Would you believe that AAA mainstream games are being infiltrated with bots and coin sellers? Yep, the long-time residents of PC-based MMOs, where gold sellers have a lucrative gray-market stranglehold on the gaming scene, are beginning to invade console gaming. Why? Because of microtransactions.
The FIFA Ultimate Team mode, also known as FUT, is now a staple mode in EA's FIFA series. You can buy cards with real money – just like in other EA sports games – that earn you players to help flesh out your team roster. It's the same sort of in-app purchases that pervades MMOs and it's quite a lucrative business for EA. In fact, Joystiq reports that last year EA made $380 million on the Ultimate Team modes alone.
Basically, EA has turned $60 games into the equivalent of the MMO cash-cows you see spread across mobile devices and PC.
Well, when you implement those kind of microtransactions into games it doesn't take long for botters and gold sellers to find a way to game the system and create a bustling gray market to profit as an in-between operating venue, providing players with a service for a publisher's game.
EA, however, wants to crack down on bots that buy up player cards and sell them for coins, only to use the earnings to stockpile on an account and resell the coin packs at various coin seller websites.
Players buying from coin sellers usually do so because games built around microtransactions make it difficult to get higher tier goods by naturally playing, hence you're persuaded as a player to spend real-life money to get the goods. Coin sellers undercut the companies who originally sell the goods (in this case, EA) and enables the player base to buy virtual currency or items at a cheaper price than the publisher-dictated market price. This was an ongoing battle for the longest between Blizzard and gold sellers, until they opened and then closed the RMAH that was supposed to be designed to battle the gray market.
I doubt EA will ever change from their current course down the deep hole that is microtransactions, especially following their undeterred support for games like Dungeon Keeper.
For now, EA will have a tiered punishment for those participating in the use and promotion of coin selling operations. Bots will be insta-banned. Coin sellers and farmers will be insta-banned. Those buying or promoting sellers will receive a warning; a second offense nets you a reset of all your FIFA 15 points and a third offense warrants a perma-ban from FIFA 15.
Man, I would hate to see what a GameShark service would be like during today's console environment.
Now I know we've been neutered quite a bit here, and what I would like to say I can't. So all I'm going to say is this: If you bring hell to a village, I feel no remorse when the village returns hell.
Staff Writer at CinemaBlend.
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