Real Life Soccer Player Besieged By Requests To Play For Foreign Team Due To Video Game Error

from the irl dept

Video games have been steadily becoming more realistic since their first creation. Conversations about this progress has mostly centered around graphical enhancements and tech such as virtual reality that strive to better immerse the player in the fictional world in which they play. But graphical and visual enhancements aren't the only form of realism in which video games have progressed. More unsung have been the enhancements in pure data and detail in these games. For this type of progress, one need only look to management-style simulations games, such as those of the sports realm. In games centered on managing sports franchises, the depth of detail that has emerged has become somewhat breathtaking. Baseball sims, such as the excellent Out of the Park series, are an example of this as is the equally deep Football Manager series for soccer fans.

So real, in fact, have these simulations become, that they can occasionally create real-world mishaps, as happened with a French soccer player named Ruben Aguilar.

As discussed in this inteview with Goal (in French), there's a mistake in last year's version of the life-destroying management game where Aguilar is incorrectly given dual citizenship of both France and Bolivia.

With tens of thousands of players in the game, mistakes are bound to happen from time to time, but the difference here is that it's turned into an international thing. Bolivian players of Football Manager noticed his supposed South American heritage last season, but a string of strong performances in the real world (especially against French giants PSG) this year have blown up to such an extent that he made the TV in Bolivia, with the country's national team management contacting him to inquire about the possibility of him playing for them.

The error here was such that it indicated that Aguilar was available for signing to the Bolivian team under the rules of international football. How the error came about is an open question, but the fact is that Aguilar's parents were French and Spanish and he holds no citizenship, or indeed even a passport, for Bolivia. Still, the Bolivian team heeded the calls from its fans to inquire about signing Aguilar, only to learn he was not eligible to play for the team. It's worth repeating that this entire episode came about because of a single error in a single popular sports simulation game. Aguilar himself was forced to respond to all of this on his Facebook page.

For the past few weeks, we have received dozens of messages concerning the nationality of Ruben. On Facebook and Twitter many information also circulate. In order to remove doubts; by this communiqué, we affirm that Ruben was born in Grenoble (France), of Spanish father and French mother. As a result, he does not have a Bolivian passport. In any case, we thank you for all messages of support and the enthusiasm aroused to see him wearing the jersey of ‘La Verde’. ¡Muchas Gracias!

It's a funny little story, with many folks now poking fun at both the Bolivian team for not doing its homework and Football Manager for making the seemingly inconsequential error to begin with. More interesting to me, however, is how this serves as an indication of how far video games have come in terms of the realism we expect from them. So sure was the public, and even a professional soccer team, that the information in the game was accurate that all of the above acted on that information.

That's actually kind of cool.


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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 12 Oct 2017 @ 8:56pm

    It's a little known fact that Erbit Lunkstoffen is from Lithuania,

    not Lichtenstein. You'd be surprised how few soccer fans know that. Sure-fire pub bet, I think because those three names are similar.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    JoeCool (profile), 12 Oct 2017 @ 9:33pm

    Lohan approved

    The Bolivian fans should sue the game distributors for making then think they had a chance at a good player!

    /s

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Mr Big Content, 12 Oct 2017 @ 9:43pm

    If Copyright Laws Where Tighter, This Wouldnt Happen

    So clearly this FACT of his Dual Citizenship is COPYRIGHTED by Football Manager. So the team trying to sign him up is ILLEGALLY MAKING USE OF THIS COPYRIGHTED FACT. They should be SUED FOR INFRINGEMENT, and also for SULLYING TEH REPUTATION OF FOOTBALL MANAGER by claiming teh FALSITY OF THERE COPYRIGHTED FACT. Its like their PIRATING REALITY.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 12 Oct 2017 @ 9:48pm

    Well, at least this time they did their due diligence...

    Earlier in qualifying Bolivia actually got penalised points for... wait for it... fielding an ineligible player, a decision that had a direct impact on World Cup places: http://www.espnfc.com/world-cup-qualifying-conmebol/65/blog/post/3098137/bolivia-court-of-arbitratio n-for-sport-appeal-conmebol-qualifying-table-in-limbo-as-teams-await-verdict

    Can you imagine the chaos that would ensue if that had happened because of an error in a game?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 13 Oct 2017 @ 12:37am

    plot twist scenario: what if ONLY the pirated versions of Football Manager have his citizenship listed as such?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    markincincy (profile), 13 Oct 2017 @ 2:48am

    OOTP baseball rocks!!! 15 real years of playing it and thousands of in game years.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      bwburke94 (profile), 13 Oct 2017 @ 3:15am

      Re: OOTP

      It's interesting to note that both games have had their share of nationality issues in the past. OOTP Baseball didn't track secondary nationalities until this year's game, so a few Japanese-born players in South Korean leagues (or vice versa) were listed as the wrong nationality.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Dark Helmet (profile), 13 Oct 2017 @ 3:26am

      Re:

      Yes, we've actually kicked around the idea of having our own league amongst us Techdirt writers, but it never seems to get passed the idea stage.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    PaulT (profile), 13 Oct 2017 @ 5:05am

    "this serves as an indication of how far video games have come in terms of the realism we expect from them"

    Sadly, I'd take this the other way - it's a sad indictment of how low standards have fallen, that people will take the word of a game at face value before doing any fact checking. It doesn't matter how realistic they are, they are by definition a work of fiction and not a substitute for primary factual sources.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Mason Wheeler, 13 Oct 2017 @ 9:58am

    Gamers: You should come play for our team. You're totally eligible to and everything!

    Ruben Aguilar: No, I don't Bolivia!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 13 Oct 2017 @ 10:25am

    "even a passport"

    he holds no citizenship, or indeed even a passport, for Bolivia.

    "even" implies non-citizens can get a Bolivian passport. Is that true?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 13 Oct 2017 @ 11:47am

    Sounds familiar

    Wasn't there a similar issue with google maps a few years ago where they accidentally labeled a small island as belonging to another nation, leading to the "new owner" nation sending in their military to secure said island? perhaps I'm thinking of something from the Onion or other parody site though...

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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