FIFA 18 is now available, and fans across the world are congregating on the proverbial pitch to build their virtual soccer dream teams. EA Sports has been busy getting players psyched for the launch with livestreams, giveaways and gameplay tips while including the real-life soccer players themselves. Cover boy Cristiano Ronaldo is the face of FIFA 18, which will be releasing on the Nintendo Switch for the first time.
Through its different play modes, FIFA 18 hopes to capture the thrill of competition and players’ dreams of stardom. To accomplish this, EA has focused its marketing on the phrase, “more than just a game.” With international appeal built right into the sport, EA set out to attract attention from real-world soccer fans to esports enthusiasts and everyone in between.
A new skill in the game emulates a spinning move called “El Tornado.” EA’s other sports emulators like Madden, NBA Live and UFC recreated the moves in their respective games to share on social media. A special El Tornado pack was offered as a giveaway that includes a gold controller, a copy of the game, FIFA score plaque and more.
— EA UK (@electronicarts) September 29, 2017
Much like for EA’s other sports simulators, soccer stars are personally invested in their virtual characters’ scores. When asked to give their teammates a FIFA score, the pros didn’t hesitate to poke and prod each other.
— EA SPORTS FIFA (@EASPORTSFIFA) September 15, 2017
FIFA 18‘s “The Journey” mode continues the story of Alex Hunter—an ambitious young athlete introduced in FIFA 17. In his rise to fame, the fictional character was sponsored by Adidas and now by Coca-Cola.
The Coke endorsement deal is played out in the game, including the filming of a TV commercial that reimagines the classic “Mean” Joe Greene spot from 1979. In a modern twist, Hunter takes a selfie with the Coke-offering kid instead of giving him a jersey.
Fans can pick up specially marked cans of Coke at participating North American Walmart and 7-Eleven stores with Alex Hunter on them. Download codes printed on the underside of the cans unlock additional in-game items.
Two worlds collide with EA’s FIFA 18 esports activations. Teams like West Ham United are signing esports players to represent them at esports tournaments, showing solidarity for the sport across mediums.
For its “largest ever” FIFA Interactive World Cup, the game publisher offered players worldwide a shot at representing real-world teams in official competitions. Ultimate Team Championship Cups will let virtually anyone qualify for a chance at glory in winter and spring events. In the meantime, Unilad Esports’ Gorilla took home the FIFA Interactive World Cup title August 18, giving inspiration for video game hopefuls.
Esports plays another role in FIFA 18 this year—players can rep esports teams in-game by unlocking special edition football kits for Team Liquid, Hashtag United and AS Roma eSports in Ultimate Team mode. The teams themselves hosted giveaways across their social channels as well.
You can now rep TL in #FIFA18!
RT for your first chance to win 🎁 pic.twitter.com/bULFS1fVXd
— Team Liquid (@TeamLiquid) September 15, 2017
Dubbed “FIFA Friday,” EA’s big game launch includes a sponsored hashtag that adds a soccer ball to posts with #FIFA18.
For governing body FIFA and soccer clubs around the world, gaining worldwide recognition for the sport means maintaining relevancy with young, digital native consumers–which really makes FIFA 18 “more than just a game.”