Is the 2v2 format from the eClub World Cup the future of FIFA esports?

The FIFA19 tournament saw a unique format which proved popular with both players and spectators – there’s certainly a lot of potential there

Last weekend saw the third ever FIFA eClub World Cup, with football clubs and esports organisations from around the world competing in the televised tournament.

Having so many factions present lead to a unique opportunity to experiment with a different format, and it was a risk that paid off greatly.

The tournament made every organisation field a team of two, with one player on each console (PlayStation 4 and Xbox One). Each match was a best of three series, which would see each team’s Xbox players and PlayStation players battle in the first two matches.If the results were still even after those, a coin toss would decide the console and the deciding match would be played as a 2v2.

Not only did this create exciting and refreshing gameplay but also introduced the world to fascinating scenarios such as who should control the goalkeeper’s movements and how players off the ball could create space in a way that simply is not possible in 1v1s.

The format made for fantastic viewing and was also popular with the players including tournament winners Donovan ‘Tekkz’ Hunt and Nicolas ‘Nicolas99fc’ Villalba.

“It’s probably my favourite tournament I’ve ever played in.” said Tekkz. “The 1v1 tournaments are really stressful but when it’s 2v2 it’s just funny and a bit of a laugh. Luckily, me and Nicolas were good together in the 2v2s so when one of us lost, the other one could pull us through.”​

Nicolas agreed adding: “It was my favourite too. I prefer 2v2 and I want more team formats, maybe even Pro Clubs but I also want to still compete in 1v1s too.”

All the attention the 2v2 format was getting did not go unnoticed by EA and Christian Volk, FIFA’s Director Gaming & eFootball, could not help but be excited.

“When I looked around and see what the players are saying, what the audience are saying, I believe there’s huge potential in this format,” he said. “There was a lot of excitement and drama, it puts the game in a different perspective by adding a team element.

“I think it’s too early to say (whether we’ll see this format in more tournaments), we don’t know how different formats will evolve across the next few months or even years.

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“I’ll closely be monitoring what the community says because; at the end of the day, it’s all about the player. If you can tell compelling stories around 2v2s and create team cohesion, it’s worth it absolutely.​”

This year’s FIFA eWorld Cup will undoubtedly feature the classic 1v1 matches, but as tournament organisers continue to experiment,we could see the rise of 2v2 matches.

Gfinity successfully employed a 2v2 format for the Elite Series earlier this year while the eClub World Cup’s hybrid of 2v2 and 1v1 made every match feel fresh. This will certainly be something that continues to develop and could be what sets FIFA esports apart from traditional football as well as other esports.

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