FIFA 15: Have Price Ranges ruined Ultimate Team?

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The introduction of Price Ranges in Ultimate Team has been met with widespread criticism from FIFA fans with many claiming that the update 'ruined' the game.

This negative reception spawned after learning that FUT gamers are now no longer able to sell players on the market for anywhere outside the given price set for every item in the game.

For example, the price band for Lionel Messi is currently at a minimum of 3.2 million coins and a maximum of 4.8, on the Xbox consoles, with those figures decided by the developers.

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This decision has removed much of the flexibility that players have when trading in FUT, and as mentioned, not many people are happy with EA Sports.

With so many questions surrounding this issue, we aim to make sense of one of the most controversial topics in FIFA history.

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Firstly, we need to understand the reasons from the developer's point of view and there are three main concerns highlighted on the EA Sports website:

1. Help players understand the value of the players in their club

Now while this statement is a true one, it also proves how unnecessary the feature is.

Prior to Price Ranges, FUT gamers could easily check the value of their players by using 'Compare Price' before listing them on the market, which then showed them the prices of the same items currently for sale.

This was clearly enough to get an idea of the value of players and decide how much to sell them for, so I don't really see the logic in introducing Price Ranges purely for this reason.

The value of players that EA Sports have set are all rather confusing as it is, with players like Andres Iniesta (89) having a price band of just 10 - 20,000 coins while some Silver players, such as Paulo Dyabala (74), have a value of over 100k despite being rated 15 overall really doesn't make any sense.

Was this the main reason for Price Ranges? I don't think so. I'd even go as far as saying that EA Sports mentioned this to distract more attention away from another reason, which we'll get to soon.

2. Make high-rated players more attainable for all FUT gamers and ensure a level playing field

On a more positive note, there are some benefits of Price Ranges as, indeed, high-rated players are now more attainable.

Players like Andres Iniesta, Luka Modric and Diego Costa are all available for under 25,000 coins, and this does make Ultimate Team more enjoyable in the sense that finally we can use great players without having to save up hundreds and thousands of coins.

But of course, lowering the prices of these players has had some very harsh effects on a lot of FUT players.

Many players on the game have decreased so much in price that gamers have found that they can't sell items within their price bands without making a loss.

Costa, for example, was worth over 100k before the update and now he can't be sold for any more than 15,000 coins, which means that the players who bought him beforehand can't sell him without making a minimum 75,000 coins loss.

This understandably has made players very reluctant to sell their FUT cards and has led to a massive decrease in players on the market, with some even becoming completely extinct in Ultimate Team, as gamers have no choice but to keep their players in their club.

It gets worse when looking at how Price Ranges have affected trading in the game mode.

The idea in Ultimate Team is very simple: buy on the cheap, sell for profit.

This was the whole appeal of FUT, which was essentially the stock market of gaming, but Price Ranges have removed all the necessary skill needed for FIFA trading with the predictability of the market.

Traders can no longer manipulate the market and all of the control has been taken away from them. Making any profit on players has become a near impossible job.

How do EA Sports expect us to make any money in Ultimate Team anymore? Players have not only lost coins, but also been prevented to gain any by Price Ranges.

As far as a 'level playing field' goes, the only way this applies is that we've all been equally affected by this extraordinary decision...

3. Further restrict illegitimate coin transfers on the Transfer Market

Finally we reach the main reason for EA Sports introducing Price Ranges, and that is to stop the infamous coin sellers once and for all.

The idea is that by putting cheap maximum prices on low rated players, coin sellers can no longer use them to make the coin transaction to their buyers.

Previously, sellers would sell coins for real world money, an illegitimate business according to EA Sports. These 'companies' are the ones that you've probably seen being promoted by FIFA YouTubers for the past year, who ultimately should take some of the blame for Ultimate Team's downfall.

Without digressing too much, coin sellers transfer coins that have been bought online to customers using low priced items. They tell FIFA players to put up a low rated item at X amount of coins (an amount which no-one else would think about buying) and the coin sellers would then buy the item to give the customer their coins.

Believe me, I'm not a fan of coin sellers, but in business terms this is a great strategy, and a whole lot of money has been made by these 'companies'. The Ultimate Team problem has moved beyond the game, and finally EA Sports may have beaten it with Price Ranges.

The feature restricts the transactions from being made successfully, with the tools of the transactions being low rated players who can no longer be sold for the high amounts used to transfer coins. 

And so this is a massive step for EA Sports' battle with coin sellers, but for FUT players it remains a crushing defeat.

The fun of trading has been taken out of Ultimate Team and you could argue that we've further fallen victim to the developers.

Seemingly the only way to make money on the game mode is to purchase FIFA points for packs with the absence of legitimate trading. This way EA Sports make even more money at their community's expense, so maybe there was more than a moral incentive for stopping coin sellers, from the developer's perspective.

And let's not forget, even if you did manage to pack Ronaldo, no-one will have the coins to buy him from you anymore so once again the whole purpose of Ultimate Team is defeated!

Ultimate Team is in one hell of a mess right now and EA Sports must realise this, was stopping coin sellers really worth it?

I'll let you decide, but for now all we can hope for is that somehow FIFA 16's Ultimate Team can be saved!

Have Price Ranges ruined Ultimate Team? Share your thoughts in the comments.

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