Almost anywhere you go companies are offering customers their version of a “loyalty program”. A rewards based marketing program to thank customers for their current business and continue future business as well. You see it in the form of rewards cards, points cards, club cards, hell even buy 10 cups of coffee and get one free stamp cards. These are all promotional items used to push brand recognition and customer loyalty.
I’m proposing that EA Sports, in particular the FIFA franchise introduce an Ultimate Team loyalty program. The game has a tremendous global following, possibly more so than any other sports game. Since there are so many gamers playing FIFA and specifically Ultimate Team why not reward them?
Ultimate Team has turned into the Golden Goose for EA Sports. The revenues generated from Ultimate Team have clearly reached eye popping levels and this digital revenue stream is allowing the manufacturer to easily increase profitability from their games. According to their Fiscal 14 Financial Report, EA Sports Ultimate Team generated $380M in revenue.
With that said here’s a small way EA Sports can give back to their consumer base without jeopardizing significant financial results. And I’m sorry but offering free packs for pre-order and at the time Season Ticket was a waste of time. The packs were “rigged” in my opinion and if you got any gold rare card it would be a shock and most likely a 79 overall who is going for drop value. This is a much better idea…Or maybe not but this is the best I could do.
If your FIFA Ultimate Team is eligible* then you’re allowed to carry forward one FUT card of your choosing
(Only eligible for FIFA Pre-Order Ultimate Team Edition)
Given the following ground rules:
- One card can be carried forward per year, card cannot be used more than once
- The card will not be eligible for the transfer market, it will have zero coin value
- The card rating/team/position in prior year game automatically updates to current year version
- If you keep a Regular, In Form, MOTM or TOTS card it becomes a regular card in next version
- Ultimate Team cards can only be transferred from PS to PS and Xbox to Xbox
If you think about it there are thousands of people out there spending a lot of money to get the best Ultimate Team and the best cards only to use them for one generation of the game. If you pull the card late in the game’s release you may only be able to enjoy it for a couple of months. From EA Sports perspective I’m sure they’re fine with that but great companies aren’t guilty of gluttony. Great companies understand the fine line between profitability and giving back. My suggestions keeps, if not enhances, the customer spending and is a free marketing campaign while giving us a feeling of “victory”.
The reason I say that the coin will have zero value is due to the fact that EA Sports likes to regulate the amount of coin in the marketplace at any given time. This way they can do that without having to predict what cards are being kept and how much more coin could be introduced into the marketplace possibly causing chaos with pricing. Also at the beginning of FIFA with the what I will call “Welcome Packs” all the players you get are untradeable, they have zero coin value as well. So this would just be another way of supplementing that general idea but getting a player you actually want while also getting team depth in the packs.
Also the loyalty is only available to those who pre-order that way the “keepers” are set before the game is launched and players who get the game after launch day can’t flood the market with the most valuable players once ratings/pricing are known.
Right now I’m spending money to build quality teams, to compete with my friends and to defeat people online. I have no visions of pulling a great card because I know it’s not going to happen, the chances are equivalent to EA Sports servers not going down two days in a row. And that’s fine I’m content with my humble French team and my English Premier League squad. But what if you told me that I get to select a “keeper” similar to fantasy sports and be able to use him again next year. I might be inclined to spend more money on Ultimate Team to either try and hit that online jackpot or accumulated enough coin to buy that player I want. I don’t think this proposal provides any risk to EA Sports digital revenue stream. I think Ultimate Team is an addiction of sorts and to think that consumer spending is going to decrease with this proposal I’d call you crazy.
So here’s the ideal scenario. It’s FIFA 15 and it’s December, Santa Claus comes early and gives you a bright and shiny Cristiano Ronaldo card. It’s early in the game’s release so prices are extremely high. You can either sell him for close to 3 million FUT coin or pocket him and know that you have him for all of FIFA15 and then for FIFA16 as well. That’s a pretty rare scenario one which many of us could never related to. But what if you pulled that Ronaldo but it’s August and FIFA15 is launching in a few weeks, how shitty would that be? You get nothing for your loyalty playing the current generation of FIFA until the next game’s launch day and you enjoy your Ronaldo for two weeks without the ability to transfer his cards or coin into the next game.
Another more realistic situation would be you grind and grind and get enough coin to get that Arjen Robben card you’ve been waiting all year for. You’re a Netherlands fan and finally have the most expensive piece on your team and you have a full roster. You spent months accumulating coin to get that 400,000 card. Wouldn’t it be great for all that time, money and effort to be rewarded with an extended period you can enjoy Robben? You pull that Robben card into FIFA15 and the hard part of recreating your Dutch team is done. You just need to hustle and get Robin Van Persie. That to me would be awesome and then when you’re done enjoying Robben you move on and try and find that next card you want to bring into FIFA16.
The last point I’ll make is that finding a keeper could be a strategic hunt as well and could benefit your team if done correctly. Let’s say you keep Neymar who’s an 84 or James Rodriguez who’s an 83. In terms of pricing they are very reasonably priced and many people probably have their cards. What you’re doing is predicting what their FIFA15 rating will be. Maybe Neymar jumps from an 84 to 88 and then you get an extremely rare card, one you probably couldn’t afford on the open market right away. Conversely you could keep someone like Paul Pogba who’s an 82 and he stays flat with his rating and you wasted a spot on a card you can very easily obtain.
I’m not saying my proposal is good, hell I’m not even saying that it makes sense. What I am saying is that I’d like to see more thought given to rewarding people like myself who put Ultimate Team on the map. I participate in Happy Hour packs, I put countless hours just tinkering with my team or studying the transfer market to see who is up and who is down. EA Sports can find a way to reward Ultimate Team’ers without hurting their bottom line. This was my pitch and I doubt anything gets done because why fix what isn’t necessarily broken. I’m just trying to open the floodgates of thought and see how we can move FUT to the next level.