Offering additional content to tantalize gamers into buying a certain version of an upcoming title is nothing new. Typically that is the domain of the retailers that each offer something that can’t be found anywhere else as incentive to buy the game from them–maybe it is a specific DLC pack for that particular game, or perhaps it is an offer for another product altogether. Regardless, it is a lure used to sway gamers in a particular direction.
Occasionally the same thing occurs when a cross-platform game is poised to hit big, and both Microsoft and Sony look for ways ways to show fans that their version of the same game is the better buy. Microsoft has an exclusive contract with the Call of Duty franchise that gives Xbox 360 owners access to new content a full month before PS3 owners, while last year’s Medal of Honor included a digital copy of the PS2 game, Medal of Honor: Frontline, for PS3 users that bought the Limited Edition, and there are plenty of other examples.
For the recently released Battlefield 3, EA offered PS3 users an added incentive to purchase the game on Sony’s system—a digital copy of the WWII shooter, Battlefield 1943. At the time, the offer was billed as a pre-order PS3 bonus, but it was expected to be available for all PS3 adopters. SCEA CEO Jack Tretton even touted the news at E3 this June, ”EA is using the extra storage capacity of Blu-Ray to add a second game, Battlefield 1943 to the disc. That extra and exclusive content is a critical differentiator for PlayStation.”
Months later the plans to include the additional game were quietly scrapped. It was later announced that PS3 owners would have access to the upcoming expansion packs a week ahead of everyone else, but the offer for a free copy of Battlefield 1943 was removed with very little comment or fanfare.
The news came as a surprise to many that pre-ordered the game and only discovered the change after the title was released on October 25. But rather than just stew quietly over the perceived injustice, according to bf3blog.com, a class action lawsuit has been filed against EA by the law firm Edelson McGuire, which claims that EA was “making promises they could not, and never intended, to keep.”
When the publisher had decided to nix the Battlefield 1943 offer, it did so with a single tweet rather than an official press statement, and those that had already pre-ordered the game were never informed of the change until after Battlefield 3 was released. It will be difficult to prove that EA never intended to keep the promises, which would be tantamount to fraud, but there is a strong case to be made against EA, who have yet to comment.