Microsoft and Electronic Arts are planning a FIFA Interactive World Cup tournament - sanctioned by the sport's governing body - to be held between October and December of this year on Xbox Live and at real-life events around the world.
Announced at the Games Convention in Leipzig today, the Interactive World Cup will combine a series of online tournaments with live meet-ups - featuring drills, tips and tricks sessions with international football experts, guest appearances, prizes and musical acts - and culminates at the FIFA Player of the Year Gala in Zurich this December where the finals will be played out.
The three-month tournament will involve players from all over the world, and uses EA's FIFA Football 2005 for Xbox, which is due out in Europe in October. PS2, Cube and PC versions are also planned for release at the same time, however the tournament - which also celebrates Xbox's position as official licensed console of the 2006 World Cup - will take place exclusively on Microsoft's platform.
"The FIFA Interactive World Cup will be launched just as FIFA steps into the second century of its existence and will give fans an additional reason to love football," FIFA General Secretary Urs Linsi commented. "The FIFA Interactive World Cup will herald a new tradition of football games and test football players' virtual abilities in a completely new way. We are proud to pay tribute to a completely new category of football player at the next FIFA World Player Gala."
More details of the tournament will be announced in the coming months.