Corporate corruption law firm launches investigation into EA over Battlefield 4

Holzer Holzer & Fistel probing the possibility that EA failed to comply with federal securities laws surrounding recent military shooter.

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Corporate corruption law firm Holzer Holzer & Fistel has launched an investigation into Electronic Arts with the hope of determining whether the massive American games publisher and/or its officers complied with federal securities laws surrounding Battlefield 4.

Specifically, the investigation will focus on examining the statements EA made between July 24, 2013 and December 4, 2013 regarding the development and sales performance for Battlefield 4, as well as the impact the game would have on EA's revenue going forward.

The legal team did not specifically mention which statements made between those dates it is looking into. These could conceivably include the company's Q1 2014 conference call in July or its Q2 2014 conference call in October. What's more, executives like CEO Andrew Wilson and CFO Blake Jorgensen gave a presentation at the Credit Suisse 2013 Annual Technology Conference just last week.

EA has yet to disclose sales information regarding Battlefield 4, which is now available on Xbox 360, Xbox One, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, and PC, but early signs suggest that sales are down significantly compared to 2011's Battlefield 3. In the UK, first-week sales of Battlefield 4 were 69 percent worse than week-one sales of Battlefield 3.

Greater clarity on the sales performance of Battlefield 4 is expected tomorrow, when the NPD Group releases sales data for November 2013.

Holzer Holzer & Fistel urged people who purchased EA common stock between those dates, and suffered a loss on their investment, to contact the law firm to discuss their legal rights. The Georgia-based law firm is the same practice that launched an investigation into THQ in June 2012 over its failed uDraw tablets.

We reached out to the Holzer Holzer & Fistel lawyers conducting the investigation, but no one was available to discuss the case. We left a message with one of the lawyers and will update this story with additional information should we get a response.

We also asked EA if they had any comment on the investigation, but have yet to get a response back from their corporate communications department.

Holzer Holzer & Fistel also have open investigations of major companies like Ruby Tuesday, Blackberry, Lumber Liquidators, J.C. Penny, and Urban Outfitters.

Discussion

282 comments
callsignalpha
callsignalpha

this is the result of Activision's evil eye on Battlefield

callsignalpha
callsignalpha

I knew this would happen...............Call of Duty had an evil eye on Battlefield for a LONG time

Klikandclick
Klikandclick

because a lot of you clearly don't understand what's going on in the article, here's a quick summary: EA possibly lied about the sales of BF4 (and not even that really), it has absolutely nothing to do with how good or bad the game is


this is just some crappy law firm trying to boost its rep, EA won't be affected by this, they might have to give out some pocket change but that's it

the_pundit
the_pundit

When Worlds Collide

It would not be unjust to hope that those responsible at EA for releasing "Battlefield 4" (BF4) this holiday season are watching their careers dissipate into the ether before their very eyes. With incomparable dispatch, EA have been able to incense the two biggest gaming console manufacturers in the industry and alienate virtually every FPS gamer in the free world. Add to that the disappointment of hundreds of thousands of people, who spent their hard earned money on this steaming pile in the hopes of putting smiles on their youngster's faces.

The triumphal march of next-gen consoles heralding a new era of gaming will now be forever remembered first and foremost by this debacle. Customers will be lining up demanding their money back. The parade is over before it began, and we have EA singularly to thank for this huge pall over the holiday season. Rest assured this conflagration will burn for many months.

It is Sony & Microsoft however who will through no fault of their own, incur the greatest wrath; the financial penalty, as people return the consoles even though the problems clearly lie elsewhere. The average consumer doesn't separate the hardware from the software; all they see is a gaming machine where the game doesn't work, so they return it. If my coffee maker started making coffee at 4:00 am when it was programmed to make it at 7:00 am it would be returned and accepted by the vendor without issue, as the manufacturer would take responsibility for the defect. The latter is a leap of hyperbole however, because this scenario isn't as prolific in the real world. No, in the 'real' world ( not virtual ) we have something called 'standards'; where products are put through an armada of testing prior to release on an unsuspecting public.

It is safe bet to say that some people will wait to buy one of these consoles until all of this gets sorted out. Perhaps some may even go as far as (heaven forbid) spending their money on 'something else'. However this plays out, it all adds up lost revenue not only for Sony and Microsoft, but also for the other game developers who worked hard to create exclusive content for the respective platform, as a lost console sale is a lost platform sale across all interested parties.

I am a software developer and have been working in this industry for a long time. The signs are all there for everyone to see and are very, very clear that BF4 will not be fixed tomorrow, nor the day after, nor the week after, nor the month after. BF4s release schedule was not forged in the crucible of the developer realm; it was created in the detached and delusional fantasy world of EA marketing execs who decreed that the game 'must be delivered for the Christmas season to compete with Call-Of-Duty Ghosts'. And by god it was, developers, consumers, industry partners and shareholder obligations be damned. If anyone thinks the pitch from the consumer base is getting shrill with respect to this debacle, entertain if you will a few moments being on the receiving end of Microsoft's and Sony's collective legal teams. Unfortunately the punishment will not be commensurate with the crime; it never is.

