Fact check: Did EA Spain confirm momentum on Twitter?


Did EA Spain confirm that momentum exists in FIFA? The answer is a bit mixed, because momentum is a word with many meanings.

So, the purported evidence in question is this YouTube video, which was released in a tweet published by EA Sports Spain (@EASPORTSEsp). The clip is in Spanish, but in brief it describes a concept called player morale, whereby for instance goal keepers will perform increasingly better if they make a couple of saves and vice versa. Presumably, similar conditions apply to other players as well.

Upon the discovery of this tweet, people started speculating about links between the content of the video and the recent (re)discovery that the word momentum appears in the game code, arguing that this was confirmation of the long-lived conspiracy theory about a momentum feature being present in the game.[1]

Did EA Spain confirm momentum?

There is a “tiny” problem here: Namely that the argument mixes different uses of the word momentum. As explained in an earlier article, people who believe in momentum are fundamentally divided over what momentum is. While some of them believe in a momentum feature which enhances the performance of the team doing well, others believe in a momentum feature which makes matches tighter by enhancing the performance of the trailing team. It doesn’t take a massive amount of analytical skills to work out that these two concepts are mutually exclusive. Either you reverse the momentum or you enhance it. You can’t do both.

The type of “momentum” feature which on multiple occasions [2][3] have been “discovered” in certain settings files is a feature which adjusts the difficulty level of offline single player matches in order to keep them competitive – i.e. tight – and hence interesting to the human player. The type of feature described in EA Spain’s video is more likely to enhance the existing momentum of the match than reverse it, as players doing well purportedly will be boosted and therefore all other things equal do even better.

Is EA Spain’s tweet a credible source?

While EA Spain’s YouTube clip supports the assertion that a momentum enhancing feature exists in FIFA, it’s necessary to keep in mind that EA-sources with more insight on earlier occasions voluntarily confirmed that such a feature existed in FIFA Euro 08 but has been removed the following year.

Given these circumstances, I think it’s fair to approach EA Spain with some skepticism in this regard.

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