FIFA and Presenting Partners EA SPORTS™ and PlayStation® are delighted to announce that this year’s edition of the FIFA Interactive World Cup (FIWC) has reached a significant milestone, with one million players now registered for the tournament.

The world’s largest virtual football tournament has been part of FIFA’s event portfolio since 2004, initially beginning as a series of live consumer events around the globe. The introduction of PlayStation®3 (PS3™) and its online playing mode for FIWC 09, through PlayStation® Network, had a huge impact on the reach of the event, resulting in exponential growth in participant figures, as highlighted by an increase from 28,000 players in 2008 to one million in 2012.

Having been awarded a place in the prestigious Guinness World Records as the largest online gaming tournament in the world for FIWC 10 (775,000 players) and FIWC 11 (869,543 players), the event has yet again broken all of its own records, reaching the one million mark with more than two months to go before the end of qualifying for the Grand Final.

To celebrate reaching one million players, FIFA has carried out a survey of more than 10,000 of the registered gamers. An incredible 58 per cent of players believe the virtual skills learned playing EA SPORTS’ FIFA 12 on PS3™ actually improves their real-life skills on the pitch. The study found that when it comes to honing technique, a match of FIFA 12 can prove just as effective as an actual training session.

The survey revealed that 46 per cent believe that participating in the FIFA Interactive World Cup has improved their understanding of football tactics when it comes to the real game. Twenty-three per cent of players credit FIFA 12 with improving their skill and 17 per cent are convinced it gives them better awareness of other players on the pitch.

Year after year, the world’s 24 best virtual footballers come together to compete at the FIFA Interactive World Cup Grand Final. The FIWC champion walks away with USD 20,000 in prize money and an exclusive invitation to the prestigious FIFA Ballon d’Or gala. Do you have what it takes to win the FIFA Interactive World Cup? Watch the above videos for a taste of the FIWC experience.

Contestants can still participate in this year’s FIWC through an online tournament played on the PlayStation Network by registering “in-game” in FIFA 12 on their PS3. For more information on the FIWC, click on the link to the right.