With the games industry still a little raw after the whole Star Wars Battlefront 2 fiasco, it might have been smart for EA to delay UFC 3’s beta based on some of the early reports regarding the game. Alas, it’s blundered ahead regardless – and it may just be about to walk headfirst into the fist of another controversy.
From what we’ve read so far today, UFC 3’s Ultimate Team mode sounds like more Need for Speed Payback-style microtransaction nonsense. Now, to be fair, the Ultimate Team options in Madden and FIFA have always been designed around sticker packs (or loot boxes), but we’ve always found that we’ve been able to have fun with them without ever spending a penny.
It looks like UFC 3 wants to change all of that. While we’ll refer you to Game Revolution’s preview for the full story, essentially you’re able to unlock fighters by opening sticker packs. But unlike in other EA Sports games, you can then upgrade your brawlers by opening additional sticker packs, which improve their attributes.
It sounds a bit like if you unlocked, say, Cristiano Ronaldo in FUT – but then had to collect more stickers to get his shooting ability up to scratch. Or perhaps you nabbed Aaron Rodgers in MUT, but were forced to find more cards to improve his arbitrarily underpowered arm strength. You are, of course, able to buy new sticker packs with in-game currency in UFC 3 – but it sounds like anyone who’s investing real money is going to be at an immediate advantage.
Now, we should stress that this is just a beta build, so everything is subject to change. It’s possible that EA is reconsidering its approach to microtransactions after the Battlefront 2 scandal – although after reading recent comments from executives, we kinda doubt that will be the case. It’s also worth adding that the microtransactions in UFC 3 only exist in Ultimate Team, so other modes and features are unaffected. Still...