Battlefield 4 News: Why the Game is 'Buggy' Explained by DICE, EA Execs Sell Massive Amount of Stock Before Game's Release

By Luke Caulfield , Updated Dec 20, 2013 02:38 PM EST
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Don't expect to ring in the New Year with joy over Battlefield 4 still being fixed. DICE is still in the midst of issuing patches for all versions of the game as fast as possible, and EA has a whole other problem on its hands, facing a lawsuit over misrepresenting the game, and making misleading statements to investors.

Both companies are doing their best to cover their bases, but to little avail. Recently, PCGmedia noticed some comments made on an article from Swedish gaming site fz.se by someone claiming to be a DICE studio employee.

"HonK_sWeMoB" started out his explantion by saying that development for Battlefield 3 and 4, and by proxy, Frostbite 2 and 3, are very different. "One of the reasons that we have made major changes are to take advantage of new hardware better and squeeze out maximum power from the new multi-core PC and nextgen consoles," Hon wrote. "Scores of code now runs in parallel on multiple processors instead of sequentially (on only one processor)."

I'm no developer, but I do know that making one is more than likely an extremely difficult undertaking. As Honk explains, "It is extremely difficult as developers to verify if the code is thread safe or not (ivf in c / c + +) and BF 4 consisting of several million lines of code. It becomes the 'timing'-dependent and different hardware (in combination with background processes and operating systems) have different timing of how things are executed.At work, we all have reasonably similar machines (as in all workplaces to order many computers at a time) and 'timing' coverage is thus unfortunately not so good."

Fair enough, the problems are difficult to track down. So then why bother releasing the game? "Honk" claims that all the problems were only discovered after the launch, and came "as a terrible surprise." I doubt his comment will be something that EA's legal defense can cite, but "Honk" did write, "no EA or Dice has ever said skitsma, we release it anyway." For the sake of clarification, "skitsma" is a rough translation of "fuck it."

"Honk" closed by saying that while the studio is working on fixing the remaining errors, it's unknown how many are left because they're "'random'-driven," meaning we could be seeing problems with Battlefield 4 for a long time to come, hence the studio providing an Issue Tracker.

While DICE is dealing with each bug found, EA has considerably bigger problems. The claim filed by Robbins Geller Rudman & Dowd LLP shows that between July and August of this year, two of the executives named in the claim, CEO Andrew Wilson, and Executive VP Patrick Söderlund, sold 115,000 between them, earning them close to $3 million in proceeds between them. The breakdown can be seen at the top of the eleventh page of the claim. Three other executives not named in the claim also sold stock in the same period, 

It certainly looks shady, but to play devil's advocate, this was months before Battlefield 4's release, which didn't release on the Xbox 360, PC, and PlayStation 3 until October, and arrive on the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One until November. So here's what the court has to decide - was EA aware of the game's problems and decided to sell the stock anyway, or hoped the issues would be resolved before release, OR, was it purely a financial decision to sell the stock? As the claim notes, when the stocks were sold, the stock was at a Class Period high.

An EA representative has told GameSpot, "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."

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