From FIFA to Fantasy Football: The Most Popular Online Football Games

Gone are the days when football used to be played only on a street with a group of friends and a ball. Of course, there is nothing like a good game of football played with friends or a game watched on TV. But thanks to technological advancements and the evolution of the gaming industry, it is now possible to also enjoy the “beautiful game” in many additional online formats, be it a virtual game of football or a bet placed on a dedicated website.

Online football games come in multiple forms and can cater to different kind of audiences. Here we listed some of the most popular ones and took a look at their most recent evolution:

Virtual Football at Online Casinos

Online casinos have been on the rise in the past few years, especially in the UK. These sites offer games by some of the most advanced providers worldwide. On top of that, many British casino sites feature a hybrid approach that allow registered users to play the latest casino games, but also virtual football games, as well as to place bets on football and other sports.

These websites’ strong point is their simplicity of access. All that users must do to start playing is to set up an online profile and verify their identity.

FIFA / EA Sports FC

Introducing the most successful franchise in the history of the football gaming world. Video Games powerhouse EA Sports has been releasing a new edition of their household title in partnership with FIFA ever since 1993. The first title was named FIFA International Soccer and was released on December 15, 1993. Throughout the years, this game has constantly evolved and reached a point where numerous professional tournaments are held every year.

However, the franchise is now taking a different turn as EA Sports didn’t reach an agreement to continue using the FIFA name. Because of that, the 2023 installment was the last to bear the name FIFA and the next edition – which is set for release on September 29, 2023 – will be simply named “EA Sports FC.”

PES (Pro Evolution Soccer)

Developed by Japanese company Konami, Pro Evolution Soccer aka PES is FIFA’s major competitor. In Japan, this game is known as Winning Eleven, and has been released annually ever since 1995. PES has traditionally been praised for its fast gameplay but has also been known among gamers for its subpar graphics.

However, the latest releases seem to have solved that problem. Like most football games, PES offers the opportunity to play alone or in multiplayer mode and has been recently also made available on mobile devices.

Fantasy Football and Fantacalcio

A relatively recent trend in the soccer gaming industry is Fantasy Football. Differently than the other games in this list, Fantasy Football started offline and was played for many years by groups of friends who would meet in person at bars and pubs to create their “fantasy team.”

Fantasy Football is based on real-life performance of the players. Each participant has an amount of virtual credits that they can use to “buy” their players, line up their team and collect points based on how they perform on the pitch every week.

In Italy, Fantasy Football is incredibly popular and known as the Fantacalcio. It has become an authentic national pastime, with many virtual leagues dating back to more than 20 years ago.

While Fantacalcio used to be managed manually via spreadsheets, the evolution of the apps market has led to the creation of different platforms and apps that have now taken the game online, making it easier for all participants to manage their favorite leagues.