When you think of popular sporting video games then FIFA and Football Manager probably spring to mind. These games are great to play with your friends, but have you ever thought of how these games have influenced football on the pitch?
Launched in 1993, the FIFA franchise is one of the biggest sporting video games in the world and has sold over 150 million copies to date. It’s not just wannabe footballers sat in their bedrooms who play the game though. Many world class players have spoken out about how crucial FIFA is for them on the pitch.
Zlatan Ibrahimović, the famed Swedish striker who currently plays for Manchester United has spoken out about how FIFA has helped him on the pitch. “I would often spot situations from the game which I could then parlay into real life” said Zlatan. By playing the game he was able to learn certain strategies and scenarios that he could incorporate into his performance on the pitch.
However, he isn’t the only professional player who’s known for playing FIFA in their spare time.
Take Victor Vazquez, Lionel Messi’s former teammate from the Barcelona youth team who played with Messi for years whilst growing up. He can remember the time Messi “played for 3 hours without a break” during a marathon tournament with the team. When you’re an international superstar there’s nothing better than playing as yourself on FIFA right?
Like many young footballers nowadays, most grew up playing video games. If you’re a big fan of football, then it’s only natural you’ll find yourself playing FIFA at some point. But some players prefer managing teams than playing on the pitch.
FIFA isn’t the only game that professional players play. Before he became the world’s most expensive football player, Paul Pogba was often seen playing Football Manager during the 2014 World Cup. He was managing Chelsea and had just signed himself. Football Manager focuses on the managing aspect of the team as opposed to an individual player on the pitch. It involves signing players and deciding the line-up before a match.
FIFA and Football Manager aren’t the only video games that are changing the world of sports as we know it. League of Legends is a popular online video game with millions of daily players that compete against each other to become the best. Unlike football and FIFA, it might not be a digital version of a physical game, but that doesn’t stop millions of viewers watching the tournaments.