Electronic Arts has been the target of a new class action lawsuit filed in the United States (Northern California, to be more specific). The company is accused of using its dynamic difficulty adjustment system to boost the purchase of micropayments on EA Sports titles: FIFA 21, Madden NFL 21 and NHL 21.
The lawsuit claims that FIFA and other EA sports games modify their difficulty on the fly to encourage the purchase of FUT and equivalent envelopes: “EA’s undisclosed use of the Difficulty Adjustment Mechanisms deprives players who purchase Player Packs of the benefit of their purchases because EA’s Difficulty Adjustment Mechanisms, instead of only setting a ranking of Ultimate Team players and the relative skill of the players, dictates, or at least significantly influences, the outcome of the match”.
The argument continues: “This is a self-perpetuating cycle that benefits EA to the detriment of EA Sports players, as the Difficulty Adjustment Mechanisms make players believe that their teams are less skilled than they really are, encouraging them to purchase additional Player Packs in the hope of getting better players and becoming more competitive”.
An EA patent was discovered last year that referred to this difficulty adjustment, but the publisher said it is not being used for what the lawsuit claims: “We could never use it to give any group of players an advantage or disadvantage against another in any of our games”. “The technology was designed to explore how we could help players who are having difficulty in a particular area of a game and have the opportunity to advance,” the statement concluded.
This same Thursday EA announced a new functionality for FIFA 21, “Game Time”, which allows to establish limits to the games played weekly, the amount of open FUT packages and the money spent on micro transactions. At the end of last month, two Canadian players sued EA for selling loot boxes without a gaming license to offer bets. In France, an ongoing lawsuit argues that FUT is the same as gambling.