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FIFA Ultimate Team & gambling

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With a lot of focus on gambling in games, in a lot of different countries, how do you think this will affect FIFA and Ultimate Team?

 

Obviously EA will want to keep something in there, it is a money making machine, but if they were forced to remove the randomness in the packs, how could it work? Is it still possible to monetise the mode? 

 

The only thing I can think of is to allow people to buy in game currency, which you can use to buy or bid on the specific player. But does this lose the fun part of ultimate team? For me, the randomness is the basics of the enjoyment, if you could just flat out buy the best players every team would be the same. 

 

What would you do? 

 

EDIT: For a bit of context, I am in talks with a sports association about making a game. An Ultimate Team style mode would be really good to include but they are very anti-gambling. Just trying to work out what would be a good way to make the mode work without the gambling aspect.

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For a bit of context, I am in talks with a sports association about making a game. An Ultimate Team style mode would be really good to include but they are very anti-gambling. Just trying to work out what would be a good way to make the mode work without the gambling aspect. 

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Do they want the UT style mode for a gameplay reason? Or so they can add monetisation?

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I've ranted about this many a time. Yes, it is gambling and yes, it should be treated as such and restrictions put in place. The sad thing is that I don't believe it was ever intended to be this way. The original ultimate team DLC was janky in many ways and needed refinement, which it did get, but not before the gambling kicked in. The last time I played properly (18?), everything that made the mode so appealing initially was completely gone: Little to no incentive to use lower rated players, no challenge in keeping players in contract, no need to be careful with your spending.

 

I think the concept wouldn't need much tuning to make work. If people want to buy their way to winning then let them do so through the purchase of consumables packs, similar to what they have now with contracts, fitness, injury cards etc in. Don't want your Salah to miss 3 games through injury? Buy a consumable pack to get him back in the action immediately. Or even have a wages mechanic, where better players cost large amounts of in game currency (which can be bought with real world cash) to keep in the team. Or even a pokemon let's go/championship manager type mechanic where certain players have the potential to be immense, but need resources (time on the pitch, goals, wages etc.) to reach their full potential. 

 

I dreamt of a game when I could have Salah etc. in my sticker book but only be able to play them when really needed or flush with resources. I wanted a game where spending valuable resources in the best way, would lead to success. For example, that veteran bronze right back who is solid, has good pace and does a job, who you've had in your side for over a hundred games, is cheap enough to allow you to put a newly signed, young england international winger on the pitch. That's the game that I dreamt of.

 

EDIT: Many years back there was a small movement of people trying to play the game like described in the previous paragraph, and I tried it for a while, but when everyone else playing is going full gold every game, it became futile, especially with the single player being so intolerably shite.

 

 

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5 hours ago, bradigor said:

Do they want the UT style mode for a gameplay reason? Or so they can add monetisation?

It is now me that wants the mode in as it is the only mode I play in PES. (I don't actually play FIFA) But the publisher would like it in for monetisation. 

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Have it in your game but make it so you can only buy packs or players you get in game for playing it, and remove the real money side of it.

 

I don’t play FUT anymore because of people using real money to buy packs.  If it had a filter so you’d be able to just match with people, like myself, who build their team using only coins they got from playing I’d still play.

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Yep, have the player, skills, contracts, training, etc aspect of it completely self contained, with new packs obtainable for winning games, hitting milestones, beating challenges, etc. Then for the monetisation (if it really must have it) do it for cosmetic stuff, such as kits, logos, stadiums, pitch patterns, hairstyles, etc. 

 

But also, make those cosmetics so you can either get them in a 'lootbox' (if you really MUST have them)  but also obtainable through direct purchase, with no duplicates. 

 

Or even skip the lootbox idea completely and  go the Season pass route and have clear unlockable cosmetic content as you level up your account, like in Fortnite. Whilst keeping the game balanced for all, by keeping everything that effect gameplay self contained like mentioned first. 

 

Just don't do the 2K and EA thing, it is horrid. 

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I have played Ultimate Team ever year since it was first brought in and every year I get more and more frustrated and actually angry with it. This isn’t just UT mode by the way, but the fact that the development focus on that mode means every other aspect of the game gets neglected or in some cases just completely rehashed from the previous year.

