The recent news concerning Ted Lasso’s inclusion in FIFA 23 slipped to the back of most people’s minds. Even then, the video game continues its annual rise of meteoric proportions in terms of anticipation.
It is a good thing FIFA players and fans overlook the addition.
Ted Lasso is a great show. Soccer fans worldwide welcomed the tongue-in-cheek look behind the scenes of the fictional club in AFC Richmond. This praise is well deserved. The show has humor, moments of compassion and, of course, the beautiful game we all know and love.
It is relatable in the sense that soccer fans can apply their knowledge of the sport to the show. Yet, at the end of the day, despite playing against Premier League sides, AFC Richmond is a fictional club.
EA Sports claims it wants to move in the other direction. It wants to make its video game as realistic as possible. Therefore, it uses up-to-date statistics, upgrades based on real-life form and a myriad of clubs, leagues, players, coaches, stadiums and more.
That makes the inclusion of Ted Lasso that much more puzzling.
Adding Ted Lasso to FIFA 23
The main argument for Ted Lasso joining FIFA 23 is clear. EA Sports wants to make their game appeal to a broader audience. It can do that that utilizing popular culture. But, the FIFA video game series outsells all others year after year in the sports video game market. It has a devoted fan base that buys the game regardless of the cosmetic changes.
The bigger draw is the game play and game modes.
Added to the sales figures of the physical and digital download is the game mode earning EA Sports over a billion dollars. FIFA Ultimate Team has gamers spend countless hours (or money) trying to get the best players on their digital team. Users want the Lionel Messis, Cristiano Ronaldos and Kylian Mbappés of the world. They do not want Roy Kent and Jamie Tartt with artificially created skills.
Fortunately, these fictional names are not available in Ultimate Team. However, Ted Lasso himself, as well as Coach Beard, are available to unlock in the game mode. It is a worry considering the direction of the game going forward. EA Sports is losing the brand licensing of FIFA on the 30th anniversary of the game. For all we know, we could get entertainers in the game. Much the same way Fortnite did with its biggest gamers. Does that mean KSI or Castro are next up?
Stop, EA. These are entertainers, not soccer players.
Naturally, games must have some semblance of change, especially titles like FIFA. The annual game has so many iterations that are challenging to distinguish from one another. If there are no changes, why would a user be inclined to purchase something new?
Bringing in celebrities, fictional or otherwise, is not the direction EA Sports needs to go. Other soccer games, namely eFootball and Pro Evolution Soccer, were lambasted for a lack of real licenses. Those games had to use fake clubs or fake names. EA Sports losing the FIFA tag could easily lead to a repeat of Roberto Larcos or Facu, names the aforementioned games used because they could not legally include Roberto Carlos or Cafu in the game. It turned the Brazilian legends into parodies in the gaming sphere.
EA Sports should concentrate on the other aspects of the title that its consumers actually want and would certainly appreciate. The Pro clubs mode, which allows gamers to create their own team along with up to 10 of their buddies, is overlooked so much. Yet, it’s a thriving environment upon which eSports leagues are played across the world. But it’s not just gamers in their homes who love the mode because professional clubs such as former Premier League team, Sheffield Wednesday, in England have their own pro clubs teams and play in leagues against other professional clubs, and the list is continuing to grow.
So, if EA doesn’t want to listen to the core gamer, will they take note of the interests of the clubs and organizations they try to create in their title instead?
There’s no doubt that FIFA 23 will yet again be a widespread hit amongst soccer fans and gamers alike, but it won’t be because of Ted Lasso and AFC Richmond, that’s for sure.
PHOTO: IMAGO / NurPhoto
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