Next year, the 3rd installment of a game called 'The Witcher', written by an exceptional development company called "CD Projekt", will be released to great fanfare and go on again to become the one of the most popular games ever. With no bugs. It will win hundreds of awards as did its predecessors, because the people who actually know how long it takes to build the product: the developers, determined when the game will be released. And to date they aren't saying, nor do they need to; hotly anticipated games don't need holiday seasons to sell like hotcakes. GTA5 is recent proof.

EA is a company who think they can bring virtual worlds into the real one without having to play by real world rules. Perhaps the combined legal teams of Sony and Microsoft will step up and illustrate to them in no uncertain terms the folly of their ways; something the smaller content providers and platform champions simply don't have the resources to do. Castigation in the press alone does not suffice.

snacky_smorez
snacky_smorez

If the sale projections are just that, projections, estimates what have you. Shouldn't the investors perform some due diligence and investigate a little on their own before investing? I understand how EA could be at fault here but all this is speculation.

shreddyz
shreddyz

Who's paying the blood sucking lawyers? pro bono? hahahaha

ZoTrAcK
ZoTrAcK

Those who invested in them desserved what happen to them...

Mayleene
Mayleene

EA is DOOOOOMMMMMMMMM'ddddddd!!!!!!!

blackothh
blackothh

BURN THEM TO THE GROUND!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


they deserve nothing for all the game series they have destroyed!

Nightdragonist
Nightdragonist

Ok. So the last article about EA giving money to charity is bullshit now? Ok then EA must meet the Golden Poo 1 more time. F*** them for never learn a lesson after Riccitello mess with EA

IF EA dies at the end. I hope Ubi have the money to grab DICE, Visceral, Respawn, Maxis, and Bioware cause these studios rocks and Ubisoft IS MORE consumer friendly and CARE about their games.


And... Who to blame? Jorgensen? Moore? or Jason?

scgarfield
scgarfield

Its simple...... move forward as a multiplayer only game or hire a top quality writer like Tarantino.

xxmavr1kxx
xxmavr1kxx

I wonder if the board members in charge of Stocks realize that they are at fault for this broken game. If the game isn't finished by the TARGET launch date,  Delay  IT!


We know money drives everything, remember the news when they said they weren't going to work on anything else until BF4 is fixed. The stocks dropped heavily, than as soon as the retracted that statement the stocks went back up.


Stop giving us unfinished games!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

HapiJoel
HapiJoel

Hang on...how does this make sense?

MonocleOwl
MonocleOwl

Wow, don't they have anything better to do than to go after game companies? Shouldn't they investigate corruption where there's a LOT of it? Like... I dunno... Huge corporations? But then again, why would they bite the hand that feeds them?

Gryphus_1
Gryphus_1

Sometimes I wonder why I enjoy seeing EA get bashed so much. Then I remember the last 4 years, and I enjoy it all just a little bit more.

DAOWAce
DAOWAce

The government is going after EA because they expected BF4 to sell as well, or better, as BF3?

I don't even..

It has to be deeper than that, but still, this just seems stupid as hell.

If they're forced to reimburse stock holders, or even if they just lose stock, I really don't care; in fact I'd say good, deal with it. EA has ruined so many companies and so many games/franchises that they deserve to be ruined themselves until it's beaten into their corporate head that they need to change their publishing philosophy.

As for the other companies being investigated: also good.  This country is so corrupt and needs far more policing than it barely even receives. (Or more accurately, needs to not have both the government and law forces under constant control from bribery.)

Nightelf123
Nightelf123

EA deserves to die after what it has done to:

1.bullfrog

2.westwood 

3.pandemic

mrbojangles25
mrbojangles25

I am sure we can all list our complaints with EA, but law firms like this are nothing but big-name ambulance chasers,


Who hired them or sought them out? No one. 


How are they going to get things done? Fear and intimidation; i.e. contacting stockholders,saying EA screwed them, and they have a "right" to do something before all the info becomes available, blah blah blah.


EA has bled in the water, and the sharks smelled it.

Donkie737
Donkie737

I just want my new Dragon Age and Star Wars games. EA politics can go fly a kite. And furthermore, as someone else said, this looks like a law firm attempting to generate new business for itself at great expense to others...


(Not that I wouldn't put it past EA Games to lie to people, don't get me wrong...)

LOKIIGODX41
LOKIIGODX41

BURN EA.....  a change of management is absolutely Fking necessary at this point dontcha think?

just another reason these bastards are rated the worst company in the nation for two years running.

Baelath
Baelath

Will this mean BioWare jumps ship, and goes back to Microsoft Game Studios, and thus have the opportunity to make the epics of KOTOR and ME1 again? :)

FuzzyPancakes
FuzzyPancakes

Retarded people who think this is about how good or bad the game is... That's not what it's about.... EA possibly lied to its shareholders about how much the game was selling so their stock wouldn't drop, and no one from EA would go to jail for this. -_-

The punishment that EA would get for this would probably be equivalent to the one American banks were given... Which was hardly even a slap on the wrist, and had no effect on them... And will most likely have absolutely no effect on EA, except for maybe a minor drop in thier stock.. Which they will probably recover from the next week or day

jack00
jack00

I didn't get any of that... What's the issue again ? EA lying about sale figures or something ? Who gives a shit...