 

The tipping point for me considering just not getting 20 though has been this Future Star promo that has just been released. EA can’t physically create any more cards of high value using conventional methods or even real players (albeit a lot fk them enhanced versions of their standard card) so they have released these complete fantasy players for no other reason than to increase the number of top end cards out there that people are encouraged to chase in packs. It’s a toxic, financially motivated monster and while it exists in this form the core mechanics of the gameplay will never be improved.

 

The whole untradeable card / SBC element aswell is a further layer to incentivise the spending of real cash. Strip away all your coins to complete them, leave you with players that, while often high rated, are worth nothing so again you are forced down the spending cash route if you want to chase the next big promo.

 

Fuck me, I could talk about this all day but what difference is it going to make?! Any enjoyment people get from opening packs is because we have been programmed over years to feel that way, not because it is a truly gratifying experience. 95% of the time (and I think EAs own ratios on the packs can confirm that) its ULTIMATELY disappointing.

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On 19/01/2019 at 10:35, *chin* said:

An Ultimate Team style mode would be really good to include but they are very anti-gambling.

Given that a few EU countries have decided to ban anything remotely lootbox- like (including Ultimate Team), I'd be very cautious about spending resource on creating a product that offers randomised purchases to monetise. 

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I've said this over and over. Ultimate Team is not gambling. 

 

Gambling is a fair (so to speak) situation in which you invest your money in an outcome with the chance of winning a prize, more money.

Ultimate team does not offer you this chance. It's an insult to gambling to call it that. It is literally a way for EA to make huge amount of cash out of consumers. It should be limited to in game coins only. However, I would imagine the mode would die without the cash people spend. EA are that lazy. 

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11 hours ago, nakamura said:

I've said this over and over. Ultimate Team is not gambling. 

 

Gambling is a fair (so to speak) situation in which you invest your money in an outcome with the chance of winning a prize, more money.

Ultimate team does not offer you this chance. It's an insult to gambling to call it that. It is literally a way for EA to make huge amount of cash out of consumers. It should be limited to in game coins only. However, I would imagine the mode would die without the cash people spend. EA are that lazy. 

I mean, I feel like UT is the definition of gambling (from dictionary.com):

 

Quote

the activity or practice of playing at a game of chance for money or other stakes.

 

From Blackjack and The Law (1998):

Quote

Gambling is the wagering of money or something of value (referred to as "the stakes") on an event with an uncertain outcome, with the primary intent of winning money or material goods. Gambling thus requires three elements be present: consideration, risk (chance), and a prize.

 

The UK Gambling Commission have not said that loot boxes are gambling, yet, but any reasonable person can see how it can be construed as such and can understand that if an organisation already has an anti-gambling stance, they would not look fondly upon loot boxes.

 

For clarity, I don't want to include an UT type mode in the game to monetise the game. I would like it in the game because it is the only mode I play in PES and I really enjoy it without ever having spent a penny on it. But if the mode is included, the publisher would want to monetise it, but we'd have to weave around the potential gambling implications. There are some interesting ideas in here that I will investigate further, but more ideas would be great.

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12 hours ago, nakamura said:

Gambling is a fair (so to speak) situation in which you invest your money in an outcome with the chance of winning a prize, more money.

Ultimate team does not offer you this chance

This is how companies are trying to weasel out of loot boxes being gambling. But essentially the opposite of what you're saying. 

 

If you gamble, you can lose. If you put a fiver on the nose of a horse and it finishes last, you lose your fiver. If you buy a loot box, you never "lose", you always get something. You can get something more or less valuable than your stake (though, with virtual items "value" is a lot harder to define), but you always get something. You can't "lose", ergo it's not gambling.

 

It fucking is gambling, like. But it's a decent out for EA and FUT.

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32 minutes ago, ScouserInExile said:

This is how companies are trying to weasel out of loot boxes being gambling. But essentially the opposite of what you're saying. 

