At the hands of EA, many great game studios and franchises have been strangled to death. More than ever, the future of Battlefield is in serious jeopardy. While there is no shortage of controversy surrounding DICE’s latest entry in the well known shooter series Battlefield, EA Games has also been experiencing lower approval ratings than ever with the gaming community. Adding to the staleness of an aging genre that rarely hits its mark without issues, 2018 is a blockbuster year full of titles like Red Dead Redemption 2, God of War, Fallout 76, Assassin’s Creed Odyssey, Marvel’s Spider-Man, and staunch competition from Black Ops 4.
One red flag has been the downfall of Patrick Söderlund who originally took the helm of CEO at DICE and VP to EA’s Worldwide Studios after salvaging the Battlefield brand while the original DICE staff quietly left the studio. Söderlund drew ire from the gaming community when he made the remark that critics of Battlefield V’s unrealistic style (focused on cosmetic mictrotransactions and “inclusivity”) were “uneducated” and told fans “either accept it or don’t buy the game” leading to a massive trolling campaign in which gamers commented things like “Unfortunately I can’t purchase the game due to [being uneducated]”.
Battlefield V’s pre-order numbers were later reported by Wall Street Journal as being so low that insiders at dice are expecting another Titanfall 2 situation in which EA will escape admitting fault once again by blaming other large titles for stealing the spotlight rather than their own failures in marketing. Patrick Söderlund ended up quitting EA / DICE in August 2018 after collecting over $50 million USD in pay for the past 4 years alone. This came just one month after Blake Jorgensen (COO & CFO at EA Games) had dumped another $1.5 million USD of EA Games stock shares.
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Just for context, Battlefield 4 was a very popular title that suffered from tons of launch problems and needed massive overhauls from the programming team at DICE in order to run without crashing. It took almost a year to get BF4 stable. Battlefield: Hardline is looked at largely as recycled BF4 assets with a mediocre quality production of new game modes, admittedly unusual for the series – but feeling too bland in the end.
Battlefield 1 is the game which made a huge comeback for the series, bringing in over 25 million players, but without the original DICE team (which left the studio during the final stages of Battlefield 3 largely due to disagreements with EA on how to take the series forward, especially on being forced to make console versions of a PC optimized game).
There’s more than one reason why BFV pre-orders are low. I’ve been a fan of Battlefield since 1942 in the PC Gaming golden age. The confidence just isn’t there for consumers with the Battlefield series anymore.
Update: Since our last EA Stock Market article, the value of EA Games has slid another 4 points on the NASDAQ exchange, marking the lowest point of its shareholder return thus far for 2018.