Yes, the petition to get female footballers into FIFA seems to have worked. David Rutter, executive producer of the FIFA video game series, told the petition organiser “it’s going to happen at some point”.
The petition started earlier this month, initiated by Fernanda Schabarum, a 29-year-old gamer living in South Florida, calling on EA Sports to put women in its FIFA series. Though most Internet petitions, especially on the subject of video games, get little traction or response from the publishers they address, this one caught EA Sports’ attention.
Rutter said. “Every year, a vast quantity of suggestions for inclusion comes into our studio. We have to whittle it down to what we can make in one year. It’s a case of prioritizing what needs to be done, and then we do our best to knock it out of the park in whatever we’re doing. But [women in the game] is always something considered in some shape or form, and it’s not to say it won’t ever happen.”
Schabarum accepted the answer Rutter gave and replied simply: “They’ve got to wait for the right time,” she said. “It’s a marketing matter. We talked about the Mia Hamm game [Mia Hamm 64 Soccer for the Nintendo 64] and he agreed, yes, that was a disaster. That was a good example of the wrong timing and the wrong approach.”
Rutter, who reminded us he had two daughters who both enjoy football, remarked: “When it gets to a point where we’re considering a feature’s inclusion because it benefits everyone, then it becomes a priority. The key thing about delivering on it, is that it has to be of very good quality, very high value, rather than just an acknowledgement of women in football.”
Schabarum still thinks including women’s team is feasible under the current state of the art, but accepts the explanation that it needs to be done right.
“I’m a psychologist, so I know that when children play a game, it’s not just that their favourite player or team is scoring a goal or winning, they feel like they are too,” she said. “Girls should have the same right. David’s daughters should have that right, too.”
While it wont be appearing in FIFA 13, this feature could well appear in later years. Keep up the pressure on the petition here!