The poster child for 'games that have gone wrong at launch', Battlefield 4 has now become synonymous with botched video game releases. Riddled with game-breaking bugs and glitches across both consoles and PC, patches are still having to be released almost a year later to fix issues that have remained since BF4's release.
So problematic have Battlefield 4's server troubles and netcode issues been, that the game's producer recently admitted that they'd 'lost player trust'. Meanwhile, discussion surrounding the next Battlefield release, Battlefield Hardline, has been dominated by fan concerns that BF4's problems will affect its predecessor too.
With such blows being dealt to Battlefield's reputation, some of EA's shareholders have taken issue. Arguing that they were misled by the publisher, some even took to the courts to get it sorted out and now we have an update on the legal proceedings.
Initially filed by two shareholders, Ryan Kelly and Louis Mastro in December 2013, the pair's claim was that EA had purposefully lied about Battlefield 4's potential success in statements and investor calls. They say that the company knew that the game would launch with issues; issues that harmed EA's share prices and hindered the return on investment that Kelly, Mastro and their fellow shareholders would be entitled to.
EA chief executive Andrew Wilson and chief financial officer Blake Jorgensen were the two named defendants in the case but luckily for them Judge Susan Illston of U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California has ruled in their favor. Reported by Courthouse News, Ilston described Wilson and Jorgensen's statements as "puffery" and "a vague statement of corporate optimism".
She also says that despite what Kelly and Mastro's lawsuit alleges, EA isn't in the wrong as any company would make optimistic statements about their products. The statements they made weren't "materially false and misleading" as the lawsuit suggested.
The pair's lawsuit also hit a snag as they said that they had purchased stock because of the statements that EA had made. The problem with this is that their lawsuit also refers to statements made after they bought the stock and therefore wouldn't actually have had much bearing on their purchase decisions at all. In fact, only three out of the eight statements referred to were made before they bought the stock with the remaining five being made between October 29th and December 3rd.
So although EA may have dodged a bullet with this one, they aren't completely out of the woods yet. In order to prove that EA was in the wrong, Kelly and Mastro will need to find shareholders who purchased stock after those Oct. – Dec. statements were made and make them the lead plaintiffs instead.
They have until November 3rd to do this and stop the lawsuit from being dismissed altogether. It's unclear how long a final ruling will take following that date but we'll keep you posted once we know more.
Source: Courthouse News