‘Battlefield 4′ & ‘NBA Live 2014′ Launches Have Been Disappointments For EA

Published 12 months ago by

Electronic Arts Poor Launches

Launches are messy things. For hardware and games alike, several major releases in recent history have gone astray of expectations. Be it server issues or game quality crippling sales, there are hundreds of things that can go wrong at a video game launch. Of late, EA has had a few launches that haven’t quite gone its way. Earlier in the year SimCity was ravaged by gamers and press alike for forcefully including always-online DRM, rendering it unplayable due to unreliable servers, despite warnings from fans that this would be the case. The same thing happened with Blizzard’s long-awaited Diablo 3 and it was a hot point of contention for a long time. In the cast of SimCity, the game’s reputation has struggled to overcome the stigma of the ordeal.

Add to EA’s woes, two marquee games for the company haven’t turned out as well as it might have hoped. Battlefield 4 and NBA Live 2014 have both had troubled beginnings by failing to meet EA’s standards. Yet, like Medal of Honor, a title they admitted didn’t meet their expectations, these all released in arguably broken states.

Starting with Battlefield 4, EA and DICE both had huge hopes for next-gen transition of the series. The reception out of E3 was great and some thought that this year would be the year that it really closed the cap on Call of Duty. That was all before the game launched with a rather limited offering of features (read our review for details on that) and with serious server issues that still plague the game for some. General Manager of DICE, Karl Magnus Troedsson took to Battlefield‘s Blog to apologize about the issues players have been experiencing across platforms.

“Resolving the launch issues is our #1 priority. In fact, we are so serious that we have the entire team working to stabilize the game and we will not move on to other projects until we are sure that Battlefield 4 meets — and exceeds — your expectations. It is the right thing to do.”

He went on to say that he understands how player progression has been stunted because of the launch and to make up for it DICE would offer double XP in multiplayer from November 28 through to December 5. To sweeten the deal, he also said that the studio would be rewarding player’s patience with the previously developer-only M1911 pistol scope to those who login on December 5. The scope is cool but the double XP is a joke. Still, while the game is suffering crippling errors for some, EA and DICE are quickly selling DLC which on principal, is making the situation infuriating for some since it’s becoming increasingly clear that the game wasn’t ready for launch.

NBA Live Poor Comeback

While Battlefield 4 is generally well regarded despite its problems, NBA Live suffers from much more severe issues. The game’s endured being one of the most panned current generation titles and the EA Sports team aren’t burying their heads in the sand about it. Over at the official website, the division has released an open letter recognising the game’s failings and have promised to improve all aspects of the game as soon as possible.

“I’m not going to lie; it’s been a rough week. As you can imagine, this isn’t exactly the NBA LIVE comeback story we were hoping for this year.

We hear loud and clear that some of you are disappointed in various aspects of NBA LIVE 14, and I’m sorry if the game doesn’t live up to your expectations. Looking at your feedback, we have laid out a plan to make NBA LIVE 14 a better game as quickly as we can.”

The team goes on to say that they are going to make the game easier to understand and “pick up and play.” Interestingly it was also promised that the team is working on patching “significantly” better graphics into the game. The letter admits:

“In order to get gameplay up and running this year we had to prioritize. We felt authentic gameplay, control and the connected experience would provide the best foundation for the future. As a result, game visuals and animation polish suffered.”

While the admission is candid, it is also revealing. It points to a development cycle that wasn’t long enough and a game that was rushed out before it was ready. Sound familiar? It isn’t clear exactly how much is the developer or the publisher’s fault, but one thing is clear and that’s that the series’ return is far from the NBA 2K killer EA would have hoped it to be.

What do you think of this? Is EA’s (and the gaming industry’s) release date focused strategy hurting their games and hence, their fans?

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Source: Battlefield Blog, EA Sports

TAGS: Battlefield 4, DICE, EA Sports, Electronic Arts, NBA Live

10 Comments

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  1. For the most part, it seems like a fairly honest appeal to the fans. It would be nice if publishers would just come right out and say that they rushed the game’s release and in the future will learn from these mistakes. I think that as long as they fix the issues fairly quickly almost all will be forgiven. What worries me, and I think most fans is, will this happen again in the future? Until EA admits that they rushed these games and then commits to their fans that they won’t release a broken game again, I fear they may do it again in the future. What is it with so many broken games being released these days?

    • Talk to Obsidian. rofl… I think they are now experts at releasing unfinished and unpolished games.

  2. Release an unfinished game and then suddenly wonder why it doesn’t do good? Knowing EA, they’ll blame DICE and shut down the Battlefield series for good.

  3. Let us take a quick look at BioWare/EA and EA’s recent conundrums:

    Dragon Age II
    Mass Effect II
    Mass Effect III
    Sim City
    SW:tOR
    Battlefield 4
    NBA Live 2014

    Hit a button and something awesome happens.

  4. Battlefield has been maddening for me because it’s currently the only game I have for PS4. I was really psyched that it was a launch title. Now, I’m stuck with a game which periodically decides to erased by save game data, and I have to start the campaign all over again; even worse, that then means I have lost everything I had unlocked up to that point. In the end, I’m not left with a next gen console that I can’t play; not because of the console, but because the killer app I bought for it doesn’t work. It’s sad when I’m stuck with the conclusion that Resogun is a better game than Battlefield 4.

    • Same here, or at least was until I got black flag.

      I may have to go to Ghosts just because it’s playable online (BF4 crashes a lot, and no hard core mode).

  5. Maybe if EA gave them enough time to make sure the game was decent and not so buggy, then we wouldn’t be having these problems.

  6. Unfortunately EA is getting a reputation as a publisher that rushes out games to meet a release date, even if they aren’t very stable/playable/finished, but they better start to give the developer’s under them more time to get the product in better shape before they ship. Having these problems a few times may be overlooked, but this continuing cycle of poor game launches can have a bad effect on sales, as gamers wait till the problems are ironed out before making a purchase, which has the effect of making the publisher (EA in this case) question if they should continue to fund these projects that they (EA) seem to want out on a schedule. Maybe the developers are a bit to blame for promising to be able to make a specific launch date, but if that’s the case almost all the development studios under EA must be having that problem, so as a fan it feels more like an EA issue. I hope more of the studios under the EA umbrella can get a bit more time to iron out these problems before shipping games, instead of seeing some of these studios fold due to problems meeting EA’s launch schedule, which would be quite unfortunate.

  7. Some of the errors reported when Battlefield 3 came out are still not fixed. I was one of their biggest fans until I realized they do not care about the software working, they just want your money. I have decided to not give them another cent of my money, and until everyone else follows suit you can expect to continue to get apologies from EA… just don’t expect results.

  8. I appreciate the fact they are trying to fix games that are already released when they don’t HAVE to do so. However EA is known for releasing games that are not ready. Learn from blizzard(apart from D3, although it was patched quite quickly) and delay the launch of the game if the game’s not ready. It’s so sad that one of the largest game companies in the world with billions of dollars in revenue annually can’t release a finished game that works. Stop buying EA products until they improve their practices; thats the only way they will ever learn.

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