FIFA 21: Pro Clubs Update

PROJECT

DESCRIPTION

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Project

FIFA 21: Pro Clubs Update is a fictional update I created using UX/UI Cast Study artifacts.
It’s designed to increase immersion or flow for the user though new content, improvements, and regulated in-game transactions.
Currently, FIFA 21: Pro Clubs does not produce consistent flow.

Tools

Adobe_XD
Adobe_Photoshop
Adobe_Ai
Adobe-ME_200px
Wordpress_Wht

My Responsibilities

I was responsible for the entire design process which included personas, experience maps, flowcharts, wireframing, prototyping and more.

DESIGN

PROCESS

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Understand

Understand Users
Buisness Goals
DP_2-Research_1

Psychology

Flow
Studies

DP_3-Empathize_1

Empathize

Persona
Experience Map

DP_4-Ideate_1

Ideate

User &
Task Flow
DP_5-Prototype_1

Prototype

High Fidelity
Prototype

DP_6-Iterate_1

Iterate

Feedback
Implimenting Results
UNDERSTAND

USERS

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Existing Users

To understand users and their existing frustrations, I surveyed different age groups regarding different aspects of FIFA 21 Pro Clubs.

Question Topics

  1. Club User Interface
  2. Club User Experience
  3. Drop-Ins Interface
  4. UI Improvements
  5. New Features
  6. Lobby UX/UI
  7. AI Customization
  8. Pro Customization
  9. In-Game Interface
  10. Post-Game UI

Key Points

  • Most users prefer to make their own leagues
  • Add an Accomplishment System
  • Add more game modes like training, practice, set pieces, etc.
  • Add the ability to add Skill Points in pre or post-game lobby
  • More Customizable UI attributes would help AI player match the Team’s gameplay
  • Add Season Progression rewards system
  • Add Player Packs
  • Add ability to change position during half-time
  • Add ability to sign real-world players to teams
  • Add lobby filter

Existing Business Goals

Mind blowing figures behind EA Sports’ net revenue from Ultimate Team (UT).
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FUT 2020
$ 0
FUT 2019
$ 0
FUT 2018
$ 0
FUT 2017
Revenue from Ultimate Team
0%

For publishers EA, it’s an absolute cash cow. Last year Ultimate Team modes in all EA Sports games — such as Madden NFL and NHL — made $1.4 billion. That’s 28 percent of all EA’s revenue, a company that also publishes Apex LegendsThe Sims, and every new Star Wars game (Chris IP, 2020)

ChrisIP

The main reason FUT is the most popular mode in the game is due the amount of effort EA puts into it versus other modes. While FUT receive a multitude of updates, other modes like Pro Clubs do not receive the same love

UX

PSYCHOLOGY

02

Flow

“Pro Clubs is the most fun you can have in FIFA, especially when there’s a lot of your friends involved. Pro Clubs needs a massive revamp”
– Matt Craig 

MattCraig2
Although limited, Pro Club’s can be a blast when played with friends since it allows gamers to play FIFA together and make friends along the way. However, when friends aren’t available, faithful club members are forced to play Drop-In matches which allows all players to drop into random matches with each other.

Users have reported that one of the biggest issues is the Drop-In Matches mode, where it’s likely for players to get matched with selfish teammates creating an unpleasant gameplay experience, therefore disrupting Flow. In short, Flow is a mental state, during which a person is fully immersed in an activity and is composed of 9 dimensions (Csikszentmihalyi, 19751990). To produce a consistent state of flow, EA needs to accomplish the 9 dimensions to flow.

  1. Challenge-skills balance
  2. Action-awareness merging
  3. Clear goals
  4. Unambiguous feedback
  5. Concentration on the task at hand
  6. Sense of control
  7. Loss of self-consciousness
  8. Transition of time
  9. Autotelic experience.
Although limited, Pro Club’s can be a blast when played with friends since it allows gamers to play FIFA together and make friends along the way. However, when friends aren’t available, faithful club members are forced to play Drop-In matches which allows all players to drop into random matches with each other.

Skill-Challenge Channels Graph

Flow4
USER

EMPATHY

03

Persona

To build my persona, I researched what a typical Fifa player would be like. On Playstation 4 alone, the UK ranks highest in popularity by country coming in at 14% of or 1,624,000 players (gamestat.com, 2020).  EA’s target audience is young males (koogar, 2016) between the ages of 20-25 (strapollme.com 2017 ). In addition, the median annual earnings for male full-time employees in the UK between 22-30 is £27k – £34k (Statista, 2020).
OLIVER SMITH Casual gamer who is a hard-working Sales Administrator

Profile

Headshot
“Because COVID -19 still has my city on lock-down, one of my main pass-times is playing video games with friends. I have a few real-world friends that play FIFA and have made a lot of new friends playing online.
  •  Age: 25
  • Occupation: Sales Administrator
  • Marital Status: Single
  • Location: London, UK
  • Archetype: The Caregiver

Bio

Oliver is a sales administrator in the automobile industry. He is located in London, UK. He often works night shifts. He loves playing video games whenever he finds time after work or on the weekends.

Goals & Interests

  • Relaxation apart from work
  • Play video games during free time
  • Immersive games
  •  High challenge, high reward
  • Show off his accomplishments
  • socialize with friends
  • sense of control

Traits & Motivators

  •  Efficient and organized worker
  • Performs well under pressure
  • Perfectionist and fast paced
  • Plays to experience ecstasy games provide

Motivators

Social Interaction

Entertainment

Intrinsic Reward

Item Rewards

Personality

Introvert

Extrovert

Spontaneous

Analytical

Lenient

Critical

Generous

Frugal

Discreet

Blunt

Conventional

Original

The Experience Map below introduces the idea of an “Objectives” system in Pro Clubs similar that of Ultimate Team.

