A Crash Course to the FUT Market Crash
The much hyped market crash happens for a few reasons but we can draw from FUT11 and FUT12 for some context.
FUT11 was the breakout year for the FUT mode and everyone was still learning the trading game. EA was also learning which levers to tweak with regards to increasing revenue from the UT game mode.
By FUT12, most traders in the game were prepared for a January/February ‘crash’ until EA threw a major curveball, but more on that later.
First, a bit of ECON101: Since not-inform (NIF) versions of a player continue to increase in supply over time, the price of a NIF also decreases over the course of a year. IF cards are the reverse. As they appear for a limited window they have a finite supply and gradually increase in value.
On to the market crash.
What happened to FUT12 over XMAS?
EA knows that a lot of its userbase gets PSN points, XBOX MSP and raw dollars as Xmas presents. They want to funnel you into using your dollars on UT.
So EA will get festive and throw players a huge bone in the form of special packs. These special packs included:
- Jumbo packs: Double the size of a regular premium, with 7 rares instead of 6
- Player-only packs: Same size as a regular premium, with 3 rare players
- Jumbo player-only premiums: Same size as jumbo, player only with 7 rares.
- All rare premiums: same size as a regular premium, but with 12 rare players!!
In FUT11 it was clear EA was testing how each of these packs performed (i.e. how many were bought, the impact on the economy) because they had an even greater variety of special packs.
In FUT12 having all-rare player-only packs and jumbo player packs eroded the market in January. Imagine the increased frequency of IFs and top-rated players from these packs!
However, Xmas/NY alone did not cause a huge impact. Yes, the average price of all rares dropped but most traders don’t hold stocks in regular players, they hold IF cards. The curveball(s) came with TOTY announcement and the transfer/upgrade update in early February.
What happens to FUT after The World XI TOTY announcement?
The annual FIFA announcement of the World XI is replicated in UT with a special TOTY which contains a majority of the most coveted players in UT. At this point, everyone goes batshit crazy when EA announces a Happy Hour (HH) for TOTY.
People dump their FIFA points into these packs and attempt to sell off their existing players (both NIF and IF) for coins to fund purchases of packs and/or TOTY IFs.
Adding to this frenzy are the IF players who are also listed in the TOTY. For e.g. IF Messi is guaranteed to be in the World XI, his FUT13 IF will become less valuable as it is superceded by the TOTY version, which leads to people listing their IF Messi’s at discount.
So the TOTY causes a market stampede. Again, traders from FUT11 are prepared for this because they are holding IF cards, usually players not in the World XI nominations.
What happened to FUT after the January Transfers UP announcement?
What really killed the market off was the release of upgraded players announced as part of the January transfer window update. On the 3rd of February and the 8th of February (see link below), besides updating transferred players to their new teams, EA decided they needed to also upgrade certain players. These upgraded versions (UP) were essentially re-releases of existing IFs. So your IF Aguero (rated 88) was re-released as an 88 rare card. Needless to say, UPs destroyed the market for almost every trader as twenty of the most valuable players in the game were essentially reduced to discard value. Not only were these previously released IFs reduced in value, but EA also upgraded an additional 116 players, rendering their previous NIF versions even less valuable.
TL:DR = EA’s special packs + increased spending power of your average punter over Xmas/NY + TOTY announcement + upgraded players announcements combined to cause a huge influx of rare players into the market, therefore causing a crash in prices.
This is a list of the (UP) players in FUT12: http://forum.ea.com/uk/posts/list/0/1405021.page
This is a guide I wrote to prepare for the FUT12 TOTY: http://futguide.com/2011/12/30/preparing-for-fifa-12s-team-of-the-year-toty/
Frequently Asked Questions (from Reddit)
- IF’s: Will they lose substantial value post-crash?
- Sell the Team or Keep it: We’ve seen a lot of great teams on here that cost relatively nothing yet are still competitive. Would you personally recommend selling your high-priced BPL team or are you keeping it?
- The Old Cards: When a player gets a new card with upgraded stats, how valuable will his old card be? Let’s take Ribery for example: His card is currently around 400k on the XBL market, and should he get an upgrade, what’s that card going to drop to? Will it substantially lose value (I’m talking a 200k+ drop) or will it still be a card worth keeping/selling in the future?
- Depends on what EA does with TOTY and UPs this year
- Sell your team if you can live with buying them back at a later date. If they hold sentimental value (first owner, fav player etc.) don’t sell
- Old cards: His old card is literally worthless. At most, 2x to 3x the value of the (UP) version. Good example from FUT12 – IF Aguero went for 1.5 million on XBOX pre-UP release and dropped down to 200-250K post-UP, while his UP version sold for 90K. IF EA decide to re-release the player in a different position that’s a different story and the IF may well retain its value – for example IF Sergio Ramos’ value as a CB is far superior to that of a RB.
EA Sports is definitely behaving differently this year though, the clearest example is the lack of Happy Hours and even more telling, when there are Happy Hours, EA does not increase the odds of pulling an IF. This is good for the economy (restricting supply of IFs), which may suggest EA may not do something as crazy as the UP announcement this year /fingers crossed.
Let me know if you have any specific questions regarding the crash.
Ping me on Twitter @fantasyscout or on the forums (shorlurker).
Feel free to let me know if I got any details wrong – last year was a long time ago and I’m certain I missed/messed up on some of the finer details!
Also cross-posted to Reddit.