The FIFA Interactive World Cup 2012 (FIWC12) was a record-breaking success with over 1.3 million registered players. The overwhelming amount of participants for the 2013 edition helped smash previous FIWC records and secured the virtual world championship a place, for the third year in a row, in the Guinness World Records Gamer’s edition.
For FIWC12, claiming a seat at the Grand Final alongside FIWC11 champion Francisco Cruz meant having to overcome some 1.3 million virtual footballers for one of only 23 available seats for the Grand Final. There were two ways in which participants could qualify for a seat in the FIWC12 Grand Final: online qualifiers and live events. Online qualification comprised of 6 online seasons. The top two finishers for each seasons qualified for Dubai. 11 Live Qualification Events were held throughout the world with gamers gathering to compete in the hopes of claiming a seat in Dubai. At each of the Live Qualification Events spectators and players enjoyed a variety of entertainment including live music, contests, and dazzling displays of football skill.
FIFA Ballon d’Or GalaWhile many FIWC12 players were battling intensely for qualification, FIWC11 Champion Francisco Cruz embarked on his trip to Zurich in January 2012 for the FIFA Ballon d’Or Gala. Cruz got to shake hands with 2011 Player of the Year Lionel Messi, challenge Wayne Rooney to a game of EA SPORTS™FIFA 12 and talk tactics with Sir Alex Ferguson. Watch the video of Francisco Cruz at the FIFA Ballon d'Or Gala 2011.
*Dubai *With all the qualification seats for FIWC12 claimed, The FIWC Grand Final made its Asian debut from 21 to 23 May in the beautiful city of Dubai. Only the best 24 EA SPORTS™ FIFA 12 gamers in the world were successful in gaining a place to compete at the FIWC12 Grand Final. The three-day Grand Final was streamed live onlineand fans were able to follow all the drama and excitement of the tournament, culminating in the incredible penalty shoot out in the Final between 2008 FIWC champion Alfonso Ramos (Spain) and 2009 champion Bruce Grannec (France).
Ramos edged the Frenchman out on penalties to become the first player to ever win two FIWC titles. Ramos’s victory gave him the FIWC12 title, USD 20,000 in prize money and an invitation for two to the prestigious FIFA Ballon d’Or 2011 Gala, including flights and accommodation. “It means a lot to me as I am the first champion to ever win it twice!” said an emotional Ramos as tears welled in his eyes. “When I won in 2008, there were maybe 100,000 players and now it’s over a million. It’s become so very hard to win.”
“We are delighted to crown the first ever FIWC champion to win the event on two separate occasions,” said Ralph Straus FIFA’s Head of Strategy and Brand Management. “The number of players competing this year represents yet another record breaking achievement and we are looking to further strengthen our collaboration with our presenting partners, EA Sports and Sony PlayStation, to develop and drive the online growth of this remarkable initiative.”
*Incredible sights * All 24 Grand Finalists enjoyed an action-packed itinerary for the three-day Grand Final. When they weren’t competing in incredible settings - on the sands of Jumeirah Beach, in the beautiful ballroom of the Burj Al Arab - or watching the quarter-final draw atop the Burj Khalifa - the world’s tallest building, they enjoyed scenic flights, boat trips and even an indoor football match with Former FIFA World Cup winners Luca Toni and Christian Karembeu.