FIFA cards as world narrative manipulation

In a world where 31 million copies of the yearly football simulator get bought and official club YouTube channels have their players react to what rating they get to a persistent extent (Man City’s featured channel video thumbnail as of this article publish date for example is Kyle Walker clickbaitingly screaming toward his photoshopped onscreen card) it is clear the EA SPORTS FIFA video game brand is culturally acknowledged and significant even in context of the most popular around sport. Though you can live sufficiently not knowing or caring football and being proud when you can name Raheem you miss out thinking and feeling less assumptively toward your football loving and dependant friends and with the FIFA influence warping football perception so much its learning is significant in letting you understand more their affected worldviews and so forming deeper relationships to them.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          

I must disclaim this affectedness isn’t an EA SPORTS created phenomena but more the current manifestation of how football is expressed and it even shares this with things like TalkSport or AFTV or Michael Owen’s Twitter or what Murray down t’pub said which all deserve serious analysis in themselves. The intention is to show how through the vast angles of information attack prevalent in this practically decentralised internet age FIFA still gets the attention. To understand how temporarily universal cultural viewpoints form it is necessary to understand everything but FIFA is a pretty good start and maybe you can benefit from this madness.

FIFA’s significance and uniqueness relative to previous iterations of the football zeitgeist well is its sheer amount of catagorisable ‘descriptive’ data which summarises a player’s essence through easily referenced/understood numbers. Unlike statistics which emphasise an individual aspect of a player/team and push that as determining their value in the argument FIFA acts in opposite expressing a player through numbers representing attributes like passing or agility then claiming that their entire essence with nothing else to say. The novelness of this is through being the first culturally major football determiner influence that claims unchanging objectivity in itself unlike statistics that manually change themselves as the football continues. This isn’t to say people don’t care stats which are of course still very relevant and fixated on to mock some team but that the FIFA given ‘objectivity’ is not counterable with actually talking about something football and because of its cultural prevalence essentially inherent to that player until the next card comes out. 

I’m not making the argument FIFA presents a universally agreed perception of footballers but that its influence produces a subconscious practically culturally official player value framework that to at least some extent forms a listed quality scale. This isn’t the same as saying in a literal sense everybody thinks Harry Kane (90) is a better player than Romelu Lukaku (88) as the function of FIFA cards is to create attention for itself partly through letting people vent how dumb EA is for giving Jadon Sancho (87) less than Raheem (88) even if they are wrong and there is its impact because complaining how bad someone’s opinion is in the context of FIFA means you’re perpetuating its existence and relevance even if you don’t want to talk about it in FIFA terms.

With the most effective make money aspect of FIFA through FIFA Ultimate Team being directly and predominantly linked to player stats giving creation to distinct and rare and better cards for your squad, combined with what this profit represents meaning it is highly corporately desirable for the mode to stay strong, it is therefore desirable for them that a culture forms which gives importance to someone having a good squad which resultedly significances the quality of the components (the players) in order to normalise the mode’s cultural significance. FIFA stats have such prevalence and at worst vague knownness for anyone who uses football as an identity under 30 that irrelevant to your opinion they form a basis for players to be judged and this here is my argument.    



When the main football perception affecter is so set and directly listing players above others ‘numerically’ you form a far more intricate basis of what is in comparing footballers relative to the past. This isn’t saying people before never used some worthless in itself argument or manipulative stat then claimed they cannot be wrong as this is the basis of all football discussion but FIFA has a universally recognised ‘objectiveness’ subconsciously guiding someone’s thoughts within their football argument that means disagreeing with someone’s rating is still disagreeing with an established inherent default of their value irregardless of how fair that rating is.

Whereas previously you could say uncertainty or unknowingness toward a player there is now the FIFA card that tells you how good they are and this affects even the non literally quoting a FIFA card people just as much. Your evidence for this is a football conversation with near anyone in the affected age group which I can confirm from personal experience and also cite myself as unintentionally using in doubt. But now people have answers for their football opinions and caring truthfulness in footballer perception is easier individually in the increased amount of data and more difficult collectively in people being convinced they know what is. Joel Matip is in my opinion a top 3 Premier League CB but because on FIFA he has 83 you can’t say that without being ignored by near everyone through the inability to know/care everything football combined with their unconscious cultural certainty.

Nobody knows about football I went away from it for about 3 years returning to the likes of Mason Mount and Casemiro thinking how much I missed then realised my knowledge before was things like Bastian Schweinsteiger is a big tough man with 86 on FIFA 13. To many Kane is just Super Emile Heskey (TW) because that is all a stats based game like FIFA allows him to be expressed as like some Morrowind character. Here is the answer read the FIFA stats then read people now knowing what guides them and maybe you’ll find something cool from their affectedness response.

My worldview is in the context of FIFA stats and I am dependant and aware and wanting disassociation help. Your essence is not how you define it but in what is and when FIFA is that for so many people then it should be acknowledged. So if you want to know what somebody is know the FIFA and you’ve got your authentic way to a boy’s heart. Because I tell you if you don’t know Bacary Sagna is an 83 on FIFA 12 it’s just not going to work.


Feature image: Mohd Fazlin Mohd Effendy on Flickr with license, image cropped. Image 1: deddy cule on Flickr with license. Image 2: steamXO on Flickr with license.

One thought on this article.

  1. Ryan M says:

    Very interesting analysis! On reflection, my opinions on certain football players in the past would have been influenced by how I found them to play on FIFA lol, and then look out for their real life gameplay when I could. Fifa games arguably impacted footballers fame aswell- for example Akinfenwa being know to have the highest strength at one point. KSI’s famous use of Emeneke in Fifa 13, and how certain players were overpowered in the game compared tor real life would have also impacted opinions.

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