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With every new year inevitably comes a new installment in the dependably monolithic FIFA game franchise. It’s become an annual routine for your average sports game fan, dutifully marching out to the shops and picking up the latest iteration regardless of how much has actually changed from last year’s version.
Every now and then though it is perceived that not enough has changed. The complaints of staleness start to mount up and people begin to feel a little shortchanged. Many ask themselves and the company developers/publishers that all-important question: Have EA added anything substantial enough this year to justify my purchase?
Well in this year’s upcoming FIFA 16 they most certainly appear to have. With the Women’s World Cup kicking off on the 6th of June, EA have added Women’s National Teams for the first time in the series’ history. This is a timely and important addition that EA have made, not just because of it’s proximity to the WWC, but also because of the current state of the game’s industry.
Video games are a relatively young medium. They and the culture that surrounds them are still developing, and at a rate much faster than other comparable older forms of entertainment. This can lead to a lot of growing pains and exasperated behavior. Chances are even if you don’t regularly play video games you’ve still heard talk of the ‘Gamergate’ debacle, a storm of hatred against women (among others) that masqueraded itself as a campaign on journalistic ethics while holding none of it’s own. It was (and continues to be) a truly embarrassing moment for all involved.
In making this announcement EA have laid down a serious marker on issues such as these. Think about it; this was the first piece of news they’ve released on FIFA 16, the opening information salvo for their largest franchise. It is both a recognition and celebration of the women’s game as well as a condemnation of those among their audience that spout idiotic sexist bile on forums across the internet.
It’s safe to say that the industry has a lot of work to do before all of the objectionable elements are weeded out. You need only look at some of the awful comments below the line on that video to see how far there is to go. And, of course, a dozen women’s national teams is a great addition but it can only be seen as the beginning of a much wider acknowledgement of women’s football. The first steps on the road to it being rightfully recognized as just as meaningful as the men’s game.