FIFA 21: EA suspends discretionary content granting amid Ultimate Team scandal

EA Sports
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EA has officially opened up an investigation to look into suspicious activity relating to highly rated content in FIFA Ultimate Team. And as a result, the company has suspended discretionary content granting.

Earlier this week, it was discovered that rare FUT items were being granted to accounts that didn’t earn them through actual gameplay. It’s alleged that an EA employee or someone involved with EA FIFA has been selling rare FIFA 21 Ultimate Team items for real money on a black market. Responding to the scandal, which is being referred to as EA Gate by the community, EA wrote in a post:

"The alleged behavior is unacceptable and in no way do we condone granting or purchasing player items in exchange for money.  This practice runs counter to the game’s competitive integrity, is a violation of EA’s User Agreement, and is not something we tolerate.  We do not allow the trade or sale of items outside our game for many reasons, including that it would create an unequal playing field for our community."

Typically, content in Ultimate Team is earned through opening packs, purchasing through the transfer market or completing a reward challenge. There’s another way players can receive items which is referred to as content granting.

"Content granting is the process by which specific in-game items are directly distributed to a specific player account."

Content granting usually involves a specific individual item, like a player, a kit or a consumable. And they are usually non-tradeable items with no exchange value in the game, nor can they be offered on the transfer market.

Typically content granting occurs through Worldwide Customer Experience if a player accidentally deletes content or if it goes missing due to technical issues; Testing & QV for quality verification; and Discretionary Content Granting (Athletes, Partners, & Employees) from Pro Footballers, celebrity partners, or EA employees.

As EA notes, content granting is responsible for “less than 0.0006%” of the total items in the FIFA 21 Ultimate Team ecosystem.

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However, EA Gate has shaken the community enough that all discretionary content granting has been suspended “for an indefinite period” while the full investigation is underway. EA confirmed that accounts identified as having received content and items through inappropriate methods will be permanently banned.

Obviously, this is a huge deal as FIFA Ultimate Team is an incredibly popular and competitive game mode. Receiving high-end items through nefarious means can tip the balance and disrupt the Ultimate Team ecosystem. Attempting to quell concerns, EA noted that the transfers involved “a very small number of accounts and items.”