As I trundled up the steps to where EA were meeting with various press and media, I found myself being introduced to Alex Grimbley by one of the EA team. Alex suggested I try FIFA on mobile to see what the company have done to make one of their most successful IP’s even more playable, and open to play without the need of a console.
EA’s FIFA for mobile
‘Its so powerful and easy to play’ says Alex as we sit on a white couch carefully placed in front of a flat screen television in the media area. ‘The game play is fluid, the movement seamless, and the engine makes this game even easier to play on this mobile device than you would have at home’. I notice as Alex freely gestures with his fingertips over the screen, and as if by magic the football is passed with seamless precision to a midfielder who takes the ball and runs with it. ‘You see how easy it is?’ ‘I do!’ I say as I marvel at the technology that has gone into creating such a perfect and playable game. I feel the need to admit to Alex that I have never been very good at playing football games on my own console at home.
— Abid Gangat (@mrexciteable) June 17, 2015
He tells me that’s not an issue and suggests I give it a try on the mobile device set up, so I do. Taking the iPhone 6 from Alex which is hooked up to the flat screen television so I can even see myself run about on the big screen, and praying inside that days of shouting at my television in total frustration as I poorly lob the ball from one side of the pitch to the other are now a thing of the past. ‘Now as you have the ball at your feet, try and pass it to another player by highlighting the player, and then gesturing the ball in the players direction’. I do so and with slight disappointment find that the ball doesn’t quite make it, and in fact my opposite number ends up with the ball and starts to pass it to his team mate, whilst they make a charge up the pitch in an attempt to score against me.
Gameplay on mobile is easier
‘Yeah I can see I’m a little rusty, and need about ten or fifteen minutes to practice to get used to playing on a mobile device’ I say, in a desperate attempt to hide the fact that I’m actually just crap at this, whilst at the same time I start to feel those moments of frustration flying back from when I tried at university to play FIFA on my housemates old PS2. ‘Don’t worry about it’ says Alex reassuringly, ‘it takes a few minutes to get used to but you will master the game play in no time, as the point of us taking FIFA on to the mobile device is to show players who might not be able to play on the console at home that gameplay on a mobile device is easier to master, but like all things needs a little practice and time’. I agree with him, but deep down inside wonder if I am likely to really master the gameplay in such a short space of time, sitting here with him in the EA media space. However, in a desperate attempt to prove that I’m not a lost cause, I decide to question him on the level of mobile device it can play on, while I desperately try and find my feet. ‘Yes there are obviously some restraints in the type of mobile device that you can use, however as mobile devices have evolved over the last few years taking on faster processor speeds, better graphics, and performance the devices of today are perfect and fully capable of supporting gameplay’. ‘That makes sense’ I reply as I finally get the ball from an opposing team player and start to push forward to the oppositions goal, ‘and as this is being played on a mobile device, does it affect the battery of the device?’ ‘Well as with any app or hard use of a mobile device there is a certain amount of power loss, however we don’t expect players to be playing on their mobile device for hours on end without charge so don’t think that sensible play will affect the device too much’ he states.
At that moment I manage to make a pass to space, run on and with the ball at my feet and with Alex suddenly shouting ‘Go on Shoot!’ I do so and…..the ball rolls slowly and quite pathetically into the back of the net! GOOOOOOOAAAALLLLLLL!!!!!!! A huge moment of relief and admittedly slight disbelief overcomes me, as I admit to Alex that this is the first time in my life I’ve scored on FIFA. He chuckles briefly, while I sit silently with a grin on my face from the exhilaration of finally scoring a goal, but the moment is short lived as Alex points out…’Oh no, you were off side!’ I look up at the television screen and sure enough, there’s the refs decision, goal disallowed. I look up at the ceiling and shake my head, ‘just when I thought I had finally scored on FIFA, victory snatched by the jaws of defeat!’
Back of the net
With that I thank Alex and tell him I think having FIFA on a mobile device is a huge step forward, and despite having my goal disallowed if even I can get the ball in the back of the net then this is definitely going to bring me back to playing football in the gaming world. He tells me that this is what EA hope can be achieved, and that more players who left football from the console will come back and enjoy the gaming experience of football on their mobile devices, hopefully reigniting in them a fire and appreciation for football gaming which may have been lost. I agree and tell him that even I might take it up!
For more information goto : www.easports.com and look for FIFA Mobile