It’s already been a big October for football gamers. First came the release of FIFA 14, sending footie fans into long nights of button smashing as they got to grips with the latest edition of everyone’s favourite football game.
The next big news for FIFA players was FIFA’s announcement that the FIFA Interactive World Cup 2014 Grand Final (the official gaming equivalent of the real thing) is heading to Brazil at the same time as the 2014 World Cup. That’s right, for the first time ever, the virtual and real world cups will come together for one massive celebration of football, Brazilian style.
If previous editions of the FIWC are any indication (the tournament has been officially recognised by the folks at Guinness Records since 2011 as the biggest global gaming event), you can expect at least 2.5 million online gamers standing in the way of you and a seat at the 2014 Grand Final in Rio de Janeiro.
How do I qualify for a spot in Brazil?
The FIWC 2014 comprises six separate one-month-long online qualification seasons. Players compete in the FIWC14 Online Game Mode of FIFA 14 (the game mode is only available on the PlayStation 3). At the end of each season, three players qualify for the Grand Final.
Two qualify through the traditional online leaderboard and the third seat – in a new addition to the tournament – is handed to the player with the best win-loss ratio for the season. The new seat is called the ‘Community Qualifier’ and is an attempt to reward top-class players full of quality but pressed for the quantity of time and games it takes to top the overall leaderboard.
With five Grand Final appearances (last one was at FIWC 2012), Andre Buffo faces off against Kumi, the FIFA World Cup Brazil 2014 mascot
So whether you’re a dad, mum, student in full-blown exam mode, or a working professional with a limited amount of time to unwind on your PS3, the Community Qualifier gives you a fair shake at winning a seat in Brazil. The Community Qualifier game minimum is only 30 matches. That’s only one FIFA 14 match a day for one season.
Joining the 18 players that qualify online for the 2014 Brazil Grand Final are the defending champion and a national champion from the host nation.
While the World Cup experience promises a big draw for the 2014 tournament, the Grand Prize is still where most gamers find their motivation for the effort and intensity of the FIWC. The tournament winner walks away with $20,000 and a trip for two to the FIFA Ballon d’Or Gala.
At the Gala, the FIWC champion gets to meet their football idols, shake their hands, share some words and take some photos. And, of course there’s even the chance to squeeze in a game or two of FIFA at the Gala against a football legend.
FIWC 2012 Champion Alfonso Ramos almost lost his nerve at the last Gala while having a go backstage against Gerard Pique on FIFA. What caused the usually cool Spaniard – and first ever two-time FIWC champion – to get the shakes? The likes of Lionel Messi strolling up next to him to watch the game. Trust La Pulga to put the fear on both virtual and real footballers.
Fancy a go on FIFA against someone like Messi? Win the FIWC14 Grand Final during the FIFA World Cup, and you could get the chance at the next Ballon d’Or.