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Ronaldo-backed EA FC challenger UFL gets open beta this weekend

The Ronaldo-backed UFL open beta arrives at a crucial time, as FC 24 and FIFA look to up the ante with their soccer game offerings on PS5 and Xbox.

UFL open beta: Ronaldo next to an in-game representation of him playing soccer

It’s all kicking off in the world of soccer games – EA Sports has just announced the new Euro 2024 mode for FC 24, while FIFA is reportedly set to get back on the pitch with 2K. But while the titans are set to duke it out, Strikerz Inc’s UFL – a new challenger to the status quo that’s partially funded by Cristiano Ronaldo – is finally emerging from alpha testing on PS5 and Xbox Series X|S. This weekend, from June 7 until June 9, we’ll all finally get to lace up our boots and see what the UFL open beta is all about.

Marketed as “an exciting and fair skill-based football experience,” UFL is my big hope for a responsive, free-to-play soccer game that will be able to pressure on the genre’s big guns. No, not in the way Spurs ‘put the pressure on’ Chelsea in the 2016/17 Premier League title race, but in a way that meaningfully shakes up the annual, iterative approach to soccer games that’s stifling innovation.

Considering UFL’s reportedly been in development since 2016, it’s been a long old journey for Cyprus-based Strikerz. UFL was formally unveiled at Gamescom in 2021, though it largely flew under the radar as we continued to wait with bated breath to see if Konami’s eFootball could pave the genre’s free-to-play future – spoiler: it didn’t. A UFL release date window was initially confirmed for sometime in 2022, though that was eventually pushed back.

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So where does big Ronnie come into the picture? Well, last December it was announced that he had formed part of a $40 million investment group that aimed to push the development of the sports game forward. At the time, he said he was “thrilled to be a part of this project as UFL can become the new breed in football gaming.” Let’s hope so.

Alongside Ronaldo, Roberto Firmino, Oleksandr Zinchenko, Romelu Lukaku, and Kevin De Bruyne are also serving as UFL ambassadors. Not a bad five-a-side team, that. With a bit of luck, UFL will bring balance to the soccer Force – at least, when it comes to the egregious microtransactions and pay-to-win tactics commonly deployed by its competitors. Come on, Strikerz, hit the back of the net.

For more of the latest on the best PS5 games and best Xbox games from the worlds of (motor)sports, check out the Test Drive Unlimited Solar Crown launch date. Before you go, don’t forget to drop our Google News feed a follow – we’ll be sure to offer up our thoughts on UFL if you don’t get a chance to play this weekend.