GH05T-666
GH05T-666

To busy prancing around in drag to make good games.

Whiskey3romeo
Whiskey3romeo

I always wondered why EA wasn't openly bragging about how many copies of BF4 they sold.  Now it's official.  This game is a flop.  And it's no wonder.  Practically every aspect of the game is half assed at best.

noandno
noandno

I hope they go into jail

LiquidOcelot145
LiquidOcelot145

Ea is getting reviewed by a corporate corruption board for releasing a faulty, half completed and barely functional shooter...?

WHERE WERE THESE PEOPLE OVER THE PAST 3 YEARS WHEN EA RELEASED MASS EFFECT 2-3, DEADSPACE 2-3, AND MEDAL OF HONOR? On the other hand though, this is the best news I've read all day.

Justice and revenge have been served.

KelpsterD
KelpsterD

My BF4 works perfectly fine, as it does for all my buds. Even with the occasional crashes, it still doesnt really matter. Every game has crashed at some point or another.


Sook it oop

ZoTrAcK
ZoTrAcK

interresting

http://blog.newconstructs.com/2013/11/12/new-stocks-make-most-attractivedangerous-lists-for-november/

"EA managed to retain the illusion of growth in the last fiscal year due to some creative accounting. The company recorded $64 Millions in pre-tax income due to a change in the fair value of contingent considerations. What this means is that EA acquired multiple companies and agreed to pay an extra amount if the companies met certain performance targets. In the last year, the probability of meeting the performance targets decreased, so the contingent consideration liability decreased, which EA was able to book as income. Essentially, EA reported $64 million of nonexistent income due to the underperformance of companies it acquired."

quakke
quakke

@Nightdragonist 

Lol. Like UBI is nowadays any better. We saw what happened with Splinter Cell and other Tom Clancy's games like Rainbow Six and Ghost Recon..

kargion
kargion

@Nightdragonist DICE is to blame for the state BF4 is in.  I don't know if you would want to buy them for a lot of money now.  

Nightdragonist
Nightdragonist

[ADDITION]

I think it's Moore's fault since he's the leader of EA


My thoughts after reading this? EA will die at least 6 or 8 years if they keep doing this. It'll be shorter if they don't fix BF, messing with Titanfall, SW, Mirrors Edge, etc

LoganDaDestroya
LoganDaDestroya

The only thing I can gather is that EA has lied about financial status to investors, like withholding sales info.


But I barely know how all of this stuff works so what's going on is pretty alien to me. But I'm pretty sure it's not anything that really benefits us as consumers.

fend_oblivion
fend_oblivion

The problem with EA is that's being run by idiots who are focusing only on maximizing short term profits. That's okay, making profit is not a bad thing, but by jeopardizing the future of the company? Not good at all. It's always better to suffer a bit in the short run but ultimately win in the long run.

Lambchopzin
Lambchopzin

Yeah for sure. I just hope people don't misconstrue this as this firm going to bat for consumers as a result of BF4's rather broken launch -- this is purely about conflict between EA and it's shareholders. This firm doesn't care that EA released a buggy game. They think EA lied about sales projections and stuff, most likely.


Realistically anybody without a stake in EA financially in some way shape or form shouldn't actually care about this.


Still think BF4 is a great game *when it works* and I'm looking forward to Titanfall and DA3.

Darth_Starwind
Darth_Starwind

All it means is that a law firm is looking to drum up business at a big corporation's expense. Make of that what you will.

Darth_Starwind
Darth_Starwind

Even then the law firm would have to provide solid proof of fraud. Achieving that would be a tall order. That said, if there was fraud, fines and penalties would be the least of EA's worries. This investigation is being conducted by a law firm and not by the US government. That means a possible class action lawsuit. Those can hurt companies. That's why we see terms of use contracts now that include non-class action suit clauses. In the midst of these hypothetical lawsuits or shortly afterwards would the government get involved. Any punishments handed out would seek just to punish and not cripple a company.

Zloth2
Zloth2

@LiquidOcelot145 No, EA is getting investigated by some law firm that thinks they can show that EA mislead people in shareholder meetings - or at least make enough of a case to get a settlement.

franken_stein
franken_stein

@LiquidOcelot145 Mass effect 2-3 and Dead Space 2-3 were great games EA just paid to have them made (published). Kinda sounds like your crappin on the games when All 4 of these games scored in range from the high 70's to high 90's on Metacritic. So your in the minority if you think these games were bad, Visceral/Bioware did great jobs on those games sales and scores reflect that.

MegaMark1991
MegaMark1991

@KelpsterD >Even with the occasional crashses


STOP ACCEPTING FAILURE IN YOUR PRODUCTS! THEY SHOULD WORK!

The-FIB
The-FIB

with complacent players like you....why even try and fix anything?  FAIL!

waffleiron88
waffleiron88

yeah its like driving a car that breaks down every other time you drive it...thats some dumb shit there