Battlefield 4 came out of this year's E3 hot. Some were heralding it as the end of Call of Duty's reign over the military FPS genre with destructible maps and 64-player matchmaking on consoles being huge draws for fans. This excitement didn't just stop with the gamers though, as investors bought shares in EA with Battlefield 4 being a positioned as a potential CoD killer.
The reality of the situation is that that potential never came to fruition, with bug ridden multiplayer matches, lackluster game mode offerings (read our BF4 review), lost profiles and crashes all plaguing the game's launch. The rushed launch hurt the franchise's reputation and it didn't help when DICE announced they were halting progress on further DLC until they fixed Battlefield 4's issues. This prompted a drop of 28 points in EA's stock between July 21st, 2013 and December 4th, 2013. Rightfully, this scared investors thus landing EA with two lawsuits over the buggy game. Well, it's time to make that a possible third.
Law firm Brower Piven has begun chasing a class action lawsuit against EA according to a press release this week. The firm claims that EA knew about the problems Battlefield 4 had before release and decided to let the game hit the market regardless. Polygon reports that the law firm has of yet to file anything official and appears to only be exploring the opportunity of a case for now.
Analyst Timothy Green of The Motley Fool explains that the accusations being made by these lawsuits and how it could be seen as EA falsely inflating their stocks.
A class action lawsuit alleges that executives at EA knowingly over-promised on Battlefield 4, and that the vast technical problems were known to the company prior to launch. Optimistic guidance issued before the launch led EA's shares to climb above $28, allowing some executives at the company to sell at inflated prices. The stock has fallen significantly since then.
Green does say that it will be near impossible to prove that management were intentionally inflating their prices so it "is therefore unlikely that this lawsuit amounts to much of anything." He does however feel that the damage may have already been done in gamer's eyes though. He calls the franchise "tarnished" and posits that military FPS gamers will be unlikely to adopt Battlefield over Call of Duty in the future, as "gamers are always going to choose the game that actually let's them play." EA is coming off a rough year where they were once again voted the worst company in America and saw another bungled always-online launch with the release of SimCity.
It is worth noting however, that the Motley Fool owns shares in Call of Duty publisher Activision, so perhaps take Green's predictions with a pinch of salt.
What say you? Is Battlefield tarnished? Would you rather play Call of Duty for more stability? Is Battlefield 4 in working order for you now and did it deliver enough after BF3? Should EA slow down and avoid ruining the series?