Fifa, EA Sports detail new esports initiative

Fifa, football’s global governing body, has joined forces with EA Sports to launch a new esports competition based on the video game developer’s ‘Fifa 18’ title.

Due to begin on November 3, the EA Sports Fifa 18 Global Series will serve as the official qualification tournament for the showpiece Fifa eWorld Cup Grand Final 18, which will take place next August.

Competitors can qualify based on their online performance in the Fifa Ultimate Team (FUT) section of the game. Players can take part in the FUT Champions Weekend League and a number of blockbuster live qualifying events between November 2017 until July 2018.

Fifa and EA Sports will then identify the top 128 players in this period – 64 from the PlayStation 4 platform and 64 from Xbox One – and these will progress to the Global Series Playoffs. Competitors that succeed here will go on to feature at the Fifa eWorld Cup Grand Final 18.

Competitive formats in Fifa 18 include the Fifa Ultimate Team Champions Cups mass-entry tournaments where the top competitors will qualify for two major live tournaments in January and April of next year. Players can also compete in the Fifa eClub World Cup, Official League Qualifying Competitions and Licensed Qualifying Competitions.

Philippe Le Floc’h, chief commercial officer at Fifa, said: “We are thrilled to partner with EA in creating the EA Sports Fifa 18 Global Series, as the Road to the Fifa eWorld Cup 2018 will increase the ways in which millions of fans consume football.

“In line with the Fifa 2.0 vision, we are excited to expand Fifa’s engagement in (esports) and competitive gaming. This new tournament will engage even more football fans throughout the world and inspire dreams, passion and performance.”

Todd Sitrin, senior vice-president and general manager of the competitive gaming division at Electronic Arts, the parent company of EA Sports, added: “Together with Fifa, we are accelerating the growth of competitive gaming through the EA Sports Fifa 18 Global Series and the Road to the Fifa eWorld Cup, producing more competition, attracting more players and connecting with more fans than ever before.”