Friday, 6 December 2013

Battlefield 4 continues to screw that pooch hard!


So waking up today I read over on the PC section of IGN that EA's stock prices have fallen due to the massive cluster fuck that is Battlefield 4.  I know I said Rome II was probably one of the worst PC launches in recent memory but Battlefield 4 has truly taken the top spot for utter ineptitude here.

Again this isn't all down to the developer, DICE have zero control over when they release a game that is all done by EA.  A combination of industry competition, holiday sales and a rigid determination to stick to a annual format was pretty much all EA considered when they decided to set Battlefield 4 for a November release.  They wanted to beat Call of Duty Ghosts to the market, be out before Christmas and get a major title out for the next gen consoles at the same time. 

The problem is that gamers really wouldn't have card about any of those things.  Battlefield fans aren't going to run off and buy Call of duty just because it's there, they would wait quite happily playing Battlefield 3 until release.  Christmas sales are admittedly a big thing for a company but again players would have happily dropped their cash after Christmas without issue.  Finally the next gen consoles are neither here nor there really.  Ubisoft held back Watch dogs and it did nothing to their portfolio, in fact it only made fans want the game more. 

EA pretty much fucked DICE and fucked the fans in a master stroke of stupidity on their part.  DICE will never be able to wash away the mark Battlefield 4's launch has made on their reputation now and it isn't their fault.  If a game isn't ready for launch then it needs more time that's about the size of it really.  Publishers however know that fans are always in the market for new games or sequel and will buy any title released by a company with a credible reputation like DICE. 

DICE however have been pretty poor in the post launch support department.  Instead of addressing the most important issues immediately after launch, they continued along as if it was only a small percentage of users experiencing issues as a means of damage control.  They added more servers when the issue was the game crashed servers, so this did absolutely nothing to mitigate the issue.  When they did release patches it only marginally improved things with the game still hanging, crashing, freezing and generally being about as technically reliable as Sword of the stars 2 at launch which was made by a team of around a dozen people compared to DICE and it's hundreds of staff.

The release of China Rising was just another solid Swedish boot to the balls.  Again the release of this expansion would have been forced by EA because of the premium membership promising the release of packs as X date.  DICE are now swamped with another set of issues relating specifically to China Rising such as servers kicking people as soon they join the server, crashes and lock ups on those specific maps.  This is also on top of the recent PS4 and XBOX ONE launches which suffer their own unique set of issues.  The PS4 for instance has no conquest servers.  You heard that right, the mode that made Battlefield what it is today has zero fucking conquest servers on PS4.  Considering the high price of new games on these consoles I would be beyond pissed with that little nugget of information.

As a response to the increasing apocalypse happening around them DICE have brought all hands on deck to increase the patching process at the cost of new content being delayed.  So expect more patching but also a slew of pissed off premium members who now won't be getting expansion packs on the dates they were originally sold on.  DICE basically can't win here and things will probably get worse before they get better.

Battlefield 4 despite the issues is still a fun game, in fact it's better than Battlefield 3 by far and these issues have pretty much ensured that Battlefield 4 will always be remembered as the worst Battlefield release in the series history.  It's still probably made a profit for the company and we will no doubt be seeing Battlefield 5 at some point next year, but it remains to be seen how many people are willing to risk being bitten again by another forced release job.  It's annoying really because I remember playing the beta and feeling that it didn't match up with Battlefield 3's performance.  I almost cancelled my preorder but thought better of it because of DICE assuring us that the game would be running much better by launch, which turned out to be utter bullshit but there you go.

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