The EA Sports FIFA community is in an uproar over a massive scandal in which fans are alleging that an Electronic Arts employee sold highly sought-after FIFA Ultimate Team cards directly to players for exorbitant sums of cash.
EA said on Wednesday that it is investigating the reports.
Earlier that day, Twitter had exploded with the hashtag #EAGate, as fans shared screenshots of messages from someone who claims to work for EA. In the messages, a seller offers powerful FIFA Ultimate Team units called Icons and Prime Icon Moments, asking as much as €1,700 ($2,035) for groups of certain cards. If the buyer agrees, the seller promises they’ll add the special units to the player’s account the following Monday.
FIFA Ultimate Team normally works on a lottery-based system, with loot boxes offering virtual cards that players can put together to build the ultimate FIFA team. The more powerful the player card, the rarer it is. Dedicated fans may spend hundreds of dollars on those loot boxes for a chance at a good card to help lead their team.
But the cards this mysterious seller is offering are far better than what most players can hope to randomly find — EA doesn’t reveal the likelihood of drawing a specific card type if it’s under 1%, and the cards for sale are exceedingly rare. Players who take advantage of this offer would theoretically be able to win against almost any other team, even if their opponent had previously lucked out on some great cards from their loot boxes.
Fans are understandably upset by the idea that fellow FIFA Ultimate Team players may have cheated by paying an EA employee to add units to their account. EA announced on Wednesday that it’s investigating the allegations, and said it will “take swift action” if it finds any “improper conduct.” The company also said it’s aware that this situation creates balance concerns for players, and that it’ll update the community at a later date.
Asked for comment, an EA representative told Polygon that it had nothing to add beyond Wednesday’s tweet from the EA Sports FIFA account.