EA: Battlefield 4 Is 'An Exceedingly Successful Product'

EA: Battlefield 4 Is 'An Exceedingly Successful Product'

Two of EA's biggest games had rough launches last year, and although SimCity seems to be in a stable place right now, the Battlefield 4 issues (and patches) continue -- to the point where EA won't work on downloadable content for their shooter until everything is fixed.

The question is how are they going to handle these sort of launches in the future? In a brusque interview on Rock Paper Shotgun today, writer Nathan Grayson presses EA's chief creative officer Rich Hilleman -- a well-respected game designer and one of the creators of Madden -- about the continuing issues facing the publisher's multiplayer games.

Here's an excerpt:

RPS: SimCity and BF4 both had terrible launches. SimCity didn't work for more than a month, and BF4 still has issues. Surely you're overhauling how you approach launches internally from now on?

Hilleman: 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.

RPS: Sure, BF4 is fundamentally a good game, but you can't just write off months of glitches and server issues. Some people straight up could not play for the first couple weeks.

Hilleman: I think there was a lot of noise about the game, but some of that is a function of your surface area. The more customers you have, the more noise becomes available. We did things wrong. We know that. We're gonna fix those things. We're gonna try to be smart about what customers want in the future. 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.

That's a little disarming -- and while Hilleman goes on to promise that they "know how to not have the problem next time" -- it's hard to imagine that anyone who couldn't play Battlefield 4 stably for two months after launch is pleased by EA's assertions that this was "an exceedingly successful product". If you spent money on SimCity, and then again on Battlefield 4, how can you trust that this won't happen again when you buy, say, Titanfall, or the next big multiplayer game by EA?

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Comments

    If by "exceed" you mean it exceeds everybodys amazement over how badly a product can be shipped.

    Battlefield 4 had a fine launch for multiplayer FPS game, so yeah he's right that it was successful, but for a Battlefield game it falls well under established performance levels. I don't think anyone at EA would disagree that Battlefield is a premium brand so they can't judge it as if it were a regular game.
    That said I'm guessing internally they're less delusional about how successful it was. This seems to be a response to an extremely blunt line of questioning.

    What an arsehole! I STILL can't play the SP game, every patch seems to make things worse. Every game I play has ppl in the chatbox saying "this game sucks, this game sucks".

    I have had many, MANY times that I wished I hadn't bought the game, and I only try to play max once a week because that way I'm not too annoyed when it inevitably crashes, runs with no sound effects or refuses to join a game and spends 10mins just loading.

    To be honest, completely honest, just the other day I was thinking that I don't think I'll buy another EA game. I loved Mass Effect and Dead Space, and I still want to play Sim City, but I don't think I will. I'm not giving them anymore $$$. Too many games have been released in an incredibly shoddy state and it doesn't seem that anyone in management actually cares as long as they're making sales.

    Its nice to know he see's customer concerns as "noise". I love bf4, but it was totally broken. I'm pretty sure there is a ladder in floodzone that you still can't climb all the way up.

    Apart from day 1 I've not had any major issues with BF4. BF3 was near unplayable for 6 months for me.

    I do feel sorry for anyone unable to play this awesome game.

    Last edited 12/02/14 11:04 am

    Besides the initial sound problems that occasionally happened all patches have fixed any problems.

    Yes there was problems at launch but I have experienced nothing on the scale that ppl are complaining about.

    I dare say try a fresh install or try and play on some different servers. A mate said the other day its terrible and leggy. It turned out he was hitting mp and hitting play button and getting put into overseas matches. Showed him how to find aussie servers and no problem.

    Teach a man to fish :D

      What are you playing on? Always looking for more squad members.

        I play on pc.

        Pretty sure im on there as Kingmaban

          Bummer, no PC yet, but i am building one.

    I still have the occasional kicked back to dashboard problem, usually when we are about to win a match...

    I'm one of the people who wishes they didn't buy it. It's just not fun. I loved BC2 and BF3, but BF4 is not a good game.

    Last night i was kicked back to the Xmb twice and booted off the server 2 more times.

    The game is ridiculously fun... but its EXTREMELY annoying for the match to drop when your'e on a kill streak!

    Everyone I talk to who is playing it on 360 describe a broken mess that has forced many of them back to BF3 or GTA5. On XBone - the focus is more on the broken comms. Though rubber banding made me shelve it for 3 weeks.

    Personally I don't think they should have bothered with last gen release and just waited until say March and release it on next gen with 95% of the big issues resolved.

    I'm looking forward to the Comms patch in March and then maybe we'll be able to get squads working properly on XBone. At that point if it's still not working - then it will likely be shelved permanently.

    Attempted to play during the "player appreciation" period over the weekend.

    4/5 rounds ended by crashing.

    It's a fucking joke!

    It's had some issues, but I've been having heaps of fun with it on Xbone since launch. Sure it's not as silky smooth as chucking in old halo3 of 360 or something back in the day, but in general, I can't complain.

    I've heard PC version is mostly bug free now? ....

      I have never really had too many issues. I bought it on PC due to it being terrble on the XBONE. Haven't regretted. Loving it more than BF3.

