Goldenballs To Go: Browser FIFA Too

EA are bloody up to something. Something that might just involve seizing back a prime cut of PC gaming rump. Browser Tiger Woods, browser Ultima fan-baiting and, soon browser FIFA. The next time you hear someone say that the major publishers don’t care about PC gaming anymore, tell ’em about this sinister-but-exciting plan.

FIFA Online yet will mix sport and quasi-RPG elements, will only require an average-spec PC and goes into open beta in Europe this June. It uses the FIFA 10 engine, so may be lavish-looking than the Unity-powered Tiger Woods game.

From the sound of things, it’s going to be a similar model to EA’s own Battlefield heroes – free but funded by micropayment add-ons (which is definitely somewhere they could clean up, in terms of kit, players, teams and sponsorship gumpf) and is apparently aimed at a more casual crowd than the license’s traditional audience. There’ll even be mouse-only controls, suggesting something pretty darn simple. Which might mean I’ll actually be capable of playing a football game for the first time since Sensi! Let the records note this is probably the only time I’ve ever been excited about football.

While there’s the potential for milking an ungodly amount of cash out of beFacebooked fans of foot-to-ball who generally claim to have only the most minimal interest in videogames, it’s taking a big risk with one of EA’s biggest names – especially as it’ll doubtless be competing with their own World Cup game around that time.

Unless that’s going to be saved for console only, and the browser game is the only future of FIFA PC… They’ve certainly alluded to something like that in the past.

Judging by its executive producer Kaz Makita’s press release comments, this is certainly aimed to be an alternative to the console FIFAs, a different sort of game rather than a replication of them. “There are a large number of soccer fans who do not want a console gaming experience due to time and other priorities in their personal lives but they still want to be able to play a top-quality soccer videogame. FIFA Online will be designed specifically for them.” `There are also a large number of European soccer fans who hated being called ‘soccer’ fans- given FIFA Online is, apparently, as much as two years off for America, that’s a bit of a whoopsie.

The closed beta kicks off – hahah like kicking off in a football match hahah – later this week, and you can apply for it here.

18 Comments

  1. Ian says:

    Hopefully by mouse-only controls they mean they’re stealing the ideas Konami introduced for PES on the Wii. The controls for that feel weird but offer much better control of the team as a whole, I felt.

    Will follow this to see what they do with it.

    • Riesenmaulhai says:

      Fifa hat mouse-supported controls too in it’s recent incarnations. Although it was easier to make wonderful plays I still felt more connected with only a gamepad in my hands.

  2. PlayNoEvil says:

    FIFA Online has been running in Asia (Korea at least) for several years. Back in 2006, it had a peak of 100,000 concurrent users. The game was developed by Neowiz (which EA owns a piece of, I believe).

    It will be curious how the game will perform as Korea has much better bandwidth and denser population than the US or Europe.

  3. Brumisator says:

    Wasn’t the latest tiger woods already made using the Unity framework? It shouldn’t have been to hard to convert it.

    this is great news, to see EA not rest on their laurels and get with the times…from time to time.

  4. Lord Bigglesworth says:

    Hooray, browser games!!

    Praise the Lord, the major publishers still “care” about PC gaming. Screw the long-established, traditional players, lets make shitty games for toddlers and old people.

    Browser “games” aren’t proper games.

    • bookwormat says:

      Browser “games” aren’t proper games.

      bullshit. A game is good because of design and execution, and not because of the platform it runs on.

      X-COM is X-COM. If it runs on DOS or Windows or Flash or Web is nothing but an implementation detail.

    • Vinraith says:

      @bookwormat

      I agree in principle, but in practice things tend to come down on Bigglesworth’s side of things. I’ve never found a browser game that warranted more than 5 minutes of play time. It may be because, absent the possibility of a long term commitment to the game, I find it hard to get invested. It may just be that the kinds of games I like don’t function well in the context of a browser game. It may be that the limitations of a browser game fundamentally results in something I’m not interested in. I don’t know, I just know that, in my deeply subjective opinion, browser games do indeed suck (thus far in my experience, anyway).

    • bookwormat says:

      @Vinraith

      I think the only reason you have this view on web (and flash) games is because its such a jung system. The web is just now about to become the platform it was designed for in 1989, and developers (in small and large) are just now beginning to use the web to make games. And of course the first target audience is the gaming mainstream, which we are not part of.

