Electronic Arts is being taken to court over its broken promise to give PlayStation 3 owners a free copy of Battlefield 1943 with their purchase of Battlefield 3.
Prior to the launch of Battlefield 3, Electronic Arts made a pretty sweet offer to PlayStation 3 owners: buy the game and get a free copy of Battlefield 1943. It’s a couple years old but still a very solid game and it’s hard to complain about two games for the price of one. But when the big day came, BF1943 was nowhere to be found; instead of the game, EA said it would offer the PS3 crowd early access to DLC. Not to give any of it to them, mind, but just the opportunity to spend their money on it ahead of everyone else. Adding insult to injury, EA had already announced that Battlefield 3 expansions would be timed exclusives on the PS3, making the “in lieu of” offer meaningless. Instead of a “bait and switch,” it was a “bait and screw you.”
Surprise, surprise, EA is now facing a class action lawsuit over the whole mess and while at first glance it might look like just spoiled gamers demanding stuff they didn’t pay for anyway, there’s actually a more serious justification for the suit. The complaint isn’t so much that EA changed its mind on the offer, but when and how it did so. Nothing was said until after the game was released and the announcement, when it finally came, was only made on Twitter, meaning that those who didn’t follow EA and/or DICE were never informed of the situation. EA’s backup offer, which was in fact not a substitute deal at all, is also noted.
In other words, EA “misled and profited from thousands of their customers by making a promise that they could not, and never intended, to keep,” according to the suit. A potentially large number of customers based their purchasing decision on a very specific offer which was ultimately rescinded – but not until it was too late for that decision to be undone.
The suit seeks the usual “compensatory relief” and all that sort of thing but the lawyers claim that in practical terms, all they really want is that which was promised in the first place: free copies of Battlefield 1943. We’ll see how that works out.