In the dynamic and competitive world of sports gaming, EA has long been a dominant force, particularly with its FIFA/EA FC series. The franchise has consistently pushed boundaries, not just in gameplay and graphics, but also in its monetization strategies.
A key aspect of this approach has been the integration of in-game purchases, which have sparked both interest and controversy. The latest development in this area is EA’s introduction of the Dynamic Duo Icons Pack in FC 24 Ultimate Team, a move that has raised eyebrows and questions about the company’s pricing strategy and its impact on the gaming experience.
Are EA Desperate for Players to Buy FC Points?
EA has long incorporated a ‘Pay to Win’ model in its FIFA/EA FC series, allowing players with disposable income to purchase packs to enhance their teams. Traditionally, EA has been cautious with its in-game store packs, but it looks that times have changed.
According to former FIFA Community manager Chuboi, EA officials were extremely nervous about releasing a 100,000 coins pack in-game for the first time in FIFA 13. However, 10 years later, a significant shift occurred and EA dropped an outstanding 450,000 coins pack into the store – the Dynamic Duo Icons Pack.
I remember when I was at EA in FUT 12 (or 13), we were so nervous to drop a 100K pack for the first time.
Many long meetings about it. We thought it was too outrageous and y'all would kill us.
I could barely sleep the night before.
Times have changed, man. 😂 pic.twitter.com/CZSiBlqeo9
— chuboi 🇳🇬🇨🇦 (@ChuBoi) November 22, 2023
There are multiple layers of problems with this pack. For starters, it costs 450,000 coins or 3000 FC Points, which is not a proportionate increase in value between coins and FC points. For reference, a Jumbo Rare Players pack in EA FC 24 Ultimate Team costs 100,000 coins or 2,000 FC points.
The Dynamic Duo Icons pack costs 4.5 times the value of a Jumbo Rare Players pack if a players opts to buy the pack using coins. However, if you’re planning to buy the latest pack using FC points, you are in luck, because you only need to spend 3000 FC points to buy the same pack. To summarize, in order to buy the Dynamic Duo Icons pack, there has been a 4.5x surge in cost of FC coins, but there has only been a rise of 1.5x in terms of FC points. This pricing strategy raises questions about EA’s approach to in-game purchases.
The Icons available in this pack are however limited to a maximum of 88 rating. So if you’re buying the packs in hopes of packing Pele, Ronaldinho, Cruyff or Zidane, you are out of luck. Even if you splurge your hard-earned cash into buying FC points, you are mostly going to pack some of the worst icons in the game.
Another notable change is the reorganization of the pack display in the store. Previously sorted from lower to higher prices, the packs are now displayed in a way that prioritizes expensive options like the ‘Dynamic Duo Icons Pack’. This change seems to be a deliberate strategy to draw players’ attention to more costly packs, potentially influencing their purchasing decisions.
Starting today, we have updated the Ultimate Team Store to offer a more curated experience for #FC24 players.
The order in which packs may be displayed may differ between players. All existing packs remain available to purchase.
— EA SPORTS FC Direct Communication (@EASFCDirect) November 22, 2023
Why is EA doing this?
This strategic shift appears closely tied to their transition from the long-standing FIFA series to the new EA Sports FC brand. In November 2022, amidst the height of World Cup excitement, Ultimate Team players were deeply engaged, balancing their time between following World Cup matches and earning World Cup swap tokens in the game.
This period was particularly profitable for EA, as evidenced by their financial performance during the life cycle of FIFA 23. EA announced record net bookings of $1.95 billion for the quarter ending March 31, 2023, a notable 11% increase from the previous year. This surge was primarily driven by the strong performance of their live service games, particularly the FIFA franchise.
Moment I saw Early Access I knew what kind of year we’re getting.
Long story short – EA execs have to show #FC24 can still print $ without FIFA.
Also WC hype was this time last year. So numbers have to be better than that too.
Could potentially lead to earlier user burnout but… https://t.co/C54z0YLnmn
— chuboi 🇳🇬🇨🇦 (@ChuBoi) November 22, 2023
Even though EA has many games in their arsenal, their biggest cash cow is the FIFA / EA FC franchise and the Ultimate Team game mode that comes with it.
Despite EA’s continued financial success, the initial reception for EA Sports FC 24 suggests it hasn’t matched the heights of its predecessors. This change, particularly the absence of FIFA branding and the World Cup hype, seems to have impacted the game’s performance. While still profitable, the altered branding and market dynamics might be perceived by shareholders as a downturn compared to the previous year’s FIFA-branded titles.
More Insane Packs Leaked ahead of Black Friday Promo
Just when you thought EA’s strategy with FC 24 Ultimate Team couldn’t get more intense, new leaks suggest an even bolder move ahead of the Black Friday promotion.
Notorious community member “Fut Scoreboard” has revealed a list of upcoming promo packs, and the lineup looks set to make a significant dent in players’ wallets. The leaked packs include:
- Double Hero Pack
- Double Max 88 Icon Pack
- 50x 81+ with Max 90 Icon Pack
- 50x 81+ with Hero Pack
- 60x Attackers Pack
- RTTK / Trailblazers / Centurions Player Pick Pack
While the exact costs of these packs are still under wraps, one thing is clear: they’re not going to be cheap. This aggressive approach to in-game sales is a clear departure from EA’s earlier strategies, pushing the boundaries of monetization in gaming.
🚨 NEW PACKS MODIFIED 🚨 pic.twitter.com/vcuHezUFqc
— Fut Scoreboard (@Fut_scoreboard) November 21, 2023
This latest development is part of a broader trend in EA’s strategy for FC 24 Ultimate Team. The company seems to be pushing hard to maximize profits, even at the risk of potentially burning out the game before we hit 2024. It’s a high-stakes gamble, aiming to extract as much revenue as possible in a short period.
The question now is how this strategy will play out. Will it lead to increased revenue for EA, or will it alienate the player base? As EA navigates these uncharted waters in the post-FIFA era, the impact on their financial performance and player engagement will be crucial to watch.