Electronic Arts has put out a lengthy statement about the FIFA 21 "EAGate" controversy, announcing an investigation and promising to take action against all involved parties.
FIFA 21 is a game that essentially allows players to earn characters for their team in the FIFA Ultimate Team game mode through a loot box mechanic. Some of these players can only be earned through the luck of the draw, but then the EAGate controversy blew up on Twitter — someone was reportedly selling these highly valuable in-game items under the table for cash.
Obviously, this is a bad look — players who are spending hundreds or even thousands of dollars on loot boxes certainly wouldn't be happy about others circumventing the system. That's exactly why Electronic Arts recently addressed the situation in great detail.
How Electronic Arts is Handling the FIFA 21 EAGate Controversy
The FIFA 21 EAGate controversy was quickly addressed by Electronic Arts in a statement shortly after it blew up on Twitter. Here's what EA had to say at the time:
"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 behavior is unacceptable, and we in no way condone what is alleged to have happened here. 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."
Now, it's released an update to its investigation, explaining what's been going on and what EA is going to do about the whole situation. To start, it explains the "Content Granting" system — that is, the ability for EA to directly give players items. EA explains that it will do this in three situations: restoring accidentally deleted content, testing, and granting items to pro soccer players, celebrity partners, or its own employees.
This is the system that has been abused and Electronic Arts is taking a very firm stance against this behavior.
"Our initial investigation shows questionable activity involving a very small number of accounts and items," read the update on the FIFA 21 EAGate situation. "Although it is not a large number, if these allegations prove out, this activity is unacceptable. We want to thank our committed community members for bringing the issue to our attention so quickly."
"Next, let’s be clear about what will happen now. 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."
Electronic Arts has suspended all discretionary content granting while it conducts its investigation. At this time, it's unclear if the accounts that were selling content for FIFA 21 were used by an existing employee or if they were hacked and used by an unauthorized third party.
Either way, the transfer of these items is probably logged in an internal system and EA will likely figure out, at the minimum, which accounts have received these items in exchange for cash. Tracking down the person who used an EA account to sell these items, however, may prove much more difficult.
What do you think of how Electronic Arts is handling the EAGate controversy? Do you think FIFA 21 should fundamentally change the FIFA Ultimate Team loot box mechanic? Let us know in the comments below!