I’ll preface this all by saying that this won’t impact all Madden players, as the game is not forcing anyone to participate in its “Madden Ultimate Team” mode. However, there’s something being done in this years iteration that is sure to raise an eyebrow or two.
For those unfamiliar with Madden, Ultimate Team is a mode in which players can collect cards of in-game NFL stars (past and present) to create the “Ultimate Team.” Players can collect these add-ons simply buy playing the mode and earning coins which can be redeemed for packs of cards. The mode features a marketplace to sell, trade, and auction off goodies obtained through packs that have been redeemed.
It’s not so much that the game features micro-transactions, that’s the not the story here, it has already been done before. It’s the fact that — for the first time in the franchise — “Madden Ultimate Team” now features items that you can only purchase with real money (through points), instead of working towards them through progression.
Those points come in the form of micro-transactions and vary in price from 100 points for $.99 all the way to 12,000 points for $99.99.
To make up for it, for those who do play for progression, the game now makes it rain coins on you; even the very first time you play against the CPU you’ll quickly earn 2,000 coins. Unfortunately, those 2,000 coins won’t get you very far.
As it stands right now, less than a week before release, Ultimate Team mode in Madden NFL 15 features “special points-only items” which a tucked behind a non-progression paywall.