Electronic Arts has been hit over the second half of last week with what the community is calling EA Gate. Basically, it’s a scandal where a suspected employee of the publisher was selling FIFA Ultimate Team (FUT) cards for ludicrous prices on the black market. these prices range from EUR750 (~RM3688) to EUR1000 (~RM4918), with a set of three Prime Icon Moments (PIM) cards selling for EUR1700 (~RM8360).
Over the weekend, the publisher has responded to the situation over on the EA Sports website. In essence, the company says it will take action against any employee involved. Players who bought FUT cards this way will also face a permanent ban. As a temporary measure, it is also suspending indefinitely what it calls content granting.
The term basically means the ability for the company to give out stuff to players. This is usually very rare, and it’s only done to replace lost content, or specially issued to EA partners and employees, or even actual athletes. And it’s likely this mechanic that the reported employee used to sell FUT cards.
Electronic Arts has always maintained that the Ultimate Teams mode, and lootboxes in general, are not gambling. The argument is that that these cards have no inherent value, and thus cannot be cashed out. But as this EA Gate episode shows, there is obviously a whole lot of value in the valuable cards with high stats. And it’s enough for some countries to deem the game mode illegal.