The current edition of EA Sports' wildly successful Fifa Interactive World Cup has surpassed one million players for the first time in the tournament's history, and players have claimed a link between playing the game well and their corresponding abilities on a real football pitch.
The Fifa Interactive World Cup (FIWC) has grown significantly since its introduction in 2004, with fans around the world competing in the leading online gaming tournament in the world - a claim recently acknowledged by the Guinness World Records.
The number of competitors passed the 1 million mark for the first time this year, with over 130,000 more players than in the 2011 edition.
In a survey of 10,000 registered players using the PlayStation 3 version (the FIWC is sponsored by Sony) carried out by Fifa it was discovered that 58 per cent of competitors noticed a palpable improvement in their real life football skills after putting in the hours online.
The survey found that 46 per cent of participants believed competing in the FIWC enhanced their understanding of football tactics when it came to the real game.
In addition, 23 per cent of players credited the FIWC with improving their skill level and 17 per cent remained adamant it gave them an increased awareness of the movement of other players on the pitch. With prize money of $20,000 on offer for the FIWC World Champion it is perhaps unsurprising to learn that 43 per cent of participants claimed that they had even dreamt about playing Fifa '12.
PlayStation 3 gamers can still participate in this year's FIWC through the online tournament. For more information on the FIWC, go to: www.fifa.com/fiwc.