch of epic proportions dating back to Pearl Harbor and WWII…or so the various Facebookers and Tweeters called it. In the end Japan won, a much needed morale boost for a country with recent issues with Mother Nature, and the USA women’s soccer fandom was furious. Good day in sports.
How does this relate to gaming? I believe EA should make a Women’s Soccer title. I bold claim that many won’t agree on, but I’ll try to defend my case with honor.
For one, many might argue that women’s soccer isn’t all that popular in the US. This is true, as I stated earlier although I follow soccer I have no idea about the inner workings of women’s soccer aside from the World Cup and my college’s team. Let’s take a look at some facts from the recent tournament: It has the 6th most views of all soccer matches with 13.45 million. The game wit the highest amount of views: the Women’s World Cup Final of 1999. ESPN provided coverage on multiple platforms including its X-Box Live service. On the Twitter front, the Japan vs USA game holds the record for most tweets per second with 7,196 (followed by the Copa America match between Brazil and Paraguay with 7,166). Names like Hope Solo, Abbey Wambach, and Alex Morgan became huge in just a few weeks. To say that the game isn’t popular is rubbish.
Secondly, FIFA as a franchise is one of EA’s most internationally known titles. Even in the US the sales numbers don’t lie when they cause a 5% jump in EA’s stock values after its opening weekend. In the US and Europe alone the game sold 2.6 million copies earning the title as the fastest selling sports game ever (couldn’t find any US only numbers). The title is familiar to soccer fans and if the women’s version sold under the same franchise name as DLC or a stand alone title it would do well. Personally the game could be DLC since EA has a soccer “engine” there and would just need to create new skins and rosters, but I feel a stand alone title could work as well (maybe at a 30-40 dollar price range?). It wouldn’t have to include the various leagues and individual clubs, just the national teams from the recent tournament and qualifying rounds.
Finally, why EA? As a publisher, developer, and marketer EA has an influence over various demographics of gamers and even people who don’t play games have seen an EA ad somewhere in their daily lives. I’m sure that EA could muster up a PR campaign and bring in some solid sales numbers, while bringing in more new people into the varying demographics it has an influence on. The only other game that could do something similar is the Pro Evolution Soccer franchise, but as it is not as well known and is not as well received by gamers and critics alike.
So, what do you think? Can EA do it, should EA do it?
- http://espn.go.com/sports/soccer/news/_/id/6779582/women-world-cup-final-breaks-twitter-record - http://www.marketwatch.com/story/ea-shares-jump-on-strong-fifa-11-sales-2010-10-05 - http://www.gamershell.com/news_103798.html - http://www.mlssoccer.com/news/article/2011/07/18/womens-world-cup-final-sets-new-us-television-record - http://tvbythenumbers.zap2it.com/2011/07/18/2011-women%E2%80%99s-world-cup-finals-espn%E2%80%99s-most-viewed-and-highest-rated-soccer-match-ever-averaging-13-5-million-viewers/98284/
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