Swedish Startup Leverages NFTs to Rival EA Sports FIFA

A Swedish startup, named GOALS,  hopes to rival EA Sports next year as the top football game developer, but with an added twist; they’ll incorporate digital assets.



GOALS is building a multiplayer football game that offers a real football simulation, much like EA Sports FIFA and the now-defunct Pro Evolution Soccer did. Rather than making it a true simulation, they’re moving towards an arcade-style game. The big difference will be how players manage their teams; their players will be NFTs that they can buy, sell and develop to accrue real-world value.

There’s hope that will enable them to steal market share from the EA Sports title, set to be renamed EA Sports FC. It allows players to trade cards, but only for in-game currency, and teams are reset each season, meaning gamers have to start again and spend money with EA Sports to do so. That’s a model GOALS hopes to fight against with their release.

“You have a huge incumbent in a monopoly position. They are not innovating in terms of gameplay. They’re focusing on revenues,” co-founder and CEO Andreas Thorstensson says of EA Sports’ title. “That’s where a startup has the chance to actually beat them. But we want to do things a little bit differently.”

By doing things differently, they mean bringing together the digital asset space, in this instance NFTs and football. It’s not a new concept; different digital asset projects have been met with varying degrees of positivity. The football industry has welcomed fan tokens, a crypto-backed digital asset that offers influence over club decisions. They’ve proven popular across Europe and recently appeared in Mexico, and have also spread to other sports. They offer a real-world benefit for owners, who can buy and sell their tokens should they wish.

However, there has been a backlash to crypto companies becoming involved in football, specifically the ownership of football clubs. Crypto company WAGMI United owns Crawley FC, and they recently announced they’re releasing an NFT-only third kit, which has been met with widespread derision. The same applies to the gaming industry. There are plenty of crypto games out there, but plans by some developers to launch NFTs into existing titles have been met with disdain. How can GOALS ensure they harness the positive side of digital assets and avoid the negativity the industry attracts?

They’ll ensure the gamer gets a real benefit for their involvement. One argument with FIFA is that you can sign a player, for instance, Lionel Messi, and a hundred other players could sign him simultaneously. Teams all look similar, and you never really own the player; when the new title comes out, he’s gone. GOALS is different; they want every single player to be different and for you to own that unique player.

“DNA is an essential part of what makes each human being unique, and the same logic will apply in GOALS,” their website states. “A player’s DNA will affect their stats and looks, but more importantly, it cannot be replicated. Therefore, every player in GOALS will be one-of-a-kind and exclusive to the owner.”

There are interesting concepts contained within the startup, and the trailer adds to the excitement. There’s already a new football game in development, UFL from Strikerz Inc., and it hopes to take on EA Sports without the NFT angle. Any success GOALS might have depends entirely on how receptive the crossover industries of football and gaming are to their digital asset model. Get it right, as with fan tokens, and they could have a hit on their hands.