EA Seemingly Stick to Their Guns: Fifa 15 Coin Related Resets

fifacoinsfut Date: Oct/22/14 10:31:18 Views: 94

In late August, roughly one month before the release of FIFA 15, EA promised to crack down on fifa 15 coins sellers, promoters and buyers in an effort to level the playing field for FUT 15 and increase market stability. Our post on the topic was met with skepticism, with many people assuming it was PR guff or just talk from EA, it now looks like that's not the case so we thought we'd follow it up with this post.


So to recap, EA laid out their attack plan for anyone engaging in "shady” coin activity which had 2 layers. Firstly for anyone buying or promoting there is a 3 strike system: 


  • Strike one: A warning email and in game message.
  • Strike two: Your club is reset, but you retain access to it and any FIFA points spent on the account are returned.
  • Strike three - Permanent ban from FIFA online.


For coin sellers and farmers there was to be no messing around, the account would immediately receive a "straight red", an online ban from all EA games. 


So that’s all great in theory, but for a long time it looked like nothing had changed. Then EA updated their announcement to include the following statement: 


Since the launch of FIFA 15, we’ve been able to identify and ban thousands of coinselling accounts. We’ve also issued warnings to coin buyers and promoters that were in violation of the EA Terms of Service (TOS). After sending initial warning emails to coin buyers and promoters, we have identified those that remain in violation of the TOS and since issued FUT Club wipes (with FIFA Points returned) - the most recent wave of FUT Club wipes happened earlier this week.

We’d like to thank community members that made reports to fifaplayfair@ea.com. Using the information you provided we were able to investigate and identify many in-game accounts promoting coin selling.


The FIFA Team


When we posted that, large numbers of people responded saying that they’d believe it when we saw some proper evidence.


Personally, and I can’t be alone, I too was expecting a bigger hit on this stuff, a bit more of a drama from EA about the whole thing. The messaging they put out made it look like there would be zero tolerance, but for anyone looking in on the outside, unless you’ve personally bought coins and had a tap on the shoulder from EA then you could be forgiven for thinking the whole thing had been forgotten about.


That IS to be expected, it’s not like EA are going to publish huge lists of accounts that they’ve taken action against, obviously, so how do they show the community that they’re in control? Personally, I see 3 things that offer proof that EA are actively dealing with this. 


  1. Market prices. People often point to the player prices in FIFA 12 when discussing this topic, citing the considerably lower player prices whilst pointing out that bots and farming and all that shit didn’t exist in FIFA 12. So if we were to see a shift in market prices, that would offer some evidence that whatever action EA was taking was working. That’s a slow burn though and not a change you’d see overnight but overall, for your average, non coin buying FUT player, this is the one that's most desirable and should be EA's direct focus, which would be caused by.

  2. A dip in coin selling sites. Currently, despite EA saying that they’re going after coin selling sites, they still exist. Obviously anything that operates outside of FIFA, i.e a website, is outside of EA’s direct jurisdiction so trying to take down websites would not be a good use of their time. Take a site down and another will appear, as proved by punching “FIFA 15 coins” into google or ebay. So EA's attention needs to be focused on stopping sites from obtaining coins, giving them nothing to sell and causing them to die out slowly. It sounds so easy when you put it that way.

  3. Hit someone big with a ban. When EA first announced their plans, there was an element of “well they’ll never actually do anything anyway” from some YouTubers. Whether they genuinely believed that or whether it was a brave front through a fear of potentially lost income we’ll never know, but if EA wanted to show people that they mean business then one of the most visible ways of doing this is to smack a big YouTuber with a ban or reset.


Now, that’s not bulletproof obviously, if a YouTuber was to get hit with a ban it’s probably in their best interests to keep it quiet. What do you think is worth more, a single “OMG I GOT BANNED M8, FUCK YOU EA” video that draws a few hundred thousand views, or their investments from coin sellers?


They can keep quiet and have a new gamertag stocked with coins without too much trouble, so it’s unlikely they'll draw attention to the fact that buying coins is bad for the game (and your account...) because doing so directly conflicts with their sponsors interests and it seems that these sponsors are worth a lot to them. If any well known coin promoters have been hit with a ban and been open about it, I'd be interested to hear what they had to say.


I obviously don’t know the ins and outs of this, but if they can afford to sponsor a trip abroad, then that tells you all you need to know about the kind of money we’re talking about. It’s almost certainly more valuable to YouTubers than the income they can make from a video about being banned, however interesting that might be.