Experience Map

Oliver Smith's Experience Map

Map6
CREATIVE

IDEATION

03

Flowchart

The Flowchart below visualizes the steps Oliver Smith would take in order to get the full experience out of the objectives system.

Pro Clubs Flowchart

Flowchart
VISUAL

PROTOTYPE

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New Content

“For Pro Clubs, I would love to see accomplishments return… think they made you want to play Clubs more than in the previous two games. Tournaments and match-winning incentives to get cool things for your club. For example, limited edition kits, boots or hairstyles.” said Emmanuel John Brown with 1.7 million YouTube subscribers in an interview with Dexerto. Accomplishment were objectives players had to complete in previous games. Each Accomplishment would help level up your pro.

Because some players are incredibly selfish, they prioritize completing their Accomplishments above the team’s success, creating an unpleasant experience for the rest of the team. Instead of making that extra pass for an easy goal, selfish players would take a harder shot for personal benefit. In order to improve gameplay, EA replaced the Accomplishments with an XP system. This new system allowed you to earn points by playing games and then apply those points towards attributes of your choice.

High Fidelity Prototype: Objectives

The video below demonstrates a high-fidelity prototype of a new concept feature for Pro Clubs called Objectives.
Replacing the accomplishments for XP was a step in the right direction by EA; however, it removed some incentives to level up your Pro. In my opinion, in order to achieve flow, the community needs clear goals and rewards in the form of customizable appearance items (cosmetics) and regulated performance enhancement items.
My proposition for an Objectives system for Pro Clubs is similar to that of FUT 21 Objectives. Both modes would be similar in that both contain time-sensitive objectives. The main difference is that Pro Club players would have the ability to complete goals individually and collectively alongside their club teammates. In this way, players would have additional gameplay regardless of their friend’s availability.
For example, FUT has an objective called Future Stars Academy: Fofana, which highlights Wesley Fofana’s career from starting point to his current position. This objective includes 12 sub-objectives, each with its own sub-reward, and a main group reward consisting of a highly rated Fofana Card.
The “Future Stars Academy: Fofana” Objective can be applied to Pro Clubs by having similar sub-objectives, except for new rewards types like Pro Club Cards (PS Cards) and cosmetic items. The main difference between FUT Player Cards and PS Cards that the professional player would be substituted with the user’s Pro. Now, Pro’s would be able to display their latest Objective accomplishment on their PS Card alongside their stats.
PRO CLUBS: COSMETICS
Another type of Objectives reward concept would be cosmetic items, which already exist in FUT but can be re-implemented in Pro Clubs with a few tweaks. Essentially, they are visual customizable items for your pro and stadium such as hair styles, kits, boots, stadiums, sidelines, and crowds to name a few.

Community News

“Build more of a community around Pro Clubs. When I load up Pro Clubs, I want the menu to look at how FUT does. I want to see the top clubs around the world, the top players, maybe a highlight video showing the top goals of the week/month.” Purpzzz710 on Reddit. Currently there is a leaderboard section in Pro Clubs that allows you to see the top clubs and players around the world. In addition, that are many third party social media groups with a mission to provide as much virtual esports as possible that specialize in Fifa Pro Clubs.
The problem is that, because Pro Clubs does not offer a communal space for players to connect, they resort to third party social media groups to provide the desired connection to their community. One solution to this would be creating a “Community “section in Fifa Pro Clubs that highlights Pros as well as Clubs and allows them to interact.

Transfers

How cool would it be to be recognized worldwide for your performance and receive transfer invitations from world-class Pro Clubs? Well, the addition of Transfers can make that happen. While FUT transfers deal with real world soccer players Pro Clubs can take a different approach by making players transferable.
A challenge would be making the transfer mechanic manageable yet realistic. This new concept would allow Club Managers to send transfer requests, bid on players, and sign players for a certain period of time.

Improvements

Drop-In Matches

As mentioned previously, one of the biggest frustrations with Drop-Ins is selfish players. Currently, Drop-Ins allow 6 vs 6 matches with the rest of the squad line-up consisting of Artificial Intelligence players (AI). During matches, players are allowed to call for unlimited amounts of passes from their AI teammates on a first-call, first-serve basis. In other words, a selfish player is able to spam the pass button limitlessly even the AI is not in the position to make a successful pass. As this is a huge problem, a Pro Clubs improvement I would make would be limiting the number of ball calls players can receive from their AI teammates. Nonetheless, even after players deplete their “ball calls”, they would still be able to receive passes, however, they would have to be positioned correctly.

Transfers

Similar to FUT, the addition of Transfers allow Pro Club managers to use their FIFA Coins to bid on Pros, consumables, and stadium items.
If players want to see improvements in Pro Clubs, the community needs to accept in-game purchases. It’s unlikely for EA to improve Pro Clubs unless there is a monetary incentive.

In-Game Transactions

Micro Transactions

The introduction of Micro-transactions for FIFA Coins done the right way can benefit both the players and developer. However, a potential problem with microtransactions would be creating a ‘pay to win’ system which would allow users to buy in-game permanent enhancements giving them an unfair advantage over other players. Another potential problem are unrestricted loot boxes which is linked to problem gambling in adolescents.

In order to create fair gameplay, EA would have to apply regulations by matching teams by division and team rating ensuring their is no absolute