FIFA 19 is a great football video game marred by ongoing issues with Ultimate Team.

Key events

What the pros really think of FIFA 19

"FIFA has never been as pay-to-win as it is now."

Next week, 40 FIFA 19 players representing the 20 Premier League clubs will compete at the ePremier League Final in London. This gathering of the best FIFA players in the UK is one hell of a shop-window opportunity - the two-day tournament will be broadcast live on Sky Sports, sandwiched between real-life football coverage and ad breaks packed with betting promos. The winner isn't just guaranteed a trophy - they're guaranteed exposure.

Anyone who's watched a FIFA tournament will know that most of the teams used are packed with the best players to be had from the Ultimate Team mode. These teams are filled with Icons - amazing players from yesteryear with, invariably, incredible stats - as well as special versions of current players that come with better stats than their base cards have. Without restrictions in place on which cards can be used for teams in tournaments, not only is there a disparity between the haves and have nots (or, as some say, those who've paid to win and those who haven't), but you see most teams use pretty much the same players across the board: Messi, Ronaldo (old and new), Gullit, Modric - that sort of thing.

All EA games affected as publisher's server network struggles amid Anthem demo launch

Players are struggling to get online in the likes of FIFA, Battlefield 5, and Star Wars: Battlefront 2, as EA continues to experience issues across its entire server network following the launch of Anthem's VIP demo earlier today.

EA's server troubles began around 5pm UK time this evening, as BioWare's VIP demo event got underway. In the rush to play, servers quickly became overwhelmed, with players reporting continued difficulties joining a session.

Community manager Jesse Anderson was quick to respond, telling players via Twitter that, "Servers are getting SLAMMED", and that the "team is working on it as we speak." Shortly after, EA Help reported that "more server capacity" was being added in a bid to ease network woes.

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Big FIFA 19 patch finally nerfs overpowered timed and finesse shots

EA Sports has put out a significant patch for FIFA 19 that makes some key changes to shooting.

Title update seven, out now for PC and due out for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One soon, nerfs timed and finesse shots, both of which had been considered overpowered ever since FIFA 19 came out in September 2018.

Both timed and finesse shots were particularly popular in FIFA 19, especially in online play, because of how often they'd end up in the back of the net.

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UK video game sales now 80% digital

80 per cent of UK video game sales are now digital, new figures have revealed.

The Entertainment Retailers Association said of the £3.86bn generated by the video game market in the UK in 2018, £3.09bn was from digital and £770m was from physical sales.

That digital revenue figure, which includes microtransactions, DLC, subscription services, pay-to-play as well as individual game sales, is up 12.5 per cent year-on-year, while the physical revenue figure is down 2.8 per cent. Overall, the total game sales revenue figure is up 9.1 per cent year on year.

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Significant FIFA 19 update tackles one of the community's biggest concerns

If you've ever played an online match of FIFA, you'll know it can be a frustratingly unresponsive because of lag.

FIFA Ultimate Team players who invest time and money into building powerful teams before taking them online in the high-stress world of FUT Champions find this particularly frustrating, as it can ruin their chance of getting a crucial victory during the time-limited event.

This has been a long-running issue with FIFA games, and the issue continued with FIFA 19. Now, in a somewhat surprising move, EA Sports has released an update it says is designed to directly tackle the problem.

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FIFA 19 players rejoice after patch nerfs AI defending

EA has put out a patch for FIFA 19 that adds to the game perhaps the most-requested nerf from the community.

The title update reduces the effectiveness of defending by AI teammates. This is particularly welcome, as most FIFA players find letting the computer do the dirty work of defending is a more effective strategy than getting stuck in yourself. It'll also help break down stubborn computer-controlled teams in the likes of Squad Battles.

So, here's what the patch does. The shot blocking of a defender that's being controlled by an AI teammate is less effective as EA has reduced the distance an AI teammate defender will stretch to block a shot. Similarly, EA has nerfed AI teammate tacking by reducing the distance they'll stretch when making a tackle.

