fifa-online-logoThe next logical step in the FIFA franchise – taking the game online – will be soon taken by Electronic Arts who announced the development of the PC-only, free to play FIFA Online, a title that will soon enter the closed beta stage, arriving almost out of nowhere. But I’m sure that no fan of the FIFA franchise will mind!

According to a brief press statement, FIFA Online will enter a closed beta stage on February 3, with 20,000 spots being open over at the game’s official website (and yes, you can try your luck at gaining a spot in the beta, too!). After a few months of testing and polishing, FIFA Online will enter the open Beta stage in June 2010 and everybody will be free to join!

“Listening to and engaging football fans has been one of the driving forces behind the success of our FIFA franchise and now we are inviting European football fans–in mass numbers and earlier than we ever have before–to help us develop a new football game,” said Executive Producer Kaz Makita. “Fans will determine the features that matter most, and at the end of this process, our goal is to deliver a game for fans looking for a quick football fix at home or at work.”

EA Sports’ FIFA Online will deliver 30 licensed and playable leagues, 500 clubs and more than 15,000 real players to the delight of the fans. And, of course, since the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa takes place this year, Electronic Arts won’t miss the opportunity and begin a closed beta tournament based on the event. The interesting part – the control system uses the mouse only!

At the second stage of closed beta, the game will feature a League Mode that enables fans to manage and compete as their favorite football club, and the ability to play online matches. FIFA Online will enable football fans and gamers to build their favorite club into their dream team by developing or acquiring players, upgrading skills, and getting unique apparel by earning in-game currency to acquire items or through micro-transactions. Additional content will be designed for the game based on feedback by fans.

So, all in all, I think that we can say that FIFA Online is a really promising product for the football (soccer) fans this year!