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After EA denies dynamic difficulty used in FIFA, EA acquire patent for dynamic difficulty adjustment

cormack12

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History: https://www.neogaf.com/threads/lawsuit-filed-against-ea-for-scripting-outcomes-in-fifa.1579755/
History: https://www.givemesport.com/1625830-fifa-21-ea-sports-is-being-sued-over-scripting
History: https://www.gamasutra.com/view/news...lawsuit_ends_as_EA_denies_its_use_in_FIFA.php
Source: https://opattack.com/ea-patent-dynamic-difficulty-adjustment/

Patent: https://pdfaiw.uspto.gov/.aiw?PageN...f=G%26l=50%26s1=20210086083.PGNR.%26OS=%26RS=

Relevant part


Now if we consider the patent for its described purpose, it seems fine as it is the right of a software owner to find ways to increase the engagement time of its users. However, if we look at it from the perspective of the lawsuit that was filed against EA, it does seem like a devil’s work.

Live service games like FIFA usually have a large playerbase including a lot of teenagers who are inclined to use loot boxes or microtransactions if things get tough for them. So if a game is adjusting difficulty dynamically (even to increase engagement), without any notification, it will naturally increase the chance of a player spending money on microtransactions, specially in the competitive games like FIFA.

While DDA (Dynamic Difficulty Adjustment) does seem like a good feature for general gaming as it can increase the fun and engagement levels, it does have some questionable underlying aspects that can be alarming for gamers.
 

reksveks

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Not to defend EA but you seem to be conflating two things here.

The initial complaint was about the likelihood of goals/game changing events at the end of online games, this patent seems to be about having a smarter way to scale difficulty in single player games. It doesn't seem that revolutionary an idea.

Also I have no problem with the fifa game ramping up difficulty (offline mode used to be super boring even on expert difficulty so I switched to manual) if it is transparent and an option for me to turn off in single player games.
 
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cormack12

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Not to defend EA but you seem to be conflating two things here.

The initial complaint was about the likelihood of goals/game changing events at the end of online games, this patent seems to be about having a smarter way to scale difficulty in single player games. It doesn't seem that revolutionary an idea.

Yeah but the premise was the DDA was kicking in to allow that. As in player controlled characters would become slower, or a stat would invariably drop off (for example the slider that controls short pass error percentile), fatigue or stamina accelerator etc. I get your point about online/offline though.

If implemented well for example the AI would learn I am prone to weave through the middle so force me out wide. Or if I constantly attack near side force me onto the far side. However, I don't think this is effective at all for online games. Until they properly manage space and ridiculous stamina etc. it will always be crap. Online football games are more like fighting games imo.
 

reksveks

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Yeah but the premise was the DDA was kicking in to allow that. As in player controlled characters would become slower, or a stat would invariably drop off (for example the slider that controls short pass error percentile), fatigue or stamina accelerator etc. I get your point about online/offline though.

If implemented well for example the AI would learn I am prone to weave through the middle so force me out wide. Or if I constantly attack near side force me onto the far side. However, I don't think this is effective at all for online games. Until they properly manage space and ridiculous stamina etc. it will always be crap. Online football games are more like fighting games imo.
Yeah, this patent and the underlying line of thought doesn't work for PvP interactions, would be great for PvPvE or PvE games. I have no doubt that they would sell mtx to overcome the AI but as long as that's transparent then the user is informed.
 
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Alright

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Dynamic difficulty is marketing buzzword for cheating. The computer cheats to push you in to spending more money.

There was a controversy a few years back when an EA internal meeting was leaked and they discussed this exact topic. Make the game harder so that you spend more money.
 

Fredrik

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Dynamic difficulty is marketing buzzword for cheating. The computer cheats to push you in to spending more money.

There was a controversy a few years back when an EA internal meeting was leaked and they discussed this exact topic. Make the game harder so that you spend more money.
This was standard practice in the arcades, when they saw people stopped playing the games after finishing them they started increasing the difficulty to get us to insert more coins.
 
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Zeroing

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EA makes some technology that is amazing but uses it to evil/gain more money! That’s my understanding of this! Or EA makes some technology to gain more money!

That’s the EA we know! they always been doing this.
Their corporate mindset will never change and gamers will continue buying their games.

EA back in the Xbox 360 generation, wanted to increase games price because people lent them to friends and it was bad for the “big companies” so they were forcing their games to be always online... the list goes on.
 
