FIFA Surpasses 100 Million Mark; Ultimate Team Is Now Free

EA Sports today said its FIFA franchise broke the 100 million barrier, in terms of lifetime sales, making it the top-selling sports game of any type worldwide. FIFA joins gaming staples like Mario and Pokémon in the nine-digit club.

A news release touting the milestone reminded that FIFA Ultimate Team - the card-based team-building and management mode that's carried over to EA Sports' Madden and NHL titles - is now free for all players on the Xbox 360 and PS3.

EA Sports' FIFA series dates to 1993 and releases on just about every platform imaginable; that plus football's status as the global No. 1 sport helps explains the surge past 100 million. The title has also surged to become one of the most critically acclaimed sports games, across all sports offerings, over the past three years.

What's interesting though, is a Guinness World Records news release from E3 2010 lauding EA Sports for "Best Selling Soccer Video Game Franchise" listed its sales count at "more than 68 million copies sold." The figure cited could be older than June; there's no date on it.

EA Sports cited internal data - plus sales of 2.6 million in the first five days after the game released Sept. 26 - in the 100 million claim, made today in a news release. The publisher said FIFA 11 already has shipped 8 million copies to retailers and sales are up 20 percent over what they were last year.

Matt Bilbey, who as EA Sports' "Vice President of Football" has the best title this side of Kevin Butler, thanked fans in the statement.

"Few videogame franchises ever reach the 100 million units mark," he said. "It is a wonderful tribute to all of these fans playing FIFA 11 that our most popular and played DLC [Ultimate Team] is available today for the first time ever for free."