FIFA Ultimate Team hackers found guilty, face jail time for wire fraud
Hackers that allegedly scammed FIFA's Ultimate Team (FUT) game mode could face jail time after being found guilty of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, according to reports.
A jury in Texas found Anthony J. Clark and three others guilty of hacking the game's servers in order to steal the FUT “coins” used to purchase player packs. The four defendants are alleged to have then sold the coins on the European and Chinese markets for real money.
The quartet raked in up to $18 million with the scheme, according to the FBI. Per the indictment, Clark and his three accomplices created an app that simulated the playing of thousands of Ultimate Team matches to earn coins. Those coins were flipped to “unofficial” coin-selling sites for cash.
For those unfamiliar, the FUT mode — which extends to games such as Madden — is one of, if not the, most lucrative extra-content properties for EA Sports. The popular electronic trading-card game earns EA Sports around $650 million annually across all of the company's sports franchises, according to gamesindustry.biz.
To try and put it all into perspective: On average, a regular pack in FIFA would cost a player around 15,000 coins. As of right now, players can purchase 10,000 coins online for $2.16 in real money. If Clark and his co-defendants managed to game the system to the tune of near $18 million, you can do the math and see how much of an effect it would have on the market.
It's unknown at this time when sentencing is set to take place for the quartet.
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