When EA did a wave of bans in FIFA 14 they only talked about it after it had been completed, which was partly to stop people moving assets around in anticipation. This time, EA are also trying to remind people of what is and isn’t against the terms of service.


It shouldn’t really be needed, but it is, because unfortunately YouTubers promote coins, which makes people think it’s OK. Whilst looking at all this, I came across a YouTuber's reply to a question from a subscriber. Now I’m not familiar with AJ3FIFA's work, but the long and short of it is that he’s a FIFA YouTuber that has 63,000 subscribers and therefore people will look up to him.


Whether he actually doesn’t know that people get banned for buying coins or whether he does and chooses to tell people it’s OK anyway is sort of irrelevant (or a topic for another day), the important thing is that the message coming from this guy is still “it’s totally fine to buy coins”. That might have been somewhat understandable throughout FIFA 14, but now EA have been very clear about what will get you reset.


Here’s a comment left on our post about the February 2014 resets, which reinforces the fact that people think it’s OK to buy coins because it's promoted on YouTube. 


So it’s obviously not OK, and we’re starting to see EA back up their promise of action with something we can actually see. 


Bateson’s been reset, although he says he was hacked. Others almost certainly have too. Bateson actually tells us in a roundabout way without probably realising it in his video regarding the “hack”.


Firstly, you’ll notice that his club name/coins/fifa points/record are all now hidden so that you can’t see that it’s the same club and not a new one, a trend you may have noticed in recent videos from other creators too.  Secondly, in the video that he talks about being hacked, he mentions that the issue is being dealt with by EA but also mentions that EA have kindly returned all of his FIFA points. It seems a bit odd that EA would return all of his FIFA points whilst the investigation was ongoing. Very generous and entirely unlike EA. As mentioned at the top, they do however promise that you will have your FIFA points returned if you are reset.


If the evidence that he was reset through the video wasn’t enough, shortly after the video went live Chu tweeted this:


For those that don’t know, Chu is the comms specialist for EA Sports FIFA, he’s PR trained and he’s too smart to tweet that if it wasn’t true. What reason would he have to post it otherwise?


Why is all this worth talking about anyway? To me, it’s evidence that EA are actually taking some form of action against people that promote coin sellers, which is exactly what everyone wants them to do. It also serves as a reminder that regardless of your stance on the value of FIFA points and the contents of packs, coin buying is against EA’s TOS and will eventually get you reset. It’s also worth pointing out that YouTubers continue to promote coin sites even after direct action has been taken against them. They’re promoting activity that puts their fans at risk of being reset and when your fanbase includes large numbers of children that don't know better, that’s not on.


You could argue that EA shouldn't even worry about hitting coin promoters, and should instead focus all of their efforts on stopping sellers from obtaining the coins that they sell in the first place. I do agree that sellers need to be the primary focus for EA, but the fact is, the reason most people even know that buying coins is something you can even do is because of YouTube promotion. They are obviously advertised elsewhere, but the place that you absolutely know you're going to see coin ads, presented to an impressionable audience, is YouTube.


"...it’s evidence that EA are actually taking some form of action against people that promote coin sellers, which is exactly what everyone wants them to do."


Naturally EA's primary focus needs to be on stopping sites from producing coins to sell, but their fight isn't helped by such wide promotion from people that hold the attention of a huge FIFA audience. Questions remain around why EA have targeted some YouTubers, but not all, yet, which is something we can’t answer. We have to just wait and see what happens, if anything ever does. It seems odd that EA wouldn’t target everyone promoting coins, rather than singling a few out.


Sadly all of this is irrelevant really until we actually see a real change in the market that actually effects things like player prices. Personally, I have found the market to be considerably more stable this year, but it's hard to separate how much of that is down to the fight against coin farmers and how much is down to infrastructure upgrades behind the scenes. It's prices that we're interested in anyway, that's where we want to see a real change.


We also know that EA have been taking action against people that buy coins as part of this, but what we don’t know is why large numbers of innocent users have sadly been caught in the crossfire. We’ve seen many instances of people who are adamant that they have not engaged in anything nefarious, yet claim to have been reset. So, assuming they’re telling truth, it’s obvious that the methods EA are using to flag TOS breaking activity need some serious work.


Either way, the action has started so now we’ll get to see if EA will properly follow this through and hit people for their third strike or whether the whole thing will fizzle out.