back to article 'Ultimate Team' scheme: EA hackers charged for stealing in-game coins

A US man is facing felony wire fraud charges for allegedly stealing and reselling in-game currency for EA Sports' FIFA console games. Anthony Clark has been charged by the Northern Texas District Court with a count of Conspiracy to Commit Wire Fraud for his role in a scheme to automatically generate and then re-sell the …

  1. Sorry that handle is already taken. Silver badge
    Flame

    There's only one thing for it

    Ban micro-transactions in games that aren't "free to play".

    I know I should but it's difficult to find much sympathy when the victim is EA.

    1. disgustedoftunbridgewells Silver badge

      Re: There's only one thing for it

      The victim isn't EA though - the victims are the ones who have to compete against people with practically unlimited in game funds.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: There's only one thing for it

        "The victim isn't EA though - the victims are the ones who have to compete against people with practically unlimited in game funds."

        So the EA hackers have basically modelled the real world economy then.

  2. frank ly Silver badge

    Viewed logically

    Has anyone actually suffered a loss or damage as a result of their actions in falsely ontaining these tokens (which is what they really are)? I can't see how EA Sports has had to spend any more money or do any more work as a result of this. Have they suffered a loss of reputation resulting in damage, etc? As long as the tokens worked, the people who bought them were getting what they wanted at a price they were willing to pay.

    I'm not saying that what they did was 'right' but surely this should be a civil case, not a criminal case?

    1. lglethal Silver badge
      Thumb Down

      Re: Viewed logically

      I'm not an EA fan, but that argument is bunk. EA have lost out in sales. There is a market for those coins (otherwise the crims wouldn't have made millions) selling them. EA do sell player packs direct, but people bought the coins as they were a little bit cheaper then buying the packs direct.

      I'm not going to claim its 1:1 losses (some people wouldn't have wanted to, or been able to afford paying full price), but a significant portion would still have bought the packs at full price if that was the only option.

      So yes EA has lost a lot of money this way.

      And its pretty much s straight case of fraud or obtaining by deception. Theft of digital things is always a bit of a difficult concept, and I'm never particularly comfortable with it being used, but its pretty clear case of obtaining by deception...

      1. disgustedoftunbridgewells Silver badge

        Re: Viewed logically

        The prices are vastly different. If you buy from EA, they've ludicrously expensive for what they are. From black market sites they're apparently peanuts.

    2. Simon Ward

      Re: Viewed logically

      "Have they suffered a loss of reputation resulting in damage, etc?"

      This is EA we're talking about - you can't lose something you never had to begin with.

  3. Trevor_Pott Gold badge

    Explain how you "steal" something by convincing a computer to emit copies of some code. "Steal", my ass.

    1. lglethal Silver badge
      FAIL

      It's called fraud, or obtaining by deception.

      But then again I guess you don't mind if someone steals from your online bank account. It's just changing some numbers on a website after all. *rolleyes*

      1. Trevor_Pott Gold badge

        If you convinced my bank to give you a COPY of my money, without depriving me of my money, go hard! Why would i care about that?

    2. Nicholas Nada

      Explain how you "counterfeit" something by convincing a printer to emit copies of some banknotes.

      1. Trevor_Pott Gold badge

        I would be okay with using the term digital counterfeiting to describe the activities of the miners. But counterfeiting is not STEALING. Stealing deprives the owner of the ability to use the original.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Viewed logically

      Explain how you "steal" something by convincing a computer to emit copies of some code. "Steal", my ass.

      Ask Mt GOX, maybe they could use this Legal tip from you.

      1. Trevor_Pott Gold badge

        Re: Viewed logically

        But with bitcoin, stealing the bitcoin deprives the owner of use of the original. It's not just making a copy.

        If you download an image off my website, you are making a copy. You are not depriving me of the ability to use the original. If you download an image off mywebsite *and then delete the file from my webserver*, you are depriving me of the ability to use the original. You have "stolen" it, effectively. (Ignoring backups.)

        This is the difference. They convinced a server to emit copies of a digital currency that is effectively unlimited. If the owner of the algorithm wants more currency, they can push a button and generate as much as they want. Nobody is deprived of the ability to use that digital currency.

        At worst, it's digital counterfeiting. It is emphatically _not_ theft.

        1. Baskitcaise
          Happy

          Totally agree there Trev

          See title.....

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