The FIFA 21 "EAGate" controversy has blown up on Twitter, and it looks pretty darn bad: an EA employee is accused of selling untradable "Icon Moments" for large sums of cash directly to players.
FIFA 21 is the latest in the long line of soccer games from EA Sports. As with many recent titles, it has the "Ultimate Team" game mode which is essentially a fantasy sports league for soccer fans. That game mode is the source of the EAGate controversy — and it certainly doesn't look good if these allegations are true.
What Are FIFA 21 Icon Moments?
To understand the FIFA 21 EAGate controversy, you'll first need to know what an "Icon Moment" is. All of this stuff revolves around the FIFA Ultimate Team game mode, also known as "FUT."
As explained on the franchise's official website, FIFA Ultimate Team is essentially a "fantasy soccer" game mode. You can collect cards representing players to form your squad. These cards can be earned through normal gameplay or purchased in a loot box mechanic.
Naturally, some cards are rarer than others. FIFA 21 "Icons" are cards representing some of the most notable soccer players in history. "Icon Moments" are another tier of these cards, and these don't just represent a specific player — they represent a specific player at a particularly important moment in history. Notably, these Icon Moments are untradable — the only way to get them is by being lucky and getting them through one of the game's loot boxes.
What is the FIFA 21 EAGate Controversy About?
Now that you've got the basics, here's the gist of the FIFA 21 EAGate controversy: an EA employee has been allegedly selling these untradable Icon Moments for large sums of cash. Some of the surrounding reporting notes that these exchanges happened over WhatsApp, a communication platform that features end-to-end encryption and would provide a measure of privacy for both parties.
@SebFut and @MattFutTrading shared some images on Twitter that purportedly show these exchanges; the imagery has also made its way to Reddit. In these images, we see a handful of the best players sold for well over $1,000.
Okay this is a genuinely real thing.— SebFUT (@SebFUT) March 10, 2021
It’s not longer rumours, but whoever this employee or person is could genuinely be screwed when caught.
What is going on 😭
[images from @Gold3Gang] https://t.co/XAmexVNSAo pic.twitter.com/Cc5YaZ62Bv
More proof. pic.twitter.com/jwobuizCNc— Matt (@MattFUTTrading) March 10, 2021
As noted above, these in-game items are normally untradable. You simply cannot get them in any way other than by a lucky draw of the loot box or taking a risk and buying an entire account from a third-party site. (As one might expect, buying a FIFA 21 account is the kind of action that could result in a ban, nevermind the risk of scams.) Additionally, they allege that this has been going on for some time and that FIFA 21 isn't the first game this has happened in.
What makes this FIFA 21 EAGate controversy particularly notable is the allegation that an EA employee is taking money to put these highly-valuable items on player's accounts, circumventing the loot box system entirely in exchange for large sums of money.
EA Responds to FIFA 21 EAGate Controversy Allegations
Electronic Arts has provided TechRaptor with a statement on the FIFA 21 EAGate controversy. Here's EA's statement on these allegations in full:
"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."
If the EAGate allegations are indeed true, it's likely an abuse of that particular employee's powers, and I imagine that players who have spent hundreds or thousands of dollars and/or hundreds of hours grinding to try to get the best Icon Moments wouldn't be too happy to see someone circumventing the rules like this. EA is now very much aware of the situation and I can't imagine it will take very long for it to discover who's behind the alleged sale of Icon Moments and other items behind the scenes.
What do you think of the FIFA 21 EAGate Controversy? Do you think this might have an effect on loot box regulation around the world? Let us know in the comments below!