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EA Disables FIFA Discretionary Content Granting Indefinitely Amidst ‘EA Gate’ Scandal

EA has halted all FIFA discretionary content granting for an indefinite period of time as it investigates allegations that an employee, or at least someone involved with EA FIFA, has been selling rare FIFA 21 Ultimate Team items on a makeshift black market for real money.

EA gave an update on this scandal, which the community has dubbed “EA Gate,” and explained how it has launched a “rigorous investigation” on how this could have happened and how it is narrowing down which accounts received content through this “illicit method.”

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The company has also made clear that any accounts that have received items that were “transferred nefariously” will be permanently banned.

These items, which are meant to be earned through gameplay or other engagement (i.e. a Twitch broadcast), were granted to other accounts by one or more EA accounts, which were “either compromised or being used inappropriately by someone within EA.”

Content granting or purchasing player items in exchange for money is in no way condoned by EA, as it “runs counter to the game’s competitive integrity, is a violation of EA’s User Agreement, and is not something we tolerate.”

While EA’s initial investigation uncovered that this questionable activity only involved a small number of accounts and items, it is still unacceptable to the team.

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Following the investigation, EA will take action against any employee found guilty and any items that have been granted through this manner will be removed from the FUT ecosystem and the accounts that had these items will be permanently banned.

“Regardless of these actions, we appreciate how concerning this is to all of our players, and we apologize for the impact of these improper grants within the community,” EA wrote. “We also appreciate how extremely annoying and frustrating it is that this practice might have come from within EA.  We’re angry too.  We know that the trust of our communities is hard-earned, and is based on principles of Fair Play.  This illicit activity shakes that trust.  We’ve also been clear since the creation of Ultimate Team that items cannot be exchanged outside our game, and that’s key to how we keep our game safe from manipulation and bad actors.  This is a breach of that principle, as well — and we won’t let it stand.”

For those who are unfamiliar with content granting, it is a process in which certain in-game items are directly distributed to a specific account. In FIFA, these items can be a player, a kit, or a consumable.

The three most prevalent ways content granting occurs is through Worldwide Customer Experience, Testing & QV, and Discretionary Content Granting (Athletes, Partners, & Employees).

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A Worldwide Customer Experience granting is for when a player accidentally deletes content, content goes missing due to a technical glitch, or a mistake was made by EA and a player is given to them as a make-good.

Testing & QV is for when content is granted for testing and quality verification. This usually occurs on dedicated test servers and isn’t seen by the global player base, but sometimes these tests must occur in the live environment to ensure all is working as it should.

Discretionary Content Granting is for when EA wants to “recognize contributions that have been made by certain Pro Footballers, celebrity partners, or even our [EA’s] own employees.” These items are always non-tradeable and can only be used by the account to which it was given.

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These items only account for 0.0006% of the total player items in the FIFA 21 ecosystem and have no impact on the odds of any account receiving a specific player or item through normal means.

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Adam Bankhurst is a news writer for IGN. You can follow him on Twitter @AdamBankhurst and on Twitch.