Electronic Arts (NASDAQ:EA) is in hot water after a bug-ridden release of its Sweden-based DICE studio’s “Battlefield 4” for PC, Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) Xbox One, Xbox 360, Sony (NYSE:SNE) PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 3 triggered a class-action lawsuit.
EA DICE’s “Battlefield 4” was already off to a rocky start with its crash and bug-filled launch in October 2013. Players looking to play “BF4” on next-gen consoles were hoping that those issues would be resolved by the time next-gen consoles hit store shelves in November, which sadly wasn’t the case at all. “Battlefield 4” players on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One were rudely greeted with crashes and bugs that made certain parts of the game completely unplayable, such as “BF4” campaign save files being corrupted randomly and players being unable to start or join conquest mode multiplayer servers.
EA DICE did apologize for the bugs and promise fixes after “Battlefield 4” players vehemently expressed their anger on “BF4” forums on Battlelog, their online networking platform, EA Answers HQ and social news sites such as Reddit, but that good will was short lived when the release of their “Battlefield 4” China Rising downloadable content (DLC) pack was also met with more bugs and problems.
This resulted in EA DICE halting future “BF4” DLCs and potentially jeopardizing future projects such as “Star Wars: Battlefront,” in order to fix the growing list of bugs and problems experienced by “Battlefield 4” players since its release in October.
Despite these actions taken to attempt to rectify the “BF4” situation, a securities class-action lawsuit was filed by Robbins Geller Rudman and Dowd LLP, which accuses EA of issuing “materially false and misleading statements [to stockholders] highlighting the purported strength of the company’s rollout of [‘Battlefield 4’].”
The lawsuit goes further, accusing EA of failing to disclose the number of problems with “Battlefield 4” which resulted in delays in other projects, throwing Electronic Arts off track “to achieve the financial results it had told the market it was on track to achieve during the Class period.”
Furthermore, EA senior executives are also being accused of cashing in on the misleading statements by dumping thousands of stocks, “selling more than $13.2 million of stock at fraud-inflated prices.”
EA along with several members of its executive board are named in the suit, including CEO, Andrew Wilson; CFO and EVP, Blake J. Jorgensen; COO, Peter Robert Moore; EVP of EA Games, Patrick Södurlund and President of EA Labels, Frank D. Gibeau.
Among the statements being called into question is one made by Moore,
“We couldn’t be happier with the quality of the games our teams are production or the early reception those games are getting from critics and consumers.”
Towards the end of July 2013, “Battlefield 4” stock spiked seven percent from $23.83 to $25.41, with senior EA executives selling 164,409 shares of stock within a month after the stock spike, valued at $4.8 million.
After the release of “Battlefield 4” on then current-gen consoles and PC, another 324,874 shares of stock were sold valued at approximately $8.4 million.
This lawsuit comes on the heels of another investigation started last week by Atlanta, Georgia based Holzer Holzer and Fistel LLC, investigating whether or not Electronic Arts and its executive board followed federal Security Exchange Commission (SEC) disclosure laws and rules regarding the problems and issues surrounding EA DICE’s “Battlefield 4.
According to a statement by an EA representative to Gamespot, the company sees the lawsuit claims as meritless,
“We believe these claims are meritless. We intend to aggressively defend ourselves, and we’re confident the court will dismiss the complaint in due course.”
What are your thoughts in this new development regarding EA and its bug-ridden “Battlefield 4” release? Let us know in the comments below.