Update: According to a statement by EA, the microtransactions system in question is limited to the Ultimate Team so it does not affect any other game mode.
The third installment in the mixed martial arts fighting franchise held a beta this week and the unanimous reception has been devastating. The bone of contention lies with the multiplayer mode, Ultimate Team, that we are all too familiar with. Unlike in other sports titles from the publishing-giant, characters unlocked in EA Sports UFC 3 have to be further upgraded in various aspects to achieve their full potential. This is solely done through loot boxes that can be acquired through either in-game or real-world currency. There is no other way.
According to Game Revolution, the entire system is so random and heavily dependent on loot boxes that it is unimaginable for regular players to enjoy their progression. There is a lot of grinding involved, and the likelihood of duplicates only adds to the frustration.
Here is where the pay-to-win element makes its grand entrance. Those who wish to force their way forward can purchase loot boxes after loot boxes to make their fighting characters so powerful that their opponents, the ones still relying on regular gameplay, stand no chance of winning.
Someone with a fresh copy of EA Sports UFC 3 can immediately burn $1,000 to become unbeatable, at least until they face a very similar microtransactions-loving opponent.
For what it is worth, EA Sports UFC 3 is still in beta. This gives Electronic Arts the opportunity to address the pay-to-win problem. With the game coming out in just over a couple of months, it will be interesting to see what the development team comes up with.
EA Sports UFC 3 is scheduled to release worldwide on February 2 for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.