Additionally, Xbox will serve as the Official Licensed Video Game Console of the 2006 FIFA World Cup, which will be held from June to July 2006 in stadia across Germany. Xbox will work with FIFA to introduce specially branded retail offers celebrating the 2006 FIFA World Cup.
Xbox and Electronic Arts will be the presenting partners of The FIFA Interactive World Cup, a new series of tournaments combining on- and off-line football action featuring EA's FIFA Football 2005 on Xbox and Xbox® LiveTM. Kicking off this year, the FIFA Interactive World Cup will travel to six continents from October to December 2004, with the finals being played at the FIFA Player of the Year Gala in Zurich in December 2004.
Throughout the three-month tournament on Xbox Live, each heat will see players in the FIFA Interactive World Cup compete on EA's FIFA Football 2005. Players will also enjoy participating in real-life football drills, tips and tricks sessions with international football experts in between heats. Additionally, a host of guest appearances, prizes and musical surprises are planned throughout the tour. More details on the events will be released later this year.
"We're excited to be part of the 2006 FIFA World Cup," said Mitch Koch, Corporate Vice President, Microsoft Home Entertainment Division. "The world's most popular sporting event is teaming with the world's most powerful and exciting video game console to give fans a whole new reason to love football – and they can only experience it through Xbox Live. With the FIFA Interactive World Cup, we're starting a new tradition of virtual football on Xbox and Xbox Live – fans will truly understand why 'it's good to play together.'"
"This innovative project concept will enable us to exploit further opportunities to promote and develop the game of football at all levels worldwide," said FIFA General Secretary Urs Linsi. "The FIFA Interactive World Cup will be launched just as FIFA steps into the second century of its existence and will give fans an additional reason to love football. The FIFA Interactive World Cup will herald a new tradition of football games and test football players' virtual abilities in a completely new way. We are proud to pay tribute to a completely new category of football player at the next FIFA World Player Gala."
"The FIFA Interactive World Cup is going to be the place for authentic, interactive play for football fans all over the world, and we're pleased to be working with Xbox and FIFA to bring it to life," said Jan Bolz, Vice President of Marketing and Sales, EA Europe. "Our game enthusiasts asked us for a way to broaden the scope of their gaming challenge and this event is for them, combining the excitement of FIFA Football 2005 from EA with Xbox Live support and real-world football tournaments, to test their physical as well as virtual abilities in a completely new and interactive way."