While nations battle it out in real-life World Cup matches thousands of miles away in Germany, Korean soccer fans have made FIFA Online the country's most-played online video game ever, Electronic Arts boasted Wednesday.
At one point, FIFA Online, a PC soccer title only available in Korea, pulled in 100,000 peak concurrent users--corporate jargon for the number of people playing at one time. The largest number of people who have played the game in one day is 600,000, according to EA.
Currently in the open-beta stage of development, FIFA Online also pulled in 33,000 online soccer players at one time over the first weekend it was available. The game's release date of May 25, shortly before the 2006 FIFA World Cup began, was no coincidence, EA said.
"We worked hard to get the game up and running in a time frame that allowed people [to] weave the online game into their overall summer soccer experience," EA spokeswoman Tammy Schachter told GameSpot. "Although the game is not tied to the World Cup, it made sense to launch it in a time frame when the world is celebrating soccer."
EA has a lock on the rights to the FIFA license until 2014, and the company points to its online FIFA test in Korea as a step toward a broader venture into online sports gaming. In February, EA teamed up with Neowiz, a Korean publisher and developer, to help bring its soccer games to South Korea.
"Partnering with a local expert (Neowiz) to deliver an online downloadable game is a new and unique publishing model for EA," Schachter said. "We are thrilled to see that online gamers are embracing a sports title so enthusiastically."
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