EA is in hot water over the scripting in FIFA 21 and there's a lawsuit now. Zajonc v. Electronic Arts is now being debated in California. Three players, Pranko Lozano, Jason Zajnoc, and Daniel Williams, accuse EA Sports of using "deceptive practices" to encourage purchases in the game's much-debated FUT mode. A lot of digital ink has been spilled on the ethics, deployment, and validity of EA Sports' card system for the game. The lawsuit basically argues that FIFA makes its players pursue boxes of Ultimate Team cards by altering the difficulty at certain intervals. Can't beat a specifically hard challenge? Well, then go buy some FUT packs, and maybe you can get past that hurdle. It is important to point out that complaints like this one could be leveled at 2K Games' NBA2K series as well. Madden's Ultimate Team mode rarely fields these critiques, despite being produced by EA as well.
The suit reads, "Unbeknownst to most… EA utilizes technologies like 'Dynamic Difficulty Adjustment' and 'Adaptive Difficulty.' These technologies use heuristic prediction and intervention to dictate or even influence outcomes, thereby keeping gamers more engaged."
"This [triggers] a self-perpetuating cycle," the complaint continues, "leading them to purchase additional player packs in hopes of receiving better players and being more competitive."
So, Dynamic Difficulty Adjustment and 'Adaptive Difficulty' actually push people toward purchases. As with any game, the values for different characteristics like striking, passing, and speed can vary. This could kick those movements up a notch.
EA argues that this complaint and others like it misrepresent their business. But, these arguments have gained more and more steam over time. As an aside, the company reported a record in revenue for microtransactions last year. $1 billion is a staggering number for digital cards. Other nations like the Netherlands and France have begun to crackdown on EA. The only question is if the United States will see things similarly.
How do you feel about FUT? Let us know down in the comments!