Sunday, November 17, 2013

Battlefield 4 Launch Fiasco

The launch of Battlefield 4 was very disappointing. It felt as if those who pre ordered the game were paying to beta test it. It was such a broken mess at times, that I find it hard to believe they released it in such a state. Problems in the beta are present in the release version. Makes me wonder what the beta accomplished.  

To an extent I understand the server side problems which were taken care of as quickly as they possibly could, but some issues with the base game are hard to justify. 

After their PC patch, things seemed to have gotten worse. Apart from the usual problems with the game (crashing to the desktop at random), they managed to introduce a new bug in the patch which could cause the screen to blur every time the commander deployed an EMP. So not only does EA/DICE make customer feel silly for pre ordering the game, the game now causes eye strain.

The battlefield twitter and Facebook feed is full of advertisements ranging from merchandise to review scores, apart from a few employees at DICE who have taken the time to respond to messages (my sincere thanks to them). One wonders why they didn't publicly acknowledge the problems and apologize, instead of carrying on with the shameless promotion and self congratulatory posts.

After the terrible launch, instead of reaching out to the customers, EA took the classy route and advertised hoodies

Understandably, customers were not pleased. 
This launch has validated the cynicism towards the gaming industry in general. If they were in tune with the community, they would know that the community doesn't care about when the game launched or if it beat Call of Duty at sales figures. They care about having a playable game.

I am sure this is hard for an executive to comprehend, because for them, its all about sales figures. They throw around buzz words like "seamless reality", "immersion", and best of all, "levelolution" without knowing the first thing about gaming. Publishers do not care about the what they are selling, as long as they are selling many of it, and will say anything to reach their goal - even lie to the public. Case in point, Patrick Bach's interview with Jack Frags about how the game features "improved netcode" and how people will notice the difference because its better. In reality, it was far worse than Battlefield 3.

So here is the bottomline, I will not pre order the next Battlefield game (rest assured that there will be another BF game. The series has gotten too big to not have many sequels), or an EA product. I blame myself for not waiting to see how the game turns out. They have given me no incentive to support their product (No, battlepacks aren't incentives - a working game is.)

I hope someone at EA who is in a position to change things will read this, and hopefully put out better games. Its unlikely, but no harm in trying. I also hope that we all will remember this when the next Battlefield game is announced.