With the recent Olympics still fresh in our minds and the success of female teams and individual Olympians, women’s sport has come to the forefront of discussion. Women’s football is seen as the ambassador, so it seems odd that the official FIFA video game doesn’t feature a single female player.
Tatjana Haenni, FIFA’s Head of Women’s competitions, writes “Women’s football is probably the most popular women’s team sport on the planet, but there is still work to be done in many areas so that the game can continue its exponential growth.”. Since EA’s FIFA is one of the most successful sports video games of all time and is arguably the flag bearer for Football across the video-gaming world, it would be a major step in introducing women’s football to this audience.
Fernanda Schabarum is leading the charge to change this, taking a petition to EA in order to include female players in their roster. With the September 28th release date looming ever closer, now is the time to raise awareness of this issue and try to make the changes needed to provide support for this growing area of football.
To put this into perspective, it has been known for several years that the proportion of female gamers to male gamers is getting closer to parity, the ESRB’s latest estimate is that 47% of all gamers are female.
Now take into consideration that Women and Girls’ Football has been generating huge interest, not just because of the US Women’s National Team’s incredible success at the 2012 Olympics, but because of the role models that have now appeared to inspire female footballers worldwide.
Even Sepp Blatter, who has come out with a lot of crazy quotes during his tenure as President of FIFA, was prompted to once say: “The future of football is female”. At least he got that one right.
Here in the UK we have our own Kelly Smith and Rachel Yankey, the US have arguably one of the most famous female footballers of all time, Mia Hamm, who scored 158 international goals during her 275 international appearances, a record unequalled by any other player in the world, male or female.
In a recent interview FIFA Producer David Rutter recently stated: “”We get literally thousands upon thousands of suggestions from our fans for new features and we have to evaluate those suggestions, such as the inclusion of female players in the game, against our resources, priorities and overall fan feedback. At present, we don’t have plans to include female players in the game.”
The key phrase here is Fan Feedback. If the petition is signed by enough supporters, EA will need to listen. Resources are driven by potential sales and growth and if EA further tap into the female gaming market, as companies like Nintendo have already successfully managed to do, then they can be assured of this.
With far reaching influence, EA can only help to provide further support to women’s football and aid its financial growth, as well as encouraging more girls to go out on to the pitch and play. Video games in general have already taken huge steps to appeal to a growing female audience, it’s time that EA did the same.
This is where you can help. Take a few seconds to head over to the petition and sign it. It will make a world of difference.