Behaviour Change

PROPAGANDA FOR CHANGE is a project created by the students of Behaviour Change (ps359) and Professor Thomas Hills @thomhills at the Psychology Department of the University of Warwick. This work was supported by funding from Warwick's Institute for Advanced Teaching and Learning.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

EA Extortion

Fifa Ultimate team is an integral part to EA sports’ success with the game.  It is centered on a trading market where players are bought and sold with coins, which are either won in the game, or earned by selling players.  With real money, you can buy packs containing players, which you can then use to build a team or can sell on.  These packs have varying chances of getting players of varying ability levels.  Every week they add “In Form” players to the packs for sale; these players have higher ratings then their original version in the market and are much rarer than majority of other players.  Further, once a year, they release “Team Of The Year” players.  Fifa votes for these players and they are incredibly rare and substatianly better than other players in the market.  The main way to get these players is to buy “Special” packs as the picture shows, which have time and quantity constraints.  The odds of getting these players are very low, even in the special packs and the prices of these packs are high, but because of the rarity of the cards, plenty of people buy these.

This strategy is an example of scarcity.   Scarcity is where the perceived value of something increases because of how rare it is, and subsequently people want it more, as it is of higher value.

Worchel, Lee, and Adewole (1975) conducted an experiment where subjects were asked to rate the value and attractiveness of cookies that were either in an abundant or scarce supply.  

Table 1 illustrates the results. The first column (demand) is the relevant column. People responded to liking and attractiveness questions on likhert scales.  The lower the number means the higher the rating of attractiveness and liking.  As you can see the ratings for the scarce condition (2 cookies) were around 2, and in the abundant condition (10 cookies) were higher, at around 7.  This shows that scarce products are liked more and are deemed more attractive, ascribing a higher value to the cookies.  So, in regards to EA Ultimate Team, when they make players scarce, the users will ascribe a higher value to these players simply on the fact that they are rarer than other players within the game.  

Worchel, S., Lee, J. & Adewole, A. (1975) Effects of supply and demand on ratings of object value.      Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 32, 906-914.

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