Electronic Arts keeps releasing patches to try to fix the litany of problems with signature video game release Battlefield 4, but that hasn’t stopped other problems from mounting surrounding the game. This week, a class action lawsuit was filed against EA, claiming the company “issued materially false and misleading statements highlighting the purported strength of the Company’s rollout of version 4 of its all-important Battlefield video game series.”
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To add insult to injury, now China’s state media is piling on to the wounded EA, accusing the Battlefield 4 expansion pack China Rising of “demonizing the image of China in a new form of cultural aggression.” According to the South China Morning Post, an editorial published in a military newspaper criticized the game for “discrediting China’s image abroad and distorting the truth in an effort to mislead young people” as well as having a plot that “made no sense” and was filled with “profanity.”
The editorial cited how Battlefield 4 led players, acting as American soldiers, to attack Shanghai and fight the People’s Liberation Army, with the Chinese government acting as the main villain: “When western countries would make war games in the past, they would settle on Russia if they needed an imaginary enemy. But in recent years, with the boosting of China’s national strength, China threat theories run rampant, and foreign companies are increasingly keen to put the Sino-US conflict in their games as a gimmick to attract attention.”
Battlefield 4 has’t yet been released in China, so EA doesn’t have to worry about an immediate financial reaction caused by the editorial. But then again with the reviews the game has received, EA can’t expect many Chinese gamers to want to buy Battlefield 4 when it does come out.
The lawsuit, filed by firm Robbins Geller Rudman & Dowd, may be a more serious problem. “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,” the release says. “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 class action suit alleges that shareholders were hurt by this “materially false and misleading” statements that “failed to disclose” the many bugs, connectivity issues, server limitations, lost data, and sudden crashes which have derailed the game. EA stock has fallen 15% since that share price high in August.
However, EA is actually up this week. The share price has risen over 6% since last Friday, defying the bad news.
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