EA facing lawsuit over loot boxes in ‘FIFA’, ‘Madden NFL’ games

The lawsuit claims the games force players to purchase loot boxes

EA has had a lawsuit filed against them in the US over its Ultimate Team loot boxes.

A class-action lawsuit has been filed in the US District Court of Northern California, according to Gamesindustry.biz. The suit focuses on the alleged use of Dynamic Difficulty Adjustment, a feature that artificially adjusts the difficulty to encourage players to purchase loot boxes in order to advance.

Ultimate Team is currently available in the company’s Madden NFL, FIFA and NHL sports franchises. The Dynamic Difficulty Adjustment pushes users to buy Player Packs, even making players with higher stats not function as well as they should.

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“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,” the lawsuit states.

“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.”

FIFA 21
FIFA 21. Credit: EA Sports

“We believe the claims are baseless and misrepresent our games, and we will defend,” EA said in a statement to Gamesindustry.biz.

Last year, EA released a statement addressing the issue, denying any use of Dynamic Difficulty Adjustment. It said that it “would never use it to advantage or disadvantage any group of players against another in any of [their] games”, and that the “technology was designed to explore how we might help players that are having difficulty in a certain area of a game have an opportunity to advance”.

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In other EA news, the publisher is also currently unsure whether it will be raising the prices of its next-gen games. During a recent earnings call, the company stated it was too early to tell and that it doesn’t “really want to weigh in on that yet.”

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