There was a time, around the same time that EA Sports had acquired the rights to exclusively publish NFL titles, that the FIFA franchise was overtaken by the Winning Eleven series (now known as Pro Evolution Soccer or PES). But since then FIFA and EA Sports have been able to do what they do best: evolve the sports experience into something heads above the competition.
Speaking to that point, EA VP and GM of Northern Europe Keith Ramsdale has revealed that this year’s FIFA 12 has so far outsold PES at a ratio of 25:1. Where once FIFA was floundering against the flashy new soccer title that was Winning Eleven, FIFA 12 is now leaving PES 2012 in its dust.
These numbers are only a comparison of the two games over their launch weekend, not up to now though, so take them with a grain of salt, and figure that eventually the ratio will come down some.
Still, these staggering numbers show just how important competition in video games is, especially in overpopulated genres like sports and first person shooters. By forcing a developer to evolve — to keep the experience growing for the player — it breeds a new type of innovation. For example, FIFA 12 introduced a completely new impact engine that is so revolutionary it’s actually being used in Battlefield 3.
In keeping on the Battlefield 3 tick for a second, let’s imagine what its place as direct competitor to Modern Warfare 3 can do for those franchises. Much like Winning Eleven overtook FIFA, I think gamers can expect Call of Duty’s market share to slowly dwindle away, forcing Activision to also push the envelope further.
Sports games are also an unknown quantity since they deliver a relatively familiar experience annually. Granted the quality of FIFA 12 is extremely impressive — we pegged it as one of the best sports games of the year — and PES has waned over the years, but that doesn’t mean both should stop evolving.
Do you think we will ever see the Pro Evolution Soccer series overtake FIFA again? What other competing titles do you see forcing faster evolution in each other?
FIFA 12 is available now for the PS3, PS2, Wii, Xbox 360, and PC.