EA Sports opened an investigation into allegations that at least one employee has been selling FIFA Ultimate Team (FUT) cards through a backchannel.
The accusations detail unauthorized sales of the rare cards for as much as $2,500. Screenshots of a Twitter message exchange appear to show negotiations around one of these transactions with implications that they are happening regularly.
People generally must purchase packs with a random assortment of player cards in the hopes of scoring a high-value one, but the alleged scheme allowed direct purchase of prized cards.
“A thorough investigation is underway, and if we identify improper conduct, we will take swift action,” said EA Sports FIFA in a statement. “This type of behavior is unacceptable, and we in no way condone what is alleged to have happened here.”
Ultimate Team allows gamers to build and play with their own virtual team by earning, trading, or purchasing individual player cards or packs using the game’s token system.
In FY2020, EA reported net revenue of $1.49 billion from its Ultimate Team mode, which is available across several EA titles including “Madden.” VP of Equity Research at Bank of America Ryan Gee estimates FIFA’s version contributed about $900 million to that number.