Kamaru Usman, Colby Covington feature in UFC 4

EA Sports UFC 4 is set to release on August 14 on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, but the game will be without one of EA Sports’ most-popular game modes, Ultimate Team.

Ultimate Team features in most EA Sports video games and typically allows gamers to build their own dream squad of athletes — whether’s that’s the perfect team on FIFA or Madden. Previous UFC games, UFC 2 and UFC 3, allowed gamers to build their own dream squad of fighters. Players could add licensed fighters or custom fighters to this squad and compete in single-player or online multiplayer fight modes.

In a statement released on the EA website, Brian Hayes, Creative Director of UFC 4, announced that Ultimate Team won’t be included in UFC 4 and revealed the reasons behind the decision.

“We spent lots of time and resources in UFC 2 and UFC 3 to make it fun and engaging, but the feedback we received directly and through player data was that it still isn’t as engaging as we intended for it to be.

Speaking of player data; we see, overwhelmingly, less interest in UFC Ultimate Team compared to other titles. Lots of people played it and some still do – but the large majority of our fans prefer to spend their time elsewhere. That fact is loud and clear through our game data and couldn’t be ignored.

Looking at the number of players engaging with UFC Ultimate Team compared to the amount of resources required to develop and support the mode, the math just didn’t make sense. Even to port it from UFC 3 to UFC 4 without any material changes or improvements required significant time and effort, let alone revamping the mode to make it more fun and engaging.

The announcement comes as somewhat of a surprise as Ultimate Team has not just been a popular addition to many of EA Sports’ most famous franchise titles, but it has also been one of the most lucrative inclusions, as well.

In May, Daniel Ahmad tweeted details of EA Sports’ Net Revenue from Ultimate Team mode across all franchises. The tally has increased year-on-year since 2015 and had already created $1.49 billion of net revenue in the 2020 financial year.

Ultimate Team has allowed EA to boost profits from in-game microtransactions, as players dumped more money into already-purchased titles in an effort to unlock star athletes and cosmetics. These microtransactions have been incredibly controversial over the years and, in particular, they were at the center of controversy at the time of UFC 3’s release in 2017.

As part of the statement released on Saturday, Hayes addressed microtransactions in UFC 4, stating that they will be in the upcoming game, but “only for cosmetic items,” and that “everything is also earnable by playing the game.”

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