One more day and the new football game from the popular FIFA series will be released. For the first time no longer under that name, but under EA Sports FC. That’s not the only new thing, in this edition gamers can play with women and men in one team. This possibility has caused quite a few reactions online.
What it’s all about is the Ultimate Team mode in the game. Players can put together their own team by purchasing so-called ‘packs’ from which players from the past and present can emerge. Those players can then be used in the gamer’s team. In that mode, male and female football players can now also play in one team. This means Kylian Mbappé can play in the same team as Megan Rapinoe.
Some say it is a result of the woke movement. Others say they are not happy with it because they find it striking that they believe female footballers receive too high ratings in the game.
Paskie Rokus, known among other things as a FIFA YouTuber, originally agreed with the criticism of the game. “You have been able to play with women’s teams in the game for some time. But I thought this was strange. FIFA is actually a men’s game. And I also just thought it was unrealistic.”
And Paskie was clearly not the only one. Many gamers were amazed by the new option in the popular football game.
The game won’t be released until tomorrow, but you can already play it via a detour. Paskie has been playing the game for a week now. “So far I don’t find it that disturbing at all. I now also 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 gamers think differently. “A lot of people think it’s sad that EA is doing this. They think it’s quite woke and think they’re only 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 gamers. “
Unique and special
Martine Spaans knows that too. She is general manager at the Dutch Games Association, the trade association of Dutch gaming companies. According to her, it is unique that FIFA does this. “In general, you see it more often in other games that attention is paid to diversity, for example with different ethnicities and cultures among the main characters. For example in the Horizon games. But this is special for FIFA.”
“The makers respond very much to what is happening in the sports world and in society,” says Spaans. “There is more attention for women’s football on TV and the real top players are increasingly becoming figureheads for the sport. Then this is a logical move.
The reactions are not all negative, Spanish also knows. Although she had seen those negative reactions coming. “Many men have been playing this game for a very long time. When changes occur, it always takes some getting used to. But it’s not as if EA wants to drastically change the game now, they’re just adding something.”
In addition, Spaans also finds the criticism that it is unrealistic to play with men and women in a team a bit skewed. “In this mode you have been able to play for a long time with football players who have long since retired or even died. And that in a team with players who are still playing, well… I see it mainly as a nice addition.”
Game journalist Jan Meijroos also does not understand the fuss. “If you don’t want to play with a female player in the game, then you don’t. 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 are not just making games for white heterosexual men.”
“In The Sims, for example, you can create a transgender character. But in many games you hardly see anyone in a wheelchair, for example. While that would be good for representation and recognisability. It is actually strange if they are not there .And if you don’t want to play with it, then you don’t.