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Big FIFA 19 patch nerfs 180 no-scope finesse shots

Big FIFA 19 patch nerfs 180 no-scope finesse shots

And gives Gareth Bale a new face.

EA has released a new patch for FIFA 19, and it makes some significant changes to gameplay.

The patch is out now on the PC version of the game, and coming soon to the console versions.

The headline change is to finesse shots, which most players agreed were particularly overpowered this year.

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If you watched this summer's World Cup, you'll probably have seen the Croatian national team on their run to the final. Fuelled by superstars such as captain Luka Modrić, who was awarded best player of the tournament, Croatia beat the likes of Argentina and England (it still hurts) before finally capitulating to France. In short, Croatia did a real number on the World Cup, and were a fantastic watch throughout.

EA nerfs bicycle kicks in FIFA 19's first big gameplay patch

FIFA 19 has its first big gameplay patch - and it makes a significant change to the game.

Bicycle kicks are significantly nerfed, which is very much a good thing. FIFA 19 has been roundly criticised for the prevalence of bicycle kicks and volleys - and the ridiculous success players can have with them. FIFA 19 is a game littered with overhead kicks from corners, flicks for volleys and even volley crosses for volley goals. You end up with stuff like this a bit too often:

Backheel cross + bicycle goal. from r/FIFA

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FIFA 19 gets its first title update

FIFA 19 gets its first title update

And EA has patched out Petr Cech's negotiations helmet. Boo!

EA Sports has issued FIFA 19's first title update - and it patches out Petr Cech's meme-worthy negotiations helmet.

The Arsenal goalkeeper had tweeted to joke about the fact that in FIFA 19's career mode, he wears his protective helmet. It looks quite silly.

The patch, which is live now for the PC version of FIFA 19 and out soon for the console versions, ditches the helmet and gives Cech a tie. Here's the patch note:

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FIFA 19 launch physical sales down 25% on FIFA 18

FIFA 19 physical launch sales are down 25 per cent in the UK.

Eurogamer sister site reports FIFA 19 is the biggest UK video game of 2018 after going on sale last week, as expected, but physical launch sales are down by a quarter versus FIFA 18.

According to the site, 64 per cent of the sales were of the PlayStation 4 version, 35 per cent were of the Xbox One version, leaving just one per cent for the Nintendo Switch version. Sales of the legacy version of the game (PS3 and Xbox 360) were too low to register.

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FIFA hasn't always had the best run on handhelds. A few years back the Vita got a fairly splendid outing around the launch of PlayStation's portable - only for the next Vita instalment to simply offer new kits while still sporting a full-fat pricetag, a trick that, unbelievably, EA tried again the following year. I'll never forget the grimace on the face of EA Sports' David Rutter as he painfully churned out the company line. "It's the same great gameplay," he said, at once resigned and apologetic. "And new kits."

FIFA 19 review - the spectacular, troubling video game modern football deserves

Blame Ronaldo. The moment I saw the then Real Madrid superstar score that overhead kick against Juventus in the Champions League quarter finals, I knew it would dominate the FIFA 19 experience. It was too high-profile a goal in too high-profile a match for EA Sports to ignore. The fact it was scored by FIFA 19's cover star helped, I'm sure.

Overhead kicks are in vogue. They're down with the kids, and when something in the world of football is down with the kids, EA Sports takes note. FIFA 19 isn't here for the hipsters who fork out for the Bundesliga on BT Sport. Nor is it here for the football historians, those who lament the loss of the good old days of shin-smashers and £150-a-week wages. FIFA 19 is here for the next generation - never the current, always the next. It's here for the Messi and Ronaldo rivalry keyboard warriors, the Neymar shirt-wearers from Peckham and the Paul Pogba dabbers (who have all moved on to the Floss, but hey-ho).


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EA reportedly under criminal investigation in Belgium due to FIFA's loot boxes

And failure to comply with country's gambling laws.