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reksveks

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This was standard practice in the arcades, when they saw people stopped playing the games after finishing them they started increasing the difficulty to get us to insert more coins.
You know the story of the difficulty ramp of space invaders? Don't know how true it is but it's a great one.
 

Skyfox

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It all comes back to the business model. If its a single purchase, single-player, offline game then I support dynamic difficulty (maybe as an option in settings).

The combination of such tech with microtransactions (which basically destroy all design decisions eventually) is when it becomes a problem.
 

Fredrik

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You know the story of the difficulty ramp of space invaders? Don't know how true it is but it's a great one.
Not sure, is it the same as with the origin of Super Missile Command and Ms Pac Man, modification kits the operators could plug in that made the games harder?
 
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reksveks

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Not sure, is it the same as with the origin of Super Missile Command and Ms Pac Man, modification kits the operators could plug in that made the games harder?
So when they were first developing it internally, they didn't plan for the invaders to speed up after each line they moved down but they found out that by killing the invaders, the underlying calculation behind the engine sped up so the more you killed the faster they moved. That then inspired the difficulty curve.
 

oldergamer

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I will play a few ea sports games via gamepass but im not paying 70 bucks for any of them. EA can fuck themselves with the bullshit tactics.
 

Panajev2001a

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History: https://www.neogaf.com/threads/lawsuit-filed-against-ea-for-scripting-outcomes-in-fifa.1579755/
History: https://www.givemesport.com/1625830-fifa-21-ea-sports-is-being-sued-over-scripting
History: https://www.gamasutra.com/view/news...lawsuit_ends_as_EA_denies_its_use_in_FIFA.php
Source: https://opattack.com/ea-patent-dynamic-difficulty-adjustment/

Patent: https://pdfaiw.uspto.gov/.aiw?PageNum=0&docid=20210086083&IDKey=34B510DB4F77&HomeUrl=http://appft.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-Parser?Sect1=PTO1%26Sect2=HITOFF%26d=PG01%26p=1%26u=/netahtml/PTO/srchnum.html%26r=1%26f=G%26l=50%26s1=20210086083.PGNR.%26OS=%26RS=

Relevant part


Now if we consider the patent for its described purpose, it seems fine as it is the right of a software owner to find ways to increase the engagement time of its users. However, if we look at it from the perspective of the lawsuit that was filed against EA, it does seem like a devil’s work.

Live service games like FIFA usually have a large playerbase including a lot of teenagers who are inclined to use loot boxes or microtransactions if things get tough for them. So if a game is adjusting difficulty dynamically (even to increase engagement), without any notification, it will naturally increase the chance of a player spending money on microtransactions, specially in the competitive games like FIFA.

While DDA (Dynamic Difficulty Adjustment) does seem like a good feature for general gaming as it can increase the fun and engagement levels, it does have some questionable underlying aspects that can be alarming for gamers.
Loss/Erosion of perceived value of games, free to play becoming more and more pervasive, users tracked in every breath they take and across multiple channels, ability for difficulty and gameplay to change in real-time based on player event and the profile built about them, focus on Engagement as KPI/metric, majority of revenue coming from consumables/MTX, etc… how could that go wrong ;)?
 
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iorek21

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Having played FIFA 21 for quite a lot in career mode, I’ve come to the conclusion that even single player has some sort of shady stuff going on: players inexplicably becoming slow, harder to control, missing passes and goals are very common during certain matches; as well as last minute goals in the most absurd of ways possible.

If feels that EA just slaps the same system at every game mode possible, since I’ve seen it everywhere back in older FIFAs.
 
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Kev Kev

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Yeah that sounds like a game I will never play. If you don’t like their practices, I suggest you do the same.

just go blow shut up in rocket league. Waaaaay more fun than spending micro money on a virtual soccer match
 

HarryKS

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Scripting in Fifa is not self-fulfilling. It is obviously part of the game logic.
 

FranXico

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I will play a few ea sports games via gamepass but im not paying 70 bucks for any of them. EA can fuck themselves with the bullshit tactics.
You don't want to support EA business models, but by the time those games reach Gamepass, EA business models have already been supported by MS, when they paid EA to bring those games to Gamepass.
 
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supernova8

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Yeah, this patent and the underlying line of thought doesn't work for PvP interactions, would be great for PvPvE or PvE games. I have no doubt that they would sell mtx to overcome the AI but as long as that's transparent then the user is informed.
The user only controls one (or at most two or three with fancy button presses) player at a time, so the other players could be manipulated using DDA. It doesn't seem out of the realms of possibility.
 
