It’s that time of year again in the gaming world where EA rolls out Fifa 19 at a hefty £59.99 on the PlayStation Store. This version promises updated gameplay in the form of precision ball control, the usual updates to player ratings, teams and kits, and the long-awaited inclusion of the Champions League. Despite these changes, fans of Fifa may still have the lingering question: Is it really worth the money?
The main frustration with Fifa 19 is its continuous focus on in-game transactions, centred on the Ultimate Team. This game mode is a fantasy football style of gameplay, in which players can loan and buy real footballers to create their ideal team. However, in order to get the highly rated players, the game pushes you to purchase their Player Packs – which randomly give you new player cards of varying quality. The more you pay for a pack, the more chance there is of getting a high-rated player, yet there’s always still the possibility that you could end up with nothing good. These micro-transactions often cost real money (as well as your hard-earned Fifa points), resulting in a highly unfair system in which players can literally pay to beat their friends.
So, how much does winning cost? Let’s say you buy the Ultimate Edition for £89.99 which comes with 25 packs already installed to give yourself a head start on your friends. Then, you quickly run out of Fifa points, so decide to buy some more – the maximum transaction cost for Fifa points is £79.99. Finally, you buy 4 Player Packs (as the first 3 gave you no good players), costing £16.66 each. In total that is a whopping £236.62, which is almost four times the cost of just the core game. Although this scenario is an exaggerated amount in comparison to what most people would spend, it’s not inconceivable.
According to Fifa’s chief financial officer Blake Jorgensen, the company makes $1.3 billion dollars a year from these extra purchases, and the Ultimate Team area of Fifa alone is worth roughly half of that. Each time EA releases a new Fifa game, all purchases, Fifa points and player cards from the previous game are lost, forcing players to spend even more money each year. Ultimately, the tweaks to player ratings and gameplay could be done in one system that constantly updates, rather than releasing a whole new game each year. The harsh reality is though, that thousands of people will still buy the game, because despite Fifa’s overt focus on profit, it remains virtually unchallenged by any other football game in the industry.
Image: EA Sports