“EA Sports- It is in the game.” They are just a few words, but if gamers hear them, their hearts skip a beat.
We bet there is a game in your head that you think this blog post will be about. Yes, we will have a look at the world of FIFA 18.
We found a pretty cool dataset that we customized and uploaded to AnswerMiner to find some interesting results. You can download the original dataset from here.
Is It Just a Game?
We are talking about video games, and many people think that all video-game data is created artificially and does not come from reality.
Most of the time they are right, but not with FIFA. Electronic Arts (EA) spends a lot of money to get up-to-date and relevant information about soccer players and their skills, so the basic information is quite close to the real values.
The game predicts their future skills based on the players’ in-game activities (training, playing style, played minutes, etc.).
Let's see what the numbers tell us.
Young Players vs. Old Players
Age is one of the most important factors in a soccer player's career. Twenty years ago mature, experienced players were wanted by the top clubs, but that has changed. Nowadays, many clubs try to sign relatively young but skilled players.
We examined the FIFA 18 dataset, nearly 18,000 rows, to find the median age of the players in the game.
That graph shows that many players are between 19 and 29 years old. There is a big drop after that and a dramatic decrease in the number of players after age 30. The reason can be that many players retire in their early 30s.
That is not surprising, 14,672 players are under 30, and only 3,322 are older than 30. This data confirms the previous statement that older players are no longer wanted by top clubs.
Which League Is the Youngest?
It is no secret that many top clubs have a second or third team in a lower league, and their youths play there or loan them to a lower-rated league.
The numbers show the same.
If we look at the chart above, we can see that the youngest league is the Finnish Veikkausliiga (median age: 22), followed by the Swiss Super League, Holland Eredivisie, English League Two, German 3. Liga, Belgian First Division A, and Austrian Bundesliga (median age: 23).
In the top five leagues, the youngest is the French Ligue 1. (median age: 23.5) and the oldest is the Italian Seria A and Spanish Primeira A (median age: 25).
Am I Enough Tall?
Height is a key factor if you would like to be a soccer player. It can affect your playing position on the field. If you are on the shorter side, then it is better to be a midfielder than a defender.
In the histogram below, you can see that the median height is 181 cm (about 5ft. 11 in.), and 71% of the players (highlighted in yellow) are between 175 cm (about 5 ft. 8 in.) and 188 cm (about 6 ft. 2 in.).
Let’s see how the height changes if we examine the positions of center back and central midfielder. It is obvious that if you would like to be a good defender, then you should be tall.
This chart shows that defensive skills are directly proportional to height. The best defenders’ median height is above 185 cm (about 6 ft. 2 in.), so it seems to be true that you have to be relatively tall to be a good defender.
What about the midfield? A central midfielder should be smaller than a defender because he needs to be agiler and able to change his direction quickly. But what do the numbers show?
The greater the midfielders’ skills, the lower the median height. It is not a problem if you are a short player because you can be the next Messi (170 cm, about 5 ft. 6 in.) or Iniesta (171 cm, about 5 ft. 7 in.).
Can I Earn a Living?
Wage is a crucial factor for a player. If a club cannot pay enough for a player, or a player gets a higher offer from another club, then he will leave. How much does a player earn in a week?
The median of wage is 4,000 EUR, what is quite good. Therefore, it is worth it to continue your soccer career if you are better than an average player.
Of course, you can get a much higher wage if your skills are better. Just have a look at the chart below.
There is a clear rise in wages if the overall rank is 83 or higher. They are the top players who bring home a lot of money.
Other Interesting Facts
In FIFA 18, some players’ real faces are rendered while others are not. You could say it is only coincidence whether or not a player’s real face appears in the game. However, the numbers show us something else.
Overall, the chance that a player’s real face appears in FIFA 18 is only 6.79%. If the player plays in the English Premier League and his weekly wage is 43,500 EUR or more, then the chance is 88.2% that his face appears in the game.
International reputation is also an important factor. However, is there any chance for a player’s real face to appear if his reputation is only one out of five?
The answer is yes. Look at the left side of the above image. The chance of using real face is 49.28% if the player’s reputation is one, his value is 637,500 EUR or more, he plays in the English Premier League, and his wage is under 43,500 EUR.
Based on the data, can we predict the nationality? Yes, we can. Of course, we cannot tell 100% sure, but we can conclude that information from the data.
Let’s see an example.
The chance is that a player’s nationality is German is 31.51% if his strength is 75 or more, his value is above 337,500 EUR, and his wage is under 1,500 EUR.
We have nearly the same chance (35,71%) if the player’s height is 185 cm (about 6 ft. 2 in.) or more, his weak foot is over 4, his value is under 337,500 EUR, and his wage is also 1,500 EUR or lower.
A dataset such as FIFA 18’s can hold a lot of hidden but important information that could be useful to you. With this dataset, you can practice and discover some interesting correlations while you have fun.
However, do not forget that you can make the same visualizations with your own datasets, such as survey results, marketing campaigns, financial spreadsheets, or patient database. With AnswerMiner, the exploration is easy and fun.