EA is facing another class action lawsuit in the US related to its Ultimate Team loot boxes, this time focusing on its alleged use of dynamic difficulty modding
In a lawsuit filed in the US District Court for Northern California, plaintiffs accused Jason Zagonk, Daniel Williams, and Branco Lozano EA of using their Dynamic Difficulty Adjustment technology in three of its EA Sports franchises – Madden NFL, FIFA and NHL – across all games dating back to 2017 releases
Prosecutors say EA is using this technology – whose stated goal is to allow AI to adjust difficulty in-flight to prevent players from getting too bored or frustrated with the game’s challenging level, keeping them playing longer – to push players to purchase more loot boxes In player packs, saying that makes even high-stat players not play as well as they should
Additionally, the lawsuit states that EA uses this technology without disclosing it to players, stating that EA has denied its use in the past in multiple games mentioned in the lawsuit.
« EA’s unannounced use of difficulty modification mechanisms deny players purchasing player packs the benefit of their deals due to EA’s difficulty
Modifying the mechanics, instead of only the announced ranking of Ultimate Team players for players and the relative skill of the players, dictates or at least greatly affects the outcome of the match, « the lawsuit reads
“This is a self-perpetuating tournament that benefits EA at the expense of EA Sports players, since the difficulty settings make players believe their teams are less skilled than they are in reality, prompting them to purchase additional player packs in hopes of getting better and more capable players. Competition «
Prosecutors say EA’s actions violate the California Consumer Legal Compensation Act, False Advertising Act, and Unfair Competition Act, and qualify as unlawful enrichment
The group is seeking court to compel EA to stop misrepresenting player bundles and cards, including a corrective advertising campaign, and to return funds earned through any practices the court considers unlawful
Notably, in 2017, EA was also granted a separate patent on a matchmaking algorithm that has a similarly stated goal of keeping players engaged for a longer period, and which has been met with criticism that it can be used to nudge players toward micro-transactions. It’s unclear if this is. Technology is being used or not in any EA Sports games at the moment.
EA is currently facing two other cases related to the Ultimate Team, one in the United States alleging the situation violates California gambling laws, and the other in Canada accusing EA of operating an « unlicensed and illegal gaming system through their loot boxes »
CEO Andrew Wilson said « six new FIFA titles » are in development on mobile for « new genres and new markets »
The publisher will have the exclusive rights to the MMA League games until 2030 while the hockey deal is a « multi-year renewal »
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Electronic Arts, Loot box, EA Sports, Dynamic Game Difficulty Balancing
World News – GB – EA is facing another class action lawsuit linked to loot boxes
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