Raging at FIFA 21 might actually be good for you, says health reports

Isaac McIntyre

Just what diehard FIFA fans have been wanting to hear… ‘FIFA rage’ and “tilting” in FIFA 21 games, especially high-stakes Ultimate Team clashes, may actually be good for your health, a new Leeds University study has discovered: here’s why.

Every single FIFA fan has had a moment of madness playing EA’s divisive football simulator title at one stage or another. If you haven’t, you may just be the epitome of calm ⁠— the series’ janky gameplay is renowned across the gaming community.

As frustrating moments stack up, gamers fall under the spell of “FIFA rage,” which has seen controllers broken aplenty, and one too many angry messages sent to victorious rivals after a close FIFA 21 Ultimate Team battle.

Kylian Mbappe in FIFA Ultimate Team
Kylian Mbappe has probably caused a few broken FIFA controllers in his day.

According to a newly-published Leeds University study, however, the notorious “FIFA rage” may actually be good for your health. Not in the moment ⁠— especially not for your controller ⁠— but overall, the game has a positive effect for players.

How, you ask? Well, that’s a very good question. Here’s why FIFA 21 Ultimate Team may actually be good for your health, according to researcher Dr. Andrea Utley.

‘FIFA rage’ actually relieves stress: FIFA 21 report

The main reason playing FIFA matches ⁠— especially against “total strangers online” ⁠— is so good for your health, Dr. Utley explained, is due to the fact that it provides “a reduction in all stress” after playing in three conditions in Ultimate Team.

The three conditions are playing against an unknown player, a known player, and the AI engine. These conditions all generate stress reduction, post-game.

This is in direct opposition to a player’s condition during a match. The study reports FIFA players will have a “hugely elevated heart rate” during games, which spiked a further 70% in FIFA 21 games where the opposition scored the opening goal.

Playing FIFA 21, and especially conceded goals, has a drastic effect on players' heart rates.
Playing FIFA 21, and especially conceded goals, has a drastic effect on players’ heart rates.

The report also noted there was a “greater level of arousal, rage, and anxiety when playing against a random stranger,” mainly in the ultra-competitive Ultimate Team modes like Weekend League.

“The findings are interesting. Playing a random stranger clearly enrages players, but at the end of the game, participants feel less stressed,” Dr. Utley said. “I guess if playing a game of FIFA did not make you feel good, you would not play.”

Palace's talismanic winger Wilfred Zaha had a hand in both his team's goals against Aston Villa.
When you see Wilfred Zaha tearing past your defence, just remember it’s keeping you healthy!

⁠FIFA 21 game equal to “brisk” 20-minute walk

Feeling less stressed wasn’t the only positive either. Heart rate spikes from rivals scoring reportedly fires players’ heart rates as high as 140 beats per minute.

That equals a brisk walk (average of 135 beats per minute) meaning that conceding in an Ultimate Team game is actually decent exercise. The heart would “remain elevated for the remainder of the game” too, so it stays for nearly 20 minutes.

The report’s conclusion was the most interesting: despite “FIFA rage,” every tested player actually had a huge dip in stress and anxiety post-game, win or lose.

The final results of Dr. Andrea Utley's study into 'FIFA rage' and stress.
The final results of Dr. Andrea Utley’s study into ‘FIFA rage’ and stress.

Surprising, right? Considering just how many people take to FIFA forums to complain about the game, EA’s “shoddy” engine, and the pay-to-win format Ultimate Team has become, it is actually a relatively calming game.

So there you have it ⁠— why FIFA 21 (and conceding goals in FUT) is actually good for you. Make sure you keep this article handy for next time your parents tell you to go for a walk instead of playing FIFA again! They can’t argue with facts.