Battlefield 4 image via Wikipedia
Video games have become big business in the last decade, and because of the substantial investment typically associated with them, they’ve also become a bigger target for lawsuits. Electronic Arts Inc. (EA) is the latest game publisher to feel this firsthand, as a number of law firms seek to represent EA investors that were burned by performance of Battlefield 4.
The game, which was released on Oct. 29, suffered from a number of launch issues and bugs across multiple gaming platforms. The servers supporting the multiplayer aspect of the game were also the target of a DDOS attack in November that further impeded customers’ ability to play.
Considering that EA totes the Battlefield series as one of its best, investors were less than thrilled when the botched launch caused a dip in stock price. The stock ticked even lower when the developer behind the game, EA DICE, announced that additional content development would be put on hold until the issues with the core game were resolved.
As a result, on Dec. 18 securities law firm Robbins Geller Rudman & Dowd LLP filed a complaint in U.S. district court that claimed EA and top EA executives knew about the game’s issues but willfully misled customers into purchasing the game anyway. The suit, which is expected to become a class action, was filed on behalf of customer Ryan Kelly and others who purchased EA stock between July 24 and December 4.
The lawsuit says EA deceived customers in statement from EA CEO Peter Moore that was released on July 23, in which Moore said, “We couldn't be happier with the quality of the games our teams are producing or the early reception those games are getting from critics and consumers.” Firms claim that anyone who invested following that statement could be considered for the class.
Following the initial filing from Robbins Geller Rudman & Dowd, two other firms have come forward with investigations into EA’s handling of the situation. Firm Holzer Holzer and Fistel LLC began its investigation of the statements EA made in December, and as of Dec. 20 firm Brower Piven had also commenced a class action.
Each case seeks to determine whether the statements EA made could be construed as encouragement to invest. A class has not yet been certified in any of these cases, but needless to say the suits could prove to be a big headache for EA.
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