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EA: Nothing wrong with BF4 launch

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Games have been struggling at launch lately. Well, any game with online components, that is. Seeing as EA keeps pushing for an always online experience, it makes sense that their games keep failing at launch. However, they apparently don’t see it that way.

EA Chief Creative Officer, Rich Hilleman, was cornered on the red carpet at the D.I.C.E. Summit by Rock Paper Shotgun, where he gave some exceedingly PR answers to questions, making me question just how deluded EA must be. When asked about the terrible launch of SimCity and Battlefield 4, Hilleman replied:

I’m not sure I accept your premise. Battlefield 4 has been an exceedingly successful product on both consoles and PC. From a sales perspective, from a gameplay perspective.

[…] But I’m not willing to accept – and I don’t think most of my customers are willing to say – “it’s a bad product, I wish I didn’t buy it.” That’s not the conversation we’re having now. I think what we’re hearing is, “You made a game we really liked. We would’ve liked it a little better if it didn’t have these problems.” Many of those problems we can fix, and we have and will.

Wow, if you say so. Then are so many people still struggling with instability and server issues? Why was there such backlash when Daniel Matros took to twitter and asked how BF4 was going? Why are people still complaining if the game had such a great launch.

Next up, Hilleman was asked how things will be improved for future launches. It seems to me that the problems at EA are bigger than I thought:

What I would say is, there were dynamics that were different this time. There were organizational differences. Some of those have been fixed already. Many of those conditions will not be the same next time. Some of those fixes aren’t going to solve the problem next time, though.

[…]That team [DICE] got to ship that game when they wanted to. I don’t think we really pulled it out of their hands. But the process changes dramatically ever time. If you were to take a look at the process behind a gen three launch and a gen four launch, it’s 80 percent different. So the next major number release for Battlefield will likely have an 80 percent process change, because time has passed. So that’s why I talk about changing for the future, not changing for mistakes we made last time. If I reproduce what I did this time, it’s guaranteed to be 80 percent wrong anyway.

The closing statement from Hilleman on why we should trust another EA launch, for example that of Titanfall? Well, Titanfall is from a different studio, and “Respawn has very firm control of their project”. Um, doesn’t that imply that DICE was in fact rushed to market and it was “pulled out of their hands”?

The fact that EA can both claim that there were no problems, and also that problems were addressed shows a level of cognitive dissonance that is truly awe inspiring. Honestly, with a view like this I’m getting a little worried about Titanfall’s launch. Let’s just hope that there’s a large enough beta to thoroughly test the game and iron out any kinks in advance.

Last Updated: February 12, 2014

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