FIFA 21: EA has just introduced a new type of envelope, or loot boxes, that allow us to preview their content before getting hold of them, albeit with nuances. EA has surprised locals and strangers with the latest FIFA 21 update, in which it introduces a new type of loot boxes that could be acting as a probe balloon for future installments of the franchise and for other company games. The developer seems to be testing out new policies and commercial strategies, and for a few hours it has been offering envelopes in FIFA Ultimate Team that allow us to see their content before we make the decision to buy them. The envelopes in question have an eye icon on them and will be available temporarily until the end of the FUTbol Festival, an event that began on June 11 and runs until July 16.
The only condition of these envelopes is that, if we view the content of one and then do not buy it, we will have to wait 24 hours before being able to use this new option again. In addition, we can only use this kind of “preview” with packs from the FUT Store. Those in other modes (such as Division Rivals and SBC) will continue to function normally. On the EA website you can consult a step-by-step guide on how the so-called Previewable Envelopes work, intended to save more than one investment. We’ll see if they become a regular thing from now on or if they die like a one-day flower.
The mess of the loot boxes
EA’s experiment could have in mind the legal obstacles that are beginning to put Europe in the loot boxes of video games, where they are compared to the bookmakers. In countries like Belgium they have been banned and, in Spain, the Government has promised to regulate them and has referred to them as “a perverse system that encourages impulsive gambling and can stimulate behaviors such as gambling, especially among minors.” This business model has not stopped growing in recent years and some studies suggest that it will generate 20 billion dollars by 2025. EA has defended this proposal more than once, which it refers to as “surprise mechanics”, but It has also had to back down from community complaints on occasion before, condemning and rejecting Star Wars Battlefront 2 for exactly this reason. We will see what new direction the whole mess of envelopes and loot boxes now takes.