EA has become another major games publisher to suffer a hack and data theft, following attacks on Capcom and CD Projekt Red in recent months.
The hackers claim to have stolen the source code for both FIFA 21 and EA's Frosbite engine, which powers a number of its other games. The 780GB data is currently for sale on the dark web. EA have claimed that no player data was impacted and that its systems have already been strengthened.
If that is correct, then this breach may not impact personal data. But source code is still intellectual property and incredibly valuable to the publisher. While EA's wish to reassure players that their privacy has not been impacted, this does not mean that players might not ultimately be impacted in different ways. Source code can be copied, reverse engineered or otherwise exploited to create hacks and cheat codes. Even if player privacy is not impacted, therefore, it does not mean that the player experience is undamaged. If source code can be used to create software cheats then that represents damage to the integrity of the game.
Software cheats in Esports is a known issue. The FIFA titles are popular competitive games. EA and FIFA (the institution) host their own world cup (FIFAe) that has previously earned its champions $250,000. A potential compromise to FIFA 21 would both be attractive to those so-inclined and a real blow to the brand.
Hackers Steal Wealth of Data from Game Giant EA