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Published: 13/Mar/2021 2:50 Updated: 13/Mar/2021 3:19by David Purcell
EA SPORTS have seriously clamped down on FUT coin and card sellers recently, but one of their own employees has allegedly been caught selling FIFA 21 ICONs. Now, EA Gate has started trending on social media and the company is investigating the scandal.
Previously, the developers took measures to ensure that trading outside of their own market was nigh on impossible. First, they removed the old FUT trades to stop people selling cards, then came the price ranges, and the list goes on.
In court cases, EA even claimed in-game items could never be sold for real money. The only system to buy things in FIFA 21 and previous games has been to purchase FIFA Points, buy some packs, and try your luck at packing a good player.
On March 10, however, some serious allegations have spread across Twitter like wildfire. Based on these accusations, which include screen shots and various evidence, EA SPORTS have put out a statement confirming that they are investigating the matter.
Following backlash across social media from fans and partnered content creators alike, EA SPORTS have released their own official response to the situation. This suggests that the evidence is strong enough to be taken seriously, but gives little information about possible suspects within the company.
— EA SPORTS FIFA (@EASPORTSFIFA) March 10, 2021
As EA’s FIFA account explains, the developers are cognizant of the allegations being spread and bothered enough to conduct a “thorough investigation.” Confirming that this work is already underway, EA promised that “swift action” of consequences will be delivered and that they will continue updating the FIFA community as the investigation develops.
In the first update on their official blog, they confirmed “questionable activity” happened and vowed to “take action” against any employee found guilty.
“Earlier this week, we were made aware of suspicious activity relating to highly rated content in FIFA Ultimate Team. We learned that FUT items were granted to individual accounts that did not earn them through gameplay.
“It appears that one or more EA accounts, which were either compromised or being used inappropriately by someone within EA, directly entitled items to these individual accounts.”
They also promised to remove items and ban plays who acquired them through illicit means.
“When our investigation is completed, we will take action against any employee found to have been engaging in this activity. Any items granted through this illicit activity will be removed from the FUT ecosystem and EA will permanently ban any player known to have acquired content through these means.”
The hashtag ‘EA Gate’ started trending, as leaked direct messages claim to show a conversation between what is allegedly an EA employee selling Ultimate Team cards for real cash. These can be seen below, in a tweet from FUTArcade. It must be noted that at this stage, nothing has been proven in relation to this case — although things are serious enough to have gotten EA’s attention.
In the conversation, they say: “People are paying $2500 for R9 (Ronaldo) Moments and $1000 for Gullit Moments just to get them listed on the market.” Another message reads: “At the moment we have two packages and they are three ICONs or three ICONs plus TOTY.”
According to these screenshots, these sales would cost a player $750-1000 of real cash.
— Arcade-Fut (@FutArcade) March 10, 2021
A number of FIFA 21 streamers – some of which have been pushing for transparency on potential gambling in FIFA for a while – have come out to condemn the actions.
Nepenthez said: “Ultimately it exposes a huge fucking problem with FUT at the moment, to the fact EA employees are (allegedly) having to SELL Icons for people to have a chance of using them. Needs changing.”
I know social media is going to have a field day with the memes and jokes, but ultimately it exposes a huge fucking problem with FUT at the moment, to the fact EA employees are (allegedly) having to SELL Icons for people to have a chance of using them. Needs changing.
— NepentheZ (@NepentheZ) March 10, 2021
On top of that, streamer Nick28T added: “So we grind/trade/open packs and can’t touch these PIM players but EA employees sell them to people secretly for $1,700?!?! LOL I respect the grind but my god…”
EA has said in court that ultimate team items cannot be purchased or sold for real money. If EA employees are actually selling PIMs to people, it could open EA up to legal troubles.
— FUT Watch (@FutWatch) March 10, 2021
The next development in this rapidly moving story is the moving forward of card buyers, some of which claim deals were concluded on WhatsApp. One deleted tweet said: “I mean, it is true. Paid $1300 for these players on WhatsApp. Don’t know how they do it but it works.”
It did have an image attached, but the post has since disappeared.
On top of that, Nick posted another tweet with a video attached – which appears to show the card lands in the player’s account as an untradeable item. Again, though, nothing has been proven in relation to an EA employee or developer being behind the potential dealings.
Video proof?!? I mean this could just be an EA Dev though or an actual employee? Who knows anymore. It’s all allegations, let’s just hope EA makes a statement on this and stays honest with us. #FUT21 #FIFA21 pic.twitter.com/lzqGMDE5S3
— Nick 🇨🇦 (@Nick28T) March 10, 2021
One of the streamers listed in the EA Game Changers program — Karasuno Mav — has reacted to the allegations, making the case that obtaining ICON cards of this level can actually be difficult through normal means this year.
Despite having the coins for a Moments Ronaldo card, there are none on the market to pick up. Touching on how this situation is inherently due to EA’s stranglehold over a market that they created, Mav speaks on how EA helped cause the unsavory behavior currenly being exposed.
— Karasuno Mav (@MavricPlays) March 10, 2021
“I wanted to talk about the whole ICON ‘black market’ … Now, I don’t agree with it and obviously people buying ICONs is not acceptable, but at the same time, I’m sorry and EA I know you’re not going to want to hear this and I’m a Game Changer, but this is your fault. This is literally your fault, this is all on you.”
We will continue to update this story as more information becomes available, particularly from EA regarding their investigation.