FIFA 21: Scripting accusations debunked by EA Sports

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EA Sports have sought to clear their name regarding accusations of ‘scripting’ within FIFA games during a legal battle in California.

‘Scripting’ has long been a bugbear for thousands of fans of the popular FIFA game. It is believed that during modes such as Ultimate Team and other online features that the outcome is predetermined and the coding will do everything it can to prevent the ball hitting the back of the net.

Opposition players glide around the pitch while your players feel like they’re running through mud. Sound familiar?

Rather than rant and rave at their TV screens like the rest of us, three Californians took it one step further by pursuing a legal battle against EA in November 2020.

The lawsuit, labelled ‘Zajonc v. Electronic Arts’, claimed that the developers ‘unlawfully increase game difficulty’ so that users feel obliged to improve their team and subsequently pay more money to EA.

This theory may have some credit given that the company recently achieved an ‘all-time high’ in FIFA micro-transactions, with close to $1 billion made by in-game purchases in late 2019.

Case Closed

The case has now been closed, however, after EA published their ‘Dynamic Difficulty Adjustment’ (DDA) coding used in FIFA Ultimate Team and other notable games such as Madden and NHL.

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Following this release, the ‘Zajonc’ party withdrew their case and have since declined to comment. 

Seeking to disprove any of the conspiracy theories surrounding ‘scripting’, an EA spokesperson said: “We provided them with detailed technical information and access to speak with our engineers, all of which confirmed (again) that there is no DDA or scripting in Ultimate Team modes.

“Ensuring play is fair is critical to all of us at EA. We’ve tried to be as clear as possible that this commitment applies to us just as much as it does to our players.

“While EA does own a patent for DDA technology, that was never in FIFA.”

The spokesperson continued: “We’ve publicly said before we do not use any scripting or ‘Dynamic Difficulty Adjustment’ (DDA) or anything similar that would automatically adjust the difficulty of gameplay in FIFA, Madden and NHL Ultimate Team matches.

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“We would not use DDA technology to give online players an advantage or disadvantage in multiplayer modes. We absolutely do not have it in FIFA, Madden, or NHL. EA and the FIFA, Madden, and NHL teams remain committed to fair play.”

Previous Cases Against EA

Unfortunately for EA, this case was not a one-off.

A similar lawsuit is currently ongoing in France while they have also been accused of operating ‘illegal’ gambling systems which could land them hefty fines worth $11.7m in France and the Netherlands.

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