What Is EA Sports FC Online? 

While the EA Sports FC series, previously known as FIFA, dominates the football gaming scene globally, Asia tells a different story. Here, EA Sports FC Online takes center stage, attracting millions of PC gamers with its unique appeal and free-to-play model. Yet, outside of Asia, it remains something of an enigma.

So what exactly is EA Sports FC Online, and how does it differ from its global counterpart? Which game modes does it offer, and in which countries is it a hit? Today we are going to answer these questions as we bring you everything you need to know about this mysterious game from scratch.

What is EA Sports FC Online?

EA Sports FC Online, previously known as FIFA Online 4, is a free-to-play massively multiplayer online football game developed by EA and published by Nexon, Garena, and Tencent. Initially released on May 17, 2018, in South Korea and subsequently in other Asian markets, the game has undergone several updates and developments since its launch and become one of the most popular football games on the continent.

The game series has evolved from EA Sports FIFA Online in 2006 to the latest iteration as FIFA Online 4 in 2018. Throughout its history, the series has seen various entries, including FIFA Online 2 and FIFA Online 3, before transitioning to FIFA Online 4 and eventually being rebranded to EA Sports FC Online following the split between EA and FIFA.

Overall, FC Online is a stand-alone version of Ultimate Team focused on microtransactions and includes everything from player cards, packs and cosmetics, extending all the way to the transfer market. The difference from the usual Ultimate Team mode that most of us are used to is that you can sign any player that has been released in the game since 2017 including ICONS, Team of the Years and many more, basically an Ultimate Team filled with generational cards. Since there are many players available to pick, you can get fantastic cards at low costs.

The game is also available on mobile for Android and iOS under the name FC Online M.

EA Sports FC Online Features

Unlike FC 24, EA Sports FC Online does not run on the Frostbite engine. The game is mainly based on the FIFA 16 game and the Ignite Engine and incorporates animations and components from FIFA 18, with gameplay and AI engine elements from FIFA 17.

Furthermore, the game shares the same licenses as FC 24 so you can find players and teams from top leagues such as Premier League, La Liga, Serie A or Bundesliga. The only difference in terms of licences is that the online game includes the second division of K-League and multiple Asian football legends that are not available in FC 24 Ultimate Team such as the Korean Icon Cha Bum Kun or the former Vietnamese star Lê Huỳnh Đức.

In terms of game modes, FC Online is divided into two main modes, Club Team and Fantasy Team. The first one is very much similar to the Seasons mode, but it’s focused on one club and its progress in its respective league. You can also participate in online games, tournaments or even simple kick off matches through Arcade mode that allows 1v1, 2v2 and even 3v3 games.

In Fantasy Team we can find Ranking Matches similar to Division Rivals, Squad Battles and even Volta Live where you can compete with players from your club in street football games. All these modes reward the players with XP or coins that can be used to unlock certain in-game prizes or buy player cards from the transfer market.

In What Countries Is EA Sports FC Online Available In?

EA Sports FC Online has carved out a significant niche for itself, particularly in Southeast Asia, where its popularity is notably high, especially in South Korea. Other countries where the game is available include China, Singapore, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Myanmar, Philippines, Taiwan, Macau, Thailand, and Vietnam.

Last year, after five years from launch, EA revealed that FC Online recorded an all-time high PC café market share of 32.62% in Korea and topped the PC café game rankings.

However, the reach of EA Sports FC Online has not yet extended globally. The international gaming community has been awaiting a version of this game since the release of FIFA World in 2014. Unfortunately, FIFA World was short-lived, as it was taken offline in July 2015 alongside other free-to-play titles by EA, such as Need for Speed: World, Battlefield Play4Free, and Battlefield Heroes.

EA Sports FC Online Esports

The phenomenal popularity of EA Sports FC Online has naturally led to the emergence of a vibrant competitive scene. Over the past few years, EA has launched several esports competitions including domestic tournaments like Korea’s eK League Championship, China’s Star League, Thailand’s Pro League, and the Vietnam Pro League.

These national championships are integral to the EA Sports FC Online Series ecosystem, the main esports program in Asia. The competition was initially called FIFA Online 4 Series and was a complete success, with the 2022 edition garnering over 200 million views. It returned last year with a new format that started with local and online competitions before concluding at the FIFAe Continental Cup.

With the transition to the FC Online branding, the competitive framework was updated to mirror the popular FC Pro ecosystem. Following the conclusion of the national championships, the best 8 teams from each country will advance to the FC Pro Masters and the season will end in August at the FC Pro Champions Cup where 16 teams will battle for the crown of the best FC Online team in Asia. The mobile version also features as an esports game in this new ecosystem, with dedicated tournaments available in China.

Furthermore, EA Sports FC Online was one of the esports events at the 19th Asian Games Hangzhou that took place in 2023. A total of 36 athletes from 22 nations competed at China Hangzhou Esports Center last September, with Thailand being crowned the inaugural Asian Games champion in EA Sports FC Online.

In wrapping up our exploration of EA Sports FC Online, it’s clear this game has carved out a significant niche in Asia, offering a distinctive twist on the football gaming formula. With its free-to-play model, vast player selection, and engaging game modes, it appeals strongly to the Asian market, despite being less known elsewhere. For those outside of its current reach, discovering what it offers could be an eye-opening experience and could influence future desires for similar features and philosophies in football games worldwide.

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