FIFA 2011 Hits the Stores: The Business of Video Games

FIFA ’11 is out and hordes of video game fans are descending upon stores around the world to play the latest version of the immensely popular game. Below we revisit our thoughts from the last EA release.  Will the popularity surrounding the World Cup drive more people to their consoles to play soccer?  Will MLS benefit from the popularity?  Our thoughts are below.

At about the same time I was wrapping up high school in the early 1990′s, SEGA was the premier video game system.  Arguably the most popular game of that period was the EA Sports  hockey.  Whether in high school, college or elsewhere, boys around the country were gathering in basements and dorm rooms for tournaments of NHL hockey.  Although most knew little about the sport, regular game play brought names like Pavel Bure, Mike Richter and Ray Borque to the forefront of sports culture in the United States.  Soon thereafter, the Rangers won the Stanley Cup and the popularity of hockey exploded.  Video games weren’t the only factor, but the NHL had achieved an enormous amount of brand recognition through video games and created life long fans of the sport because of that first connection.  Can MLS achieve a similar success?

This is part five of our MLS attendance series.  You can see part I here,  part II here, part III here and part IV here. We have collected anecdotes from hundreds of friends, coworkers, fans, families, store owners and acquaintances in an effort to determine what will bring more fans to MLS. We have asked these questions at soccer matches of all levels, dinner parties, social gatherings and board meetings.  We have been asking these questions since February with an eye towards seeking out trends about MLS fandom and what brings people to Major League Soccer League stadiums.

Soccer has long been one of the easier sports to translate into video games (along with hockey and football), and thus millions of American males will dutifully purchase the game regardless of whether they know anything about soccer.  And from our interviews, it is readily apparent; the less they know about soccer, the more likely they are to play with teams from Major League Soccer (many soccer fans migrate to the EPL). As a result, it is these fans that may embrace the teams and players from MLS.

From  our interviews and discussions, it appears that video games are having this effect. I’ve spoken with a number of folks (adults and teens) who started to become soccer fans because of their video game experiences.  They caught some of the Confederations Cup and recognized players from their game.  Many have since seen MLS matches and have kept an eye on their favorite team. Will it continue?  Can MLS keep these  fans?  Are video games a legitimate method for attracting fans?  Let us know your thoughts.

Advertisements

6 Responses

  1. Fifa is absolutely what made me become a fan of the game. It started with the world cup game in ’06 and i’ve played every game religiously since. Its not only the gameplay that entices me, but the sheer mass of statistics of players and leagues and teams just amazes me.
    However, I wish they would give some of the MLS players a little more skill. They are hard to play with because their ball control and other skills are so low. I think this could be a turn off to the league because it encourages the general global opinion that the MLS is poor quality soccer. It’s a tough situation because you have to be in the game but it might be hurting.

  2. vaptistika…

    […]FIFA 2011 Hits the Stores: The Business of Video Games « Footiebusiness[…]…

  3. battlefield 3 review…

    […]FIFA 2011 Hits the Stores: The Business of Video Games « Footiebusiness[…]…

  4. Battlefield 3 Cheats…

    […]FIFA 2011 Hits the Stores: The Business of Video Games « Footiebusiness[…]…

  5. History Of Animation…

    […]FIFA 2011 Hits the Stores: The Business of Video Games « Footiebusiness[…]…

  6. poker freeroll tournaments…

    […]FIFA 2011 Hits the Stores: The Business of Video Games « Footiebusiness[…]…

Comments are closed.