Price Ranges have set a new agenda for the economics of FUT. In this article, I will look into how they will affect the price development in FIFA 15 and FIFA 16.
Let us start out by having look at where we were yesterday. Although price ranges impose restrictions on price generation, yesterday’s FUT economics did involve a strong element of planned economy as we know it from socialist countries.
As for the supply side, there are obvious similarities between EA’s control of the supply of cards and the way the USSR government controlled the supply of goods in the supermarkets. Although the term ‘socialist’ may ring a negative bell for some people, it makes every bit of sense here, and the game would not be quite as enjoyable if everyone could buy everything.
As for the demand side, the demand is measured by the number of items people are willing to buy at a certain price level. It was definitely EA’s intention to control the demand tightly as well. EA is not only the sole supplier in the FUT economy, but also the central bank. The central bank was intended to control the amount of money in circulation and hence the demand by determining the average quick sell value of the packs being bought and the match earnings. However, there was a ‘tiny’ flaw in this plan, and it derives from the fact that EA obviously isn’t able to control the number of matches being played: Some coin sellers apparently found a way to generate coins by starting and stopping thousands of matches automatically in a short time frame.
The consequence is that FUT market is not the socialist undertaking, EA (with some justification) intended it to be, but rather has become the black market economy which also thrived behind the Iron Curtain.
Price Ranges does not remove the aforementioned flaw, but they will indeed make coin selling more troublesome, which in turn will imply that less coins will be bought. Here is how it works:
Yesterday, you could add 1 million coins to your bank account by listing up a player bought at 200 coins for 1,052,842 million.
Today, adding 1 million coins to your wallet requires you to buy a lot of players who are sold at the lower end of their price band and put them up for sale at the higher end of their price band.
Assuming the real market price for Immobile will be 145,000, you can buy MOTM Immobiles for 145,000 a piece and sell them for 215,000 a piece. You will need to pick up a total of 17 Immobiles to get there, meaning that you will need 2,465,000 coins to buy another 1,000,000 coins.
If you were to do the same with a cheap bronze player worth 200 and put up for 5,000, you would need to put up 220 players for sale to get to the million. Although you wouldn’t need more than 44,000 to do it this way, it would involve too much trouble for both you and the coin seller.
Trouble or cost – what do you prefer? Either way, there is no doubt that coins will be more expensive, which is positive seen from EA’s perspective, because it will increase the demand for packs bought with real money rather than coins.
Going back to my initial statements about the demand side, it is likely that price ranges will lead to fewer new coins going into circulation and hence most likely a reduced demand. However, it remains an open question how this will affect prices. First, the introduction of price Ranges doesn’t take coins out of circulation. Second, price ranges set an upper and a lower boundary for trading with players. This obviously means that a player won’t be sold outside that boundary, which most likely will have two implications based on what we already have seen:
- In yesterday’s economy, it was practically impossible to buy TOTY Ronaldo, because the demand was much bigger than the supply at the (capped) price of 15,000,000. It is likely that the same shortages will evolve around cheaper players who will hit their respective price caps.
- The existence of a lower boundary is not a new thing either. Not only the lower boundary of 200 coins (BIN) but also the ‘politically’ set quick sell values forms a lower boundary, meaning that certain cards are quick sold rather than being put up for sale. A similar effect may hit more valuable cards, because their lower boundary is set too high. These cards may be put up for sale, but no one will buy them anymore, meaning that people may choose to quick sell them because 750 coins is better than nothing.
These consequences may not be notable in the beginning, because EA has put effort into finding the right market prices at day 0, but in the longer run, the real market value of certain players may drift outside the fixed price boundaries. It will be interesting to see how EA manages that.
As for FIFA 16, I definitely expect a few things to happen:
- Players will be cheaper, as price ranges will be lower and fewer coins will be in circulation at any given time
- Packs will be more worthwhile, because the money-per-coin ratio will be much more competitive than it is today. Although you still may be able to buy coins, they will be more expensive but also less necessary because prices are lower.
Consequently, those of us who prefer to play the game 100 % legit will find it relatively easier to get hold of the players we want to buy.
The big and unanswered question is how the black market will react. Only time will tell.