Just how are FIFA 19’s player ratings decided? Guesswork? Data collection? Statistical analysis?
Turns out it’s a mix of all three – plus one vital ingredient – Michael Mueller-Moehring.
He leads a team of 9,000 data reviewers – a network of scouts, coaches and season ticket-holders whose job it is to watch as many matches as possible.
Sound like a dream job? Think again.
Rather than relying on advanced statistics, the data reviewers upload subjective feedback on every player they’ve watched – all 18,000 of them – on a secure EA Sports website.
“We have many leagues in the game; no stats provider could offer us data for all these leagues, teams and players,” Mueller-Moehring told ESPN.
“This is also the reason why we use this online database, because it’s not possible to buy this data some way — it just doesn’t exist.”
If stats alone were used to determine players’ FIFA ratings, it would lead to inaccurate and misleading ratings.
“The stats are, in most cases, not taking into account very specific circumstances,” Mueller-Moehring explains.
“When you look at passing completion, if you play for Bayern Munich or if you play for Manchester City or if you play for Pep Guardiola, if your system is based on possession, you will have more successful passes than other players, but this doesn’t necessarily make you a better passer.
“And when you look at attributes like trapping and ball control, there is data, but the data never gives you the specific situations. Same for tackling.”Every now and then a relatively unknown player is signed for a team in the game. But with such little amounts of data around for them, how is a score worked out?
“All you know about this player is his name, date of birth and his position — and his position may be as precise as, ‘Oh, he’s a midfielder.’,”Mueller-Moehring says.
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“We guess a little bit … until our people have seen the player in action.”
Capturing a player’s mental make-up is also massively important – but with no stats to show this, the league a player is in is used make an educated guess.
“If Messi were playing in the Irish league, his attributes would drop simply because he’s not on the highest level anymore,” Mueller-Moehring explains.
“We want to base our ratings on actual performance data.”When it comes to physical attributes, it’s much more subjective.
“There are fast and strong players in every professional league in the world,” Mueller-Moehring says.
All of the feedback is then collated into 300 different data fields and 35 specific attribute categories, which determines the overall rating.