A group of California players have dropped their class-action lawsuit against EA Games that accused the company of manipulating the difficulty of AI opponents to nudge players into purchasing loot boxes.
According to a statement from EA, the lawsuit's closure comes after the company opened its doors to the plaintiffs and allowed them to review technical data explaining the difficulty system in games like FIFA, Madden, and NHL Ultimate Team.
EA says that to resolve the lawsuit, it "provided [the plaintiffs] with detailed technical information and access to speak with our engineers," offering firsthand accounts of how its difficulty system works.
This apparently resolved the concerns at the heart of the lawsuit, and it has now been dropped.
It's no surprise that concerns over a link between game difficulty and monetization would surface, especially after EA filed a patent for its own Dynamic Difficulty Adjustment (DDA) system. According to Ars Technica, research on these systems has found that adjusting a game's difficulty based on a players' skill level can increase the amount of time players spend with a game, but it isn't clear if that correlates to higher spending.
In any case, EA has reaffirmed that DDA technology is not present in Fifa, Madden and NHL Ultimate team, and that it "would not use DDA technology to give players an advantage or disadvantage in online multiplayer modes in any of our games."