It’s one of the most popular video franchises in the world, ever. It has been translated into 18 languages, is available in 51 countries across the globe and, as a series, has sold more than 100 million copies worldwide.
FIFA 12 also holds the record for being the “fastest selling sports game ever”, making more than $186 million in just its first week of release.
But its successor FIFA 13, while only released at the end of September, has already come in for some serious criticism.
First launched in 1993, with FIFA ’94, the EA Sports series currently has Argentine superstar Lionel Messi as the face of the franchise. But even the footballing legend hasn’t been able to stop Electronic Arts from being plagued by complaints.
Users, who had been desperate to get their hands on the new version of the game, have immediately taken to internet technology forums in their thousands to complain about glitches.
Even the BBC’s Watchdog programme, which prides itself on “topical reports and investigations into the big names and smaller rogues letting viewers down,” featured a segment on the problems which have beset FIFA 13.
EA Sports boasts on its site that “FIFA 13 captures all the drama and unpredictability of real-world football,” but it seems EA has been caught up in its own unwanted real-life drama.
The game makers say they have made a raft of improvements to the series, including better touch control, creating more opportunities for defenders to win back possession; more sophisticated intelligence which gives players more chances to capitalise on openings; and more creativity in attack with a new Complete Dribbling feature.
Technology magazine Games Magazine has described FIFA 13 as “simply the best football on console that there’s ever been”. And user reviews on EA’s own website include one which says “best FIFA ever,” and another proclaiming “1 word ‘amazing’”.
But, not everyone agrees. Fans have gone online to talk about numerous issues, including problems with connection stability, difficulties with teams and disconnections while trying to buy FIFA points.
One user accused EA of rushing out the £40 game. “It this game rushed for the release and that you people from EA don’t care if there are still many bugs in it because we buy it anyway?” they asked.
And another added: “I’ve logged the amount of crashes since the day I started – it’s now over 30 times.”
Experts say many of the problems have been caused simply because the game is so popular. Tom Wiggins from Stuff magazine explained: “They have sold so many copies that the sheer number of people trying to play, and most at the same time, is putting a big strain on their servers. When you are spending over £40 on a game you expect it to work and, for FIFA, the online side of the game is massive.”
But EA has yet to acknowledge any real problems with the game, with a spokesman describing players’ responses so far as incredibly enthusiastic, adding: “We’re constantly listening to our fans and taking their valuable feedback on the game. We continue to improve the game and address issues so all players have a good experience with FIFA 13.”