Michaela Wawra

Michaela Wawra is in a prae-doc position at University for Continuing Education Krems in Austria. She lived 2 years abroad in Sweden and finished her bachelor and her master’s programme at University of Vienna, where she specialised in business law, innovation- and technology management and electronic business. The focus of her job is in distance learning in the mba programmes and e-learning. She will start her PhD in March at the Vienna University of Economics and Business. She has a burning passion for gaming and been a successful international guild leader for about 2-3 years through World of Warcraft Classic and Burning Crusade (2020-2022). She also played professionally in Team Austria Female with Counter-Strike 1.6 around 2003-2004

Alexander Pfeiffer, University for Continuing Education Krems

The freedom of choice: looking at the game mechanics of lootboxes through the eyes of FIFA 22 (Ultimate Team).

FROG 2022 – Poster

Take a look back at the year 2010: Netflix begins to expand its same-named streaming service beyond the borders of the United States of America. In the same year Apple launches the iPhone 4, more complex smartphone games (of course also on high end Android smartphones) find a wider popularity. The revolution of digital business models has just begun. It is becoming apparent that mechanics that have slowly but steadily evolved over the 2000s are now becoming mainstream. These include in-game / in-app purchases where you buy a fantasy currency to be used in the game or directly virtual items, but also the concept of lootboxes. Lootboxes implement concepts from gambling and you don’t know exactly what reward awaits you. Lootboxes can usually be played for, but can also be purchased, respectively the purchased fantasy currency can be cashed in for it.

While these concepts were first used for cash generation in free-to-play games, Electronic Arts implemented in 2009 the Ultimate Team Game Mode in FIFA bringing a game mode with in-game purchases and lootboxes to build your squads. This already proved to be so successful in early 2010 that this game mode is present in all EA sports games and generated billions in sales in the early 2020s. This article would now like to look at the status quo of lootboxes in games with a focus on FIFA Ultimate Team games and the perspective from the players’ point of view. What freedom do players have to play the game without extra spending? What does it mean for players to invest money for the game? How do players react to the various promotions and the constant development of new trading cards and events? How do players feel at the end of a FIFA edition when they can get all the trading cards with little effort? These and other questions are part of a quantitative study among players followed by a recap of the data through a focus group interview.


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