Several popular YouTube personalities recently posted videos regarding a rumor surrounding FIFA 15, a rumor that suggests Electronic Arts will be removing the transfer market for the next installment in the critically acclaimed soccer franchise. As a long-term FIFA player and fan of the franchise, my initial response was one of concern and doubt – as I really could not believe developers EA Sports would take such extreme measures to combat issues plaguing the FIFA franchise today. Thankfully after reading and watching the “evidence” provided by the abundance of articles and videos supporting the rumor, I quickly came to the conclusion that it was merely conjecture derived from a cesspool of misinformation in an attempt to garner extra views, clicks and “likes”.
The foundations of this rumor are the traditional “from a source close to Electronic Arts” style crap, making the original article or video void of any blame as the actual source of the information remains hidden, making it as reliable as a spud gun at a rifle range. So rather then running around clueless screaming like a group of Brazilians at a Semi-Final, let’s analyze the facts and information we do have at hand.
Electronic Arts recently published Q1 FY15 Financial Results on the official website and let’s be honest – when it comes to video-games, profit does the talking. The report states that revenue for EA’s Ultimate Team modes continues to soar across their sports range with NHL Hockey Ultimate Team increasing by 50% while FIFA Ultimate team grew by a massive 80% in a year-over-year basis, while Madden Ultimate Team grew by 350%. Electronic Arts have hit a company record high of almost $1 billion on a trialing 12 month basis.
So the big wigs behind FIFA 15 and other Electronic Arts titles are making more money than they’ve ever made, so why exactly would they remove the transfer market in FIFA 2015? The single, and only legitimate reason for doing so, would be to counter the large number of players using illegitimate means to gather the in-game currency.
And that’s where the big names of YouTube enter the fray. You will struggle to find a popular FIFA YouTube personality that doesn’t constantly try to sell you FIFA coins through a partnered website. We do regular FIFA 14 live stream tournaments but you will never see us endorse or support the selling or purchasing of coins. Purchasing coins through third-party websites is against the EA Sports FIFA EULA, meaning players can be banned if caught – yet these YouTube stars are more than willing to push players in that direction if it means they earn a few bucks. Obviously the main bulk of the blame lies with the individual purchasing the coins, but you’d be shocked to see just how many people think it’s perfectly acceptable in the eyes of EA. Personally I’m just shocked that the general YouTube and FIFA community find it totally acceptable that the people that apparently consider their viewers and subscribers as valuable, are willing to encourage them to commit an action that could quite easily see their account blocked. However, that’s a discussion for another day.
Purchasing in-game items or currency is a problem that has been plaguing the video-game industry for a decade but it’s not something the average console gamer is all to familiar with. It’s predominately a problem within the MMO genre but as more and more developers attempt to introduce micro-transactions to the console gaming audience, the more obvious this problem is going to become. If, and it’s something I very much doubt, EA were to remove the option to trade or sell players in FIFA 15, all of you YouTube stars currently complaining like crazy – you’re part of the problem.
Buying in-game currency from other sources is a problem, very few will deny that but is removing such a vital element of the Ultimate Team experience the most obvious solution? No, and I would challenge the intelligence of anyone that says otherwise.
As with the MMO developers that have been combating this problem for years, EA need to adapt, they need to improve the technology they use to monitor accounts and stamp down on those so blatantly supporting it. All of these FIFA streamers and YouTube personalities make it no secret that they purchase coins themselves, many even admit it in their videos – but how simple and easy would it be for EA to locate those accounts? It would take minutes. So why are these players allowed to continue to support a problem they claim is the reasoning behind the FIFA 15 transfer market removal?
Personally, I don’t think Electronic Arts are all that bothered. Why would they be? Sure, they’re losing a little bit of revenue but they’re making more than ever – with all of their sports franchises. I can definitely see better techniques deployed to counter those that farm and sell coins in Ultimate Team but I for one would be amazed if EA decided to punish the players in such a heavy way, when there are far more effective alternatives.
Hope the few views you guys get on YouTube is worth it.