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A New Lawsuit Reveals an Existential Debate in Sports Video Games


Three Californians say that the video game publisher Electronic Arts is secretly manipulating them. On Nov. 9, they filed a class-action lawsuit accusing EA of surreptitiously using a patented A.I. technology known as dynamic difficulty adjustment in its FIFA, Madden, and NHL games--three of the biggest sports games on the planet. The lawsuit claims EA is using the technology to unfairly increase the difficulty of multiplayer mode online matches in order to encourage players to spend real-world money to boost their chances of winning. EA has denied ever implementing the technology and has called the lawsuit "baseless." For years, players have been stewing over ideas of fairness and balance in games, feeling taken for granted at best and taken advantage of at worst. The class-action complaint, Zajonc et al. v. Electronic Arts, doesn't contain any evidence for its claim, but that's fairly typical for this sort of class-action complaint.