Everyone has been looking back on what happens this year, the lovely 2013 that brought many great moments in gaming. However not all gaming moments were great, some were bad and some was just really bad. GamingGamers.net wants to take a look at some of worst blunder made by EA this year.
After being crowned Worst Company in America two times in a row, EA has not stepped up their game. Really. Releasing games after games that are broken, plagued with issues and downright ridiculous in terms of gameplay. Here is our Top 4 Screw Ups by EA in 2013.
1. Real Racing 3
EA stepped out of the box – in their perspective – by releasing a free-to-play game with Real Racing 3. Everyone thought that EA has finally come to sense and money is not their biggest bottom line. Oh how wrong we were. Just because it was free to download and play, it wasn’t green all the way. The game was based on a freemium model where it is free to download but in order to progress greatly in the game, for example the cars experiences damage and required repairs, so you had to purchase extra in-game currency which meant you had to pay real money in order to continue playing.
For some other games, this was fine. Most freemium games are playable with no need to buy extra in-game currency unless you really wanted an edge over the competition. EA on the other hand could not let go of the fact that they are not making money when people are downloading the game for free, so they made sure that in order to make any real progress, you HAVE to purchase extra in-game currency. This made the game monumentally expensive if you ever wanted to take the game seriously.
Real Racing 1 and 2 cost $9.99 each and while Real Racing 3 was free to download, usually the extra costs of the freemium model ends up making the third iteration of the franchise even more expensive than its predecessor.
2. FIFA 14
Every September, EA releases a new version of their ever famous FIFA games. This year, they released the FIFA 14 which updated the one-year old FIFA 13. Now, if you are updating games every year it will be hard to keep everything running smoothly. On top of that, how can you really further improve a football game? EA thinks they should make it more realistic which many agreed to it. Of course, EA being EA couldn’t help to screw this one up by making it less realistic instead of the opposite.
FIFA 14 launched with four major gameplay issue. It was extremely easy to score in FIFA 14. We all know that games are getting easier to win these days, just take a look at Call of Duty. To cater to ever younger generation of gamers, they make it easy. In FIFA 14, players could score goals easily from crosses and almost near perfectly from corner kicks by heading the ball into the goal. Players were also treated to an impossibly easy way to goal with a finesse shot even though they were way out from the 10 yard line and also lofted through-balls were impossibly effective every time you performed it.
So EA promised a fix to balance all this issue. And they broke it further. No one saw that coming. As per the issue with finesse shot, the real culprit was bad positioning from the defending keeper that made finesse shots highly effective. EA’s solution to this was to lower the accuracy of finesse shots instead of improving the keeper’s positioning.
As YouTuber Itani pointed out, “that’s not balancing –that’s just fixing something that’s broken by breaking something else.”
3. SimCity (2013)
Oh the ever famous SimCity. EA made a welcome update to the game since the last title of the franchise SimCity 4, launched a decade ago. As always, blinded by excitement, everyone forgets how hard EA can screw up little things even though they had 10 years up their sleeve. Welcome to the complete screw up of SimCity’s launch.
The game updated its gameplay mechanic, requiring an always-online system where players must be connected to the internet and EA’s server in order to launch the game and even to play on singleplayer modes. Of course EA claims that this requirement was because of GlassBox, a new engine that drives the game through EA’s cloud servers. At first EA claims that GlassBox tracks up to 100,000 individual Sims inside each city and that massive computing is done on their server. Don’t trust EA. As later many mainstream media found out, it wasn’t the case at all. GlassBox only performed inter-region (aka multiplayer) and social media tasks. Games were capable to run offline if required, but EA wanted to make sure their beloved SimCity did not get pirated and opted for the always-online DRM.
This wasn’t the biggest issue. Always-online DRMs is prevalent now but what made it so bad was that during launch, EA’s server could not handle the loads that occurred when millions of excited gamers launch their game for the first time. This made the game inaccessible to all for a period of time. Major review sites dropped their high review scores to much lower ones due to this screw up (Polygon downgraded their 9.5/10 to 4/10).
Even with 10 years of heads up and years of knowledge in cloud computing, EA just wasn’t going to give all their best for SimCity’s launch. Imagine what would happen in 10 years when they pull the plugs on their servers. Hint: You would not be able to play the SimCity game that you have bought.
4. Battlefield 4
The motherload of all screw ups. Battlefield 4. Need we elaborate on this? Maybe we should rub more salt on the already gaping wounds. Where do we even start? Stability issue, netcode problem, one hit kill glitch, sound issues, server problems. Oh the list is never ending.
Here’s the overview. Both Battlefield 4 and Call of Duty: Ghosts were going to be launched this year. Majority of their fanbase for each game do not overlap, but a small enough number of gamers actually were hinging on either one. So EA decided to jump the figurative train and release the game before Activision could release theirs in order to make more money. They rushed the release of Battlefield 4 and it wasn’t pretty.
Right out of the box, the game had major stability issue causing the game to frequently crash. Furthermore, players complained about “rubber banding” in most matches that made it unplayable. Most of the times, stability issues occurred on PCs where each PC was unique, we would understand if it made problems but consoles were plagued with the same issue. Even when the hardwares were standardized it was still crashing. Just give this a think, if they had the same hardware as the gamers at home, why did their version of the game did not crash? Of course theirs did, but EA wanted the game out the door and forced DICE to release an unfinished game. One month down the line, 15 separate updates were released. 15 updates in one month. Pretty sure that is a new world record.
EA then had to make more money through server renting. They partnered with a few server provider and allowed them exclusive server rental rights. Although the same was true with Battlefield 3, more than 40 companies were available to be chosen from in Europe alone. With Battlefield 4 however, even companies like GamingDeluxe which hosted 50% of UK’s Battlefield 3 server were not included in their partnership list.
It is then no surprise that EA has managed to be named “Worst Company in America” by Consumerist for the second year in a row. EA beat Bank of America (mind you a bank whose objective is to be robbing people of their money legally) with 78% of the votes.
EA’s COO Peter Moore commented “Are we really the ‘Worst Company in America?’ I’ll be the first to admit that we’ve made plenty of mistakes. These include server shut downs too early, games that didn’t meet expectations, missteps on new pricing models and most recently, severely fumbling the launch of SimCity. We owe gamers better performance than this.”
EA finally learned to accept their recognition. Of course they did not.
He adds that some complaints “just don’t hold water”.