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May 31, 2015 — A long time coming

For the first time since 2000, female soccer players are being featured in a video game.

Electronic Arts, with a good degree of fanfare, has announced that 16 current women’s national teams, including players from the United States, Canada, Germany, Mexico, and Sweden, are going to be playable in a separate option within FIFA ’16. A notable exception is Japan, the current cup-holders; the Japan Football Association is tied to the Konami game company. None of the women’s national teams will be playing against the men’s teams in the game.

EA, as is its wont, spent inordinate amounts of time on motion capture to digitize the star players.The results look pretty nice, and I’m sure plenty of people will download and enjoy this game.

But I am hoping that Electronics Arts will have done their homework on game physics that are female-specific. It is impossible, for example, for most female players to make 90-yard volleys or to have target players jump over the crossbar for a bicycle kick like the men’s players in previous versions of FIFA Soccer.

I also hope that, especially in the women’s game, the game-player will have to use teamwork and complex interpassing rather than remembering combinations of buttons.

The game will be available on five platforms but not on any mobile platforms, strangely. Given the fact that mobile apps are the fastest expanding market for gaming, it makes you wonder what EA is thinking.

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