Realism in FIFA? How social realism enabled platformed racism in a video game

Sam Srauy, John Cheney-Lippold


Platformed racism offers a unique lens through which to investigate technological structures that enable racism. Online video games, such as EA Sports’ FIFA series — which dominates the soccer video game market share through its touted realism — feature these structures. Like many platforms, FIFA enables representations of real bodies (i.e., professional soccer players). But, unlike many games, FIFA enables game players to directly affect the creation/modification of these representation in the form of player character cards. Analyzing a census of six years of player cards, this study found that platformed racism was enabled because the game’s realism invited racism when players tried to maintain that realism. The study concludes that the catalyst for racism to emerge in FIFA was the drive towards realism.


platformed racism; social realism; video games; soccer; cultural production

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