A new kind of pack for Electronic Arts’ behemoth FIFA Ultimate Team will now allow you to “preview” their contents before you buy. There are a few caveats attached to these Preview Packs, especially as pertains to limited-time or limited-quantity offerings, but the basic gist of it is that you can see what your next pack will have before you buy it. You can then purchase that pack or wait a period of time (about 24 hours) before the contents are reset and you can check out the next pack.
EA announced Preview Packs as being part of its “Festival of FUTball” celebration, which runs into July. It’s hard to see it as anything more than a short-term test of the method, to see if it proves popular enough to be implemented on a permanent basis. Theoretically, it would allow EA to skirt regulations that several countries have put in place against the sale of “random” loot boxes. If you can see what you’re getting, it’s not really “random,” then, is it?
We’ve pondered that question before, notably when Valve tried it with Dota 2 and with CS:GO. We’re still not sure that it will really do anything to curb anyone’s unhealthy gambling impulses, since someone who really wants that rare pull and wants it now will still keep buying until they get it.
As one of — if not the — biggest player in the loot box/pack world, EA finally bending the knee to pressure from outside groups, however slightly or temporarily, is a big deal. If this initiative produces the results EA wants, then it could lead to other companies seeing it as the default way to implement “random” loot boxes. Don’t be surprised if we see future games (Path of Exile 2? Overwatch 2?) taking a similar approach.