With the release of FIFA 21 less than a month away, there seems to be a lot of hype surrounding Electronic Art’s newest installment of the widely popular soccer simulation series.
New features coming to popular modes like Career Mode, FIFA Ultimate Team (FUT) and Volta seem to have enticed regular players to buy the new game on Oct. 6.
However, the hype shared by the fans of the game is also clouded by a shared sense of pessimism around the final product.
Ultimate Team generates money through its use of packs and cards. By purchasing Ultimate Team coins and points, one can redeem them by opening packs, a loot box system that contains cards that players can use, like real life soccer players, managers, modifiers, etc., so they can create the, “ultimate team” to compete in friendlies, division games, and mostly, competitive weekend leagues.
The use of this system has recently been highlighted, by members of the FIFA, gaming communities and politicians alike, as being a lot more problematic than once thought.
The main lore around buying FIFA packs is the probability of getting a card you want, without knowing the probability that you can get those cards in advance, and with special promotions packs that come out with improved player cards, like Team of the Week (and Season), FUTMAS, Shape Shifters and Summer Heat.
It can be very tempting to put a few bucks in the game in order to open these packs. It is possible to buy a card individually, but player cards by themselves go for much higher than the price for packs, and while you can earn coins through playing the game, one would have to grind the game in order to generate enough to buy multiple packs in a short time span.
You don’t have to look far to see the devastating effects this can have on people.
In July 2019, it was reported by the BBC that a family’s bank account had been drained as a result of their children, all under ten, opening multiple packs.
Popular FIFA youtuber and twitch streamer, Vizeh, told his audiences about the time he kept using his dad’s credit card to buy FIFA packs, only to find out that overtime, he had spent way more than he thought he was.
Finally, and probably one of the more devastating examples, we see how teenager Jeremy Peniket dealt with the hardship of his life by purchasing and opening FIFA packs.
Despite all these examples of the effects this loot box system has on people, EA, who has had a long history of using loot boxes in their games, have repeatedly denied any wrongdoing.
An EA representative called the mechanic, “Quite ethical and quite fun,” in front of a U.K. Parliament hearing.
The U.K. Parliament has been one of the leading governments looking to regulate FIFA packs under gambling laws, and hopefully, other countries follow suit.
Fans of other modes of FIFA, such as Player Career Mode and Pro Clubs, have grown increasingly frustrated with the constant lack of improvements to their respective modes, with Pro Clubs getting two very small and very insignificant new features.
While Career Mode players do have a lot to celebrate with innovations, such as new ways to train players and to simulate matches, there is also a lot more to be skeptical about.
With last edition’s career mode improvements getting similar levels of hype, it ended up being a broken, buggy pile of crap that took months to fix, only to be greeted by more problems.
While all of these problems seem to be an easy fix, a lot of FIFA fans believe that all other modes are neglected by EA for its ultimate mode, Ultimate Team.
And it is easy to see why.
EA made $1.49 Billion in fiscal year 2020, until May, from the game mode, only $11 million more than fiscal year 2019, and more than double the $587 million made in fiscal year 2015, according to the Senior Analyst for Niko Partners, Daniel Ahmad.
Unlike baseball cards or other collectables, the cards you get on a certain FIFA game stay to the title you acquired them off of, meaning that any card you got on FIFA 20 would follow you to FIFA 21.
This means that the money put into the players you got is essentially wasted, so it is not advisable to put lots of money into the game anyway.
While other modes of FIFA suffer at the hands of Ultimate Team, government regulation of the use of loot boxes will hopefully make the game better for everyone!
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