EA is investigating allegations that some of its own employees have been selling rare FIFA 21 items to FIFA Ultimate Team (FUT) players.
FUT is a popular mode that lets FIFA players build a team around soccer players obtained by opening digital card packs. Those packs can be purchased for real-world cash or in-game currency earned by completing objectives, while the cards themselves can be traded on a virtual transfer market or sold for in-game currency.
The mode has become incredibly lucrative for EA -- which recently reported record net bookings due, in part, to FUT exceeding expectations -- with many players dropping cash in an attempt to collect rare cards.
Now, however, some FUT players claim those rare player cards are being sold by one or more EA insiders for sums of cash ranging from €1000 ($1200) to €1700 ($2000). Screenshots of messages circulating online show an apparent EA employee offering to sell valuable 'Prime Icon Moment' players, which are some of the rarest and most valuable cards in FUT.
Although the legitimacy of the allegations is unclear, EA appears to be taking them very seriously. Addressing the claims on Twitter, the publisher said it has launched a "thorough investigation" into the matter, and pledged to take "swift action" against any culprits.
"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," said EA.
"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."