The Way EA's beautiful game is impacting how professional footballers play in real li
Fast forward ten years and football games have evolved driven by an obsession with precision and realism.
But games like FIFA are not any longer just mirroring real life -- pièces 17 de la FIFA pour une Xbox they're really beginning to influence the way professional footballers play with the sport.
FIFA 18 developer EA SPORTS has for a long time employed tens of thousands of information collectors that analyse and make databases teeming with complex player statistics.
"We record and study the way the players move about the pitch, the accuracy of their passing, how they take a penalty, their headers, and even the physics of the ball," EA SPORTS producer Gilliard Lopes Dos Santos told FIFA.com.
But now something interesting is happening when it concerns the connection between the video game and the sport.
"We are living in a era when the actual and virtual sway each other," said Lopes Dos Santos.
"Bizarrely, we frequently see that footballers learn things from video games. It's a permanent two-way process."
Head the (virtual reality) gap
Since Germany defender Mats Hummels explained to FIFA.com: "Clearly, a professional footballer can use his own experience to handle certain scenarios in this game. Conversely, some people maybe utilize what they learn in FIFA if they find themselves on a pitch"
This surely came in handy for Parma goalkeeper Marco Amelia, who in 2008, saved a penalty from Ronaldinho before proclaiming: "It was like playing against him on PlayStation. http://www.fifacoins.fr/ He had the same run-up. It was very odd ."
It's not the first time in-game player behaviour has inspired action in real life.
Arsenal youngster Alex Iwobi revealed to this New York Times which FIFA helped him improve parts of his game.
The winger was particularly fond of Aiden McGeady, who despite being far from a world-class player in real life, was a formidable force on FIFA.
"He had one flip that I would go out into the backyard and practice," Iwobi explained.
Lionel Messi -- the very first PlayStation footballer
I think he can take advantage of every mistake you make."
The contrast is hardly surprising, Messi has always had a close connection with football video games.
Arguably his type of play set the tone for the dominance of PES's gameplay in the early 2000s, he was used for bulk of the motion capture process.
And he's obsessed with gambling. His team-mates report the Argentine would spend up to 3 hours per day following training playing soccer video games.
He takes the Barcelona tactics from the training ground on the TV display, using possession to frustrate his enemies.
"When the game is complex I keep the ball in defence.
"I play with from one centre-half to another and the opponent gets angry. I do it to kill time around the clock"
How ratings affect player behaviour
As the gap between the real and the virtual closes, bonds between players and their digital representations become tighter.
Stats are no longer just random numbers, but are calculated using a nearly scientific-like methodology.
In-game avatars today supply an accurate and objective perspective on the way players compare across all attributes -- from strength and speed, to free-kick accuracy, passing and dribbling ability.
Thus, professional footballers care today about their FIFA evaluation than ever before.
So much so the New York Times reports some brokers have called up EA to beg for upgrades for their players' ratings.
Retired French midfielder Edouard Cisse shown on FIFA.com: "I even know of gamers who have changed their own stats in the game, however if a team-mate finds out... it is pretty embarrassing!"
When FIFA 17 came last year, Chelsea's Michy Batshuayi openly expressed his disappointment to EA after getting what he thought was an uncharitable departure evaluation. He tweeted: "59 passing... so feeble".
Many players went one stage further.
Everton's Romelu Lukaku, for example, employed a ratings snub as fuel to keep on improving in real life.
As every aspect of gamers' games are placed under the microscope, FIFA scores have come to be a true motivator to drive and improve performance on the pitch.
After all, a couple decades back, Sports Interactive -- the team behind Football Manager, reached an arrangement with Prozone Sports to provide data to leading clubs to assist identify gift.
What is abundantly clear is how synonymous FIFA has become with the real game -- in the EASPORTS-branded match statistics to the Sky Sports-style FUT package walkouts, the boundaries between the two worlds of gambling and professional soccer have become ever more blurred
We have always thought of supervisors, vendeurs légitimes des pièces de la Xbox agents and now footballers themselves since the main powerbrokers in football -- are gaming programmers about to become major players too?