Last year, FIFA managed to truly crack the American gaming market, finishing the 11th in the bestselling games in the US for 2017. It even outperformed baseball, boxing, and MMA video games, though it failed to outsell NBA 2K18 and Madden NFL 18. The latter, of course, is quite a big deal, with NFL players constantly curious about their personal ratings, as we reported in the case of New York Giants defensive tackle Damon Harrison.
The fact that NBA 2K18 and Madden NFL 18 sold well in the US is not exactly surprising, given both sports immense popularity in American. The strong performance of FIFA, however, is a different matter as the US is not exactly a soccer country. So, the question is, how in the world has FIFA made headway in the hyper-competitive American gaming market?
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Three reasons, actually:
Soccer is Getting Some Love
Soccer is becoming more and more popular among Americans and is fast closing in on baseball which was once upon a time America’s favorite sport. In the 18–34 age demographic, soccer is already more popular than baseball.
That figure is likely to rise even more in the coming years, with Major League Soccer (MLS) increasing in quality every year, bringing elite-level soccer to fans all across the US. The US will also co-host the 2026 World Cup with Canada and Mexico, which is predicted to raise the profile of soccer even more in the country.
The Rise of eSports
Image credit: Polygon
One big reason why soccer is slowly becoming more popular in the US is that it is drawing more young fans, largely through the MLS and its eSports affiliate, eMLS. Polygon notes in its feature on eMLS, the soccer league’s fans are “twice as likely to be gamers as the average sports fan in North America.” Some two-thirds of MLS fans even admitted that it was EA’s acclaimed FIFA series that got them hooked on the beautiful game in the first place.
A Great Game
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Gamers appreciate a great game, and FIFA is exactly that. Quite simply, it is to soccer what NBA 2K18 and Madden NFL 18 are to basketball and football. Bleacher Report revealed how FIFA is now the definitive market leader in the soccer video game industry. The gaming industry has benefited greatly from the pioneering ways of this series, to the point that other game developers are now able to tap into soccer’s huge global market.Foxy Games have a roster of titles based on popular sports including Top Strike Championship and Football Star.
These soccer-themed games stand on the shoulders of FIFA, which has proven time and again that fans of the beautiful game are more than willing to support anything that will connect them with their favorite sport. The FIFA franchise has been the best at doing that due to its official sponsorship deals with global leagues and teams, and it will likely make more headway in the American gaming market as a result.