Hello everyone and welcome back to Jaggy’s Corner where I discuss various video gaming topics during the week. This time around I’m talking about a player who is now banned from all FIFA events.
I’m, of course, talking about Kurt “Kurt0411” Fenech who was found in violation of EA’s code of conduct. The professional esports player, Kurt, repeatedly stated his criticisms about FIFA 20 on his YouTube channel and his Twitch streams. He would engage in rants about the game on Twitter as well. Unfortunately, Kurt ended up on the receiving end of old big and nasty EA play. In fact, EA was so offended by his actions that they even went as far to shut down Kurt’s FIFA Ultimate Team account – which he had had for over 10 years – they unloaded numerous copyright strikes to his YouTube channel and attempted to shut down his Twitch channel. After following through on their actions to take Kurt down, EA proceeded to post a press release about their decision to ban the player from all tournaments. (What? Isn’t that a little extreme?)
Keep in mind that all of this is happening to a player who is the second most popular player/streamer/content creator of FIFA 20, and not to some random player who thinks they’re good at the game. One would think that as a major contributor to the community around the game, that EA might have considered other means of dealing with the situation. But, sadly, this is not the case. EA claimed that Kurt was threatening staff, and without citing any sources, took down as much of the player’s content as possible. I think that might have been overstepping their bounds…
But, this isn’t where the buck stops when it comes to EA. Earlier on in the year, Donovan “Tekkz” Hunt, another professional player of FIFA 20, mentioned at the FUT Champions Cup in Paris that the game was “unrewarding” and that “games were 50/50.” (This information can be found here.) And yet, even though Tekkz has also been critical of the game, he has not received any of the same treatment. Yet this particular player made it into the semi-finals and is part of team Fnatic. I have to question why would one pro player receive extremely harsh punishment and not another? Is it because Tekkz is perhaps less aggressive with his criticisms? Though, if Tekkz keeps up with the criticism, EA might still go after him. Right now though, that is mere speculation.
Now, there are a couple of things that I’ve also read about the situation. The first is that some EA employees Twitter accounts were hacked following Kurt’s ban. Tweets were sent out in support of the player through Twitter, leading EA employees to believe that Kurt, or people in his community, are responsible. (Though I should add that even if he or his community was responsible, that having some basic protections against hacking benefits everyone who uses social media. Basically, everyone. There may not be a full-proof way to do this, but reducing the risk is never a bad thing. And, in this case, if EA’s employees accounts were hacked into, I have to question EA employees ability to have security…) The other bit of information I stumbled upon is that earlier today, both Apex Legends and FIFA 20 servers went down due to outages. In fact, this is the second time in less than a month this has happened. To me, while that may not be related, it seems like convenient timing.
So this is what I’m thinking about. I feel like EA’s press release was a bad idea for them because they destroyed the reputation of one of their top players without (as far as I can tell) reaching out to him in an attempt to find a resolution. By publishing the press release, not only did EA make Kurt a scapegoat, but they also potentially ruined his life. As such, it feels a lot like a hit piece, which is a published article that aims to smear the name of an individual or company. While to the public the press release seemed like a harsh warning to the community, I see EA’s actions as something more – otherwise, why post about it?
But what really perplexes me about the situation is why EA didn’t cite proof of Kurt’s alleged threats? They nuked any evidence showing the statements / criticisms made by Kurt. If they wanted people on their side, wouldn’t they have something to show for it?
Other questions come to mind like why did EA only go after this one player? What does this prove? And don’t you guys think that was too much, regardless of how much Kurt may have complained about things that needed to be fixed? We aren’t talking about a one-time player here, this is someone who has spent hundreds, if not thousands of hours in that game. He might have SOME useful insight even if he stated his opinions in aggressive ways. And furthermore, if multiple players are experiencing the same issues, wouldn’t it have been better to actually listen so that maybe the game could be MORE successful?
I mean, Sports games aren’t really my thing, and at the end of the day, this topic isn’t something I’m truly passionate about. However, if game companies don’t listen to their players, how do they really stand to survive? In this case, I believe that EA is setting an example of what not to do as a billion-dollar company. But that is just my thoughts on the matter.
Until next time peeps!