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The user only controls one (or at most two or three with fancy button presses) player at a time, so the other players could be manipulated using DDA. It doesn't seem out of the realms of possibility.

Even with the one player you control. There is rng with everything you do. The pass, the shot, the cross, the first touch your player has. It can all be manipulated.
 

Andodalf

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The user only controls one (or at most two or three with fancy button presses) player at a time, so the other players could be manipulated using DDA. It doesn't seem out of the realms of possibility.

But it's not, as they proved to legal standards. That's the point. DDA kinda exists but not in the way conspiracy theorists say.
 

IntentionalPun

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Errr.. that patent was originally filed 5 years ago, and is cited in the lawsuit... it's talked about in the thread you linked to from December lol
 
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NullZ3r0

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Call it what it is: Rubberband AI. I wouldn't mind it if it just affected the opposing AI, but EAs (and 2Ks) method seems to nerf the player stats in the process. It's infuriating to be the Harlem Globetrotters and then in the 4th Quarter with 5 minutes to go, your team turns into the Washington Generals.
 
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Scripting in Fifa is not self-fulfilling. It is obviously part of the game logic.
You should see NHL games too. Funny how the cpu losing in the third period gets this magic push like they are all all-star players.

The game code is already adjusted so the cpu can skate and move at speeds and turning ability at levels you cant do no matter what. Even 4th liners can do this. I;ve seen the cpu strafe in all directions without the player even moving their legs as they coded the movement to be independent of animation logic.

The game code is done so when the cpu gets into your zone, the logic changes so they all morph into Gretzky's. The game has the most blatant defensive zone, neutral zone, offensive zone logics in any sports game I played. Zero organic AI.

The worst is when you get a breakway opportunity.

The cpu players will literally double in speed and catch you. I've had a breakaway opp and a cpu player coming off the bench near centre caught me because he warp speeded like he had a jet pack on. Again, the player moved so fast, it didn't even correspond to the skating animations.
 
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jroc74

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Anyone who has played any amount of fifa online knows they have some serious fuckery going on.

The RNG is waaay too covenient for last minute goals etc. Shit stinks and I try my best to stay away.
I also hated their rubber band effect they had in racing games. I tried to get around it by either not using boost or staying close to the lead cars until the last minute.

I tried to explain this to my son about Madden, he doesnt get it, lol.
 
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I also hated their rubber band effect they had in racing games. I tried to get around it by either not using boost or staying close to the lead cars until the last minute.

I tried to explain this to my son about Madden, he doesnt get it, lol.
Rubberbanding in racing games, so the game logic purposely slows down leaders max speed or gives back of the pack drivers extra speed boosts?
 

jroc74

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People just want to be salty when they lose in sports games. It's a tilt like no other
EA has been doing this for at least 2 console generations. Its not just about losing.
 

IntentionalPun

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People just want to be salty when they lose in sports games. It's a tilt like no other
The games likely have the tech though.. EA doesn't outright deny they have some sort of dynamic difficulty, read between the line's of their statements. You wouldn't use words like "misrepresent" otherwise.
 
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Andodalf

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The games likely have the tech though.. EA doesn't outright deny they have some sort of dynamic difficulty, read between the line's of their statements. You wouldn't use words like "misrepresent" otherwise.
There's definitely not DDA in online games, and there almost certainly isn't Scripting either. Against the CPU yes, everyone knows the cpu cheats in order to be competitive with humans.
 
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Bo_Hazem

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reason i stopped playing fifa is the competitive advantage shit , specially online, BLATANT cpu cheating, impossible misses and shit
No Way Reaction GIF by EA SPORTS FIFA

Yeah it's pretty obvious. Stopped playing FUT since 2016. I tried spending around $2-3 and I won 5-0 against one guy who totally controlled the game and missed every chance, then after my luck went dry and I was trading cards for a profit and bought all of the team without spending anything more they forced me into a 11 streak of losses with those mechanics, even one time forcing my way against it after scoring 1-0 and shooting the ball everywhere. After the match ended all the numbers got (-) and it was determined that I lost. :lollipop_tears_of_joy: I should've recorded that.
 
