What is it?
FIFA 16 is the latest version of the hugely successful football franchise. It allows players to compete against others in individual matches and tournaments, building their own squad and conducting transfers and team rotations as a real life manager would.
Format: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Android, iOS, Microsoft Windows.
Cost: Free on IOS and Android with in-app purchases from 79p to a whopping £79.99. Around £35 to buy for XBox or Playstation – costs vary depending on your retailer.
What they say
‘FIFA 16 innovates across the entire pitch to deliver a balanced, authentic, and exciting football experience that lets you play your way, and compete at a higher level. You’ll have confidence in defending, take control in midfield, and you’ll produce more moments of magic than ever before.’
What’s the reality?
In the first week of it being on the market, almost 1 million physical copies of FIFA 16 were bought worldwide, not to mention all the downloads from various online stores which is estimated to have pushed that figure to just over 1.1 million. To give this a little perspective, those numbers equate to everyone in a sold out game at Wembley stadium, including staff and players, to have 10 copies each.
The FIFA franchise has spanned over 10 years, with FIFA 94 (otherwise known as FIFA International Soccer) being the first on the market.
Video games have come on a bit since the ’90s, with FIFA 16 offering a number of features that early adopters could only have imagined. These include the ability to create your own team from scratch and pitting it head to head against players across the globe.
There are also a number of offline features such as creating a young player and building his career to take him from Drogheda United FC (infamously the worst team on the game) to Chelsea, winning the Champions League 10 times in a row.
To mirror the growing popularity of the women’s game, FIFA16 is the first time that female players and teams have been included.
What parents need to know
Parental Controls: The game uses the online gaming management platform Origin, where users must create a free account in order to take advantage of all the features that FIFA has to offer.
When initially setting up your game you must create an Origin account. This requires access to your email and other details like your name, however it is completely free to do and private. In other words, other Origin users don’t see your account details and cannot access your email, although, of course, Origin has your data. Once you are in the game there aren’t any parental controls – those have to be set on the console or device. Origin doesn’t take any steps to confirm a user’s age.
As is typical of many console games, parental controls must be set on the console level, meaning that if you feel uncomfortable with the idea of your child playing FIFA with strangers from across the world, then you will have to change your online settings in either the Xbox or Playstation menu on the home screen. The few settings that the game itself offers involve allowing your usage information to be reported to EA ‘for the purposes of improving [their] products and services’, and receiving updates with regard to the team(s) that you support.
To prevent in-game purchases you will need to edit your purchase settings.
You can set whether a password will be required at the time of purchase, and whether your wallet will be funded automatically.
If you set [Fund Wallet Automatically] to [Yes], funds for your wallet will be automatically drawn from your credit card. This effectively means your child can spend what they want. To combat this, you can set a monthly limit for purchases. Find more information for PS4 here.
On XBox, you can create a passkey which can be set to prevent purchases and setting changes. Find out more information here.
FIFA does not allow for live chat with your opponent however, depending on your console settings, it is possible for them to send you messages via Xbox Live or PSN.
FIFA 16 is an extremely entertaining game which has a replayability which is lacking in the console world. There is no end to the game, you simply build better and better teams and win more challenging tournaments.
There is no violence or any other content which may cause offence, making it an ideal game for children (and of course adults) of all ages.
The multiplayer experience is well suited to young people, as EA have minimised risk by not supporting in-game chat.
One important feature that you ought to look out for is in-game purchases. Users are able to spend money on in-game coins and points if your console settings allow this [you can change these to fit your own preference]. These purchases can be anywhere between 79 pence and a whacking great £79.99. FIFA has been given a ‘Pay-to-win’ band, meaning that to truly advance through the game you must purchase points. The game can be thoroughly enjoyable without purchasing points, and has a wide range of features without any additional purchases, but it remains the case that if you want to create the best teams, you must be willing to spend potentially eye-watering amounts of cash.
The rich variety of content that FIFA has to offer may be wonderful for the user, however it can lead to entire weekends spent on the sofa trying to trade your players and win tournaments. Perhaps this is the mark of an excellent game, however taking a little break to go out and play some real football is perhaps a good idea every once in a while.
Find out more here.
While parents may wish to set up controls on your child's consoles to prevent in-game purchases, FIFA16 is a safe and absorbing game.