EA granted patent for dynamic difficulty adjustment technology

Fans are worried the technology could be used in 'FIFA Ultimate Team'

Game developer and publisher EA recently had a patent approved for dynamic difficulty adjustment technology.

Utilising AI technology via the cloud, dynamic difficulty adjustment (DDA) scales difficulty based on player interaction.

If a player is having difficulty scoring goals in a game like FIFA, dynamic difficulty adjustment technology will make the game slightly easier. Similarly, if a player is finding it a little too easy, the AI may increase difficulty.


The patent was approved on March 25, and detailed EA’s intention to keep players engaged for as long as possible: “Often, games that are too difficult or too easy will result in less enjoyment for a user. Consequently, the user is likely to play the game less.

“Thus, one of the challenges of game development is to design a game with a difficulty level that is most likely to keep a user engaged for a longer period of time.”

Dynamic difficulty adjustment Credit: EA

Numerous sketches and drawings included in the patent show how the technology works. DDA collects player data by measuring inputs during gameplay. If a player hits enough predetermined data points, dynamic difficulty adjustment will activate.

EA was on the receiving end of a class-action lawsuit related to the technology earlier this year. Three players accused the developer of using the dynamic difficulty adjustment technology across FIFA, Madden NFL and NHL.

Madden NFL 21
Madden NFL 21. Credit: Electronic Arts (EA)


All three games have modes linked to microtransactions, which enable players to spend actual money on in-game items. The lawsuit alleged that EA could utilise DDA to make the game more difficult, encouraging players to spend real money.

The lawsuit was eventually dropped by the claimants after EA explained how they utilises the technology, and offered access to the development process behind the technology.

EA has said they will not use the technology in conjunction with micro-transactions to encourage player spending. The developer released a statement after the dismissal of the class-action lawsuit, detailing their fair play and dynamic difficulty adjustment policy.

EA received criticism recently when a FIFA Ultimate Team fan crunched the numbers and figured out just how much it would cost to buy his dream team.