The Insidious Rise of Monetized Game Play
You shouldn’t stand in the way of progress. Right? Wrong!
The video game industry today is pocket-book talking and companies like Electronic Arts are known for the depth of their pockets.
You might say: ‘a billion dollars here, a billion dollars there’, but the unfortunate point is — there is a direct relationship between the quality of the games they produce and we play, and the way that the FIFA game has become monetized.
FIFA is my focus today. The franchise that first conceived the method. The new game mode called Ultimate Team was added well over a decade ago now, that was FIFA 11. Previously of course, it was a paid expansion.
On the surface FIFA 11 offered an innocent card collecting feature but under the bonnet, sat a hyper competitive online gaming mode, exclusively used for eSports and tournaments where players are regularly spending a $1000 to build a half decent football team.
Even hardcore players of the game today who want to compete end up paying thousands more simply to have an even playing field with up to 99 players, including at least a Ronaldo or Messi card.
Since that new game mode was conceived, there has been a gold rush to create monetized training card games and with FIFA 21, it’s now the monetized game modes that are driving the game at the expense of game play.
I don’t think there’s any doubt that most players are realizing that FIFA 21 is barely 25% of where it ought to be and unless we decide to limit the onslaught of monetized game modes, things are not going to get any better.
So, we’ve reached a paradigm and the challenge now is to ask the hardest question any FIFA fan can ask: what is my loyalty worth? If you think that paying increasingly through the nose for card packs is OK, then fine. But just think about it.
If you aggregated that money as a population data, you are talking about a cash flow of billions of dollars flowing through Electronic Arts. So I ask you again: Are we getting the value out of the FIFA game like we used to? Or perhaps to pose the question in straight business terms: What’s the return on our investment for loyalty to this game?