For 25 years, the football simulation game FIFA has been an integral part of the world of electronic sports. Game producer, Electronic Arts, released what would be the start of a phenomenon back in 1993, with the series’ first title, “FIFA International Soccer”. Four professional players represent the Royal Blues on the FIFA esports scene: Tim "Tim Latka" Schwartmann, Lukas "Idealz" Schmandt, Michael "Deos" Haan and Philipp "Eisvogel" Schermer.
FIFA is a football simulation game produced by Canada-based video game company EA SPORTS. The game involves two players competing head-to-head against each other in what can be thrilling, end-to-end encounters. Regular changes and updates to the game require professional esports players to be incredibly adaptable. Alongside getting the tactics right, the most decisive skills an esports player needs are quick reactions, good coordination and the ability to read the game.
Since July 2016, FC Schalke 04 has been involved in FIFA. Four miners represent the S04 in the football simulation: Tim “Tim Latka” Schwartmann on the Xbox One and Michael “Deos” Haan, Philip “Kingfisher” Schermer and Lukas “Idealz” Schmandt on the PlayStation 4. The professional Schalke esports FIFA players hone their skills for up to six hours a day by playing the game. And the pair have both experienced success, as they regularly qualify for the biggest tournaments in the FIFA esports scene.
In the Weekend League, players compete online against rivals from all over the world. A particular attraction of the Weekend League is that players are matched against each other randomly. The esport professionals therefore have to be capable of adapting to whichever opponent they face. The Weekend League begins on a Friday and ends the following Monday. In that time period, players can contest up to 40 games. Success in the Weekend League grants players worthwhile rewards and qualification for future tournaments.
Germany is the strongest FIFA nation in the world.
The S04 Knappencup is an esports youth tournament, aimed at ambitious, non-professional players from the Gelsenkirchen region. In front of 100,000 visitors to the big Schalke Day in 2016, Tim „Tim Latka“ Schwartman came out on top in the first ever S04 Knappencup. Schwartmann has since then turned professional. Staying true to FC Schalke’s mission statement, the club’s esports division aims to maintain for a strong relationship with the region and fans. In the sporting scene, it strives for a sustainable and long-lasting concept. For this reason, FC Schalke 04 esports also promotes the development of young talents.
Where are the games broadcasted?
Big events like the EA SPORTS FIFA 18 FUT Champions Cup in Barcelona are broadcasted live on TV and online on the streaming platform Twitch. Matches involving S04’s professional esport players are followed by, on average, around 80,000 people from all over Europe, and the players proudly represent the Royal Blue of Schalke – a club from the heart of the Ruhr Valley.