Matt Bilbey - General Manager of Football, EA SPORTS
Today at E3, I had the honour of announcing EA SPORTS Football Club, a new social experience for our fans that will arrive this fall with FIFA 12. Now that the big announcement is done, I wanted to share why I’m particularly excited about this new service for our fans and what it will mean in this year’s game and beyond for the FIFA franchise.
So why did we decide to create EA SPORTS Football Club? We really see it as the next level of the connected, socially engaging experience that’s been at the heart of FIFA for some time. Right now, millions of fans play FIFA online every week, connecting and competing with their friends and rivals around the world in head-to-head matches, Online Team Play, Career Mode, and Tournaments. And beyond the console, more than 4 million people visit easportsfootball.com every month, where they post videos of their greatest goals, create and download items from Creation Centre, manage their Ultimate Teams, track their Leaderboards, and share accomplishments with the rest of the world. This has shown us how connected people want to be to their FIFA game, and how their passion for the sport drives their love of FIFA.
FIFA is an experience that’s enjoyed by millions of fans around the world…many of whom play FIFA on multiple devices or platforms. These fans share a competitive spirit and desire for a connected experience whether they’re playing FIFA on an HD console, on their iPhone or iPad, or on Facebook. Our vision for the future is to connect these experiences through EA SPORTS Football Club to enable progression and status across all your FIFA experiences. So whenever you play, and whatever you play on, you’ll be earning rewards and achievements that fuel your one single identity …across platforms and through the years.
As I said, competition is one of the fundamentals of EA SPORTS Football Club. This year, every match matters - and everything you do in FIFA 12 will be measured in a meaningful way. Whether it’s an offline game against the CPU or an online tournament match, you earn EXP to build your Level. When you compete against your friends, you can build your status and gain the bragging rights that every one of us as gamers enjoys.
So what makes Football Club different than what we’ve done in FIFA to date, or any other gaming experience that’s out there today? There are lots, but two that really stand out for me.
First is Support Your Club, a central part of the EA SPORTS Football Club experience that deepens your connection to your favourite team. In FIFA 12, you get the opportunity to represent your club and contribute to their success in everything you do and every time you play. Whether you’re a fan of big clubs like Real Madrid or a lower-tier club, all your accomplishments and achievements in the game will support your team’s position in our Support Your Club League Tables. It doesn’t matter how many fans support each club; what matters is how well they play and how often they play. The tables will be reset each week to allow for new challenges, renewed rivalries, and fresh storylines. FIFA 12 will never feel stale, and the tribal passion that fans have for their club will shine through.
The second point is the FIFA connection to the real world of football, and all the drama and storylines it creates…that makes the FIFA experience deeper and more rewarding than any other in the world of video games. Football Club will connect fans to the real-world events and emotion of the sport through challenges and storylines injected into the game, ripped from the headlines of the Sports sections of newspapers around the world. We’ll have a dedicated team who will follow the highs and lows of the football season, and make FIFA 12 feel fresh and new all season long. For example, if Manchester United beats Manchester City in a big derby match, we could make that into a Football Club Challenge and you’re given the opportunity to take on the challenge to avenge Man City’s defeat. If you succeed in the challenge, you’ll earn extra EXP, grow your status, and help drive your club to the top of the tables.
EA SPORTS Football Club will be a big hit for all the different kinds of players out there. For the hardcore football fan, we’ll be constantly feeding the game with cool and engaging real-world content to drive deeper competition with your friends and deeper connection to your favourite club. For the more casual soccer fan, you will be rewarded with a rich social experience that allows you to track progress and achievements in the game in a cool and fun way, against friends and against the world.
Here are some screen shots of EA SPORTS Football Club that give you a flavor of how it will work and what you can expect later this year. We’ll have much more to say, more to show, and more to look forward to in EA SPORTS Football Club.