FIFA 21 players can now see what’s inside loot boxes, formally called “Ultimate Team Preview Packs,” before purchasing them. The packs can be previewed in the game’s FUT store by clicking on a pack opening animation–here, players can choose to purchase the pack with their FUT coins, earned through gameplay, or with FIFA points that can be purchased with money. The new feature was added as part of the game’s “Festival of FUTball” event. If a player chooses to not purchase the pack, the preview will be on a timer, once the timer runs out, players can choose to preview another pack. As of now, the event will only feature the Ultimate Team Preview Packs but EA says that players can count on future events to contain different sets of packs.
This change is the first of its kind for the FIFA franchise, but the change comes at a necessary time. According to increased government scrutiny, some loot boxes have been considered as forms of gambling. In Europe, many game companies and developers have dropped the concept of loot boxes altogether due to the controversy surrounding them. We’ve seen several studios switching to a method like EA’s or a probability method that gives players the percentage of possibility that they would receive an exclusive item. As of today, it is unknown if FIFA 21 will continue to have the feature of previewing access to loot boxes, but with other countries disabling the game’s “surprise” element, it is likely that the franchise may eliminate this a whole.
FIFA’s Ultimate Team Preview Packs have been some of the franchises greatest sources of revenue. In 2020, 6 million daily active players sought out the loot packs. In February, EA reported a $4 billion revenue collection in just micro-transactions alone. With FIFA 22‘s speculated release date between September and October of 2021, time will tell if this feature is in for the long-haul or not.