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The Impact of FIFA Ultimate Team 'Price Range' Restrictions.

Many fans of FIFA’s long-standing Ultimate Team game mode have vented their anger at EA’s most recent update to FIFA 15. They were so angry that they started a ‘rest in peace’ hashtag on twitter, with many fans joking that they will defect to FIFA rivals Pro Evolution Soccer. But what could have caused such a stir in the FIFA community in such a short notice? The answer boils down to FIFA coins and EA Sports’ push for transfer market equality.

EA Sports recently introduced their ‘Price Range’ feature, a change to the online Ultimate Team transfer market that sets a highest and lowest amount that every item, even in-form players, can be sold and bought for. The update came as a shock to fans, although EA Sports reassure their users that the changes are for the benefit of the players on two counts. Firstly, the price ranges are meant to ‘help FUT gamers understand the value of players in their club’, an EASports post states. Even though this could be the case, it is highly unlikely that this was the main reason for the changes. A more likely reason is to reduce the extent to which the transfer market is exploited, as the FIFA 15 creators claim that price ranges will ‘ensure a level playing field’ and ‘restrict illegitimate coin transfers’.

Traditionally, it was always easy to exploit the free market that existed on Ultimate Team. The lack of restrictions on players and prices often meant that players could easily transfer coins and carry out disproportionate transfers that, when repeated by thousands of players, skewed the market and created a large gap between the richest and poorest users. In spite of this, there was also a more legitimate way to make money fast, as highly rated players could, very rarely, be bought for a steal in off-peak trading hours. Now this method seems to have been made even more difficult. Despite EA Sports stating that the Price Range of each item will be set wide enough so that users will still be able to enjoy trading, it is more than likely that prices will, for the near future at least, be pushed to the absolute upper limits of the price caps in fear of losing any money.

The changes made to FIFA 15 have been relatively mild though, and rightly so. With the changes coming half way through the season, the Ultimate Team transfer market is already flooded with illegitimate coins. As the price ranges have been made close to the upper range of the prices before the update, players shouldn’t experience too many ill-effects. The price ranges are most likely to play a larger and more balanced role from the outset of FIFA16. Provided that EA Sports see positive results from the changes by the end of the season, ‘Price Ranges’ are likely to feature as standard in FIFA16 Ultimate Team. This should mean a great decrease in illegitimate coin transfers, and a fairer, more balanced market for all. To all the fans who say that EA Sports have ruined their favourite game, it is perhaps more accurate to say that they are trying to fix the game mode that has been ruined by illegitimate coin sellers and buyers.

So, it’s obvious to see that the changes introduced by EA Sports seem to be unwelcome, for the most part. However, like most paradigms that involve regular and often repetitive user interaction on a large scale, participants will need time to accept and adapt to the changes that have been implemented. As critical as Ultimate Team fans are at the moment, EA have admitted that changes may occur in the near future, depending on the feedback they receive as the season goes on.

Check out this piece from Spencer FC who explains  the changes EA have made, and what it could mean for the future of FIFA Ultimate Team.