Valuable source code for some of the gaming giant’s biggest properties was stolen and put up for sale.
On Thursday, Electronic Arts confirmed an astonishingly massive data breach of 780 GB worth of information that could be worth billions of dollars.
As first reported by Vice’s Motherboard, hackers breached proprietary data belonging to the maker of hugely popular game franchises like FIFA and Madden and stole a massive amount of source code — including what the hackers claim is the source code for the iconic soccer title — and code for matchmaking server and tools for the Frostbite engine, which powers games like Battlefield in addition to several EA Sports titles.
The hackers told Vice that they’ve advertised this information for sale in underground hacking forum posts.
“We are investigating a recent incident of intrusion into our network where a limited amount of game source code and related tools were stolen,” an EA spokesperson told Vice in an official statement. “No player data was accessed, and we have no reason to believe there is any risk to player privacy. Following the incident, we’ve already made security improvements and do not expect an impact on our games or our business. We are actively working with law enforcement officials and other experts as part of this ongoing criminal investigation.”
FIFA is by far the most popular and lucrative franchise for EA, which generated $5.629 billion in revenue in fiscal year 2021, it said in its recent annual filing. It called its Ultimate Team Mode, in which players can earn, trade, or buy virtual packs to create the greatest virtual squad fantasy-style “material to our business,” and the numbers certainly bear that out. EA generated a ridiculous $1.623 billion in revenue from its Ultimate Team mode in FY21, its report said, with “a substantial portion” of the Ultimate Team revenue coming from in-game purchases by FIFA players themselves.
With its most popular title, FIFA, confirmed to be under attack, the hacked information could take a potentially big chunk away from EA’s expected annual revenue if its intellectual property — and potentially, the trust of its legions of consumers — has indeed been badly compromised.