What is FIWC17?
The FIWC17 (Fifa Interactive World Cup) is a tournament organised by FIFA in association with EA Sports. FIFA is the worldwide governing body of football and EA Sports are the creators of the official FIFA games. The FIWC17 is the most authoritative tournament in the FIFA professional scene and the winner is considered to be the world champion of virtual football by FIFA. The tournament itself is the largest gaming tournament in the world. It may not have the most viewers or the largest prize pools but when you take into account the amount of players who participate in the tournament it’s easy to see how it can be considered the largest.
This year’s tournament will be held in London. Previous FIWC events have been held in places like Amsterdam, Barcelona, Berlin, Dubai, Los Angeles, Madrid, Munich, New York and Rio de Janeiro. This year it is being held at the Central Hall in Westminster, which is a fantastic location for such a fantastic event.
The prize pool has shot up this year, it is 10 times what it was last year. This is an important step for any professional Esport as the more money there is, the more time players can devote to the Esport. This year the FIWC prize pool is $250,000. It also gives the grand final winner the opportunity to attend FIFA’s annual award ceremony, giving them a fantastic and unique opportunity to meet players, coaches and much more. This is a dream come true for any football fan and is a nice touch by the organisers of the tournament. A prize that is so coveted will have attracted many of the 7,000,000 original participants in the tournament. It will certainly help to continue to attract players in the future.
Of the 7,000,000 participants only 32 remain. The number of players has more than tripled since last year’s total of 2,000,000 participants. These 32 players are considered to be some of the best FIFA players in the world and they will now battle it out over 4 days to see who the best in the world really is. Players from 17 different countries (including a Qatari player for the first time) start to battle it out on the 16th of August, find out how to watch it below.
How to watch FIWC2017
We will also be live-tweeting the event so be sure to follow Esportsranks on twitter.
How does FIWC 2017 Work
32 players split into 4 groups, Playsation 1, Playstation 2, Xbox 1 and Xbox 2. They then compete in the group stages and then the knockout stages until only two are left. Then the FIWC ‘Final Showdown’ takes place on both supported platforms and it’s where the champion of the FIWC will be named. This will be one to watch for sure.
The ones to watch in FIWC2017
The odds-on favourite at the beginning of the tournament (according to BET365) was RocKyy. The hopes of the host nation lie with players like Gorilla and Tass. Gorilla and RocKyy are currently tied at 11/2 but this can change very quickly. Expectations are high for the better players but the new players definitely offer a certain wild card effect.
For example, xShellzz is a relatively new player and gave up college to go pro. Having come out of what seems like nowhere, xShellzz finished second in the FUT (FIFA Ultimate Team Championships) in Berlin and looks strong. He is now at 14/1 to win the tournament outright and as the competition is growing so rapidly and new talent looks to show up this time, it’s definitely worth taking a look for those who fancy a flutter.
We had a chance to catch up with xShellzz at the media presentation and started off with the obvious question:
As someone from North London how does it feel representing your country and your city in the biggest FIFA tournament in the world?
“It’s a dream come true, being a kid you wanted to be a footballer, you wanted to represent England. Unfortunately, not everyone can make to be a real footballer, next best thing for someone who loves gaming is this. I’ve been playing FIFA since it came out and to be in the FIWC17 final especially in London is an unbelievable feeling. I’m in my home town and hopefully, I have a home advantage.
xShellzz talks more about the FIFA pro scene
Playing for your country in a FIFA tournament is a great privilege but playing on home turf in your city is even more so. But xShellzz is playing for so much more. He was at Sixth form college studying business and finance but he dropped that (despite the objections of his teachers) and decided to go pro. It’s about proving to his old teachers that he made the right choice. His family is already convinced after he won $80,000 in Berlin but despite this some of this teachers want him to fail.
“It was tough for them [his family] at first, they didn’t really know about the scene, about how much you can win, whether I was good or not. Especially when I left school, they were like oh my gosh what is he doing. But then Berlin changed everything, especially winning $80,000. That’s a huge sum for me, that’s a huge sum for my family.”
