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FIFA 21 and Madden 21 aren't designed to screw you over – you just suck

FIFA 21 PS5 and Xbox Series X upgrade
(Image credit: EA Sports)

For years now, EA has been accused of adding ‘predatory scripting’ to its annual sports games like FIFA 21, Madden 21 and NHL 21, which resulted in a class-action lawsuit being filed against the company in November 2020.

However, after EA reportedly revealed “detailed technical information and access to speak with our engineers” to the plaintiffs, that class-action lawsuit has now been dropped. It’s led to EA asserting once again that it does not make use of any such technology in its sports games like FIFA 21.

To those unaware, scripting is the process of a game being manipulated by an in-game algorithm that can make a game harder if you’re winning or easier if you’re losing. It’s a technique that’s used frequently in video games, like how in Mario Kart the CPU will ‘rubber band’ behind you at higher difficulties to keep things interesting.

The issue gamers took with EA, though, is the insinuation that scripting was present in its microtransaction laded mode, FIFA Ultimate Team. Players have accused the publisher of manipulating the game in such a way that they’d be encouraged into making more in-game purchases, which would obviously be a shady practice if true.

DDA dispute

Further scrutiny was thrown EA’s way over its patented ‘dynamic difficulty adjustment’ (DDA), but the publisher has confirmed that while it does hold the patent to the DDA tech, it’s never used in its sports games.

EA made the following statement on its website, where it promised never to use dynamic difficulty adjustment in FIFA Ultimate Team. 

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

The statement continues: “We would not use DDA technology to give players an advantage or disadvantage in online multiplayer modes in any of our games and we absolutely do not have it in FIFA, Madden or NHL.”

It turns out, then, that if you do lose a game of FIFA Ultimate Team, maybe EA isn’t to blame after all. Perhaps it’s your own footballing ability that’s ultimately lacking. Nah... that can't be it.

Adam Vjestica

Adam is a Senior Gaming Writer at TechRadar. A law graduate with an exceptional track record in content creation and online engagement, Adam has penned scintillating copy for various technology sites and also established his very own award-nominated video games website. He’s previously worked at Nintendo of Europe as a Content Marketing Editor and once played Halo 5: Guardians for over 51 hours for charity. (He’s still recovering to this day.)