Why losing streaks occur

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Losing streaks are known to happen in FUT. In this article, I will look into why they happen and why they aren’t more common than they ought to be.

It’s a fact that losing streaks occur, but do they happen randomly or are they part of a sinister scheme administered by EA? Some people are absolutely convinced that losing streaks are imposed with the deliberate intent of making people lose:

“So i go on the next day and my god Ive honestly lost 8 games in a row now, maybe a draw in there somewhere. I think EA have put in a system where if u buy a pack u get rewarded with wins.”
(user PopcornPuppy)

“It is self evident that players interest will be held for longer if they are given a period of believing they are brilliant at the game, followed by them wondering what new players/packs do they need to buy to get back there after a slump.”
(user kav)

Losing streaks vs. relegation streaks vs. a drop in form

What do we mean by losing streak? When reading posts written by handicapping believers on this topic, the term losing streaks is used in different meanings. Sometimes it refers to an actual streak of losses, i.e. five consecutive losses. On other occasions, they refer to a drop in form, i.e. losing 4 of your latest 5 matches or similar. And then, finally, people sometimes refer to streaks of relegations. As for relegation streaks, I cover them in another article, as the underlying reasons essentially are different.

A bit about probability theory

Although probability theory wasn’t most people’s favorite topic in school, it is a necessary tool when trying to understand how losing streaks occur in FUT.

If FUT isn’t manipulated, the probability of losing your next match will be closely tied to the probability of getting a superior opponent. If we for simplicity reasons say that matches only can have two results – either you win or you lose – then an average player will have a probability of exactly 50 % of losing his next match. The probability of losing his next four matches will be ½ * ½ * ½ * ½ = 6.25 %. Hence, streaks of various lengths are quite likely to happen, just as you will see streaks if you toss a coin 100 times.

Even if your skill level is above average, you will experience losing streaks of various lengths, provided that you play enough matches. If you are below average, there is a good chance that you will experience losing streaks to a larger extent.

Hence, even if FUT matches are completely free of manipulation, winning and losing streaks of various lengths will occur.

Do losing streaks occur more often than they ought?

Losing streaks will happen, and they definitely do happen, but do they happen more often than they should?

To answer that question, we simply need to compare the actual number of streaks of various lengths to the expected number of streaks – in both cases for an average player, meaning someone who has a 50 % chance of losing every match.

I will spare you the details on how to calculate the expected number of losing streaks of various lengths for an average player, but for those of you that care, you can check out the maths here.

With regards to the actual number of streaks for an average player, the best way is to count the occurrence of streaks within a sample consisting of match records for a number of different players, as this will bring us closer to a set of data which is representative to ‘the gaming experience of an average player’.

Finally, we compare the two sets of data. The numbers below are based on a sample consisting of 20 players, who each played 20 matches in FUT 14.

Streak length Expected occurrences in 400 matches
Actual occurrences in a sample of 400 matches
3 12.5 15
4 6.234 7
5 3.109 3
6 1.551 3
7 .773 1
8 .386 1
>8 <1  1

 

Obviously, there are deviations, but are they coincidental or systematic? This can be determined by doing a Pearson’s chi squared test, which basically provides a statistical measure of the probability that the differences between two data series are coincidental. In this case, the test yields a p = .70, meaning that it is highly likely that the differences are a product of coincidence. To reach another conclusion, the p-value should have been below .05.

In reality, this means that the 400 match sample above didn’t contain any losing streaks which could have been caused by deliberate intervention from the game, meaning that we can reject the claim that the game imposes losing streaks on us to a larger extent than what can be explained by pure coincidence.

Relegation streaks

Sometimes, losing streaks (three losses in a row…) are confused with relegation streaks (being relegated multiple times to a division fsr below your best division so far). This topic is now covered in a separate article.