      I only had issues on PC within the first (maybe) 2 weeks? Even then, I'm talking a crash every few hours.

    My PC Version has crashed maybe 3 times in the 57 hours i have played on it.
    Maybe im the exception, but its been a great game for me.

      I didn't have any issues playing it on PC at all. To be honest, I wouldn't have even known it had issues if people didn't keep pointing it out on the internet.

      *shrug*

      I'm with ya, Had very few problems. The only times have been when servers have crashed or when I bought a new reuter that kept dropping out which are far from the fault of the game.

    I'm 110hrs in on multiplayer on BF4 (On Xbox One) and besides the drop back to dashboard I haven't had many problems with it. The January patch seemed to stabilize it for me. I often play for 8-10hrs sessions on the weekends and in last 2 weekends cant remember a time it has kicked me from a game or dumped to dashboard. My only issues are vehicle sound drop out (DICE Issue) and not being able to play custom music while playing (Come on Microsoft get your act together)

    Also have been using commander app on ipad mini and it works great.

    Have recently gone back to playing a few pc multiplayer games with friends and i'm sure bf4 on PC is a nightmare. I bought COD - Ghosts and it took 2 months of tweaking registery and settings just to get it to run above 30fps on my crossfire setup.

    BF4 for me was fine, my game rarely crashed even in the first few months of playing and I mean people don't go onto a forum and make threads about how their play experience is stable, since they are too busy playing, there is a lot more noise from people making complaints than there is from people who have a game that s working.

    the way that the EA dude put it make sense it wasn't a bad product, it just had some issues that stopped its full potential.

    Firstly im on pc,

    As far a crashes its mostly fixed, except for the gunner seat in LAV and Tank crash which was introduced in the player appreciation patch.... How ironic.

    Those who say there is no bugs left in this game..... please understand it is still very broken.

    In the latest patch they made an update to the GUI. You will see in the top right of your screen 4 little squares. Dice have confirmed that this is an indicator of packet loss. Packet loss = getting killed when you dont think you should, bugs like the one shot headshot (which is still present in the game), trades (which are still present in the game), what you see graphically on screen not being represented by the hitbox ( ie shoot an rpg at a heli which clearly misses the tail rotor but results in a kill) plus many more.

    I dont hate the game, it just frustrates me no end even though i still get enjoyment out of it. I love the battlefield franchise and it pains me to see where it has ended up between the crappy Netcode ( read packet loss, netcode where ever you wish to point the finger) and the leaning towards no skill weapons such as MBT law, staff shell, plus the active radar missile rubbish.

    Hopefully in a few months they will have addressed these problems before the core community and competitive scene dies completely

    Got PS4 and BF4 about a month after platform launch (Mid Dec) . Having attempted to complete SP Campaign 4 times, with dog tags/collectables/trophy's to show for it and losing progress everytime I have given up. Multiplayer has only had "occasional" glitches and kicks but the fact you complete an assignment, the award shows up in your kit but the actual assignment doesn't complete is another pretty serious unresolved issue.

    Put it this way, on the weekend I fired up the PS3 again and started working through my stack of shame from it. Certainly looking forward to the PS4 platform reaching maturity and will seriously re-consider investing any more coin in EA products where I have a choice :/ .

    It’s a bad product, I wish I didn’t buy it.

    I've had the game crash all of one time and can run it on max. As a game it's shit. BF3 wasn't so good either. The newer games are barely true to the series and I feel that BF as a series will end up being CoD: Rise of the Premium Players.

    honestly only problems i ever had on pc was for the first month or so, since then its been smooth sailing for me. that said the sound bug for tdm is annoying and really goes to show how much it helps in multiplayer.

    the key thing for me though is i can play it atm quite fine and i know they are working on fixing it.

    i dont regret buying it at all, at least dice is being open about where they are at with everything

    It's cliched to say at this stage, but the netcode is shit.

    There is a really bad disconnect between what you see and what's happening. I play with mates on PC chatting over skype. Frequently after we kill each other, we're going, 'how the hell.' The for example I see someone, shoot most of a clip at them and die. On their end, I didn't fire a bullet.

    Things like you can stand in a door way, throw a nade through, watch it go through. Go back behind the door. Then the nade explodes inside the room. Where the game didn't register the throw going where it went on your machine.

    The game is really only fun in the smaller, fast paced matches. I love the BF franchise but this is still quite unplayable in a true bf sense as it's so frustrating.

    On top of this, the amount of times I get the 'disconnected from EA online' error when trying to join a match is beyond joke. The game also still crashes a lot and is optimized terribly.

    I recently started playing some BF3 again and OMG, even though that had bad netcode, it plays so smooth and so wonderfully compared to BF4.

    When you see this dismissive attitude from EA it's disheartening. I don't think they'll ever fix the game. There is a fundamental core game player server synchronization problem. It's on the level or worse than those horrible COD match making.

    What's also worse is, I posted a video of the grenade problem I mentioned above on Battlelog and they banned me from posting for a few days. WTF is up with that? They are just in denial. Then blaming fans for complaining, not actually taking responsibility.

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