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Has Football Gaming Become a Monopoly?

Rewind twenty or so years, to the adolescence of video gaming. A very awkward stage in gaming’s life, where it started finding itself; growing wires in strange places, having tingling sensations in the controllers when touched and amassing feelings for games in strange niches. The metaphoric puberty of video games is laughable, however this time period for the gaming world, was a very serious landmark regarding the development of video games into the driving force it is today. The 90s saw a leap in the quality of video games, introducing us to first person shooters and more importantly, our first real taste of a quality football game. Also, for this piece, the football manager games will not be considered, as they have managed to create their own sub genre of football game.

Time to get nostalgic. Who remembers blowing the dusty cartridge of a Pro Evolution Soccer, before slamming it into their Nintendo 64, with the hope that it would actually work. Hopefully, some of you do, if not do not worry, those days are long gone. It was at this point, where Pro Evo could say with pride that they were the best football game on the market, with only small rivals such as International Superstar Soccer and Actua Soccer. This isn’t to say that FIFA was not around, they were, however they had failed to make a mark in the sporting game community. Twenty years later, how the tables have turned, FIFA has become synonymous with football gaming and football gaming synonymous with FIFA.

Long gone are the days where there has been heated competition between FIFA and Pro Evo, the early 2000’s is the last we saw anything of the sort. The reign of FIFA has also intimidated any potential competitors from stepping up, of course we have the somewhat childish Kinect and Wii sports games, which do offer a football style option, but this will never appeal to the hardcore football gamer. Also with the release of the next gen consoles and motion control being heavily implemented into each one of them, it is likely we are going to see an adaptive game mode from FIFA similar to that which can be seen on Kinect.

If the sales and soaring reviews of the public are anything to go on, it is clear we do have a monopoly in football gaming. The lacklustre games that are being developed by the Pro Evolution Soccer team have no longevity, essentially, the two franchises have the same mechanics, with the same players, on the same pitches. However it’s the overall sleek finish and additional game modes by EA which keeps the gamers coming back. Pro Evo will always have their diehard fans, but it will never be enough, unless drastic improvements are made by Konami or a new revolutionary soccer game is released, FIFA will remain champion for many years to come.

Jamal Asskoumi – Blogger, Journalist and Video Game Addict

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