Female Representation in EA Sports
Whilst there are clear disparities between men and womens’ sports, female participation at a professional level is by no means new. The same can be said for their participation in esports. However, their playable presence within these games is very much recent. In 2015, EA Sport’s FIFA franchise announced they would add women’s teams the following year. EA Sports began to challenge the notion of FIFA being male-dominated; FIFA gamers saw the integration of 12 women’s national teams. Women’s teams in FIFA 16 included:
Later in 2017, the Netherlands and Norway were added, and in FIFA 18, we saw the introduction of the New Zealand national women’s team bringing the overall total to 15. Whilst FIFA has undoubtedly taken vital steps to bridge the inequalities between the sexes, it would certainly be naive to say we are completely there.
What should FIFA consider?
Despite the international presence of women in the FIFA franchise, I think it’s safe to say club fixtures offer far more excitement. Now, if the FIFA franchise is willing to dedicate a place for teams that play in obscure leagues to feature on their games, should they not include a Women’s Super League, perhaps? It will undoubtedly offer a platform where female players can showcase their talents and explode onto the scene.
Just imagine, substantial tournaments women can play in, as opposed to a generic “Women’s International Cup” where FIFA users struggle with numbers for even simulating a round of 16.
An Increase in International Teams
If FIFA are unable to provide gamers with the options for clubs, then they can at least increase the number of women’s national teams. The teams yet to feature in FIFA currently include; South Korea, Scotland, Colombia, Nigeria. Quite surprisingly, Denmark are also yet to occupy a place within the FIFA franchise; very surprising seeing as though they were Euro 2017 Finalists.
With the Women’s World Cup kicking off in 2019, EA Sports will be very foolish to not look to address these current falings.
A Journey Mode for Women
If I was a conspiracy theorist, I would suggest that the FIFA franchise teased us with the prospect of a story mode dedicated solely to following the journey of an aspiring female footballer. FIFA developers this year introduced us to Kim, Alex’s half-sister. FIFA evidenced their commitment to integrating women into the FIFA franchise by allowing us playing time with Kim as she makes her debut appearance with the USAWNT.
Towards the end of Alex’s journey, he gives his sister a symbolic gift. We know Kim is at the beginning of her bright future, so maybe a journey mode focused on following Kim’s success is imminent. You’re gonna be a star Kim!
Essentially, the introduction of Kim Hunter is a fundamental step in not only boosting the female presence in sporting games, but also constructs an immersive experience for all gamers.
Women in the world of EA Sports
Kim’s induction into EA Sports FIFA franchise is indicative of the increasing consideration for the experience of female athletes and gamers in EA titles. Over the past five years, opportunities to play as female athletes across EA Sports titles have surfaced; yet options for doing so vary.
For example, EA Sports’ NHL 2012 offered gamers the option to create a female athlete to follow through her sporting journey. FIFA, UFC, and recently, NBA Live have also followed suit. Madden is yet to feature female athletes which may in part be due to the nature of the sport, however, contextually we have seen a rise in female General Managers and Coaches, which is therefore a barrier future releases of Madden may need to consider.
It’s a given that the representation of women in these games will depend on their level of engagement, and whilst we can only speculate on future developments for women, there appears to be many more exciting opportunities on the way!
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