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Electronic Arts named Worst Company in America again

Electronic Arts named Worst Company in America again

Tue 09 Apr 2013 5:42pm GMT / 1:42pm EDT / 10:42am PDT
BusinessOnlinePublishing

Consumerist online poll sees publisher repeat, topping Bank of America in rematch of last year's finals

As expected, Electronic Arts has won the Consumerist online poll for the Worst Company in America, making it the second year in a row the publisher has been granted that dubious distinction. In a rematch of last year's finals, EA trounced Bank of America with more than 77 percent of voters in the poll determining the game publisher as a worse operation than the financial institution.

Among the reasons cited for EA's win were flaws with its products (the SimCity always-online launch problems specifically), its exclusive NFL license preventing competition in the marketplace, a focus on free-to-play nickel-and-diming, in-game ads, and poor customer support.

EA COO Peter Moore failed to jinx his company last week when he wrote a blog post on the poll, saying he fully expected EA to be named the Worst Company once again. "This is the same poll that last year judged us as worse than companies responsible for the biggest oil spill in history, the mortgage crisis, and bank bailouts that cost millions of taxpayer dollars," Moore noted in his post.

In announcing the results of this year's poll, Consumerist writer Chris Morran acknowledged Moore's post and responded with a question for the executive.

"When we live in an era marked by massive oil spills, faulty foreclosures by bad banks, and rampant consolidation in the airline and telecom industry," Morran asked, "what does it say about EA's business practices that so many people have - for the second year in a row - come out to hand it the title of Worst Company In America?"

24 Comments

Caleb Hale
Journalist

154 230 1.5
Popular Comment
To answer Morran's question: I guess it means people get madder about being screwed out of 99 cents to $60 on a video game more than hundreds of thousands of dollars on a house. Lesson to EA: If you're going to screw someone, might as well go for broke...and kill some of the local wildlife while you're at it, I guess.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Caleb Hale on 9th April 2013 7:46pm

Posted:A year ago

#1

Yiannis Koumoutzelis
Founder & Creative Director

361 204 0.6
Unfortunately, people when they are brainwashed once, they remain so as long as the notion is cultivated in the media regardless if they understand why they believe so or if it is even valid. This once more proves how negative actions are far more powerful in human conscious than positive, and that stereotyping, is indeed a very bad thing, that the demagogues of modern media are fully responsible for!

Posted:A year ago

#2

Adam Campbell
Associate Producer

1,154 941 0.8
I can't see why but I'm looking at an objective standpoint...

Posted:A year ago

#3

Paul Smith
Dev

189 148 0.8
Grats EA

Posted:A year ago

#4

Barrie Tingle
Live Producer

369 144 0.4
Popular Comment
To be fair, those who play games are some of the most vocal and online connected people there are. It is easier to rally interest in voting on a poll within the gaming community than those affected by banks, oil spills etc.

Also, gaming has global reach where as a USA bank foreclosing on peoples homes doesn't really affect anyone outside of the US enough to have them go to a site to vote against them.

Posted:A year ago

#5

Nick Parker
Consultant

280 144 0.5
On what basis for most Americans? Seems like a pointless poll, therefore a pointless story.

Posted:A year ago

#6

Andrew Watson
Programmer

92 200 2.2
It was also a poll on internet users who go to enough websites to even hear about it, and then have enough of an opinion to vote on it. I'd imagine most of the people who had foreclosure problems (for example) didn't even know about the poll.

Posted:A year ago

#7
Popular Comment
Gamers are the biggest complainers. Who'da thunk?

Posted:A year ago

#8

Andreas Gschwari
Senior Games Designer

556 607 1.1
Well vocal minority eh :)

I always find the irony of people complaining on the internet about "always on" very funny. EA haters are always going to hate, no matter what the company does.

The fact that EA won out against the like of BofA and companies like Monsanto were not even considered is really quite telling. As Nick said: kind of a pointless thing all together. It's about people feeling entitled and feeling they are owed something from a company that creates entertainment products.

EA only owes EA investors and EA employees. They do not owe anyone else anything. They make entertainment products and nobody can stipulate that every game EA releases has to fit their exact wishes and needs. If their products are truely bad or offensive to too many people, they won't sell and EA will need to change their approach or go under. But as long as people purchase their entertainment products, EA can do whatever they want to do.

Those so vocal about EA should really reflect on that. Why should EA listen to any of that? What have those who are so vocal done for EA to allow them to be influential? And don't come with "oh i bought every game!" - those that did got entertainment in return.

