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‘Everyone is talking about it’

FIFA 19 has been a constant hit with kids over the past year – can FIFA 20 achieve the same success?

Few gaming franchises generate the excitement of FIFA. Even before FIFA 20 was released at the end of September 2019, anticipation was building among our Trendspotter panel of kids (aged 9-12):

‘All I've heard about is the FIFA 20 release.’ Max

‘Everyone's talking about whether they will pre-order and what special editions they want of FIFA 20.’ Cody

With new gameplay features, modes and more customisation included to enhance gaming experience, FIFA 20 has all the elements to maintain engagement for kids for as long as its predecessor FIFA 19 did.

Why kids love FIFA

But whizzy updates and features aren’t enough to make a game sticky in this highly competitive sector. FIFA relies on other drivers to ensure its longevity:

-The 360-degree cycle

For lots of kids, football dominates the weekend. They play in the park with their mates or in a league and watch teams live with their families or at home on TV. FIFA is an extension of this, giving kids a chance to step into the football boots of their heroes in world-class stadiums. Kids can hone their skills virtually and recreate them back on the pitch – and the cycle continues.

Friends playing console games like FIFA 20
Friends are the driving force to FIFA gameplay

-Vlogger inspiration

When kids aren’t playing FIFA there’s plenty of opportunity to watch others do so on Twitch, YouTube or Mixer. Vloggers such as AA9skillz have come to the fore as authorities on the game, so kids can pick up tips and techniques and become an expert:

‘AA9skillz is 10th best in the world. I’ve learned how to pass the ball a lot more and that I need to time my shots.’ Theo

-Football events spike interest

Appearing on the back of England’s 2018 World Cup Campaign, FIFA 19 launched during a surge of interest in football and has remained a favourite with our panel of kids (more so than FIFA 18, which was a passing craze). We noticed peaks in play from our Trendspotters around the time of the all-British UEFA Champions League Final, and during England’s campaign in the FIFA Women’s World Cup. The latter is already helping drive more girls to play football; perhaps this will engage them to play FIFA, too, which traditionally draws more male than female engagement.

-Apps keep engagement high

The rise of mobile apps like Pacybits FUT (not part of the FIFA franchise) increase interest by helping kids build FUT drafts and squads, and discover players and updates. As this is available on a mobile phone it can be accessed anywhere, maximising appeal for kids.

-It’s a social experience

Kids just want to fit in and be with friends, and this is the main driver to games – even if they're in separate locations they can still communicate on headsets, compete and show off their skills to each other.

‘I've been playing FIFA – that's what my friends are playing.’ Josh

‘I don't really want to play FIFA 19 – no one's on it. We are waiting to get FIFA 20.’ Theo

FIFA 20: what’s the lowdown?

Gamers say FIFA 20 is the most user- friendly yet, particularly for those who are new to the game, thanks to less stringent rules and regulations.

The new Volta mode means the game can be played on a smaller field with fewer team members – recreating a ‘kickabout in the park’ feel – and giving users greater chance to learn FIFA basics as well as customise avatars and overall experience.

'FIFA 20 seems quite good.  It's all new shooting and penalties.' Max

'I love it! I've got The Champions edit – the best bit is the street football mode.' Josh

Other features included are Volta World, a chance to play 17 different environments across various tournaments against AI-controlled squads, and the more competitive Volta League. In Career mode kids can take on the role of team manager – directly affecting their team’s performance and even taking part in press conferences.

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Beano for Brands is a kid-first consultancy and agency for brands seeking to connect with a new generation who are already rewriting the rules of engagement, creativity and even the world around them.

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