Electronic Arts generated $5.63 billion in net revenue for the whole of its 2021 financial year, $1.62 billion of which came solely from the often controversial Ultimate Team modes in its sports games like FIFA 21.
Those specific figures for Ultimate Team popped up in a recent filing from EA (via Eurogamer), where the company noted that the FIFA franchise, and specifically Ultimate Team, are "material to our business and will continue to be so."
Over the years, EA has pledged to double down on live services due to the financial gains of modes like Ultimate Team, and it doesn't seem keen to abandon that plan any time soon. According to the filing, live services represent 71 percent of 2021's net revenue.
Ultimate Team alone was responsible for 29 percent of EA's revenue during the financial year ended March 31, 2021, but the same elements that make Ultimate Team a financial success have made it a controversial feature. The mode is often central in conversations about predatory loot box mechanics, and has been mentioned in discussions about government regulation for years at this point.
FIFA Ultimate Team allows players to build their own custom FIFA teams and compete against other players, but new team members of various rarity and ability are unlocked through blind box-style packs, earned through gameplay or bought with premium currency. Those random chance loot box mechanics have landed EA leadership in front of committees weighing the loot box legislation in the past, but the company always maintains that its use of the mechanic is "ethical, fun, and enjoyable."