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EA on stealing the footy crown: 'We could've just copied PES'

But EA Sports decided the series needed a new focus on connected play instead

It seems funny now given FIFA's market dominance, but PES was once the football series of choice for most people. Not just for gamers in the know and and football fans either, but for EA too, where FIFA "wasn't liked", according to EA Sports president Andrew Wilson.

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He told GamesIndustry.biz: "The easiest thing that could have been done and certainly what a lot of people were telling us was 'Pro Evolution Soccer is a great game, just copy them and then you'll win on marketing! It's a sure fire way to win.' That just wasn't that interesting to us.

"I can remember at that time when I got offered the job I asked some friend of mine 'should I take this job?' Because FIFA wasn't liked outside the company, and wasn't liked inside the company. Because we weren't, as a company, building a great game."

Wilson said the team began the process of turning the FIFA series around by devising an ambitious international recruitment plan and a strategy to deliver a more connected gaming experience.

"We were like the UN of game development teams, but we were all unified around a passion for football. And I think that was the first step."

Next Wilson got the development team to focus on the ultimate goal of 11 on 11 online play with 22 real players. "Basically we worked back from and started from the basics of control that we would need to ultimately deliver that vision, and here we are today."

Looking to the future, he added: "Like a 90 rated game is the expectation on console, moving forward a 90 rated game supported by an annual service that connects you with tens of millions of gamers around the world across platform is going to be the new definition of quality."

According to Wilson, ten million people now play FIFA per day, racking up around five million online games every 24 hours.

Speaking last October, EA's Northern Europe boss Keith Ramsdale claimed the newly released FIFA 12 had been outselling rival offering PES 2012 by 25 copies to one.

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