The same is true for Activision and Take 2 etc. - those companies can do what they want. And rightfully so. It's their investment and their product. As long as they treat employees well and don't squander investors money, nobody has a right to complain. It's not like any of these companies deliver a vital service, which we can not live without and for which we only have one source.

Edited 2 times. Last edit by Andreas Gschwari on 10th April 2013 12:18pm

Posted:A year ago

#9

Andreas Gschwari
Senior Games Designer

556 607 1.1
Popular Comment
@Tom: but are they one of the worst companies according to the MAJORITY of gamers, or just one of the worst companies according to those who can be bothered to vote, or who vote because they hate them so much?

I am a gamer. i don't love EA, but i don't hate them either. In fact i have no feelings towards the company at all. I play some of their games, those i find to my liking, and i am grateful they are made and they entertain me for several hours. I am grateful some amazingly talented people work for EA and create amazing games.

I would argue that 15+ million people who buy Battlfield don't hate EA. I would argue that god knows how many million people who buy FIFA don't hate EA. i would argue that the 2 or 3 million people who bough Mirrors Edge or the Dead Space franchise don't hate EA.

I would also argue that the majority of those people who hate EA probably have not bought an EA product in the last few years. And that is absolutely fine.

What i don't get is how anyone can honestly say EA has ripped them off, cheated, stolen their money and generally made their place on earth a worse one.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Andreas Gschwari on 10th April 2013 2:25pm

Posted:A year ago

#10

Eric Pallavicini
Game Master

280 180 0.6
And my thoughts go to all EA or subsidiaries employees, who for the major part of them do not deserve this "award"...

Posted:A year ago

#11
Yeah I agree with many here. While no fan of EA, they arent even in the same league as certain banks, energy companies, and other industries which are polluting, and killing society and this planet.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Todd Weidner on 10th April 2013 4:15pm

Posted:A year ago

#12

Andreas Gschwari
Senior Games Designer

556 607 1.1
@Tom: good points.

What you describe is, in my eyes, dissatisfaction with products and the maker of the products. So you turn away and, as an individual in the same industry, you disagree with their approach and the influence they have. That I think is what is no only a good appproach but one that if done correctly will change things.

If enough people feel that way then EA might well have to adjust their ways or feel the consequences.

But outright hatred is not justified I feel. As I said its an entertainment maker - and there is choice. If they were the only maker of a vital product and all they do is aim for profit, knowing customer have no choice and must by what they create, it would be a different story.

Let EA experiment. Steam experimented. Apple exerimented. Microsoft experimented. Some ideas stuck - and generated a lot of profit - others did not.

In the end it is consumers who will vote. If Fifa goes always online for example we can all go back to PES :)

Posted:A year ago

#13

Andreas Gschwari
Senior Games Designer

556 607 1.1
Edit: double post

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Andreas Gschwari on 10th April 2013 4:14pm

Posted:A year ago

#14

Al Rhodes
Web producer/designer

24 15 0.6
Oh quelle surprise. EA take worst billing again (and i choose the word billing without irony).



Call me grumpy and unrealistic but I think all trophies/achievements should be reachable if you own the game (didn't someone from EA state this exact principle themselves in a GI.biz interview?). And if trophies and achievements are not important drivers of game play, why have them at all?

Anything else is a punishment for players who cannot afford new games. Don't even get me started on that fact that they previous owner cannot him or herself used the online pass without the disc they have passed on. EA know that they are not suddenly paying for 2 players to use the same facilities.

I make only two exceptions to that rule and that is if the player does not have the skills or puts in the time, or if it's a game everyone buys primarily for the online multiplayer experience, like say CoD.

Plain fact is, EA hate hardcore gamers (who buy more games than anyone else and some of those must be used games as a result) and hardcore gamers hate EA even though they do produce some absolutely amazing games.

Now I have that off my chest, tell me were Xbox LIVE named worst online gaming service? There should be a category.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Al Rhodes on 10th April 2013 5:28pm

Posted:A year ago

#15

Robert Ilott
Build & CM Engineer

23 42 1.8
It's also likely that a large portion of those voting are (the often very vocal) gamers who live at home with their parents and have therefore not been hit directly themselves by bad mortgage deals or the banking crisis etc. If they weren't at home with Mum n Dad, I suspect they might have a more accurate viewpoint on the way the world actually works...

