EA Sports is celebrating the five-year anniversary of the introduction of Ultimate Team to the FIFA series by running a bunch of promotions and giving away free stuff.
Ultimate Team was introduced as premium downloadable content in FIFA 09 but in the years since it's emerged as the FIFA series' biggest and most popular game mode. The idea is to build a fantasy team of players by earning coins and spending them on blind player packs or transfer auctions run by other players.
It's also possible to buy FIFA Points to spend on packs using real money, which is one of the reasons Ultimate Team has been sensationally successful for EA in a commercial sense too - perhaps even helping former EA Sports boss Andrew Wilson ascend to the big chair last year when CEO John Riccitiello stepped down.
But who cares about all that? Let's open our presents.
For a start, if you haven't played Ultimate Team for a while, you might want to log in on PC and console and claim five free Gold Rare packs by clicking on the anniversary banner. The items you receive in the packs are untradeable, but obviously you can use them in your squads. I got Marco Reus on PS4, which was, er, ganz speck? (Sorry, my German is rusty. Mmm, bacon!)
Those packs won't be present in the web app, but EA has turned daily gifts back on for people who use that (just as well given how ropey it's been this season) and will keep them going until Monday, so loading that up could net you free coins, a small bronze pack or other trinkets.
If you feel like celebrating Ultimate Team's birthday by giving a present rather than receiving, you can also pick up a maximum of five Jumbo Gold Premium Packs for the next few hours (the one-day offer started last night) at a birthday discount rate of 5000 coins compared to the usual 15k you see when this kind of pack is offered at other times.
EA also put out a red Man of the Match edition of Robin van Persie yesterday following his hat-trick in the Champions League, so if you win the pack lottery for once then you might get one of him for your squad, although obviously in reality you'll just get yet another Antonio Cassano or Jermaine Defoe.
Now you've opened your birthday presents, you better read the card. Well, infographic. Did you know that 64% of all FIFA players play Ultimate Team? Or that there have been 21,849,017 unique Ultimate Team players since the mode launched in FIFA 09? And that people play an average of 264,000 matches a day? You will by the time you've looked at the infographic, which also acknowledges the introduction of those previously clandestine teal "Pro Player" cards we wrote about recently.
Happy birthday, then, FIFA Ultimate Team. I have almost forgiven you for only ever giving me one in-form in a pack and it being this guy.
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