In FIFA, as so many fans of EA's all-conquering football series know, you can buy FIFA Coins with real world money. After a buyer places an order, they will inform a seller which player they are selling, so they can make the exact profit with the amount of purchased coins. Alternatively, there's the 'comfort trade', which involves giving over your account to a supplier to let them provide coins directly.
And with those FIFA Coins you can buy packs of cards for use in FIFA Ultimate Team, the series' most popular mode and the one that makes EA so many millions of dollars each financial quarter. As you can imagine, this method carries a great deal of risk.
Frank Lewis, head of marketing at MMOBUX.com, a marketplace that matches up those who want to buy in-game currencies with real money from sellers, says the market for FIFA coins has grown steadily since the release of FIFA 15 back in 2014."Although EA tried to prevent it a few years ago by setting a price range, players are still looking for a way to buy coins," he says over email."In addition, thousands of people are willing to even sell coins to suppliers."Here's how it works: the most popular method of conducting a black market FIFA transaction is through a player auction.
So, the virtual card has an indirect real-world value. The FIFA Ultimate Team black market is huge, despite EA's attempt to combat it over the years.
I'm a big FIFA fan and I have a confession to make: I love opening packs. Then, you can sell those FUT coins on a third-party website for cash.
My mind dares to dream in the tantalising moments before I press the buy now button. These websites ensure everything involved in your standard Ultimate Team card pack transaction has a real world value, albeit indirectly. Successfully sell him on the official, in-game auction house for FUT coins.
But I can't help but grind for more FUT Coins, the in-game currency you can use to buy packs, then, when I've enough, roll the dice once again. Here's the blurb, from the Gambling Commission:"Where prizes are successfully restricted for use solely within the game, such in-game features would not be licensable gambling."The problem is, these prizes - or in FIFA's case, cards - are not successfully restricted for use solely within FIFA 18. There are a raft of websites, some of which look pretty slick and even have narrated tutorial videos, that will buy your FUT coins off you for real-world money.
I will always want better players and a better team. As the debate about loot boxes and gambling rages, I can't help but wonder about Ultimate Team. :: The best PS4 and PS4 Pro deals available right now The law says loot boxes are not gambling because the items obtained from them cannot be exchanged for real-life money.
I've yet to spend real world money on FIFA Coins since FIFA 18 came out, but I have teetered on the edge, usually at night while my wife and toddler sleep. The thing is, I want better players and a better team. And yet I live for each inch I crawl forward in the pursuit of the perfect Ultimate Team. Sometimes I think, well, it's just like buying football stickers. Then, usually when I'm desperate for one more hit, I find myself convinced it is.
Thankfully, FIFA 18, with its dad friendly Squad Battles mode, dishes out FUT Coins and card packs in a, well, I wouldn't call it a generous fashion, but I've so far done well enough to have an 80-rated team with limited play time.
And finally, you could just sell your entire account.
As with so many other games, your FIFA Ultimate Team account has a real world value.