A class action lawsuit filed against Electronic Arts in the Northern District of California is accusing the publisher of violating federal securities laws by making "materially false and misleading statements" about Battlefield 4's quality.
According to the lawsuit filing, EA's top management knew ahead of launch that the game was riddled with bugs which would prevent it from reaching its sales target, but lied to increase stock prices while they sold their shares for millions of dollars.
The class action lawsuit is filed on behalf of everybody who purchased EA stock between July 24 and December 4. At the beginning of that interval, EA's Q1 fiscal results were announced and (allegedly) false claims about Battlefield 4's quality were made. December 4th, was the day EA owned to the game's defects and announced that it was halting development on all other DICE projects to divert those resources to fixing Battlefield 4. This turn of events is in sharp contrast to the high hopes both EA and gamers had for BF4; in the video below, created before the release of the game, a developer brags about the game's unique graphics and capabilities:
Electronic Arts is named as the defendant in the lawsuit in addition to CEO Andrew Wilson, CFO Blake Jorgenson, EA Labels president Frank Gibeau, EA Games executive vice president Patrick Soderlund, and EA president and COO Peter Moore. With the exception of Jorgenson, each of the aforementioned executives sold more than $1 million worth of EA shares during the period in question. Honorable mention goes to Gibeau who made $5.69 million from stock sales on October 31, two days after Battlefield 4 launched on PC, Xbox 360, and PS3.
An EA representative provided the following official statement regarding the lawsuit: "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."