 

If you gamble, you can lose. If you put a fiver on the nose of a horse and it finishes last, you lose your fiver. If you buy a loot box, you never "lose", you always get something. You can get something more or less valuable than your stake (though, with virtual items "value" is a lot harder to define), but you always get something. You can't "lose", ergo it's not gambling.

 

It fucking is gambling, like. But it's a decent out for EA and FUT.

Then the definition of gambling needs to evolve.

 

An analogy for me would be traditional gambling but with a currency conversion. Are you suggesting that if I spend £ on a bet, and receive a variable amount of $ in return, that isn't gambling?

 

The key point should be value. If a value (of any form) is exchanged for a variable outcome value (of any form) then it is gambling.

 

The 'value' can be anything, and is irrelevant. The key point is the variable outcome.

 

I had a look at the current FUT loot box percentages are a joke, and completely take the piss out of the current legislation. All it tells me is that if I buy this pack, I'll have a 3.5% chance of getting a player rated 82 or above. That knowledge make absolutely no difference to the ability of the gambler to make an accurate judgement about their chances of packing a player that will make them xxx coins, or their chance of getting in form Messi.

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In ultimate team you cannot win. It's nothing short of theft. It's not gambling. In gambling you can at least win.

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9 minutes ago, nakamura said:

In ultimate team you cannot win. It's nothing short of theft. It's not gambling. In gambling you can at least win.

 

Are you William Hill in disguise?

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8 minutes ago, Shoes said:

 

 

Are you William Hill in disguise?

I worked in the industry for 17 years. As shit as they have been over many things, they at least never sold people nothing dressed up as fancy cards. 

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I think I'd prefer an offline only UT mode. I quite liked filling in the virtual sticker album of the first version. Not that bothered about playing online pay to win players either. 

 

But yes currently it is quite clearly gambling.

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Loot boxes are not gambling. They are, in fact, the exact opposite of gambling. They contain something, every single time.You never lose, you only fail to match your own expectations of what is going to be in there. You are paying for a quantity, the quality is subjective. Who is to say that a player isn't putting more value onto Matt Ritchie as they try to complete their FUT Newcastle United than others are putting on to Messi because they only want to win online games? 

 

Bring on the law changes, though. It's not going to stop EA adapting the model to pluck as much as possible from players who are happy to throw money at it, no matter what laws are put into place. The psychologists will always be able to outmaneuver the lawmakers in this respect. For example, from above, I had no idea (having not played FIFA for a couple of years, and never once indulging in FUT) that this new "Future Star" mode existed. It's clearly bollocks, but it's also clearly working, and new variants will continue to be thrown at players, analysed by data scientists with the absolute finest of toothcombs, and refined to the tiniest degree, until such time as people just stop throwing their wallets at it.

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On 19/01/2019 at 10:35, *chin* said:

With a lot of focus on gambling in games, in a lot of different countries, how do you think this will affect FIFA and Ultimate Team?

 

Obviously EA will want to keep something in there, it is a money making machine, but if they were forced to remove the randomness in the packs, how could it work? Is it still possible to monetise the mode? 

 

The only thing I can think of is to allow people to buy in game currency, which you can use to buy or bid on the specific player. But does this lose the fun part of ultimate team? For me, the randomness is the basics of the enjoyment, if you could just flat out buy the best players every team would be the same. 

 

What would you do? 

 

EDIT: For a bit of context, I am in talks with a sports association about making a game. An Ultimate Team style mode would be really good to include but they are very anti-gambling. Just trying to work out what would be a good way to make the mode work without the gambling aspect.

 

EA won't change it unless they have to.

 

Ultimate Team revenues something like $1bn, and makes up around 20% of EA digital revenue on it's own.

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37 minutes ago, CheekyLee said:

Loot boxes are not gambling. They are, in fact, the exact opposite of gambling. They contain something, every single time.You never lose, you only fail to match your own expectations of what is going to be in there. You are paying for a quantity, the quality is subjective. Who is to say that a player isn't putting more value onto Matt Ritchie as they try to complete their FUT Newcastle United than others are putting on to Messi because they only want to win online games? 

 

Going by that logic, if casinos gave you a penny chew every time you had a spin on the roulette table or a played a round of blackjack it would no longer be gambling and shouldn't be subject to legislation.

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