Attention Las Vegas oddsmakers: Be very afraid of Electronic Arts.
Back on June 3, the company told us all that Germany was going to win the World Cup — and with Deutschland’s victory yesterday, its FIFA franchise secured a spot as one of the best seers of World Cup victory since the dearly departed Paul the Octopus.
The game may have foreseen Germany as the winner of the tournament, but it didn’t get all the details right. It had Brazil as the second-place finisher — but we’ll cut it some slack, since no one could have anticipated Neymar breaking his back in the quarterfinals (nor the devastating impact that would have on the team’s morale).
And it was a bit off in the score, envisioning a 2-1 final — but, again, that discrepancy can be tied back to Neymar’s injury, as the simulation predicted that the star forward would kick the game off with a goal, giving Brazil an early lead.
Happily, the game was wrong about the U.S. team, as well, which it forecast would be left behind in the qualifying rounds. (Hey, we didn’t win, but at least we got an exciting finish — and a new national hero in Tim Howard.)
FIFA’s foresight has a history. In 2010, the game correctly predicted Spain would win the World Cup. (So once the 2018 version of the game comes out, have your bookie on speed dial.)
We’re starting, in fact, to think that there are some wizards working at EA Sports. Beyond FIFA, the company’s Madden series has a pretty good track record of predicting Super Bowl winners. That franchise has an overall 8-3 forecasting record — though, to be fair, it got just about everything wrong at last year’s Super Bowl.
EA isn’t the only tech company with World Cup bragging rights. Cortana, the Halo-inspired digital assistant for Windows Phones, correctly predicted the outcome of 15 out of 16 World Cup matches, including the final. Cortana’s Apple rival, Siri, wasn’t quite so sharp: She picked Argentina to win.
We hope Siri’s not too depressed about it. Nobody’s perfect.
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