It looks like one of the most renowned names in sports history is making its esports debut, but not in the way you’d expect
Real Madrid will be focusing its esports efforts in China for the meanwhile by picking up a team in FIFA Online 4, the team announced on Weibo according to Abacus News. A popular offshoot of Electronic Arts’ FIFA franchise, the FIFA Online series is the most popular soccer game in Asia, enjoying particular success in South Korea.
The organization doesn’t appear to have signed any players to its roster just yet. Although it may appear odd for a team like Real Madrid, which is near synonymous with European soccer, to invest in the Asian region, the platforms FIFA Online is played on in China could provide the answer. In contrast to its console counterpart, FIFA Online is free-to-play, and can be played on both PC and mobile—an industry which already generates roughly $16 billion in China alone, according to market research agency Niko Partners.
FIFA Online 4 is still not available as a full game. The beta version opens on May 17, and the game itself is expected to release this summer. The Android version of the game is distributed exclusively by Tencent in China, which already owns Riot Games, as well as shares in Fortnite developer Epic Games, and the exclusive publishing rights to PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds.