Why FIFA is inconsistent

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I hear over and over again that FUT is inconsistent. Players that you usually beat, suddenly beat you. And in squad battles, you all of a sudden lose a match on your preferred difficulty level after having won 19 in a row. Why is this? Some people attribute it to scripting, arguing that EA must have some sinister motive to make us fail now and then. But the fact is that there is a bleeding obvious and completely natural explanation if we look towards real football.

Inconsistency is normal

In football it’s a perfectly normal thing to win and lose against the  same opponent during the same season. Even a highly consistent teams like FC Barcelona only manages to win both matches against the same opponent in 2/3 of the cases.

So, why do people expect FUT to be different in this regard? It’s after all supposed to be realistic.

 Results against same opponent
(2014/15 season)
FC Barcelona
(CL + League)
Espanyol
(League)
Consistent: Won, drew or lost both 16 6
Inconsistent: Won one, lost one 5 5
Inconsistent: Won one, drew one 3 6
Inconsistent: Lost one, drew one 0 2

44% random goals

Why is football inconsistent and does the same explanation apply to FUT?

A german professor, Martin Lames, might have an answer. Based on an analysis of 2500 goals, he assessed that 44% of all goals are coincidental to some extent. Add to that the number of chances that don’t end up in the net due to bad luck, and you have an overall pretty random game.

Now, the influence from coincidence probably wouldn’t mean that much if it wasn’t for the very low scoring ratio: A typical match is decided by a total of 5-10 goal chances.

An example

Imagine a match between two teams, one of them clearly better than the other.

Team A, the better team, has 7 goal chances, each of them with a 60 % probability of scoring. Team B has 3 chances and a 40 % chance of scoring.

Even under these circumstances, there is a 5% chance that team B will end up winning and a 14% probability of a draw. Yet, surely Team A will win 80% of the time.

Hence, all you need to produce the very same thing that people call inconsistency in real football is (a) a low goal ratio and (b) randomness.

And this is of course the exact same thing with FIFA: Even though you are the better player, you should expect to lose some matches simply because luck isn’t on your side. And on top, there is of course the human factor, i.e. mental fatigue, lack of concentration, your mom disturbing you and the likes.

Conclusion

While the above is absolutely logical to me, I expect scripting believers to defend their religion with nonsense arguments such as FIFA not being comparable to real football.

I will allow myself to ignore that line of reasoning until someone has been able to put forward a reasonable argument as to why (a) it should be our default assumption that a football simulation doesn’t work like football and (b) why it makes sense to assume that coincidence doesn’t exist in FUT.

Basically, logic dictates that when you have a game with few goals and a lot of randomness, you get “inconsistency”. I haven’t seen evidence supporting the claim that any of these factors isn’t present in FUT. As a matter of fact, it is painstakenly clear to be and any other open minded person that they are!

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