Pay your way to the top: students play FIFA to relieve stress


Creative commons photo by Wikimedia.

Zac Harleston

After getting home from school everyday, Ray Mueller ’17 sits down to do his homework, knowing that as soon as he finishes, he can return to playing FIFA 16.

Once he finishes his homework, he turns on his Xbox, signs into Xbox Live and connects with his friends playing the video game.

FIFA 16, a soccer simulation game, is the latest in a long line of the Electronic Arts Sports series. Worldwide, the FIFA series is the best-selling sports videogame franchise in the world.

A study by EA Sports in December 2013 found that 459,000 games of FIFA 14 were played every 90 minutes.

According to a study published in The Official Journal Of The American Academy of Pediatrics, it was found that videogames can actually be beneficial to children.

“Compared with non-players, children who typically invest less than one-third of their daily free time showed higher levels of prosocial behavior and life satisfaction and lower levels of conduct problems, hyperactivity, peer problems and emotional symptoms,” the report said.

Dustin Jones ’17 appreciates having an outlet to look forward to, in order to help take his mind off of the heavy academic pressure that Harvard-Westlake applies.

“A game every once in a while is refreshing,” Jones said. “It’s nice to keep my mind off of school here and there.”

The FIFA series incorporates many different features into its games. The most commonly used head to head matchups allow players to play against friends, or against the game for pleasure. Players can play against friends either online, or on the same gaming system together. Random online matchups are also available.

The game also includes a feature called Ultimate Team. Based on an EA created virtual currency, players try to assemble the strongest roster, either by purchasing players in global live auctions, or by using accumulated coins to purchase packs containing multiple players.

Each ultimate team begins with low level players, and, ideally, players amass coins with every game they complete with their squad.

“Ultimate team is the big thing,” Mueller said. “Everyone’s playing it nowadays.”

However, with the spread in popularity of the ultimate team feature, the purchasing of FIFA coins has become more popular.

“The FIFA market works just like a stock market works,” Marco Marenzi ’17 said. “The more people who purchase FIFA coins, the more expensive everything in the FIFA market becomes.”

The purchasing of FIFA coins is an extensive process. First, players must locate a vendor online, and then choose how many coins they are willing to pay for. Next, the player must list a player on the FIFA market for the amount of coins they paid for. Typically, the process takes around 24 hours.

“Most of my friends have spent money on Ultimate Team,” Marenzi said. “They feel it just makes Ultimate Team more fun.”

Another popular feature of the FIFA series is FIFA Pro Clubs. In this feature, gamers only have control of one player on the field. Gamers customize their own player, and play with him or her to improve the overall rating of the player.

Online, players can play on the same team as their friends, and work together to increase team prestige.

“We typically play a few nights a week,” Marenzi said. “I think it’s great that we’re able to find time to just have a good time together.”

The Pro Clubs feature of FIFA does not have any monetary loopholes, just the online feature, and the one way to increase team prestige is winning.

“It is a good experience for us to bond,” Mueller said. “Just like with any team experience, it makes us better friends.”