In its new financial briefing [EA], EA revealed that its live services made $993 million in Q3 of the 2020 financial year. This is an “all-time high” for the company and it’s an increase of 27% compared to Q3 FY2019.
Microtransactions in games such as Apex Legends and FIFA Ultimate Team were a huge part of this growth. Apex Legends microtransactions can be used for character and weapon skins. FIFA Ultimate Team sells card packs, like loot boxes, that allow players to unlock new players for their teams.
The growth of live services is unsurprising from a company that has pushed microtransactions so hard. EA once caused controversy with its pay to win Star Wars Battlefront 2 loot boxes. Its FIFA Ultimate Team card packs have also been compared to gambling and some young players have spent thousands of their parents’ dollars to buy them.
It doesn’t seem that the company is letting up as EA also said that “Nothing illustrates the changing nature of our business model like the growth of our live services.” This suggests that fans can expect more live service games with post-launch content and microtransactions.
However, EA will likely move away from loot boxes as it keeps trying to grow its microtransaction revenue. The publisher would be one of the biggest affected by loot box gambling laws. EA agreed to remove card packs from FIFA in Belgium [BBC] after the country made a new law that banned loot boxes.
Gamers have seen developers create new ways to get microtransactions into games such as battle passes. Players do seem to like these and they are less controversial than loot boxes, so fans can expect them to become more popular with companies like EA.