Really, however, nobody seems to take action against the “FUT” black market – neither the authorities nor EA itself. It has existed for years, and anyone who has money and no scruples tries to spice up their online team through it and thus gain an advantage for duels to sneak against other players. Because a strong squad also increases the chances of winning in »FUT« (read more about this here).
Gaming is big business
“Fifa” is the best-selling video game in Germany year after year, it is a showcase title for the world’s booming games industry. In 2020 game companies had a turnover of 148 billion euros worldwide. The film industry, with which it has long been compared, has easily left the industry behind. But the gaming business is even bigger: there are not only game manufacturers, but also hardware providers from Nintendo to Sony to Microsoft. There are also platforms such as Twitch, Discord and YouTube, for which gaming content is immensely important. And then there are the black markets, whose sales are difficult to estimate.
“Black markets arise primarily around multiplayer online games,” says Finja Walsdorff. She is a media scientist at the University of Siegen and deals with gaming communities. “Lots of people spend money on online games to improve their own status,” she says. Walsdorff names the so-called OG skins for the online game “Fortnite” as an example.
Show that you are a pioneer
These outfits could only be obtained by those who were already there at the beginning of the game – i.e. 2017. They do not give you an advantage in the game. But whoever wears them proves their own pioneering role – which may give them the recognition of other gamers. “This respect can also be bought with the help of the black markets,” says Finja Walsdorff. On Ebay, accounts with the coveted skins are sometimes traded for up to 2000 euros.
The example of the OG skin “Recon Expert” shows how easily the black market problem can be defused in some cases: after 2017, the outfit was actually no longer available. In 2020, however, the “Fortnite” manufacturer Epic Games put it in the in-game shop – for twelve euros. The black market demand then flattened, »Recon Expert« is no longer considered an OG skin. But nobody buys an old, maybe even hacked account on the black market just because of the outfit, which is also not allowed with “Fortnite”.
Many game manufacturers refuse to accept their share of responsibility for the black markets, although the design of their game systems increases the desire to trade accounts or individual game content. In some games you can spend hundreds of euros: Due to random mechanisms, you are left with exactly the content you wanted to unlock, but often denied anyway.
The question of what digital content from games like »Fifa« is worth and how much manufacturers artificially curtail their offers is a preoccupation for gamers as well as youth advocates and gambling overseers.
So-called loot boxes, digital treasure chests, in which comparatively useless nonsense, but also an object that can be sold on the black markets at high prices, has been argued for years. In Belgium, for example, EA stopped selling a second “FUT” currency called Fifa Points in 2019 after the gambling authority there had dealt with the game mode. In 2020 the Dutch gaming authority designated the loot boxes from “FUT” as illegal.
Games become platforms
“For many manufacturers, the income from in-game sales is now higher than the sale of the game itself,” says Tim Glaser. He is a media scientist at the University of Fine Arts in Braunschweig and deals with the gaming economy. Glaser points out that every manufacturer tries to create their own platform with their game. This is particularly evident in “Fortnite”: There are seasonal characters from other entertainment universes, from Marvel superheroes to Lara Croft, and even live events such as concerts. There is a lot to experience and therefore a lot to miss, like the OG skins once did.
Finja Walsdorff sees the manufacturers in a difficult position: “It is generally difficult to stop gaming black markets,” she says, referring to Nintendo’s game “Animal Crossing: New Horizons”. You can’t buy digital objects there, but there is also a flourishing black market for “Animal Crossing”.
The economic incentives to intervene are also likely to be low. The fact that EA is leaving the direct sale of “FUT” cards to the black market probably indicates that the current system works economically for them, says Tim Glaser. He points out that the black market and its prices, as well as videos in which you can watch YouTubers open loot boxes in “FUT”, probably also contribute to the hype about particularly coveted content.
With Google, meanwhile, the simplest search entries are sufficient, and players from “FUT” are already being offered numerous offers that should not be available. Many a retailer even advertises with a “100 percent guarantee of compensation” should something go wrong with one of the dubious deals.
[ source link ]
Fifa Fortnite Animal Crossing black markets online games