What is DDA in gaming and why is it so controversial? FIFA 23, EA patent & more

EA Sports logo on FIFA 22 BackgroundEA Sports

A controversial topic in the FIFA (and gaming) community relates to DDA, what it means, and how it impacts video games. Here, we’re running through everything there is to know about Dynamic Difficulty Adjustment mechanics, their place in FIFA 23, and much more. 

The term DDA may be new to some FIFA fans, but many will have heard it in passing from content creators, Twitter accounts, or even fellow players.

It’s a fairly controversial topic and one that hasn’t received a lot of coverage so, here, we’ll be running through what it means, how it affects video games, and whether it will feature in FIFA 23.

Article continues after ad

What is DDA in gaming and FIFA?

DDA stands for ‘Dynamic Difficulty Adjustment’. The phrase is quite complex, but it simply means a mechanic within a game’s code that can adjust certain gameplay aspects to make it more difficult, or easier, for players to carry out certain actions.

In short, a player dominating a match could see DDA make their gameplay less fluid and more prone to error in order to balance the match they are playing. A player struggling in a game may find their gameplay made more fluid to have the opposite effect.

An EA paper on the subject describes it as a “technique for adaptively changing a game to make it easier or harder.” It is designed to alleviate both frustration and boredom.

Article continues after ad

On its use in their games, EA say: “We have successfully developed a system that applies this technique in multiple games by Electronic Arts, Inc., and have observed up to 9% improvement in player engagement with a neutral impact on monetization.”


Is DDA in FIFA? EA patent & more

There is no evidence that DDA is in FIFA or any other EA title, like Madden or Apex Legends.

EA did file a patent for the mechanic back in 2016, meaning they essentially gained a license to use it in-game. However, they revealed the DDA code in a March 2021 court case to debunk accusations of it ever being implemented in anyway.

Article continues after ad

They stated: “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.”

EA were successful in their legal defence and the case was dismissed by plaintiffs. Their own website states: “We’re pleased to share that the plaintiffs have now dismissed their case. 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. This is the right result.

Article continues after ad

“While EA does own a patent for DDA technology, that technology never was in FIFA, Madden or NHL, and never will be.  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.”

We expect everything on this page to continue to ring true when the FIFA series end and is usurped by EA Sports FC for the 2023-2024 football season.