Coin Selling in Other Games
In various games these sites have varying degrees of authenticity (in terms of whether they will actually deliver the product they claim to be able to provide) for example, in Diablo 3 there is a bot which spams a link to a site which claims to be able to sell you Diablo 3 coins and armour - I have no idea how it could ever do that, seeing as item trading is removed from the game at this point, so its an obvious scam. And the players react as I'd expect them to - "please just block the bot" "ignore the spam" etc etc. Reasonable.
In Guild Wars 2 if you pass through the edge of the mists you might be bothered by the occasional coin seller. Generally they are detested, I'm not sure many people take them up on their offer - perhaps they do, but it is not discussed in polite company I can tell you!
What about FIFA?
Then there's FIFA15. Now, coin sellers have been around for a while and for the most part the big sites which operate will not scam you as such - you pay your money and then put a cheap bronze player on the market for the amount you paid for, and they will buy him from you - delivering your product. I'm sure there must be scam sites, which would steal your money or account details - but thats by the by for what I want to talk about in this post.
Games in FIFA15 reward around 350-550 coins depending upon a number of factors (whether you win, quality of your play and your DNF bonus), you might be able to fit three games in an hour considering the breaks between games for squad changes and finding a new opponent. That means that, end-of-season bonus aside, an average above-board player might expect to make around 1500 coins in an hour. If you buy coins you can purchase millions of coins for less than £5 in seconds. It has completely destroyed the Ultimate Team market and ruined this year's game for a lot of us.
This frankly lazy, selfish and illegal system of coin selling/buying for real money seems to have become an accepted norm amongst a lot of FIFA 15 players - I'll go into why I think this is in a moment, but first I want to set out the three reasons why FIFA15 coin selling is lazy, selfish and illegal.
1) Coin selling forces card prices far far far outside the scope of any player who does not want to engage in this illegal practice. When you can buy millions of coins in the push of a few buttons, it means that the prices of the best players can be pushed further and further into the many millions of coins - a number of player cards have even reached the upper price limit of 15m coins. There is no way that a normal law-abiding player could earn that amount of money.
This is why buying and selling coins for real money is selfish. Imagine children who don't have free access to their mummy's credit card playing FIFA15, there is no way they could ever buy any high rated players, even if they played every day of their lives for hours on end. All because some lazy, selfish asshat 17 year old yob can't be arsed to earn his players and would rather pay his way to victory.
2) Coin sellers simply cannot be earning their coins legitimately, as I said - the reasonable yield per hour might be around 1500 coins - so its incredibly likely you are not only supporting one illegal industry (coin selling) but also another one (autobuying).
What about those of us who don't want to support an illegal industry which is built upon bot autobuyers which trawl the online marketplace snapping up any players being sold for a below average price? Again, no chance we could ever compete. These coin selling sites must get their coins from some where and you can be damn sure they aren't playing the game legit to get them. And as the prices of players rise, so the autobuyers ensure they never drop - scalping any players being sold below the average and selling them on again for profit. So - just because some lazy arsehole doesn't want to put the effort in - the rest of us have to suffer through a bloated market trying to compete with autobuyers and coin buying dickweeds outbidding anyone who comes along with their ill-begotten gains.
3) Coin buying begets coin buying. So, players buy coins, prices rise because people have more money, so players have to buy more coins and more coins. There is no way a new player could ever hope to buy a player worth more than a few thousand at this stage - so now they have to buy coins too - and the prices keep on rising until they hit the golden 15m ceiling. Its frankly ridiculous. For some people at this point the choice is removed - either you buy coins or your enjoyment of the game is severely reduced.
You are forced to break the terms of service and risk having your account banned in order to compete all because some fucking lazy selfish mindless twats are too braindead to realise what they are doing is fucking up the game for everyone else. Good job you cunts, this is why we can't have nice things.
Morally Bankrupt YouTubers
But the actual buying/selling transaction is only one part of this story, the other half of the story are the morally bankrupt shills known as the YouTubers:
I've followed the FIFA YouTube scene for a long time. And in the past I've enjoyed the content they produced - but over the past year I've been slowly but surely unsubscribing from FIFA content creators one by one as they continue to sell out and lie to their viewers. These coin selling sites fund YouTubers with FIFA coins so that they can continue to make YouTube content without having to.. you know - play the game a bunch. So rather than try to build their fame legitimately with hard work, innovative content and building a fanbase upon trust, they create lacklustre content, and instead take money from shady sites which actively destroy the game they are basing their fame upon and advertise a service to their fans which might lead to any of their viewers who follow the "LINKS IN THE DESCRIPTION BITCHES" and buy coins to be banned from the game and their account terminated.
