Friday, June 9, 2023

All you need to know about the FIFAe World Cup 2023

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Bernard Ford
A Leicester City fan. Wants respect from the 'London based' media for clubs outside the bubble.

Established in 2004, the FIFAe World Cup has continued to grow in popularity as the pinnacle of the FIFA Esports season. It originated as the FIFA Interactive World Cup (FIWC) and the FIFA eWorld Cup, before rebranding to its current guise. This year’s event will have a somewhat nostalgic feel, as it will be the last one that FIFA hosts in partnership with EA Sports.

Last summer, EA Sports announced it will cease its development of FIFA-branded football games from 2023. Instead, it will focus on launching its own series, EA Sports FC, which is scheduled to drop sometime in September or October 2023.

It took some time for the FIFAe World Cup to gain traction, but by the time of the 2013 event, it had attracted a staggering 2.5 million players who signed up in an attempt to qualify for the finals. The open qualifying format was recognised by the Guinness World Records as being the biggest online Esports game in history. Today, these events still attract similar numbers of gamers bidding to get their big break in Esports.

There’s no doubt that these events attract vast swathes of Gen Z viewers, most of whom are receptive to the concept of competitive video gaming as a non-traditional sport. Non-traditional sports are those that don’t typically involve high levels of physical exertion and may instead require elite levels of mental skill and durability. The game of poker is often referred to as a non-traditional sport as it meets the criteria of an activity requiring physical or mental skill to succeed. Gen Zers have embraced online poker in that regard, due to accessibility around playing as well as watching footage on social platforms like Twitch. It doesn’t matter whether poker players opt for cash games or tournaments, the game of poker requires players to focus for several hours on end and find ways of outsmarting and outmanoeuvring their opponents. It’s said that the most popular demographic of online poker players is now aged 18-34. With a majority of Gen Z males surveyed saying non-traditional sports like poker are “relevant to their generation”, this explains why games taking place in a digital arena are increasingly ruling the roost.

How does the FIFAe World Cup format work?

It all starts with a monstrous selection of dates for regional qualifiers. These are scheduled across various continents, giving every single player that wants to get involved the chance to qualify. The players start off by competing through the FUT Champions format within FIFA 23. This is the elite level of the FIFA Ultimate Team online multiplayer game mode.

FUT Champions comprises two stages – the Champions Play-Offs followed by the Champions Finals. The latter used to be known as the Weekend League, but has since been rebranded. To reach the Champions Play-Offs, players must have secured a minimum of 1,500 Champions Qualification Points (CQP) via the Division Rivals mode within FIFA Ultimate Team.

Within the Champions Play-Offs, you’ll have a schedule of ten games to play, during which you must accrue a minimum of 20 points to reach the Champions Finals. With victories worth four points and defeats worth one point, four wins in ten games should be enough to secure a passage into the Champions Finals.

From there, the real fun begins. In the Champions Finals, players will be given 20 matches to accrue as many points as possible, with wins and losses racking up the same points tallies as in the Champions Play-Offs. Those at the top of the leader board at this stage can advance to the formal regional qualifiers.

From there on in, it’s a battle to reach the final Playoffs stage, involving all the best qualifiers from around the world to clinch one of the coveted 24 places in the FIFAe World Cup.

What happened at the FIFAe World Cup 2022?

EA Sports logo with lighting
Photo by Josh Berendes on Unsplash

Last year’s competition was staged at the Bella Arena in Copenhagen, Denmark. The two-week competition was held between 14th-30th July 2022, bringing together the best FIFA players from all over the world, competing for a prize purse of approximately $500,000.

After the opening group stage, there was one stand-out candidate to win last year’s title. Umut lead the way comfortably at the top of Group C, with ten wins from his 14 group games, putting him eight points clear of second-placed Nicolas99FC. Only Group D winner Bachoore managed to hit the same points total as Umut.

Ironically, Bachoore was eventually dumped out of the knockout stages by Group C runner-up Nicolas99FC. Both he and Umut would make it all the way to the final and face-off in a super-tight FIFAe World Cup 2022 final encounter. Umut’s squad included both Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi, who have always tried to outdo each other in real-life football. After a goalless draw in the opening game, Germany-based Umut Gültekin clinched a narrow 1-0 victory in the deciding game to take the crown and the $250,000 first prize.

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