      I already have found various games that I can play much longer than 5 minutes, and I’m sure if Paradox eventually starts making grand strategy games on HTML5, you will find your long term commitment to web games. ;)

      Technically, you can make Armageddon Empires or X-COM or Super Mario as Web applications for years, and we will be able to make Stalkers and Company of Heroes in the near future.. But it will take some time until all the big names are on board. Expect lots of news in this direction from now on

      And they will make an new X-COM for the web at some point.

    • Vinraith says:

      @bookwormat

      Hence my “thus far” parenthetical. I hope you’re right.

    • Mil says:

      Isn’t Solium Infernum done in Adobe Director? If so, it should be pretty easy to make it run in a browser. Although in practice it really wouldn’t be much different from running it standalone, it might feel more appropriate for playing it at lunch than installing your own game in a work computer. Not that I see Vic Davis implementing this sort of thing to be honest.

      Also, the foot-to-ball jokes in the article were regrettably subdued. I didn’t even notice them at first.

    • bookwormat says:

      Isn’t Solium Infernum done in Adobe Director? If so, it should be pretty easy to make it run in a browser.

      It might be easy to port the game to a flash application, but what i meant was that you can make a game like this on the web just as well as you can make it on Flash or NET or win32 or whatever. Flash might run in a browser, but it is not part of the web.

      In the case of Vic Davis, all ports will probably end up with a lot better User Interface, since Vic is a great game designer, but an aweful engineer. ;)

  5. Po0py says:

    Signed up for this the instant it was announced the other day. I kinda knew this was coming. Unfortunately I still think it’s gonna be a totally gimped footy experience when compared to the likes of the recent console Fifa’s. Ea would never risk the value of it’s console Fifa franchise with an any way decent free pc version.

    “There are a large number of soccer fans who do not want a console gaming experience…”

    But there is also a large number of soccer fans who do want a console experience on the pc. Game Journo’s don’t ever pick up on the fact that pc users have had to put up with absolute tripe pc soccer games for well over a decade now. This is my pet hate. Some of you journo’s are, dare I say it, cowards when it comes to covering topics like this.

  6. Skusey says:

    So the engine that could previously only be run on consoles now works in browsers? Clever tech people.

  7. jsutcliffe says:

    Anonymous Coward said:
    Hooray, browser games!!

    Praise the Lord, the major publishers still “care” about PC gaming. Screw the long-established, traditional players, lets make shitty games for toddlers and old people.

    Browser “games” aren’t proper games.

    Quake Live is proper, as is Captain Forever. I choose those two as they represent two ends of the browser-gaming spectrum — a Flash game and a full-3D multiplayer FPS.

    Also, are there any long-established FIFA players on the PC? Thought not.

  8. terry says:

    Haha, perhaps they’re going to tie all their games to a super duper EA website so to play you just point your browser and pay! No download hassle! No CD checks!

    The only downside would be you’ll have to be online to play! Hahaha….ha…ha.

    >>>:(

  9. Leelad says:

    Said it on the Tiger Woods story but Nadeo NEED to put Trackmania in a browser.

    Graphically simmilar to the online version of Tiger Woods at full whack and controllable with the arrow keys. Perfect!!

  10. KillahMate says:

    There is a right, a somewhat-right, and a a wrong way to do this.

    The right way is to code it in JavaScript and use WebGL for the graphics. This way is currently attending a tea party in fairyland together with Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, and the Web Video Codec Standard.

    The somewhat-right way is doing it in an established, cross-platform plugin framework, like Unity – or maybe even Flash, what with all the features in 10.0.

    The wrong way is the way Quake Live does it, with a separate specialized, platform-limited plugin that essentially has to be installed on your system like a real application (which it is), defeating the entire purpose of doing it in the browser.

    Wonder which way they pick?

  11. Bonedwarf says:

    I’m on the Winning Eleven/Pro Evo side of footie gaming, but let me just say…

    SENSI! First thing I did on my Xbox when I found out SWOS was on there was lay down some Microsoft Happy Fun Points for it. And it is awesome. And I still suck badly at it.

    I have Winning Eleven for my Xbox, and have barely played it.

    This browser Fifa could be interesting.

    I do agree that browser based gaming is largely pants though. I mean sorry, Quake Live? HURRAY! Let me play a ten year old video game in my browser! (And UT was always better anyway.)