Right now the hot rave on the gaming industry block is all things first-person shooter. The motto these days is basically that if it isn’t an FPS you’re banking your dollars in the wrong genre. Except, not everyone believes the former maxim to be true. EA Sports’ executive vice president, Andrew Wilson believes that persistent online events and challenges from the interactive sports genre will soon surpass the FPS genre when it comes to player engagement and gameplay longevity.
This is mostly due to the release of the EA Sports Football Club that launched with FIFA 12, enabling gamers to stay connected to real-world changes in the football (Soccer to Americans) world that affect the challenges and events that appear in EA’s persistent Football Club.
In an interview with GameIndustry.biz, Wilson made the blatant observation that…
"The game you buy today is going to be very different to the game you buy six months from now, based on what's happened in the real world, based on the challenges we provide, based on who you play with, what your club is," … "The relationship they have with their club, and the relationship they share with other fans of that club, are some of the strongest relationships in their lives... To re-enact that reality through interactive entertainment drives a level of engagement that most other genres can't deliver."Eh, apparently Wilson never went astral traveling with a guild in Allods Online or dungeon raiding with a few friends in World of Warcraft. It’s hard to argue that the MMO genre doesn’t deliver that level of engagement, but I digress.
Nevertheless, he does make a good point about re-enacting reality of your favorite sports in your favorite sports title. It definitely delivers a sense of camaraderie and high levels of attachment given that you’re playing a game based on a sport you love with continuous updates and events mirroring real-life, which easily makes the game a lot more appealing than some annual iterations. This is also not to mention that a feature like the Football Club adds an almost unlimited measure of replayability given that as long as it aggregates what happens in real-life in the game, then technically gamers would always have a new challenge to face.
The feature has obviously gone over well enough to enable FIFA 12 to outsell Gears of War 3, which is no easy feat given that Epic Game’s third outing for the Gears of War franchise was one of the most hotly anticipated games of the year.
Wilson went on to say that…
“Most of us haven't been in Afghanistan with an M16. We want to relate to that, but for me, personally, the relationship to sports is much, much stronger."… "First-person shooters are great games, they're great escapes, but the longevity behind the relationship with your team and other fans is exponentially stronger.”THQ are you listening? This might be a hint to do the same thing with Smackdown vs Raw, I’m sure it would do wonders for the series.
You can check out the entire interview over at GameIndustry.biz. FIFA 12 with the EA Football Club is currently available for home consoles, mobile devices and PC. You can learn more about the game over at the Official Website.