Posted:A year ago

#16

Al Rhodes
Web producer/designer

24 15 0.6
PS: Jut because EA don't create oil spills and throw people out of their homes doesnt mean we shouldn't get mad at some of their business practices. Those people who bitch that gamers complain about unimportant stuff need to get off their high horses. Being vocal about one company does not exclude criticism of others. I have not lived with my parents for 20 years - still get mad with EA.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Al Rhodes on 10th April 2013 5:37pm

Posted:A year ago

#17

Christopher Garratty
Trainee Solicitor

77 83 1.1
Setting aside the other companies who actually do actual bad things like steal classic car collections, foreclose on soldiers, charge mystery fees for tickets or pollute the environment. I don't see why EA's competitors aren't even listed. I mean, ok EA fluffed the release of SimCity somewhat. When a competitor had a similar server issue riddled game on release, I didn't see them handing out the freebies to their customers by way of apology yet that is exactly what EA did.

The major gripes cited against EA, the ME3 ending, the SimCity launch etc, are all things that EA took big steps to fix, creating new content for ME3 and compensating people who bought SimCity. Other sources for complaint such as Day 1 DLC, microtransactions and Online Pass are industry standards, not EA exclusives. I'm mystified as to how maintaining the industry norms and paying for our mistakes makes us the worst anything.

Posted:A year ago

#18

Ivan Pedersen
Principal Effects Artist

2 6 3.0
Popular Comment
Supporting lesbians/gays last year, taking down the Edge patent troll, improving significantly following the ea spouse issues years ago... That is good (as opposed to bad or 'worst ') in my own, personal opinion.

Posted:A year ago

#19

Mariusz Szlanta
Producer

16 13 0.8
-->Christopher

EA is top dog of industry that sells entertaiment, namely dreams. Gaming is immersive and important activity based on illusions and can create very strong feelings.

When a top dog, someone everyone looks up to, turns out to be "evil", then the mentioned dog may expect huge backlash fuelled by irrational feelings. Like Tom said, if EA does something and it's accepted, then everyone will follow.

EA is, of course, nowhere near as bad as painted but combination of the above and really badly managed Sim City PR enraged many just in time to cast vote.

If anything, it shows how important EA is for gamers and how insecure we all are when transitioning to digital.

Posted:A year ago

#20

Christopher Garratty
Trainee Solicitor

77 83 1.1
Mariusz I totally get the point. But that just implies that Peter was at least in part correct when he said that the tallest trees catch the most wind. I don't really think that being big means we're bad. As I said. Where's the rest of the industry? Not even a nomination for Sony, MS, Activision, Zynga? I'm not sure EA is demonstrably the worst company in the games industry, let alone America.

Still. I'm proud to work for EA. I think we do some amazing stuff and if the price of leading is stumbling occasionally and being criticised for those stumbles. I can live with that.

Posted:A year ago

#21

Alan Ashby
Recruiter

9 6 0.7
So a site that rallies against irresponsible corporations, irresponsibly conducts a poll which ignores all accepted polling methods for achieving accurate results...and tries to pass it off as the views of America.

The masters we are all slaves to didn't seem to mind the WCIA bracket outcome.... EA's stock is up a few percentage points from yesterday.

Posted:A year ago

#22

Patrick McCarthy
Lead Automation Engineer

10 3 0.3
Look... I buy games. I play games I Kinda LIKE to Game (Heck, I even play Eve Online)
So, I got BF3... Played it... it was nice, moved along & ranked up... nice game, well done...
Expansion came out, Ohhh, eye candy... new "Stuffs" ...Bought it
Could no longer play the game... Kept getting disconnected.... Submitted tickets, got ignored, More tickets, got ignored, More tickets, finally told patch would be in NEXT DLC. (huh?) But, I swallowed the bait...Bought new content, with "fix"
Now, I can play the game for almost 1 hour at a time... Woo hoo... (Of course, since an average match lasts LONGER then 1 hour, I can no longer advance, since my stats are not updated...)
Basically, yeah, I no longer play the game. It's just gathering virtual dust, never to be played again. Money well spent? I think not.

Especialy when you compare it to what the guys over at CCP are doing....... (for FREE)

Worst Company on the planet? Not hardly.
Stupidly managed company that is killing itself, in the eyes of gamers? yup!
Stupidly managed company that is killing itself, in the eyes of the people who write editorials on gaming? You Betcha!

Edited 2 times. Last edit by Patrick McCarthy on 15th April 2013 6:03pm

Posted:A year ago

#23

Craig Page
Programmer

382 218 0.6
EA earned it with their Sim City DRM...

But it would have been more fair if the voting options included Activision, Ubisoft, Sony, and Nintendo.

Posted:A year ago

#24

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