FIFA 10 came out on Oct 20th and it has already stolen my heart. Not because of the game, I haven’t played, nor is it soccer (or football), which I do not follow in any capacity. The reason I’ve fallen for this game is because of this website: FIFA Earth.
In the growing world of social networks and system integration, game companies have been jumping on the band-wagon. Uncharted 2 has Twitter integration (though they seem to have problems with it), Xbox Live with have Facebook/Twitter capabilities, and Giant Bomb links player’s achievements together. Integrate and aggregation is the talk of the town.
Now what? What do we do now that we have achieved this integration. Well, visualization and analytics of course. Sure Uncharted 2 can tweet when you finish a game chapter but how many other players have completed that chapter too. When do those players play, did they finish the chapter in the same amount of time as you? While integrating achievement systems, Facebook and Twitter makes communication easier it does not make the information presented easier to understand. Now that we have these swiss-army knife systems let’s do something with them.
Enter FIFA Earth. There are other visualization/analytic game systems available; Valve shows Steam statistics on their website for example. However, it is rare to find one that is informative, interactive and aesthetically pleasing. FIFA Earth is just such a system. It does not have an extensive list of information to sift through but what it has is style.
FIFA Earth aggregates every match that is played in FIFA 10 from around the world, while any player is connected to the PlayStation Network. From what I have been told soccer is a very important sport worldwide so it only makes sense that a video game simulating real world soccer is just as popular; which means a lot of recorded games. 39 million to be exact. Each day’s total games played is available and is similar to other visualizations like Steam or Noby Noby Stats.
Each time a player completes a game in FIFA 10 it is uploaded online and goes into two different categories. One is for that player’s country and another is for the player’s chosen club. Categories based on country and club are ranked against each other by their ‘win percentage,’ which is calculated by their wins, losses, and draws from all the matches in that category (across all players). There is also an option to view their rank changes across time. I see that players from Ecuador have a winning percentage of 53 today and have been above 40% since October 7th.
All of this information is displayed using a three dimensional image of earth as viewed from space. Which makes sense given the data presented is all geo-located. This feature is also combined with FIFA Earth’s own Twitter feed, which displays tweets about FIFA 10. Each tweet is marked on the globe and they stretch across the screen in a list next to the Earth’s image, it’s quite elegant.
When it comes down to it FIFA Earth has three things: relevant Twitter feed, records the total games played and records the winning conditions of each game (separated by categories). Said like that it doesn’t seem like a lot of information but the presentation is excellent. I hope we will see more websites and game features like this in the future.