EA Takes Control of Their Market: Stopping Black Market Coins

EA is implementing Price Ranges to try and control their Fifa 15 market, and stop players from cheating the in-game system, forcing them to stick with what EA gives them.

In-game purchases has had a long and dramatic history of helping to boost players over that edge, supporting the developer, while rewarding players that do pay over players that don't. In EA's case, specifically in FIFA 15 and there most played game mode "FIFA Ultimate Team", currency boosts are offered for players who pay, delivering paying customers extra FIFA Points so they have the better chance of snatching up the better and rarer players in packs.

At first this was a genius plan, but soon backfired onto the company as more and more players found loopholes in the currency system, turning to different websites that offered cheaper plans compared to EA's FIFA Points. On March 9th, 2015 EA imposed the new "Price Ranges" in hopes of removing black market coin sites from the game, and all games to come in the "EA FIFA" series.

Fifa Points vs Coins

In Ultimate Team the only two forms of currency are coins, in which you get for playing games and trading players, and "FIFA Points", the currency you get for spending the $20 for them. You can basically use FIFA Points for testing your luck when you buy extra player packs, and that is about it. The problem in most players eyes with FIFA points is that nobody has much use for them other than buying packs, and even when you get something good, it is impossible for you to get more FIFA points or even your money refunded back. This has led to players everywhere trying to find cheaper solutions to the "useless" FIFA points, and the quick, and cheaper fix to that problem has come in the form of Coin Sellers.

Coins are the main form of currency throughout the game and can be used to buy packs, but also can be used for trading players. Even though coins are easily generated at the end of games, they are hard to come by. Building a squad can cost you anywhere from five-thousand to hundreds of thousands of coins, depending on the market value at that moment, and you only gain a few hundred coins from playing games.

The people who had a lot of coins were considered the few lucky ones to get super rare players like Lionel Messi in packs, or had to much time in their hands, having to play hundreds of games to build their dream teams. Then came online websites that sold actual FIFA Coins to paying customers. Sure, some of them were scams, just hoping to make a couple of extra bucks from gullible consumers, but some were legit, even using big Youtubers to endorse their product. These coin selling companies made millions off of FIFA players, with none of the revenue going to EA whatsoever, and completely destroying the in-game market.

The Old Ways of Doing Things

In the past people who bought from coin sites would usually put up a card that is worth only 500 coins. They would then wait for their supplier to buy that card valued at 500 coins for a million coins, and in the end both of them would benefit from the trade, without having to pay EA even a penny for extra currency. With Price Ranges that card valued at 500 coins could only be bought for what it is worth, and at the very most maybe a couple of hundred of coins extra. Price Ranges are EA's solution to not only end coin buying, but also hacking. Hackers would use to go on other accounts and buy all their players priced at thousands of coins, but now there is no way of making an absurd amount of coins without putting up an exceedingly rare player onto the market.

EA's Big Plan

Throughout the past months EA has cracked down on coin buyers suspending and even terminating their accounts. EA has also targeted bigger streamers and Youtubers who promote coins, usually sending them bans for promoting coin sellers, and sometimes even banning them live during streams to also send a message to the thousands viewers.

None of those actions have had a proven effect on the buying and selling of coins, until EA laid down the hammer and imposed the new plan of Price Ranges. Price Ranges put limits on what a player can be sold for depending on their value, and no bids can exceed the maximum limit. This majorly hurt coin sellers as most of these deals involve unworthy cards being sold for millions of coins, now the only way to get a large amount of coins is to give up someone good.

The Future of Price Ranges

EA hopes for these Price Range plans to be what balances the game, and hopefully will deflate the coin value in the market for trading players. Now the only way of getting extra currency is buying EA's FIFA Points, and the only place to invest them are on player packs.

Even with all the infuriated people who invested their money into loads of coins, EA seems to be sticking to their new program, and FIFA 15 is the testing ground to improve it for FIFA 16. How these changes will effect EA and the vast amount of gamers who play FIFA can only be judged in the future when looking at the long term effects, but won't ultimately show until a new clean state in FIFA 16.

For now, the advice is to try to sell those expensive players quickly if your looking to make a profit, as the price ranges are still generous.

Published Mar. 18th 2015
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