One head is good, but eleven is better: why EA Sports should think about FIFA team tournaments

One head is good, but eleven is better: why EA Sports should think about FIFA team tournaments

Despite its popularity, FIFA has long been on the periphery of eSports. Even the love of traditional sports for discipline, especially noticeable in recent years, does not compensate for its lag behind other disciplines. In such a situation, it is worth trying something new – for example, 11×11 competitions. tells how developed the team scene is now and why EA Sports should pay attention to it.

Competitive FIFA is less popular than the game itself. Since the fall of 2017, more than 24 million copies of FIFA 18 have been sold; up to 155.7 thousand people watched the tournaments in its peak – it was at FUT Champions Cup Barcelona 2018. The figure is not bad, but it is far from the true audience of FIFA tournaments. On broadcasts of the competitions of this series and the World Cup, you can get very expensive players and kits for the Ultimate Team mode. The difference is enormous – without the distribution of online tournaments is 25 thousand people. Distributing buns is a common and effective practice, but in the case of FIFA its impact is too great. For comparison: in CS: GO, majors with cases gather about a million spectators, but dozens of third-party competitions attracted more than 300 thousand. This is how this difference looks in FIFA – there were rewards on streams only in the first four tournaments:

This and subsequent images are click-enlarged:

Third-party organizers are doing worse. McDonald’s Virtual LaLiga eSports at the expense of two high-profile sponsors at once gained 22.2 thousand people. at the peak, but the average figure was only 3 thousand. The maximum number of spectators at the Gfinity Elite Series Season 3 and two stages of ESWC is from 3 to 4.8 thousand people.

The low number of spectators contrasts with the prize ones – the same EA Sports decently invests in its tournaments. In the 2017/2018 season, the company played $ 800 thousand at three major competitions and helped to conduct several more small ones. This is less than what Ubisoft invested in eSports in 2018 – the French invested $ 1.184 million in prize pools for key offline competitions in Rainbow Six Siege. But the effect was different: in three R6 tournaments there were up to 321.3 thousand at the peak and about 140 thousand spectators on average. In addition, sites for 1-2 thousand people for the R6 probably cost less than the O2 Arena in London for the FIFA 18 World Cup.

The 11×11 mode first appeared on a PC in FIFA 13 – before that, only 5×5 could be played. It appeared on consoles even earlier, but it was on computers that it became popular. The main difference from the classic FIFA is that each user controls one football player. This makes the gameplay more intuitive – and less dependent on local algorithms and even the characteristics of football players.

You need to pump your player through tasks like “score five goals.” Quests do not turn into grind: top teams usually spend the first few days on this leveling, and then stop chasing quests and focus on the main thing – matches. Deciding on the style in the new FIFA and establishing team interaction after the off-season is much more important than getting +1 to hits. Good positioning and mechanical skill play a greater role than attributes. And even if you need to urgently rock something – some tactics allow this – there is almost always time for this.

Competitive 11×11 almost reproduces real football. The stage is dominated by regional online leagues. In Russia, competitions under different names, but with the same participants, have been held since the end of 2012. The largest tournament today is the Russian Cyber ​​Football Pro League. On the PC there are 48 teams competing in three divisions. Almost all of them have more than 11 players – there are substitutes, even if they cannot be released in the middle of the match. Large-scale regional competitions are also held in Germany, Poland and Italy – there are about 20 of them.

The best participants in regional competitions qualify for analogues of the Champions League and the Europa League. In addition to club tournaments, there are championships among national teams. Unlike traditional football, the European Championship and the World Championship are held annually. Russia constantly loses to Poland or Germany in the late rounds of the playoffs, but still won the 2016 European Championships. Then Russia and Spain simply managed not to let Germany out of the group.

In amateur 11×11 less entertainment. Here in the foreground is the rating matchmaking of clubs. Players team up and play ten seasons matches. As a result, you can go up a notch in the hierarchy of ten divisions. Cups like the Battle Cup in Dota 2 take place on weekends: the closer the club is to the first division, the higher the level of the cup. There are no prizes here.

In addition to club matchmaking, there is a public one. It is mainly used for pumping, and 22 people are rarely recruited there. The remaining players are controlled by either the AI ​​or the player who agreed to switch between


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