Longstanding critics of EA, look away now. Already downhearted about FIFA's purported world domination? Then you'll enter Douglas Costa vs Sassuolo mode (opens in new tab) at the news that 60% of football fans would rather play FIFA 19 (opens in new tab) than attend a real-life football match.
The news comes via a survey of British fans who've bought either FIFA 19 and/or PES 2019, conducted by Ticketgum (opens in new tab). The revelation that 60% of those polled prefer digital football to the real thing won't be the only shock to traditionalists: it also confirms that supporters are finding new ways of forming allegiances that have nothing to do with family traditions or local ties. 57% of those polled say they've adopted a real-life second team based on its performances in career mode or Master League.
Other intriguing stats from the poll include:
- 54% of those polled think FIFA 19 and PES 2019 tournaments should be classed as a real sport.
- 18% say they've changed who their real-life favourite player is, based on poor performances in modes such as MyClub or Ultimate Team.
- 78% refuse to ever play as their arch-rivals in a video game.
- 13% reckon video game matches are more unpredictable and competitive than those broadcast on TV.
The most shocking result of all, however, pertains to the debate about whether football sims have stopped younger fans playing the real thing. Despite being a devoted gamer, this one saddens me: a staggering 82% say they prefer stepping onto FIFA and PES's virtual turf over going down the park/rec/common for an actual jumpers-for-goalposts kickabout.
Ticketgum says the poll was conducted among 1,284 supporters from a variety of British clubs. "Going forward, as the flagship video game titles get even better, they will steadily blur the footballing lines between virtual and reality for fans," a spokesperson told GamesRadar.
FIFA 19 and PES 2019 are both out now. If you're an Ultimate Team fan, be sure to check out the FIFA 19 Ultimate Team player ratings for the 10 biggest Premier League upgrades.