People (the YTers included) argue they are just trying to make a living. But they ignore the position of trust they occupy and their responsibility to be a role model to their viewers. There are few YTers who really make it in the scene nowadays and for the most part the way they do that is by building a respect amongst their peers and the companies upon which they build their reputation. Is that what KSI and Nepenthez and all the other morally bankrupt shills are trying to do with their content? Hell no - they are trying to make a quick buck while they can and who gives a fuck about anyone else, right? They are supposed to be representatives of the community - and perhaps in supporting coin selling, they are - and that is very very depressing.
There are usually 2 main excuses touted by the lazy selfish greedy mongs who buy coins. And here is why they are bullshit:
"FIFA points are too expensive!!!!"
FIFA points are a currency introduced by EA - you buy points with money and then spend the points on card packs. They are expensive. But they are a luxury and if the market had not been vastly inflated by coin selling you wouldn't need to do anything but play the game and earn coins legitimately in order to afford the players you want. "FIFA points are too expensive so I have to buy coins!" is a tautological arguement - you only need to look for alternative revenue because people have bought coins, you need to buy coins because you've bought coins. It doesn't matter how expensive FIFA points are.
"You never get anything good in card packs, they aren't worth the money!"
No shit. Whenever you buy a card pack you are gambling and when you gamble the house almost always wins. If you buy a card pack worth 7.5k then you should never expect to get a player worth 7.5 out the other side - you are paying for the thrill of the potential payoff, not input money output player.
The long and the short of it is that these people are too stupid or too ashamed to admit that the reason they bought coins is because they are lazy and selfish and greedy and would rather blame EA than themselves for fucking up the game.
So What are EA Doing about it?
So we've got punters buying coins, fucking up the market and funding botters, and the YouTubers who advertise the coin selling websites and then you've got the sites themselves scalping players using autobuyers and generally being the scum of the earth. What are EA doing about it?
Well, up until recently they've been engaging in seemingly random strikes against coin buyers and YTers who advertise the sites:
But if the coin sellers are the pimps then the YouTubers are their girls on the street selling their wares, and if the police (EA in this loose analogy) take them off the streets (ban their FIFA accounts) then you can bet your bottom dollar it won't be long before they're back on the streets (ie, their coin funder will just give them a new account within minutes). This isn't just me being cynical, its exactly what Nepenthez said happens when his account gets banned .
The repercussions for players themselves (if they've bought coins, lets call them punters if we are carrying on the analogy above), are a little more severe. Typically they'll get a warning - they've bought coins and been caught, and if they do it again their account will be terminated/wiped. Its a pain because they could lose everything they worked/didn't work for. But again - make a new FUT club, sure you lose the ill-begotten coins and players but spend another £10-20 or so and you're back up and running with a club worth several million.
Random band-aids, really. There was no way for EA to strike at the sites themselves who were selling the coins.
Until a couple of weeks ago when EA took FIFA15's webapp (a browser based system which allowed access to the market and your ultimate team squads) offline. This was the first blow - most coin selling went on through the webapp - it was simply an easier interface. Not the mention that almost all of the autobuying went on through the app as well - without this autobuying we began to see the price of players drop down to more manageable levels (myself I was able to pick up a couple of decent bargains). But then today EA brought the hammer down in a MAJOR way.
Starting from today all players in FIFA15 Ultimate Team will have a set price range including both a lower and upper limit. The price of these upper and lower limits will be set based upon previous purchasing history of the player and other factors (such as card weight etc). There are a number of repercussions of this drastic change, but primarily this strikes at the fundamental method through which coins are transferred from seller to buyer - typically a player would pay the seller online with real money, then agree on a trade - the buyer would list a cheap bronze card on the market for the price agreed upon by the seller (say 3m coins) and the seller would buy that card from the buyer - effectively transferring the coins over. Now that an upper limit has been set which should be appropriate for the card, you can no longer list a crappy bronze card for 3m - if you want to list a player on the market for 3m you'll have to have a player who is worth roughly 3m (at which point you might as well sell the player legitimately and avoid the risk!).
The price ranges are a blunt instrument. They have effectively removed the chance for traders to make any legitimate money - and that is a real shame. But I believe it is recognition from EA that FIFA15 is a bit of a lost cause. They were not able to quell the problems caused by coin selling in time - so they've brought the hammer down on the market and the baby has definitely gone out with the bathwater. But if your baby is bathing in fetid bathwater then perhaps that's for the best.
So what now?
My advice for anyone who was banned and lost everything, and now can't buy coins to make up the difference - fuck you, first of all, but second - adapt. Its perhaps a different game now - maybe you should try earning your money legitimately.
To traders - I'm sorry they messed it up for you. That's fucked up. Hopefully you got the money you needed in time, at least players will be more affordable now.
To everyone else - enjoy that 150k Di Maria. Sweet.
\u\TheBeardedPole put it most succinctly in his reddit post today, better than I have above: here
Anyway... bring on FIFA16. Its going to be... interesting.