App Review: FIFA Scores But Lack Of Video Holding It Back During World Cup
A sleek experience packed with useful information for fans of the World Cup and soccer in general, FIFA for iPhone is a suitable mobile companion for consuming match scores, live play-by-play and news among other things. After using the app to follow the Group Stage of the tournament, I found that despite a lengthy menu of impressive features, it fumbles on one major element: video. With the '14 FIFA World Cup underway, the app’s main focus is the tournament. Users are served live and recent game scores upon launch, and selecting preferred alerts and favorite teams is an intuitive process. Match schedules are listed by day, group and round. The live game experience is contained in a section called Global Stadium. Here users can view the live Matchcast that shows total minutes played, score, location and a play-by-play feed with match images. Also inside the Global Stadium are team line-ups, a fan vote tool called Man of the Match, photo galleries and games. Elsewhere in the app, there is a ton of World Cup information including news, team profiles, standings, tournament award overviews and host country information. A World Match Centre provides stats and standings from 19 global soccer leagues including the Bundesliga, EPL, Serie A and MLS. A FIFA ranking section shows men’s and women’s world rankings broken out by continent. Users can also explore FIFA programs such as Football for Hope, 11 for Health and Women’s Football. News articles include a commenting engine that can be accessed via a user’s Facebook account or by registering with an e-mail address, and most content can be shared via Facebook, Twitter or e-mail. Available languages are English, French, Portuguese, Spanish and German. FIFA for iPhone was developed in house. It is an ad-supported free download available on iOS and Android. This review was conducted on an iPhone 5 version 7.1.1 with AT&T service.
FLASH SCORES: The app flows nicely, and for the most part, it is easy to navigate. The Global Stadium is the main draw for users, housing live scores and play-by-play. Scrolling through individual plays reveals a slider bar that contains markers for key moments like goals and penalties, and interactive tweets from sources like @FIFAWorldCup are intertwined with content. User engagement features like Man of the Match (a real trophy awarded by majority of fan votes) and 360 stadium photos are fun for fans looking to poke around. The Destination section is very colorful and informative offering information on stadiums and cities in Brazil, and the app offers nine games including the FIFA World Cup Predictor Challenge and FIFA World Cup Fantasy. Some games can be played within the app by registering, and others like the Online Sticker Album lead users outside of the app environment. Advertising is limited to title sponsorships. This is clean and unobtrusive for users.
ROOM TO IMPROVE: The lack of game video is the most notable area for improvement. There is video scattered elsewhere in the app, but there is no clear path to it. If the goal is to keep fans inside the app, highlights and game recaps should be offered -- ideally within live play-by-play. The small iPhone screen makes scrolling through play-by-play a bit cumbersome at times, and there were some technical issues with the FIFA World Cup Predictor Challenge during the review period.
BOTTOM LINE: With the exception of video, most of the important elements of the '14 FIFA World Cup experience -- play-by-play, schedules, player information and news -- are nicely integrated into FIFA for iPhone. Branded tweets and images within the Global Stadium live feed offer an engaging environment for fans. While the lack of video will send users over to other sources for highlights and recaps, the app is a nice mobile companion for fans of the World Cup.
Amie Sheridan (firstname.lastname@example.org) is a freelance writer in Philadelphia.
See Sheridan's previous App Review submissions for THE DAILY:
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