EA is in a bit of legal trouble again, with the company facing a class-action lawsuit due to its Dynamic Difficulty Adjustment technology. Just last month in October, it received a loot box-related lawsuit.
This time, as reported by GamesIndustry.biz, EA is being accused of using its technology, featured in its Madden NFL, FIFA, and NHL sports franchsies, to adjust difficulty in a manner that persuades players to buy Player Packs. Furthermore, players are not aware that the technology is in play, with the class-action lawsuit pointing out the company’s previous denials of its use.
Image source: EA
A 2017 paper on Dynamic Difficulty Adjustment, which was co-authored by former EA VP of Engineering, Data, and AI Kazi Zaman, said, “A common paradigm to achieve DDA is through heuristic prediction and intervention, adjusting game difficulty once undesirable player states (e.g., boredom or frustration) are observed.” However, the lawsuit accuses EA’s implementation of the technology of causing players to not benefit from the Player Packs they purchase and to have a high influence of match outcomes.
"This is a self-perpetuating cycle that benefits EA to the detriment of EA Sports gamers, since Difficulty Adjusting Mechanisms make gamers believe their teams are less skilled than they actually are, leading them to purchase additional Player Packs in hopes of receiving better players and being more competitive,” the lawsuit said.
EA told GamesIndustry.biz that “We believe the claims are baseless and misrepresent our games, and we will defend”, but it won’t be surprising if EA’s already terrible image tanks even further from this lawsuit.