Ultimate Team is a collectible card game in which players, buy, sell and trade virtual playing cards to create and manage a team. Players can compete with their teams offline against the CPU or online against other players ultimate team with the online games yielding greater rewards. Players also have to manage contracts, fatigue and injuries between games with consumable assist or contract cards. These cards, as well as new players, can be bought in “card packs” using in-game currency or real money.
User numbers have grown year after year for Ultimate Team as the mode has become more integral to each sports titles release. In 2012, for the first time, players were able to play FIFA 13 Ultimate Team 3 days before the games release if they were a member of EA Sports Season Pass. The popularity of these modes can be no better charted then in their micro-transaction sales, totaling 108 million for FIFA 12 and 60 million for Madden NFL12.
The mode proved to be so popular that in 2012 hackers hijack Xbox Live accounts to buy and use FIFA Ultimate Team packs. The cards were traded from hijacked accounts to other accounts or the hijacked account itself was sold. New security measures were put in place however high level Ultimate Team players continue to be the target of hackers today.