Esports Insider had the chance to speak to Andy Kerslake, one of the men behind PitchSwitch – a new concept which merges popular game title FIFA 17 with 5-a-side Futsal.
The concept behind the event is simple. Two of five players will be picked at random from an entering team and they will compete in a game of FIFA. After the game of FIFA is done and dusted, the two teams of five will take to a football pitch and battle it out. The scores are then combined to give the overall winner. The first event is to be held in Torbay, Devon and the winners will each receive an EPL ticket thanks to EA Sports.
ESI: This is certainly an intriguing concept – where did it come from?
Andy: I’ve been a gamer from the infancy of gaming and I just haven’t shaken it off yet. I’m also really active, so that’s where the Futsal side comes in and because I work with a lot of people who know a lot about live streaming all of the pieces of the proverbial jigsaw fell into place and this random concept became a reality.
The core purpose of this event and the idea behind it is to keep gamers active and on their feet. Effectively, the idea is a seed and we’re going to try and make it grow. It’s impossible to ignore the growth of esports and video games, so the core message of trying to keep gamers active is key for us.
ESI: You’ve got a great prize on offer – with each player of the winning team going to a Premier League match of their choice. How did that come about?
Andy: When I initially had the idea, I went and spoke to the Devon Football Association. The idea was very well received, so we moved forward. I speculatively reached out to EA with the idea and they again came back with glowing praise. When I asked if there was anything they could provide for a prize, this is what they gave us. It’s a really great prize and might even see people travelling all the way to Devon to compete in the event.
ESI: You mention on the website that this will be streamed. How are you going to stream it and where?
Andy: Due to the multi-faceted nature of the tournament, I’m having to discuss with Twitch as to whether it’s suitable. We plan on having a FIFA camera, a pitch camera and a roaming camera so we can capture all of the action. PitchSwitch on Twitch has quite the ring to it though so that’s the hope. If not then we will explore YouTube and we have our own streaming capabilities if it comes down to that.
We have lots of production features planned which will be revealed later though.
ESI: So what’s the plan? Is this going to be rolled out further afield?
Andy: At the moment the project is still very much in its infancy. The first event is at the end of January (check it out here) but the sky is the limit. This first event is basically a proof of concept and we would love to roll it out to more areas. There’s no reason that in the future we couldn’t have regional finals and even a national final.
ESI: So do you think it favours amazing FIFA players or amazing footballers?
Andy: To be honest my dream is to see five players that are extremely good at FIFA but not so great on the pitch amass a ridiculous advantage and then try and defend it against a set of really good footballers. I genuinely don’t know who would win! Due to the prize being a pretty good one, we think we will get a lot of very good footballers. It just remains to be seen how well they will do on FIFA in comparison. I’m pretty excited to see the results.