Fast forward more than a quarter century and it is fair to say that the FIFA series is an absolute behemoth in terms of gaming, as the series has evolved from bedroom tournament winner to eSports global champion.
This evolution of the FIFA franchise has almost been parallel with the worldwide boom in eSports and what was simply just a pastime in days gone by, can now for the chosen few be a highly viable career choice.
Especially after FIFA’s announcement for their new eSports season and with a prize pot of $4.35m being made available, the prospect of swapping the office for the control pad suddenly seems even more appealing.
Of course, the competitive FIFA landscape is not just the sole preserve of those who put the hours in at home, as these days there are stronger links to both the national and international elements of the modern-day game.
Because although there is the ability to conquer the world and claim personal accolades for yourself, you can also represent your beloved club or nation and with FIFA launching three competitive strands for 2020/21, it seems as if they have all bases now covered.
If one is good enough to be signed up by a club and become their own eSports representative, they can show their wares in the FIFAe Club Series, while if considered the best a nation has to offer and afforded the honour to represent their country, it is the FIFAe Nations Series for them.
While for those who simply want the unbridled glory that comes with being the game’s greatest, they can enter the competition which has been titled: “EA SPORTS FIFA 21 Global Series on the Road to the FIFAe World Cup”
Of that eye-watering prize pot of $4.35m, $500,000 for the FIFAe World Cup and the FIFAe Nations Series and $300,000 for the FIFAe Club Series, with the rest being earmarked for the FIFAe World Cup and all the regional qualifiers that will feed into it.
With the current climate being as it is and the need for social distancing being so prevalent across the globe, it can be argued that this legendary series of electronic football has now taken on even more importance and this has been reflected in the creation of such a substantial prize fund.
At a time when fans are being locked out in all corners of the world, many are trying to find anything that can still connect them to the beautiful game and with FIFA 21 affording supporters the ability to emulate their heroes, this digital landscape is now more important than ever.
To those outsiders, the culture of video games is still viewed with an element of distrust, something that is nothing more than a tool to waste time and although there is a modicum of truth in that, this stance can be construed as rather ignorant.
Games such as FIFA are the future of eSports and the future is now, with the ability to offer such a platform and create the next generation of fans, this should mean that football eventually emerges from the post COVID landscape in a state of rude health.
Written by Dan Tracey