The Belgian government, which declared loot boxes to be a form of gambling earlier this year, has reportedly launched a criminal investigation into EA after the publisher refused to modify FIFA's randomised card pack loot boxes in order to comply with the country's gambling laws.

Esport "killer games" aren't right for Olympics, says IOC

"We cannot have ... a game which is promoting violence."

Don't expect to see esports in the Olympic Games any time soon. International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach believes the video games being played still promote violence and killing too much to be included.

FeatureFIFA 19 devs "voluntarily chose to" add pack odds disclosures

EA Sports on career mode neglect, The Journey and Jesse Lingard's hair.

With only a month remaining until FIFA 19 is released in September, the countdown to kickoff has well and truly begun. There have been a number of leaks in recent weeks from the closed beta (this is FIFA after all), and although many greatly anticipate the newest chapter in the series, others have asked whether EA is really listening to community requests. Much of the discontent revolves around career mode, which fans feel has been neglected in recent years.

FIFA 19 gameplay leaks online

FIFA 19 gameplay leaks online

Perhaps via a laundry basket.

FIFA 19 gameplay has leaked online.

The video, below, was published onto the FIFA subreddit by user WhadaFack and shows 10 minutes of the upcoming football game.

The first thing of note is the new menu for standard kick-off, which looks a lot cleaner than in FIFA 18. There are new options for kick-off, too, including "house rules" and "best of series", as well as new "advantage settings", which suggests kick-off mode will have more to it this year.

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FIFA 19 doesn't have VAR

Because it's sort of had it all along.

There were a few stars of this year's superb World Cup: Luka Modric, Kylian Mbappé and Harry "slab-head" Maguire to name but a few. But it could be argued VAR outshone them all.

FIFA 19 gameplay is all about the animations

I played FIFA 19 for an afternoon at a recent hands-on preview event, and what stood out for me were the new animations.

I've already reported on the new timed finishing mechanic, but it's worth going into detail on the animations that form a part of FIFA 19's active touch system.

New animations are hardly revolutionary for FIFA, but as someone who's put a lot of time into FIFA 18, I can report FIFA fans will definitely notice them - and they do let you do things you've never been able to before.

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Why FIFA 18 players think EA changed gameplay for the World Cup update - despite the fact it didn't

When EA Sports released the free World Cup update for FIFA 18, some players thought it played differently compared to the main game. Actually, it was more than some - there were loads of players who thought it played differently.

These players, who suspected EA Sports had tinkered with the gameplay of FIFA 18 for the World Cup update on the quiet, claimed it felt slower, with nerfed dribbling and passing. I've also seen plenty of people say the World Cup mode plays more "arcadey" than the main FIFA 18 game, with overpowered shooting from distance. I've also seen people say lofted through balls are more effective, and even spotted the suggestion the World Cup update reverts to gameplay before FIFA 18 was patched.

The truth is, the gameplay in the World Cup update is exactly the same as the gameplay in the main FIFA 18 game, Andrei Lazarescu, producer of the Switch version of FIFA and the World Cup update confirmed to me at E3. So, why do players think there's a difference?

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EA Sports: FIFA 19 cross-platform play "a net benefit to users"

But issues to work through with first-parties.

With cross-platform play once again in the spotlight after it emerged you can't use your Epic account on the Nintendo Switch version of Fortnite if you've used it on the PlayStation 4 version, many within the FIFA community have also wondered whether the feature might come to the world's biggest sports video game.

EA confirms FIFA 19 has the Champions League

EA confirms FIFA 19 has the Champions League

Free trial for FIFA 18 World Cup mode.

As expected, EA has confirmed FIFA 19 has the official Champions League licence.

There's a tournament mode for the Champions League, Alex Hunter can take on the Champions League in story mode, and the tournament will also be incorporated into FIFA Ultimate Team.

EA Sports has the Champions League licence now after a period of exclusivity on PES.

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