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‘Russian FIFA simulator’ is in development – federation head

President Vladimir Putin has promised to support the project

Russian oil and gas giant Gazprom is developing an alternative to EA Sports’ FIFA football game, a senior sports official has said. The idea was initially pitched by retired football star Andrey Arshavin to Russian President Vladimir Putin at the opening ceremony of the Games of the Future tournament in the city of Kazan, central Russia.

In an interview with TASS released on Saturday, Nikita Nagorny, the head of the All-Russian Federation of Phygital Sports, which encompasses games where athletes compete in both cyber and real domains, voiced hopes that the Russian version of the legendary sports simulator would see the light of day within a few years. 

“However, I know that it takes more than one year, dozens of years, to develop a game,” Nagorny said. “In any case, the work is underway, so sooner or later we’ll see this game.”

The idea was initially proposed to Putin by Arshavin, who noted that Aleksey Miller, the CEO of Gazprom, could help with the development. Gazprom is the general sponsor of Russia’s Zenit football club where Arshavin used to play.

In response, Putin promised to support the idea and to discuss the subject with Miller. 

Earlier this week, the Russian eSports Federation and the Ministry of Sports also rallied behind the project. Russian Sports Minister Oleg Matytsin noted that the national football school has many athletes who could bring their creative input to the digital sphere to attract more people to the sport.

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Meanwhile, Dmitry Smit, the president of the Russian eSports Federation, noted that the timeline for development depends on whether the FIFA alternative would be designed for consoles or PCs. 

He said that it would be harder for Russian game developers to create a football simulator for consoles due to the lack of relevant experience. However, “if you make a similar simulator on a PC, everything is easier,” he said, adding that this type of game could also be played on mobile devices. 

The FIFA football simulator, which was first released in 1993 and has since seen dozens of iterations, holds the Guinness World Record as the best-selling sports video game with more than 300 million copies sold. In May 2022, EA Sports announced that FIFA 23 would be the last in the series, to be replaced by a new franchise, EA Sports FC.

The Games of the Future tournament is held in Kazan between February 21 and March 3 and includes 21 disciplines. It is the first-ever international event to combine both conventional and electronic sports. Over 2,000 athletes from more than 100 countries are taking part in the competition.

February 24, 2024 at 09:41PM
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