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Class action lawsuit accuses EA of changing game difficulty to push loot boxes

Class action lawsuit accuses EA of changing game difficulty to push loot boxes

November 11, 2020 | By Alissa McAloon

November 11, 2020 | By Alissa McAloon
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Electronic Arts has been accused of using Dynamic Difficulty Adjustment to quietly adjust the difficulty of certain EA Sports games in a way that purposely pressures players into purchasing more loot boxes.

According to a class action lawsuit spotted by GamesIndustry, a number of individuals are concerned that years-worth of games in the Madden NFL, FIFA, and NHL series are using AI to adjust each game's difficulty on the sly.

"EA's undisclosed use of Difficulty Adjusting Mechanisms deprives gamers who purchase Player Packs of the benefit of their bargains because EA's Difficulty Adjusting Mechanisms, rather than only the stated ranking of the gamers' Ultimate Team players and the gamers' relative skill, dictates, or at least highly influences the outcome of the match," reads a selection from the lawsuit.

The filing goes on to say that using Dynamic Difficulty Adjustment in titles like EA Sports Games can alter the effectiveness of players' team rosters, which is particularly problematic given that players can turn to loot boxes to try and unlock more powerful players for their own teams.

"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 technology isn't something exclusive to EA, but the developer's particular flavor of Dynamic Difficulty Adjustment has landed it in hot water previously after patents describing its DDA technology made the round last year. At the time, EA told Eurogamer it did not use Dynamic Difficulty Adjustment in FIFA.



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