EA generates $1.6 billion from FIFA Ultimate Team
Back in 2019, payments within FIFA’s Ultimate Team (FUT) made more money for EA than the game itself. And they’ve only become more profitable since, according to a report from Metro Gaming.
However, it's now a revenue stream that is coming increasingly under threat.
Photo Source: The Times
For context, FUT is a game mode within FIFA where, instead of choosing a pre-made team or drafting players, you build your team using player cards acquired via loot boxes. These can be purchased using either in-game currency or real money.
It's not limited to FIFA either, it’s also included in EA’s NFL game, Madden, too. And publishers (including EA) are very reliant on the income these game modes generate (through the in-game purchases).
To be precise, FUT generated $1.6 billion in net revenue in the 2021 fiscal year. That's 29% of EA's total revenue.
However, the loot boxes within such games are facing pushback due to a concern they are linked to the development of problem gambling in adolescents.
Belgium has banned them and the Netherlands are looking to follow suit. Concerns have also been expressed by the UK government and in the US, Illinois is looking to become the first state to regulate loot boxes in any way.
If these actions are successful, it could pose a serious threat to EA, who have appealed the decision in the Netherlands.
In response, EA has also recently started selling FIFA 21 cosmetics outside loot boxes for the first time. However, there are numerous issues here - from cost to reduced engagement. As such, the jury is still out on finding the right alternative revenue model.
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