First launched in 2009, Ultimate Team (FUT) is FIFA’s most popular online game mode, generating over £1 billion worth of net revenue for EA sports in 2020 alone.
In FUT, gamers have the ability to build a team of their favourite players through either playing and earning rewards or by opening packs on the virtual store which can be purchased via either in-game coins or FIFA points.
But the community was sent into meltdown yesterday after it emerged EA employees are alleged to have been selling hyper-rare icon players like Pele, Ronaldo and Ruud Gullit for real money.
In a tweet from FUTArcade, screenshots show a conversation between an alleged EA employee selling players for cold hard cash.
The conversation shows the alleged employee telling a prospective buyer that people are buying Brazilian legend Ronaldo’s icon moments FIFA card for $2,500.
Additionally, the seller states that they have package deals available which would cost a buyer between $750 and $1,000 of real money for players.
And while the conversation has not been fully verified yet, it sparked such outrage amongst the FIFA community and prompted an official response from EA Sports.
In a statement, EA Sports said: “We are aware of the allegations currently circulating within our community related to FIFA 21 Ultimate Team items.
“A thorough investigation is underway, and if we identify improper conduct, we will take swift action.
“We want to be clear – this type of behaviour is unacceptable, and we in no way condone what is alleged to have happened.
“We understand how this creates concern about unfair balance in the game and competition. We will update the community as we get more clarity on the situation.”
Icon moments cards are the rarest of rare FUT cards due to their impressive stats and traits.
Due to their rarity, cards like Pele, Ronaldo, Ronaldinho and Gullit are both expensive and extinct on the in-game FUT market.
Because of this, cards that EA advertises their most popular game mode around are almost unobtainable to the regular FIFA player.
For roughly around £1,700, players can obtain these legendary icons through the alleged black market for a fraction of what they would cost on the in-game store packs.
The incident which has been dubbed #EAGATE is not EA Sports’ first high profile scandal either.
In 2019, Belgium successfully implemented a ban that stopped gamers from being able to buy player packs on the in-game store due to being seen as a form of gambling.
And the new scandal has also caused uproar amongst many influential streamers and FIFA YouTubers too, who have voiced their outrage over the situation.
Karasuno Mav, a member of EA’s Game Changers program, took to Twitter to voice his frustrations surrounding #EAGATE.
Mav stated that while he did not agree with the ‘black market’, he said that EA were responsible for creating a game mode that prevented players from being able to obtain these rare icons.
Alongside Mav, YouTuber NepentheZ, who has over 1.9 million subscribers also took to Twitter to voice his sadness at the situation.
In a tweet, NepentheZ said: “I know social media is going to have a field day with the memes and jokes, but ultimately it exposes a huge f****** 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.”
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