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7 not-so-well-known facts about the FIFA franchise

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Virendra Karunakar

Its been over a week since the latest installment of FIFA – FIFA ’14 – hit the stands and it has proved as popular as some of the previous editions and has beaten Grand Theft Auto 5 to reach the top of the game charts.

It is now 20 years since the gaming franchise was started by EA Sports, yet it shows no signs of a slowdown with the game and the sport only growing in popularity with every year.

One might know everything there is to know in terms of gameplay, but here are 7 interesting facts about the game that you may not have known.

7. David Platt was the first ever cover star

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We have now come to be accustomed to seeing the biggest of stars splashed across the covers of the game from Lionel Messi to Cristiano Ronaldo to Wayne Rooney to Franck Ribery, the list goes on.

Wayne Rooney in fact holds the record for most number of appearances as a cover star, having appeared 7 times between the FIFA 06 and FIFA 12 versions.

But the first ever player to adorn the cover of the game was…… David Platt.

Platt was most recently first team coach at Manchester City until the end of last season when he quit after the dismissal of Roberto Mancini.

He was a youth player for City before moving to Italy. His greatest success though came at Arsenal where he won a league and cup double in 1998 before retiring in 2001.

6. Biggest sports game launch in history

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The FIFA franchise is now an instantly recognizable entity in the gaming world and has turned into a behemoth and huge money spinner for EA sports.

All of this contributed in the game’s FIFA 13 edition breaking the record for the biggest sports game launch in history as it sold more than 4.5 million copies in the first five days.

Its predecessor FIFA 12 became the fastest selling sports game ever.

FIFA 14, of course, has knocked GTA 5 off its perch storming to the top and holding steady as the top-selling game for a second week running.

5. Raking in the moolah since 1993

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How much do you think EA Sports has made since the launch of the first edition?

The FIFA series has generated a whopping $6 billion since inception, making it the biggest selling franchise in EA’s history.

The game has widespread appeal and is marketed in a zillion countries worldwide. The FIFA 13 game was the number 1 selling game in 43 countries around the world the week it was launched.

4. It could have been ‘EA Soccer’

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Before EA could arrive on the name ‘FIFA’, one of the initial thoughts was to have the game named ‘EA Soccer’.

It was then renamed to ‘FIFA International Soccer’ after the gaming major thought that the initial name would not appeal to European markets. It also did not want to drain interest in its home market in America. So it kept the word ‘soccer’ while adding ‘international’ to it.

The first game had only international countries and no clubs, unlike the case today where the game is more club-centric.

FIFA International Soccer also became the first game to present the isometric view as all other 16-bit games used the traditional top-down view for football games.

3. Inspired by the World Cup

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The actual inspiration for EA to develop the game was actually the 1994 World Cup in Atlanta.

So if you’re wondering why FIFA decided to host the football world cup in a country where it is called ‘soccer’, hey it worked. You would not have the game probably if it had happened elsewhere.

The initial version was released on DOS, Amiga, Sega CD, 3Do, SNES, Mega Drive, Sega Game Gear and Game Boy. Exhaustive ain’t it?

However, the MLS didn’t feature in the game until 2000 with only teams from the country’s second division, the USA League, being featured.

The first version to be available on the PlayStation platform was FIFA 06 which became available on PlayStation 2.

2. An ongoing petition to add women players to the game

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Right through its 20-year-long reign, the game has not featured a woman player or women’s football team.

Female Spanish player Vero Boquete has started a campaign on change.org, sometime earlier this year, asking EA to end the practice and introduce female players.

And it apparently got 20,000 signatures in the first 24 hours. Go female football fans!

New countries and league are always being added, so why not women footballers?

So next year’s biggest introduction could well be… the introduction of women players and women football teams.

1. It kicks Facebook’s…

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If you thought that the global social networking time-waster that is Facebook had entrapped the entire world in a colossal joint effort of time-wasting, the caped crusader (okay, sports crusader) called FIFA is the saviour to many a football fan.

Well, apparently FIFA fans spend more time playing the game as opposed to checking out what their friends are upto.

According to the stats, they spend on average 57 minutes a day playing as Messi or Ronaldo or any of those footballers that they’ve always wished they were while spending about 10 minutes lesser – 46 minutes a day on average – updating how they feel and trying to define their moods through Facebook’s vastly unedifying and uber uncool emotive tools.

BOTTOM LINE: FIFA is more popular than Facebook. FACT.

Whether you like Rafa Benitez or not!

Edited by Staff Editor

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