With each passing year, a new FIFA installation arises – it is as natural as the eventual arrival of Christmas. But the release of the new EA Sports FC 24 makes us eager to examine some of the most memorable moments in the series’ history.

FIFA history is the key to finding proven patterns and massive changes. So today, we will try to review the most crucial moments in the FIFA series existence, which celebrates its 30th anniversary this year. Its reputation has not waned since the 90s due to the still enormous soccer popularity, the e-sports rapid development, and the increasingly realistic gameplay provided by each installation. All these reasons make it a cultural phenomenon and one of the most exquisite gems in gaming history.


The Humble Beginnings

Ancient platforms like the Sega Mega Drive and Amiga were the first to witness the series’ modest beginnings. The first FIFA game – FIFA International Soccer – presented only national teams featuring fictional players. Also, this installation suffered from a bug that made scoring a goal unbelievably easy, but that did not stop it from becoming the best-selling game of 1993 in the UK. This game had something that others did not – an isometric view. And even so long ago, it was already trying to resemble a 3D world.

The Growth Phase

Although FIFA didn’t mean to become a series, the FIFA 95 game introduced the first club teams. But the actual evolution began with the release of FIFA Soccer 96, which had more – a license for existing sprite players, 3D graphics, professional leagues, and commentary by John Motson (who stayed with the series for another ten years). All this left the competition, like the Sensible Soccer series, behind. And while those early days weren’t easy, EA became an expert when other titles wouldn’t even consider leaving the comfort of their 2D nest.

Real-life players and teams were the first steps to all subsequent installations’ success. FIFA Soccer 96 had the greatest stars of its time, like Zinedine Zidane and Diego Maradona. Why did it even matter? For one main reason – playing with existing players guarantees immersion.

And even now, when EA has ended its relationship with FIFA and released FC 24, its vice president David Jackson confirmed the licenses are safe and said: “Our players regularly remind us that one of the most important aspects of an EA Sports experience is the deep immersion created through authentic use of the world’s greatest leagues, teams, and talents – it’s how we continue to uniquely blur the lines between the digital and physical worlds of football. FIFPro will continue to be an important partner as we build the next generation of EA Sports football experiences for players around the world.”

But licensing alone didn’t make this game series so huge. Another factor was the iconic modes we love to this day. The most treasured Ultimate Team debuted in 2008 with the release of FIFA 09 – although it appeared a little earlier as an offline mode in the UEFA Champions League 2006/07. Over the years, FUT has constantly evolved, introducing a chemistry system, seasonal objectives, and Division Rivals to become a fan favorite mode of the series.

The Modern Evolution

FIFA Ultimate Team became a thing for one crucial reason – it allows players to create their dream team, including their favorite stars. It doesn’t matter whether they are retired or completely new. The stats always reflect the true capabilities of professional players. And this fact alone vanishes the thin line between the real world and digital football.

The FIFA esports events deliver a similar effect. Tournaments like FIFAe World Cup or eChampions League draw real-life football enthusiasts and gamers. Representing a more mainstream category of competitive gaming proves both groups exist closer than anyone could have imagined.

What else could make real football fans interested in all FIFA games? Constant improvements! EA does everything to provide a more realistic gameplay experience every year. FIFA 99 introduced facial animations and different player heights.

The 2001 game was the first to deliver an online mode and add unique faces. A 06 title brought a fantastic chemistry system, increasing the number of potential combinations when building a team.

But the most significant development leap began with FIFA 11, which provided many new features, like an expanded Career Mode for Manager and Player or the ability to play as a goalkeeper. The weather and crowd also received some enhancements with the release of FIFA 14.

The following years brought more changes: The Journey mode and Frostbite engine in FIFA 17, Volta Football mode in FIFA 20, co-op in FIFA 21, and female football leagues in FIFA 23. And all these are still just a tiny part of the groundbreaking changes this outstanding series has introduced since the 90s.

The Cultural Impact of the FIFA Series

As it turns out, not the TV but the FIFA series contributed to the massive soccer popularity in the United States. Sales increased by 35% between 2010 and 2012, and ⅓ of players became football fans after discovering its digital version. The FIFA series engaged kids and students who started playing soccer in real life inspired by their favorite players in the video game. Unsurprisingly, this led some to pursue a professional career in the sports industry.

But that’s not all, as this particular series has the power to impact global connections. Thanks to online modes, players from all over the world engage in a peaceful competition over massive distances, creating an intercultural community. Selling and buying Ultimate Team cards became the perfect tool for discovering the basics of economics and price fluctuations. The game develops strategic thinking, cooperation skills, and a natural talent for reacting to critical situations. That means FIFA has long ago ceased to be just a game and has become an essential part of our everyday lives.

Controversies and Criticisms

When something plays such a meaningful role, it inevitably encounters some form of criticism. One of the most memorable controversies regarding EA games is microtransactions. To build the squad of their dreams, players must spend real money on FIFA Points (now FC Points) to exchange them for card packs containing various team members. However, their contents are random, so no one knows what is inside. Players can also earn the currency in-game, so some live peacefully with this knowledge, while others genuinely despise the system.

Recent years saw the unique moment when Konami and its Pro Evolution Soccer finally beat FIFA. By purchasing the Juventus license, Konami took it from EA and SEGA. Fortunately, the EA and FIFPro agreement secures the most crucial licenses in future FC titles.

The Road Ahead

What does the future hold? For many players, the following installations in the FIFA series are almost identical. And yes, these enhancements are minor but regular. Otherwise, this leap from simple pixels to today’s level of life-like graphics would never have happened. That may be reason enough to assume that EA wants to maintain this approach. Its severest problem is microtransactions – only time will tell whether they will be present in future releases.


FIFA games changed the world by paving the uncertain way for first improvements and the use of new technologies. They made people want to play and watch soccer – even in the United States, where this sport was not a fan favorite. The end of the cooperation between EA and FIFA brought an entirely new title – EA FC 24. But it is still the same familiar game with extra improvements.

One thing is sure – an increasingly realistic experience because the game creators do everything to remain number one in digital football. They know we want licenses and sincere sports fun. And hopefully, they also realize that we always want more.