Finally, we ask whether he thinks anyone at FIWC17 that isn’t that well known has a chance of winning?
“Everyone here is known. They’re known in the scene, but they might not be known by others. Like everyone knows who Hashtag_Tass but there are some who aren’t known outside the scene. I think the English players, like XL_Ryan have a good chance. There are a lot of dark horses and anyone can win it.”
The groups at FIWC17
Like all Esports tournaments that use a group format, FIWC has its very own ‘group of death.’ Joey, Rafifa13, Tass, Ameghessib, Dani, Filthyp94, Thee Bullock and Rockyy will battle it out in the Xbox division group 2. Those wanting to make it out of this group with their hopes of winning FIWC17 well and truly alive have a large mountain to climb. When asked about which players they most feared, almost everyone in this group said Rockyy. Despite being tournament favourite Rockyy isn’t a shoe-in, however. Practically every player in this group has a decent shot at taking home the trophy and the $200,000 winnings. This ‘group of death’ is certainly one to watch and should feature some of the most exciting games of the group stages.
FIWC going forwards
FIFA are anxious to create a pro scene which can rival that of other Esports. That is why they are taking feedback from the community and especially from pro players to create a well-rounded scene. On Monday they held a press conference with various different pro players who are participating in the tournament to discuss how to move forwards.
“We want to create the best possible tournament setting. To do that, we need our player’s input.” said Adrian Roelli, Senior Manager of FIFA’s Esports division.
This participation from pro players in the future of the game gives a hopeful outlook for those involved in the pro scene. The pro players are the ones who know the most about the professional scene and without their input, the FIWC may have developed in a different way. It’s an interesting thing to keep an eye on.
“It’s always good to have the players and organisers talking to each other.” said Lutz (MARLUT) “I think the pros have valuable insight into the competition and I think it’s the right step to have these conversations to help the progression of this tournament.”
With the massive growth in participation and prize pool since the last FIWC, the Fifa pro scene is definitely growing. As pro scenes develop sometimes things can go wrong. Players can feel used or left out. FIWC seem to have thought of this and are determined that the pro players grow with the professional scene. This gives pro players more of an incentive to dedicate their lives to the game, making it more competitive and more exciting.
Interview with Chuboi about the growth of FIFA’s Esport scene
We asked ChuBoi (@Chuboi) what he thought about the growth of FIFA as an Esport.
“I think the growth of FIFA so far has been really great. The game needed a mode that organised the Esport and that mode was FUT Champions. They play their games and then qualify for regional events which lead to the final event, FUT champions. This leads into events like this, the FIWC, which is the biggest FIFA event with a $250,00 prize pot. When you look at the prize pot it shows that this is a new age and FIWC17 is really pushing things forward. We will definitely see things go further in the future.”
What’s more important, money or passion?
“I mean, can I take the cop out answer and say both? They’re equally as important as each other. Let’s take the money first, the money put in is important. These players, for what they put in, they deserve to have big prize winnings and big prize pots. They deserve the monetary hours to what they put in. A lot of brands and companies need to come in. The brands also have to come in for the right reasons.”
“In Esports you sometimes see, in general, that brands come in just to join the wave. But it’s best when a brand actually cares about the game or the sport. That’s the sweet spot. When it comes to FIFA you look at the big leagues of actual football and they have to come into the game. If you look at France they’re already there, they have two divisions for FIFA. Every team in the league should have their own professional FIFA player. That’s where it starts. There should be a league for each country and then replicate the champions league and also have a worldwide league similar to FIWC.”
Chuboi on FIWC17
Finally, I asked him about any players that aren’t well known but have a chance of winning the tournament.
“The thing about FIWC, normally one guy comes out of nowhere and wins the whole thing. A lot of people know him already but one guy to look out for is AFC Ajax Dani. He is the Dutch champion right now and since the end of the Berlin FUT finals, his performance has been insane. A lot of the pros are finding it hard to deal with him and he’s a very passionate player who screams when he scores.”
The biggest FIFA Esports event starts tomorrow, don’t miss it!