A month ago, we had the chance to sit down with former FIFA employee and now FIFA streamer ChuBoi to talk about how competitive FIFA has changed over the years, what he thinks of traditional football clubs entering the scene and what it means to be a professional player. Enjoy!
Hi ChuBoi, thanks a bunch for your time! How’s it been since you’ve left EA to do your own thing as a streamer & commentator?
It’s been great! Especially since the esports side of FIFA has been taking off due to FIFA 17 FUT Champions. I was part of the broadcast team and I think that’s what really escalated my career so far. People don’t realize I’ve only been doing this for six, seven months only, but it’s been taking off so much that it feels like such a long time. I love these esport events though and I really want to highlight the players as the stars that they are: They have so much dedication to the game and I think it needs to be recognized.
A lot of traditional football clubs, such as WestHam or Stuttgart, have started to invest a decent amount of resources into the FIFA esports scene. Do you think that’s a positive development or do you worry that there might be a rivalry between these clubs and home-grown esport teams?
I don’t think there should be a rivalry. I like the fact that more and more football clubs are joining, it gives the scene more legitimacy. I hope that they’re doing it for the right reasons though, to support the scene rather than to just use this as a stepping stool to advertise their own brand. You see that in a few teams, where they only invest because it’s what everyone’s been doing. Wolfsburg does a good job at making their FIFA players feel like they’re a part of the football team though. So if there are more clubs doing it for the right reasons, I don’t see an issue.
I also hope that a lot of the big leagues in Europe, the Premier League, Bundesliga have something like the eLigue 1, where every Ligue 1 team has an esports team as well. France and the Netherlands are doing a good job at this because they grow the scene on the grassroots, they give esports a level of validity towards people who don’t know what esports are. They know the teams, so they just go “Oh, this is just a different facet of the team I support”. This also results in the players being taken a lot more seriously and they have better practice schedules. Hopefully the Premier League follows suit, same for the Bundesliga and Calcio A.
FUT Champions being introduced has boosted the esports scene quite a bit. FIFA was always a huge seller but never one of the A-tier esport titles. Do you think that EA have finally realised that there now is a foundation an esports scene can be built on?
I definitely think they’ve realised they now got something that they can build on. I think the scene just needed a mode to organise with and that was FUT Champions. FUT Champions brought a lot of structure into the scene and that was what it needed. The mode itself can only get better and the more clubs, advertisers and people get into it – relative to the input EA puts in – only benefits everybody. The commentators will have more games games to cast, pro players will be able to compete for higher prize pools, there will be more and more opportunities. I definitely think that EA is taking the esports scene seriously and that things are going towards the competitive side.
One of the criticisms people have made about FIFA as an esport is the component of seemingly needing to spend hundreds of dollars on Ultimate Team in order to be able to compete with the other top players. What do you think of this claim?
I think that’s changing though. This is exactly why I thought FIFA 17 was the best FIFA ever made because it flipped this over its head. Before FIFA 17 you probably had to spend quite a bit of money to compete, but ever since the introduction of FUT Champions, that’s just not the case anymore. I personally spend money on FIFA because I’m a streamer and want entertain people. But I have viewers that have way better teams than I do – and these are university students who haven’t spend a single dollar on the game! They are just really good at the game, play FUT Champions and get crazy rewards.
I’ve spend a four-digit figure on FIFA this year and these Free-2-Play viewers of mine still have better teams than I do. And that’s the way it should be! If I feel like my time’s very valuable and I want to spend money on packs instead of having to grind the players, that should be possible. If I don’t want to spend money and I want to grind in order to get good at the game, FUT Champions gives me that opportunity. FUT Champions honestly is the best thing that has happened to FIFA. Kids have never gotten Ronaldo before, but since FIFA 17 came out, I know multiple people who packed him in FUT Champions rewards.
If a kid wants to be a pro players, I think they don’t have to spend a single dollar on the game due to FUT Champions. It has changed the game.
What would you recommend to a kid wanting to be a professional FIFA player?
Be honest with yourself. Look at the skill-level you are at right now and try to get into the Top 100 Leaderboards. Study what the pros in the Top 100 do by looking them up in the Champions Channel that was introduced in FIFA 18, where you can watch the replays of all the Top 100 players. Then it’s all about time and dedication. If you really want to do it, then you can’t stop at anything. Don’t feel bad if you don’t make it in your first year though. Most of you are still young, so you’ll still have time.
The thing with the universe is, you become what you think about the most. If you wake up every day thinking that you want to be a professional FIFA player, and you have that mentality and drive, you will become one eventually. If you put in the required effort.
Thank you so much for your time!