Monday, 24 March 2014

[FIFA] How KSI Monopolised the Kick-Off and Nep Crashed the Market

FIFA has a strange community. I often think that it might be so strange because the players aren't primarily gamers, they're primarily football fans. Nothing wrong with that, of course, I count myself as a fine helping of both.
Compare the community to something like Guild Wars 2 - obviously the game community with which I've been most involved. GW2 has a whole myriad of media circling it - official and unofficial blogs, numerous active forums and reddits, Twitter feeds (concerning news, lore, fansites etc etc) and podcasts. FIFA, conversely, has only a few fansites (sparsely updated), a few twitter feeds, little interaction with the developers (they are EA after all) but perhaps the most active and vibrant element of the FIFA community are the YouTubers.

For Guild Wars 2 we've obviously got some big YouTubers (Woodenpotatoes, MattVisual etc) but they mostly act as news/opinion sites. The FIFA YouTubers, for a lot of people, are venerated as deities. KSI, perhaps the biggest of the lot, has recently been on an international University tour and has attracted massive crowds just to come and have the chance of playing a game with him.

As an example of how influential these YouTubers are on the community, here's two cases where a single video has effected the way the entire game is played:

1)  On 11th October 2013, KSI posted the following video:

It details a cheap method to score a goal straight from kick off by passing straight back to a midfielder once you've kicked off and then simply whacking the ball up the field to a big striker. It abuses the incredibly poorly programmed AI of the defenders in FIFA 14. It's a method of scoring which was around around 3 years ago, but we generally thought that advances in AI had squashed it, apparently we were wrong - it's become known as the "KSI kick off" and is incredibly frustrating to go up against.

The outcome KSI posting this simple two minute video is that EVERY SINGLE PLAYER is now doing this exact method straight from kick off. 90% of the time it doesn't actually work, but whether or not it is successful is entirely based upon the luck of the draw, will your defender stand around like a numpty or will he be in the right place to head it away? Who knows, lets hope the luck is in your favour. KSI is just one guy, but he's managed to influence the play-style of 75% of the players of one of the most popular games in the world.

2) Another popular YouTuber Nepenthez, made short video "Easiest Trading Method EVER!" The general idea being "buy cheap Irish players a month in advance in preparation for the St Patrick's Day Cup, when their prices will drastically rise".

A simple idea, but it was so influential that everyone bought Irish players, and I mean EVERYONE - the price of Rep of Ireland players rose steadily for the month between the release of the video and the much-anticipated St Patrick's Cup. Then when the tournament was announced everyone dropped the THOUSANDS of players they'd been hoarding back into the market.
Now, it doesn't take a degree in economics to work out what happens if you flood a market with players which everyone has already bought a month ago. What actually happened is that almost everyone invested thousands of coins into Irish players, and almost all of them lost all that money because no-one  was buying them. No-one needed to buy them! They were trying to sell their stockpiled players, not buy more! The whole thing was a debacle.

These are just two examples of the strange position of power held by FIFA YouTubers. I'm not really placing any blame on them, they're just doing their job, but a single video can crash the market or influence the play-style of the entire community, and I don't believe that is necessarily a good thing.

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