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FIFA 18 Fans Organize Black Friday in-game Purchase Boycott

Facing consumer anger, Electronic Arts was recently forced to cancel in-game purchases, also known as loot crates, for Star Wars Battlefront 2. Now the company is dealing with another consumer backlash, this time with its highly lucrative FIFA 18.

Black Friday is usually a busy time for FIFA players, with new special packs being offered in-game. But the #FixFifa campaign is calling on players to ignore any new offers, and to hold back on spending money in the game.

The campaign asks EA to fix a host of problems with FIFA, including annoying gameplay cheats, balancing issues and glitches. But FIFA 18's heavy emphasis on in-game purchases is attracting a lot of negative noise.

Like all recent games in the series, FIFA 18 allows its users to earn in-game currency in order to create an "Ultimate Team" made up of their favorite players. This is a central part of the game, but it can take a serious time investment to attain top stars.

Many prefer to spend real money on player packs in order to upgrade their teams, or to engage in profitable trades. EA also organizes challenges and tournaments that can generate in-game currency. But some FIFA fans say Ultimate Team is designed to encourage spending on packs, because of the massive time commitment needed to raise currency.

FIFA YouTuber Goran Popovic posted a detailed document and video about the game’s issues. He told Polygon that the number of hours required to earn a top soccer star is prohibitive. The price of a single player, like Cristiano Ronaldo, might easily involve hundreds of hours of play. Of course, soccer teams are made up of 11 players plus substitutes. The time commitment needed to create a full team of stars is enormous.

Drop-rates for top players in FIFA 18 are not officially released, but world-class stars are rare. Popovic said he and a friend had spent $500 between them, and received only one top player: a goalkeeper.

"I get that Ultimate Team was designed to make money for EA, lots of money. But the balance has shifted from a good game with micro-transactions to one where you kind of need to spend money to save time, unless you're super lucky or one of the greatest players."

On Reddit, FIFA fan SSROCK outlined a list of demands underpinning #FixFifa. "The packs are completely random and have terrible drop rates. You can either spend $1.50 and get the best player in the game, or spend thousands of dollars and get nothing. People with the best teams in the game have spent a whopping $8,000, which is absurd, especially for a yearly game."

In-game purchases are a major part of EA's business model, as evidenced in the company's most recent financial statement.

"We saw a notable shift to digital in our sports titles and remarkable growth in Ultimate Team,” said chief financial officer Blake Jorgensen. “Our sports titles have once again shown their value in delivering a stable and dependable performance. They can drive our business and offers a window into how our games will evolve over the months and years to come.”
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