It’s all about the Ultimate Team mode in the game. Players can form their own team by purchasing so-called “packs” from which players from the past and present can emerge. These players can then be used on the player’s team. In this mode, male and female soccer players can now play on one team. This means that Kylian Mbappé can play in the same team as Megan Rapinoe.
Some say it is a result of the waking movement. Others point out that they are not happy about it because they find it striking that they think female footballers get very high ratings in the game.
Paskie Rokus, known among other things as a FIFA YouTuber, originally agreed with criticism of the game. “I was able to play with women’s teams in the game for a while. But I thought that was weird. FIFA is actually a men’s game. I also thought it was unrealistic.”
Clearly Basque was not the only one. Many players were amazed by the new option in the popular soccer game.
The game won’t be released until tomorrow, but you can already play it across the bend. Paskie has been playing the game for a week now. “So far I don’t find it annoying at all. I also now play with two female footballers in my team, and it feels almost the same as when you play with male footballers.”
Paskie is now a bit more neutral. He also knows that many other players think differently. “A lot of people think it’s sad that EA is doing this. They think it’s completely woke and they think they’re just doing it for the money. Maybe women will start playing the game a little sooner, but it’s not yet well received by some other players.”
Unique and special
Martine Spence knows it too. She is the Director General of the Dutch Gaming Association, the trade association for Dutch gaming companies. According to her, it is unique that FIFA does this. “In general, you see that often attention is paid to diversity in other games, for example with other ethnicities and cultures in the main characters. For example in the Horizon games. But this is special for FIFA.”
“Game makers are very responsive to what’s going on in the sports world and in society,” Spanz says. “There is more interest in women’s football on television, and real top players are increasingly becoming icons of the sport. So this is a logical step.”
The reactions are not all negative, as the Spanish also know. Although she saw those negative reactions coming. “A lot of guys have been playing this game for a very long time. When changes happen, it always takes some getting used to. But it’s not as if EA wants to change the game radically now, it’s just adding something.”
In addition, Spanz also finds criticism that it is unrealistic to play with men and women in a slightly skewed team. “In this situation, you are able to play for a long time with footballers who have long retired or even died. And that in a team with players who are still playing, well… I see it basically as a nice addition.”
Game journalist Jean Migros also doesn’t understand the hype. “If you don’t want to play with a female player, you don’t have to. You don’t have to, of course.” According to him, the addition is part of a broader development in the gaming world. “You see more and more companies realizing that they’re not just making toys for white, heterosexual men.”
“In The Sims, for example, you can create a transgender character. But in many games, you’ll rarely see anyone in a wheelchair, for example. While that would be good for representation and recognizability. It’s really strange not to “They’re there. If you don’t want to play with it, don’t do it.”
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