Esports and The Evolution of Player Fitness in Virtual Sports
Soccer games evolved a lot in the last few years. Back in the 90s and the early 2000s, many video games, as they were called back at the time, didn’t even have the names and likenesses of famous footballers.
Generic names and international teams were the rule back in the Golden Era of Nintendo. However, by the mid-2000s, around 2004, the situation was already incredibly different.
FIFA became a product with an immense fan base, improved graphics, and several aspects that made the players really enjoy an immersive experience.
One of the things that improved significantly was the way the fitness of the players was portrayed. Older players would get tired easier and sometimes have injuries more often. Specific players that were prone to injuries in real life would be ‘marked’ or ‘set’ to have a higher probability of missing games due to injuries.
It’s interesting to note that the evolution of football games was related to how accurate the games could be in comparison with real life.
This means, for example, that a player not having a footballer available due to an injury would make him or her happier due to that! Even if the team was weaker, the sensation of an immersive experience ‘paid off’.
The Esports of the mid-2000s would even allow the player to invest part of the career mode budgets in the staff of the club. Just like in real life where online personal training is worth it because it allows you to have prime information and accountability for your results, the players could invest their virtual budget to make the team as fit as possible.
FIFA 2005 was a game that had a remarkable career mode where it was already possible to do that. We’re talking about 18 years back in time.
Nowadays, in the latest incarnations of the game that will become EA Sports FC soon, as well as Football Manager, there are several aspects of the games dedicated to the preparation of the players before starting the games.
Real Life VS Esports: The Evolution of Fitness in Sports
Part of the phenomenon witnessed in the games, that is, seeing the preparation to have a fit squad as a key aspect of the game reflects what happened in real life and society too in the last decades.
Having an active lifestyle with exercise as an important part of it is already part of the 21st-century zeitgeist.
During the pandemic, many of us watched historic matches of football and games of other sports before professional-level sports leagues returned in late 2020, and many of us were shocked by the contrast between the intensity of sports in the 20th century compared with how things are these days.
Football is a notable example of that. The way markers work these days is completely different from what footie used to be in the 80s or 90s.
Time will tell how we’ll look back at the third decade of the 21st century in 20 or 30 years in terms of the intensity of the sport and what is done to prepare the players these days.