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FIFA Interactive World Cup returns for a new season

After a massively successful season last year, the FIFA Interactive World Cup (FIWC), a tie-up between FIFA and Sony PlayStation, revolving around EA Sports’ popular FIFA franchise, is back for its fifth season, allowing FIFA 09 players from around the world to participate in this unique event via events around the world and online through their PlayStation 3 consoles.

This year’s FIWC kicks off with the European launch of FIFA 09 on October 3, and like last year, there will be an FIWC event in India, where you can test your skills against the best in the country in a bid to become one of the 32 finalists, who will head to the FIFA World Player Gala event to fight it out against the best in the world. The qualifiers kick off in New Zealand on October 25, and we’ll let you know when we have the confirmed dates and venues for India. Qualifying events will take place in 19 physical FIWC 09 Qualifier Events all over the world including Australia, Brazil, Czech Republic, France, Italy, South Africa and the US.

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And if you can’t make it to the qualifying events, worry not. You can also participate in the FIWC qualifiers from your living room, over the PlayStation Network on your PlayStation 3. The overall winner for this year’s event walks away with a cool USD 20,000 cash prize and an all new KIA ‘Soul’ to go with it. The runner up will take home USD 5,000, while the third-place finisher will be awarded USD 1,000.

Click here for more information on the FIFA Interactive World Cup, and if you think you’ve got what it takes, head over to PSN and download the FIFA 09 demo to get a head start on the competition.

Hit the jump for the full press release

Press Release

FIFA, EA SPORTS AND PLAYSTATION RING IN 2009 SEASON OF FIFA INTERACTIVE WORLD CUP
Start practising your skills today with the all new FIFA 09 demo available for download from PLAYSTATION®Network

Geneva, Switzerland and London, UK, 11 September 2008 – FIFA, the world’s governing body of football, Electronic Arts Inc (NASDAQ: ERTS) and Sony Computer Entertainment Europe (SCEE) today announced the new season of the FIFA Interactive World Cup (FIWC), the world’s only official FIFA global football gaming competition. The FIWC is a season-long tournament mirroring the real world of football in which competitors from all around the world can participate playing EA SPORTS™ FIFA 09 on the PLAYSTATION®3 (PS3™).

This year marks the fifth FIWC season, which will kick off with the launch of FIFA 09 on 3 October. Players will be able to compete at one of 19 physical FIWC 09 Qualifier Events across the globe, kicking off in New Zealand on 25 October and covering countries all over the world, including Australia, Brazil, Czech Republic, France, Italy, South Africa and the US[BM1] . Players will also be able to compete for the 13 places available in the final for the best online players via the PLAYSTATION®Network. The 32 finalists will compete to be crowned FIFA Interactive World Player of the Year, rewarded with an invitation to the FIFA World Player Gala along with a USD 20,000 cash prize and an all new KIA ‘Soul’. For the first time in the tournament’s history, the runner up will receive USD 5,000, while the player coming third will be awarded USD 1,000.

Hopeful competitors can get a head start and practise their skills for the tournament from today by playing the official FIFA 09 PS3 demo available for download worldwide now via PLAYSTATION®Network. Registration for participating in the online leg of the FIWC 09 tournament will take place directly inside the retail version of FIFA 09 on the PS3 in early October.

“The FIFA Interactive World Cup has established itself as a premier gaming tournament, and the only one under the FIFA banner. Over the last years I have witnessed incredible virtual football action which promises thrilling games and excitement at the upcoming interactive season. I am really looking forward to the kick-off of the 5th edition where everyone has the unique chance to become a real FIFA World Cup champion,” said FIFA Executive Member Chuck Blazer, himself an avid gamer.

“Over the last four years, the FIFA Interactive World Cup has become the gaming competition for football fans and gamers. It’s the only tournament in which competitors can play as their football heroes and have their virtual skills recognised by FIFA, the real life world governing body of football,” said Matt Bilbey, Senior Director, Sports Marketing, EA. “With our partners at FIFA and PlayStation, we’re excited for this year’s season to kick off when FIFA 09 launches in early October. The development team has done an incredible job in making FIFA 09 even more authentic and fun to play, so make sure you get a taste of it now and start practicing with the demo on PLAYSTATION Network.”

”This year is PlayStation’s second season involved in the FIWC and we are very excited to see the tournament grow and evolve to establish itself as the biggest online football tournament in the world,” said Darren Carter, VP for Brand and Consumer Marketing, SCEE. “This season players will be able to truly understand the unique experience FIFA 09 on PLAYSTATION 3 and PLAYSTATION Network offers and we look forward to seeing players from around the world go onto the PLAYSTATION Network and get practising immediately.”

During last year’s tournament, players spanning the globe from New Zealand to South Africa, Brazil to Korea to the USA and Italy dribbled and scored their way through the tournament’s 20 live qualifiers, while over 25,000 players competed in the online leg. In the end, it was Alfonso Ramos from Spain who emerged victoriously from the Grand Final in Berlin. He will join his real life football heroes on the 12th of January 2009 at the FIFA World Player Gala in Zurich to accept his trophy.

EA SPORTS™ FIFA 09 for the PlayStation®3 is now powered with dynamic real-world data and analytics, lifting the game to new heights of authenticity for football fans and gamers connected online. The adidas Live Season* service is based on how real players performed in the most recent real-world matches. Gameplay will change dynamically as the performance of players and football teams in the real world experience the highs and lows during their campaigns. Additionally over 250 gameplay additions and enhancements, Custom Team Tactics, 10v10* Online Team Play and the enhanced Be A Pro: Seasons will offer players a unique football experience that matches the complexity, finesse and beauty of the real-world game. To learn more about FIFA 09 visit www.FIFA09.ea.com.

Details about the live qualifier events near you will be made available over the coming weeks at www.FIFA.com/FIWC, so check in regularly to keep your fingers on the pulse of the FIFA Interactive World Cup 2009.

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