There are two things the internet loves more than anything else: NFTs and EA microtransactions. In a conference call following today’s financial report, investors asked EA the obvious question: what if you put the two together? What if FIFA Ultimate Team cards were also NFTs? To what will surely be the great delight of every observer, EA seems open to the possibility.
Asked about the rise of ‘play-to-earn’ features in games – or at least the increased discussion about the potential of NFTs in games – EA CEO Andrew Wilson says “I do think it will be an important part of the future of our industry. But it’s still early to figure out how that’s going to work. I feel good about our position with respect to that.”
Alluding to features like FIFA Ultimate Team, Wilson says “as a company, we have been leaders in the creation of digital content that has real collectable value in the embedding of that content as part of live services. What we know about collection over time is that collectability is far more valuable to the collector where the collected item has utility. In the context of the games that we create and the live services that we offer, collectable digital content is going to play a meaningful part in our future. It’s still early to tell, but I think we’re in a really good position, and you should expect us to think more innovatively and creatively about that on a go-forward basis.”
Another investor asks more explicitly about player investments in digital collectables in sports games. “Collectability in games like FIFA, and Madden, and NHL is really built on driving value through the traditional sports season,” Wilson responds. “I think your question is ‘Is there an opportunity, as we think about NFTs and other digital ecosystems, to expand that value over time?’ I think the short answer to that is yes.
“The slightly longer answer to that is that we need to work and make sure we continue to appropriately tune and balance the experience for our players, and we’re always looking to give our players more value in the experiences they enjoy. You’re seeing that based on the growing engagement in the game and the growing spending. They’re getting that value. As we have evolved the Ultimate Team experience over the last decade, we will continue to look for ways to add value for our players.”
This is where I normally make a cheeky joke to link to a feature of ours on something like sports games, but I’m not sure I have it in me this time around.