Seats at Wembley
Seats at Wembley

The worlds of real football and video game football have become closely linked over recent years. Once the preserve of bedroom fanatics, football video games are now enjoyed by millions of people worldwide. In a twist of fate, this had led to what happens in the video game version influencing what happens in the real game. The way in which players perform in the video game often leads to people forming opinions of the worth of the player or their character in real life.

The rise of FIFA
As the regulatory body of world football, FIFA have always been big, but we’re going to look at FIFA the football video game. Perhaps the most lucrative title in video game football, the FIFA football series is so well-known that even non-gamers and those who are not football fans play it or have heard of it. This popularity, especially among real footballers who love it, means that more people than ever can check out and form an opinion on players they have never seen perform in real life.

However, this has not always worked out well, as the games developers found out from Chelsea’s Eden Hazard. Irked about being represented with a height he felt was too short in the game, he complained to the games makers, as this report from The Guardian mentions. It seems the Chelsea man demands realism from the game, as do most of its fans. This mix of reality and huge sales explains how the video game version of a sport can rub off in real life.

Growth of the industry
Worth £4.3 billion in the UK alone, the video game market is big business and has grown a lot over the years. The FIFA series is a classic example of this, with moderate fanfare on its release and a parent company in Electronic Arts who were not confident about its prospects.

It’s not all about FIFA; games like Pro Evolution Soccer and International Superstar Soccer all played their part in helping football video games cross into the mainstream public consciousness. Now firmly established, they show no signs of slowing down, with regular updates of the popular titles coming out each year with updated players and teams.

It should also be recognised that real-life football players have played a role in this growth. Their endorsement, whether it is official or unofficial, has brought the games to fans’ attention and made them fashionable to play.

Cross over into the world of online gaming
It’s not just real-life football that the video game versions have affected. Popular casino sites have begun to take their lead from them, too. With many football themes on the slots they offer now, it’s not just the casino bonuses that attract people. People who wouldn’t have normally used casino sites feel more drawn in if they see their own club crest, like Chelsea’s, on a game.

Once distinct from one another due to the lack of realism in video games, the worlds of real-life and simulated football are now closer than ever. This can only be a good thing for football as a whole because it will attract more fans and help it connect with the ones it already has.

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