Image via Red Bull esports.
Earlier this week, I had the chance to sit down with Hashtag United player August “Agge” Rosenmeier to talk about how competitive FIFA has changed over the years. Having formerly player FIFA for PSG, Agge is one of the game’s very best pros – and he’s no slouch at real-life football either, having played for Danish Second Division East side B.1908.
Amongst other things, we talked about FIFA 18, the Weekend League, what he thinks of traditional football clubs entering the scene and what it means to be a professional player. Enjoy!
Hey Agge, thanks a lot for sharing your time! How’s it been since you departed from Paris Saint-Germain to join Hashtag United?
Thanks for inviting me in! It’s been great so far – I got the perfect teammates around me and such a professional setup with Spencer and the rest of the Hashtag family. I’ve already been to London for a month, living there and playing the qualifying month. So things are really great here, and I believe I made the perfect choice with Hashtag.
How did signing for Hashtag United come about and how does it feel to sign for such a well-recognised brand?
It’s no secret that I had a lot of lucrative offers from some of the biggest clubs and organisations in the world, but the overall package Spencer offered me and how keen he was to get me… it was really all it took to make me realise where I wanted to play. I can already see a huge change in my gameplay and motivation, including the way my brand has grown so far in Hashtag. Unreal!
You started competing in 2010 but began competing at a higher level from 2012 onwards. Can you tell us a little bit about how you began to play FIFA competitively and how you got into it?
My brother signed me up for a tournament back in 2010 and I managed to beat the former reigning Danish Champion, so I believed I had some potential and kept working hard, practising against the best in Denmark and suddenly everything took a huge pace. I won the FIWC Nordic and at the first 2012 in Dubai I learned all the best and effective tricks and after that, I fought to stay on the very top of FIFA.
Throughout FIFA 17 we began to see the involvement of traditional football clubs, such as Paris Saint-Germain, Manchester City, West Ham United and even AS Roma, all began to dive into the world of FIFA esports. Do you think this is a positive due to its similarity to footballers playing for clubs, or is there a worry surrounding their involvement?
Football clubs are essential for FIFA and esports in general. It draws so much attention and other brands into our game and makes the impossible possible. As we can see, EA is expanding the competitive scene every year and I believe we haven’t even seen the best yet. Loads of huge things to come – and this is where football clubs play a big part in taking the scene to a further professional and commercial level.
We’ve already seen virtual leagues pop-up in both France and the Netherlands but currently, there’s no virtual Premier League or Calcio A. Do you see more and more virtual leagues being created?
Obviously, we will see a more solid structure and more leagues and cups taking place when you have enough teams to do it. So the answer is yes, definitely.
The implementation of FUT Champions and its Weekend League has shaped the FIFA esports scene. FIFA was renowned for its huge sales but it was never recognised as a major esport in comparison to Counter-Strike or League of Legends. What do you think of the new additions?
It’s the best they could do for us who makes a living off FIFA. We needed this platform for a long time, and it also invites the casuals or aspiring players to try to play against their idols or just test themselves against the best players. I think it was a necessary step, and hopefully, they can build on and optimize the weekend league even more for the future.
If you could make three changes to FIFA 18 what would they be?
Firstly, consistent servers for everyone in FUT Champions, with no delay and disconnects. My second request would be a slightly selfish one – better pack luck for myself! And my final request would be for goalkeepers to be more consistent.
A major criticism people tend to have about FIFA esports is the ‘pay-to-win’ in Ultimate Team. What is your view on this widely debated topic?
I believe it’s just like real football. You can see the big guns such as PSG bought Neymar and Mbappe. The team doesn’t necessarily make you win every title, it is in the end up to skill – and you will get rewarded if you play in FUT Champions enough to make a team that can play with the better teams. Obviously its an advantage with a greater team but at least if you make the live events you’ve got every player available to use to make it a level playing field.
FIFA 17 was not your best competitive year, why do you think you struggled in this year?
There are different factors: possibly the gameplay didn’t suit me that well in terms of I played to manual in defending. A lot of people just sat back and let the AI defend which was very effective. At the same time, Paris Saint-Germain and I weren’t the best match and that affected my performance as well, even though I loved my time in PSG and I have a lot of respect for one of the greatest clubs in the world. Overall the responsibility was on myself, I didn’t practice hard enough and perform to the levels I’m capable of.
Does playing in an organisation make you feel more pressure in regards to having to play better – or prove yourself – in a way?
There will always be pressure on you playing for an organisation but in my opinion, with experience, you learn how to cope with the pressure.
What are your expectations for the upcoming FUT Champions Cup in Barcelona?
My expectations are to qualify for the playoffs. I don’t think I can allow myself to say I’m the favourite after last year, So I’m just taking it one game at a time and enjoy that I am amongst the best 64 players in the world.
If you had to give one piece of advice to a budding young FIFA player who aspires to play at the highest level what would it be?
Dedication, motivation and hard work are the three keys to success!