Electronic Arts has run into some serious troubles with the coin trading in FIFA 15's Ultimate Team mode. Essentially, the game's cash shop-oriented trading system has fallen victim to coin sellers and bot-market dealers. If it sounds like some kind of back-alley, cyber-crime marketplace... well that's because it is.

CVG is reporting that EA has decided to stop players from having the ability to trade coins in the game, noting...
“We’ll be removing Trade Offers from FIFA 15 Ultimate Team.

“Although some honest players used this feature to trade with friends, it became one of the methods used by coin sellers to sell and move coins. Account phishers also abused Trade Offers by moving stolen players and coins after wrongfully gaining access to unsuspecting FUT player accounts.

“This will also address “bid bumping”, where people would try and trick others into bidding far more than they wanted for a player item. “

The company is cutting ties with the trading to curb cheaters and sellers. It seems like the sort of thing they should have known going in, but apparently they didn't keep track of incidents like Diablo III's gold selling (or any other MMO for that matter).

Previously, EA made it known that FIFA 15 would come under heavy moderation for expunging bots and coin-sellers. Given that FIFA 15 allows users to buy teams, players and make trades using virtual currency, it opens the door for middle-market purveyors to jump in and start to game the system. This is something that happens to just about every single microtransaction-based MMO out there, where gold sellers will attempt to undercut the price of goods sold on the cash shop (or the virtual currency being sold by the publisher) in order to make a profit by farming large amounts of gold and selling it for cheap.

Basically, gold farmers use bots – scripted programs that auto-execute specific actions over and over again – in order to stockpile currency. In MMOs the bot scripts usually include having the character repeatedly kill and collect the coin from a group of specific monsters. Letting the game run all day long farming reaps them a decent amount of coinage at the end of the day.

For FIFA 15, the botters were doing something similar – having bots basically buy up players for as cheap as possible and then selling them at a slightly higher price. After making so much money, the coin sellers would sell off or trade-off their earnings for real cash. These middle-market institutions have been around a while and it's a bit shocking to me that EA didn't expect to encounter them, especially after having several MMOs under their belt, including Star Wars: The Old Republic.

With larger publishers beginning to see that you can't fight the gold farmers no matter how much you attempt to lock-down and safeguard the game, I'm curious if they'll actually shift away from coin/gold/currency trades in future games? I guess we'll find out in next year's iteration of FIFA.

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