EA is adding special packs to Ultimate Team which enable you to view every card on offer before you commit to purchasing, as part of the current FIFA 21 Festival of FUTball campaign.
Titled ‘Preview Packs’, they’re live in-game with immediate effect and remove the loot box-style element to standard pack openings, whereby you have no idea what’s inside when committing to open a pack.
The way the dynamic works is that you pop into the FUT Store as usual, hover over a desired pack, then press X (on PlayStation) in order to open it. You see the standard style pack opening animation, and are then presented with a screen showcasing all items in the pack. At this point, you can opt to buy the pack using in-game coins or FIFA Points.
The catch? For each pack type, you can only do this once within a specific time limit. (Six hours, at time of writing.) If you decide not to purchase the pack on offer, hovering over it again in the Store gives you the option to review the previously seen pack and change your mind.
It’s also worth noting that packs earned through gameplay, such as Division Rivals and Squad Battles rewards, remain as before and are not previewable.
While Preview Packs only last for the rest of June’s Festival of FUTball campaign, it’s highly likely that EA is testing the waters for a new style of pack opening, given ongoing criticism of the series’ loot box mechanics. The company famously stopped selling FIFA Points in Belgium in 2019 after national authorities raised concerns regarding loot boxes, and recent research commissioned by the charity GambleAware suggests the mechanic is “is structurally and psychologically akin to gambling”.
"Many gamers do ascribe discrete financial values to loot box contents - based on purchase or resale price - suggesting that many loot boxes meet existing criteria for gambling regulation," wrote researchers from the universities of Plymouth and Wolverhampton.
For more info and images on how the Preview Packs mechanic works, check out EA’s official Pitch Notes page.