A group of California gamers has dropped a class action lawsuit accusing Electronic Arts of secretly using a “Dynamic Difficulty Adjustment” (DDA) to covertly affect the outcome of FIFA: Ultimate Team matches. The group did so after EA demonstrated that the controversial proprietary system is not in use in the game.
We first covered EA’s Dynamic Difficulty Adjustment system in early 2018, after a late 2017 scholarly article introduced the basic framework. That research found that automatically adjusting the difficulty of a three-game puzzle based on the player’s demonstrated skill level led to a 9 percent “improvement in player engagement” (that is, players wanted to play a little more ). On the other hand, it had a “neutral impact on monetization” (that is, it didn’t lead to players spending more money). EA applied for a patent on the same basic idea in 2016, and the patent was granted in 2018. Some FIFA Gamers have long suspected that proprietary technology was working in at least some of their “Ultimate Team” games. To hear these players say it, the game secretly uses a hidden, scripted “boost” system to adjust the results of specific shots or touches based on the current state of the game. It’s all part of an effort to manipulate players into spending more money on better Ultimate Team player cards, as outlined in that DDA patent. Or so the theory goes.
EA has stated several times that it does not use DDA in FIFA and that the results of Ultimate Team depend on the skill of the player and, sometimes, the vagaries of random number generation. But those statements didn’t stop three California players from filing a class action lawsuit last November over their suspicions that EA was lying, alleging in part:
EA’s undisclosed use of difficulty adjustment mechanisms deprives players who purchase player packs of the benefit of their offerings due to EA’s difficulty adjustment mechanisms, rather than just the stated ranking of Ultimate players. Team of the players and the relative ability of the players, dictates, or at least greatly influences the outcome of the match.
This is a self-perpetuating cycle that benefits EA to the detriment of EA Sports players, as the difficulty adjustment mechanisms lead players to believe that their teams are less skilled than they actually are, thus which leads them to purchase additional player packs in the hopes of receiving better players and being more competitive.
That brings us to today, when EA announced that the lawsuit had been dropped. That move comes after EA says it provided the plaintiffs with “detailed technical information and access to speak to our engineers, all of which confirmed (again) that there is no DDA or scripts in Ultimate Team modes. This is the one. correct result “.
EA reconfirmed that DDA technology “was never in FIFA, To get mad, or NHLand it never will be. We would not use DDA technology to give players an advantage or disadvantage in online multiplayer modes in any of our games and we absolutely do not have it in FIFA, To get mad or NHL. “
It’s nice to have that extra confirmation from EA, especially with the added commitment that applies to the company’s other sports games and the future as well. And now those statements also come with enough additional verification from EA’s own engineers and documents to seemingly satisfy a set of litigious-minded gamers (and / or their attorneys).
On the downside, the next time one of your takes on FIFA With the wide sails, you won’t have to blame a scary secret algorithm.