EA faces class action investor lawsuit over quality of Battlefield 4
Did you ever crash to desktop and wish you could sue Electronic Arts over the buggy, unstable quality of Battlefield 4? Well, if you bought stock in the company between the dates of July 24, 2013 and December 4, 2013, you can! Robbins Geller Rudman & Dowd LLP is seeking to file a class action lawsuit against EA and "certain of its officers and directors," with the claim that EA knowingly misrepresented the quality of Battlefield 4 and how it expected it to preform financially. This is on top of a similar investigation led by Holzer Holzer & Fistel, LLC.
Let's take a look at some of the alternately mind-numbing and hilarious legal speak in Robbins Geller's press release:
"The complaint alleges that during the Class Period [dates mentioned above], defendants issued materially false and misleading statements highlighting the purported strength of the Company’s [EA] rollout of version 4 of its all-important Battlefield video game series, which had provided approximately 11% of its revenues in fiscal 2012. Based on the purported strength of the Battlefield 4 rollout then underway, defendants issued strong fiscal 2014 financial guidance for the Company and actually increased that guidance on October 29, 2013 [what EA expected to earn]. The price of Electronic Arts’ stock steadily climbed on these statements, reaching a Class Period high of $28.13 per share by August 23, 2013 and allowing certain of Electronic Arts’ senior executives to sell their Electronic Arts stock at artificially inflated prices."
The complaint goes on to describe how players and investors alike discovered that BF4 at launch was "riddled withbugs," after which EA's stock value declined by as much as seven percent. As a result, the lawsuit alleges that "Electronic Arts would not achieve a successful holiday season 2013 rollout of Battlefield 4." Robbins Geller also calls out the news that DICE halted development on all future projects until it sorted out the Battlefield 4 issues, further hurting stock value. Basically, the lawsuit asserts that EA was aware of all the issues, that it knew BF4 would have a troubled launch, and that it talked it up anyway to sell stock at an inflated price.
"We believe these claims are meritless," EA Senior Director of Corporate Communications John Reseburg told Gamasutra "We intend to aggressively defend ourselves, and we’re confident the court will dismiss the complaint in due course."
I feel for people who bought BF4 and aren't able to enjoy it as advertised, and messy, buggy launches are a serious industry-wide problem, especially with multiplayer games. It's clearly not fair to the consumer, but say what you will about EA, I find it hard to believe that DICE expected BF4 to be this unstable. The sale of senior executives' stock at its high point looks bad, but stock fraud may turn out to be too hefty an accusation to hold up.
We think BF4 is a conceptually and creatively great game, but it is suffering from serious technical issues, which I hope will be sorted out sooner than later. Most likely, I think we're seeing a worse repeat of the Battlefield 3 launch, not the world's most inefficient con.
However, if you bought EA stock in the aforementioned dates, you could serve as lead plaintiff if you contact Robbin's Geller within 60 days.