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iJudged

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Yeah it's pretty obvious. Stopped playing FUT since 2016. I tried spending around $2-3 and I won 5-0 against one guy who totally controlled the game and missed every chance, then after my luck went dry and I was trading cards for a profit and bought all of the team without spending anything more they forced me into a 11 streak of losses with those mechanics, even one time forcing my way against it after scoring 1-0 and shooting the ball everywhere. After the match ended all the numbers got (-) and it was determined that I lost. :lollipop_tears_of_joy: I should've recorded that.
sounds familiar lmao, i saw my player band backwards like church chair to miss the ball on the line and concede when the ball was going directly into him, fun shit
 
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oldergamer

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You don't want to support EA business models, but by the time those games reach Gamepass, EA business models have already been supported by MS, when they paid EA to bring those games to Gamepass.
At that point they aren't getting direct dollars from myself. Its indirect and I'm assuming a lot less then if I bought the game outright. What I'm paying for gamepass is spread across multiple games from my perspective. I wouldn't be surprised if they ( EA) takes a loss in an effort to generate more money from micro transactions. That is really how they make money on these games now, and they won't get a cent out of me for that crap.

Side note, EA has been trying to hire a good buddy of mine to take over the hockey franchise btw. He already got burned working on a EA franchise before, I doubt he will take up the offer again.
 

oldergamer

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reason i stopped playing fifa is the competitive advantage shit , specially online, BLATANT cpu cheating, impossible misses and shit
No Way Reaction GIF by EA SPORTS FIFA
I hear ya, I had the same issue in NHL. I mean literally taking a shot at an empty net hitting an invisible wall to stop the puck and keep the other player in the game is nuts. Or a triple deflection off a weak pass to allow a weak player a goal and a chance to win a game ( when I outshot them 53 to 4 ). Haven't played the last 2 years.
 
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Bo_Hazem

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sounds familiar lmao, i saw my player band backwards like church chair to miss the ball on the line and concede when the ball was going directly into him, fun shit

The most outrageous match was winning 4-0 first half, then the "surprise" mechanics kicked in and even using mild interaction would cause a penalty, and all my 1-on-1 attacks are just bird shooting. Funnily after I understood that the mechanics were working, the NPC slides without my order to get a red card and give him a penalty to score the last 5th goal and lose 5-4 :lollipop_tears_of_joy: . Before that I think my record was around 130 wins, not sure how many draws, and around 20 losses. When reached level 3 I was forced to lose every game where your players feel like drunk and can't walk or hold the ball.

It was the very opposite when I spent nearly $5 total. I've faced some players that are way, way better than me and smashing them to the point one was screaming and swearing and rage quits.:lollipop_tears_of_joy:

Not sure about PES though, but that was it for me. I'm a big fan of Manchester United but now I only watch football, or sometimes play against friends locally.
 
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NullZ3r0

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The only incentive I think EA would have for this is to sell you "improved' players or XP boosts. These sports games are quickly being turned into "coin-ops" with ridiculous difficulty designed to take your money.
 

iJudged

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The most outrageous match was winning 4-0 first half, then the "surprise" mechanics kicked in and even using mild interaction would cause a penalty, and all my 1-on-1 attacks are just bird shooting. Funnily after I understood that the mechanics were working, the NPC slides without my order to get a red card and give him a penalty to score the last 5th goal and lose 5-4 :lollipop_tears_of_joy: . Before that I think my record was around 130 wins, not sure how many draws, and around 20 losses. When reached level 3 I was forced to lose every game where your players feel like drunk and can't walk or hold the ball.

It was the very opposite when I spent nearly $5 total. I've faced some players that are way, way better than be and smashing them to the point one was screaming and swearing and rage quits.:lollipop_tears_of_joy:

Not sure about PES though, but that was it for me. I'm a big fan of Manchester United but now I only watch football, or sometimes play against friends locally.
this is where i destroy my whole set up, so glad i quit this bs
 
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iJudged

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I hear ya, I had the same issue in NHL. I mean literally taking a shot at an empty net hitting an invisible wall to stop the puck and keep the other player in the game is nuts. Or a triple deflection off a weak pass to allow a weak player a goal and a chance to win a game ( when I outshot them 53 to 4 ). Haven't played the last 2 years.
lmao i can't believe they keep doing this tho, and what's worse is people are still buying this garbage more so then everrr! wtf....i guess what they're doing is working lol
 

Stuart360

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I know its EA and all that, but couldnt this in theory be to stop the thing that always happens with Fifa, you get good at the game and end up winning every game 10-0?.
I mean its EA so it could be ulterior motives, but it also could be gameplay related.:messenger_smirking: