There was some, let’s say consternation, earlier this year when Electronic Arts announced that FIFA 16 would include women’s national teams from England, Germany, the US, France, Sweden, Brazil, Canada, Australia, Spain, China, Italy and Mexico. It was also the first game in the history of the franchise to feature a woman on the cover, which had Alex Morgan of the US Women’s National Team sharing equal space with Messi. Despite the predictable grousing from certain quarters, according to a report by ThePostGame the addition of women to one of the most popular games in the world has actually worked out pretty well.
“If you take the US Women as a singular team and you look at the 600 teams you can play with on a global basis, not just in the US, the US Women, they’re actually the 23rd-most played team around the world in FIFA 16, which is a stunning statistic,” EA Sports COO Peter Moore revealed at BlazerCon. A “better stat” is that Morgan, the cover athlete, has already scored more than one million in-game goals, even though FIFA 16 has only been out for two months.
Some of that success may arise from the fact that the popularity of soccer has taken off in recent years. Moore said the FIFA player base has doubled from 2013 to 2015, and that more people in the US play Real Madrid-Barcelona than in Spain. And he claims some credit for it, too, adding, “We believe we’ve been instrumental, the invisible hand in driving this love of the game.”
It’s clear that the addition of women players to the series has paid off, and there’s no doubt that they’ll be back for FIFA 17. But there may be a few changes made between now and then: Midfielder Heather O’Reilly, who was also at BlazerCon, said she’s not happy with her overall player rating of 81. “I was disappointed in my speed, to be honest. I’m a lot faster than that.”