I received Fifa 2010 for the holidays. It was a great gift since I hadn't played any of the franchise since 98.
The complexity of Fifa has increased over the past ten years in many ways. There are hundreds of keypad combinations to achieve rainbow kicks, jukes and spin moves. Modes of play now include exhibition, team management and creating your own player to rise through the farm leagues. Playing permutations have exploded and with good reason new players or those coming out of retirement have much to fear of this stunning franchise.
Most impressive of all, though, is how the designers have handled the on boarding challenge. Daunted by the complexity after perusing the manual, I booted up the game on the Xbox to find the first screen not a game selection dialogue, but a one on one in game experience, striker vs goalkeeper, in a practice field.
This experience does a few very important things
1. Engages immediately in game play: get me excited to dig in deeper by giving me a taste with no work or commitment
2. Familiarizes with controls: clearly a practice arena, I fooled around with all kinds of keypad combos until I was comfortable
3. Provides feedback on improvement: small hints on the top left indicate which skills I am learning
As web games continue to increase complexity from Farmville to games resembling Civilization and Sim City to WoW, it will be important for games to engage users immediately in similar ways to Fifa to ensure high conversion rates and strong initial enagement which will lead to large user bases and ultimate success.