Alleged FIFA glitch cheats players out of real money

Worse, the glitch may go back years, potentially affecting titles as far back as FIFA 09.

Like many modern games, Electronic Arts's FIFA titles have an online multiplayer component, with microtransactions. Players who are willing to plunk down a bit of hard-earned cash can buy randomized card sets of new athletes. Unfortunately, these purchased cards tend not to measure up with the those already included on the game disc -- FIFA fans have long suspected some sort of glitch handicapping these athletes' stats, and finally, they've identified what it is.

See, players are able to boost their athletes' stats through better team "chemistry," the game's system for modeling how well a team works together. With sufficient chemistry, an athlete who is otherwise unable to perform a certain skill will gain access to it. But Youtuber RighteousOnix has discovered that this doesn't seem to be the case with FIFA 16's purchased card packs, with athletes failing to receive the same stat bonuses as day-one characters.

This is bad for a couple reasons. First, as mentioned, players are paying out real money (sometimes hundreds of dollars) for these cards on the promise you can build a team of superstars, but effectively they're getting the opposite. Second, EA's FIFA games have had an online marketplace like this -- called FIFA Ultimate Team, or FUT -- since 2008, meaning that if this same glitch is present in older games, we're looking at hundreds of thousands of affected players.

EA has not yet confirmed the glitch, but it has released a statement acknowledging the reports:

Thanks to the FUT community for raising awareness of a potential fitness and chemistry inconsistency in some FUT items. After hearing this, our teams were in over the weekend and continue to thoroughly investigate the information. We will keep you informed with updates from the investigation. Our commitment to a fun, fair and secure experience in FIFA is ongoing, and as a community your feedback helps us achieve that goal. A special thanks for your continuous efforts across all channels.

It's unknown what sort of compensation FIFA players may be up for, if the glitch is confirmed.

(h/t VentureBeat.)