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Mixed reception for FIFA 16's female national teams

FIFA 16.jpg

FIFA, like Call of Duty, isn’t exactly expected to innovate: Better graphics, some minor addition or innovation, and EA can be guaranteed large sales annually. Yet, like the next Call of Duty, the next FIFA game allows players to play as female characters - this time twelve women’s national teams.

As FIFA state:

“FIFA and official licensee Electronic Arts announced today that … FIFA 16 will feature 12 Women’s national football teams for the first time in the game’s history when it launches later this year.   The game which is due for North American release from 22 September 2015 onwards, will feature the women’s national squads of Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, England, France, Germany, Italy, Mexico, Spain, Sweden, and the United States of America. The women’s teams will represent their respective federations in several FIFA 16 game modes including Kick Off, an offline tournament, as well as Online* Friendly Matches.”

Many were excited by this. I heard firsthand, for example, parents express joy at giving their daughters a football game. Indeed, gamers who had previously ignored the franchise suddenly have taken an interest - especially female gamers, due to finally being represented in what was otherwise a male dominant game.

Of course, not everyone was excited.

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These were just some responses. There are far worse that we'd rather not show. Many might say this is “typical” or indicative of games, FIFA fans, and so on, but that really isn’t quite the point. This verbal and public annoyance at providing more diversity to a game hardly conveys friendliness or openness to others’ inclusion. It’s typical of a mindset that sees any form of not catering to some magical demographic of gamers as “Political correctness”.

Thankfully, most people seem glad at FIFA’s decision. It shows that gaming culture is growing up, and that gamers want change. After all, "The UK has more women gamers than men" and "Adult women play more games than boys under 18."

EA is making a bold statement with including women's nationals teams in FIFA 16. Remember, we’re talking about a rich company making this diversity decision, not an indie game developer. Clearly, EA think this will be a selling point, what with the fact that women team are a part of FIFA anyway; their absence from previous FIFA games will now look awkward, but at least it’s steps on the right path toward a more open, more inclusive and more diverse gaming environment that we should all be thankful for.

Well played EA. 

What's your opinion? Do you agree with the tweet that "women hardly play games" and that "no guy will play with a girl team"?

 

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