EA has committed to compensating players "most severely impacted" by FIFA Ultimate Team disconnects.
Last night's episode of Watchdog pointed out that affected FIFA 12 players suffered from wins being registered as defeats, making a mockery of a game in which some online users had spent tens and tens of pounds on buying new players, contracts and customising team strips.
The show claimed EA had "refused to take responsibility" when contacted by FIFA Ultimate Team players who blamed the publisher's servers for disconnects.
In response, EA said the issue was caused by certain types of routers, and pointed to a recently released patch designed to fix the issue.
EA's full statement to the BBC reads:
Our team is fully aware of the disconnect issue with FIFA Ultimate Team 12. Our customers let us know directly through player feedback in our forums in October.
The issue was associated with certain types of router hardware that resulted in very small but important pieces of data being blocked at the conclusion of a game. It proved to be very a challenging engineering problem, even for the FIFA team - one of the best engineering teams in the industry - and extremely hard to resolve.
The team immediately tried to reproduce the issue so they could troubleshoot and deploy a fix. As we often do, we turned to our fans to help, and we proactively asked them to send us the information they were receiving when getting disconnected. That forum thread solicited almost 3,000 responses from fans, and more than 200,000 views. You can see the thread here: http://forum.ea.com/uk/posts/list/1132741.page
More than 120 hours of programming time in the FIFA studio were invested to narrow down and ultimately resolve the issue.
Based on our estimates, 0.4% of our FIFA Ultimate Team 12 customers have been impacted on the PlayStation 3 and PC platforms.
We confirm that no Xbox 360 players were impacted. Our team has tested that scenario multiple times - and that specific disconnect issue is not happening on the Xbox 360.
The players you mention may be encountering things like signal loss with their internet provider, or a need to reset correct date and time or reboot power. Could also be a question of checking their server or testing with a different name/account.
On March 13-14, 2012 we will be deploying a patch to FIFA 12 that will end the disconnect problem. We announced this to our fans on March 9 via our forum, web site, and other communications channels (http://www.ea.com/soccer/news/details-fifa12gameupdate-01). We understand that the wait has been frustrating for many of our loyal fans.
Players who were most severely impacted experienced a major disruption to their game experience. We will be compensating those people with FIFA Ultimate Team packs and coins significant enough to demonstrate just how thankful we are that they stuck with us while we tackled the problem.
Of the six customers initially identified by Watchdog, three were already in our system as being adversely affected by the FUT disconnect issue. We are currently gathering information for the other three (including the additional one sent to us on March 9th), and if warranted, they too will receive compensation.
These actions and communications are testament to our commitment to our players and their game experience.