EA's Moore on Worst Company in America poll

Publisher's COO says company can and will do better, but gets more hate than it deserves

Electronic Arts is going to win Consumerist's Worst Company in America poll for the second year running. That's the prediction from EA COO Peter Moore, who addressed the dubious honor in a blog on the company's website today.

"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 said. "The complaints against us last year were our support of SOPA (not true), and that they didn't like the ending to Mass Effect 3."

Invoking the expression, "The tallest trees catch the most mind," Moore compared EA to the historically successful and much-hated (outside their own fanbases) New York Yankees, the Los Angeles Lakers, and Manchester United. Like them, Moore said, EA "is defined by both a legacy of success, and a legion of critics."

He acknowledged the company has made plenty of mistakes, directly referencing the bungled SimCity launch, and said it owes its customers better. However, he was quick to defend the company against some of the more common criticisms it has received. Specifically, he insisted SimCity's always-online requirement is not a DRM scheme, that a market exists for Origin as a Steam competitor, and that tens of millions of people love the free-to-play and microtransaction-based models EA has implemented.

Moore also said EA had received thousands of complaints about its decision to include LGBT options in its games, saying, "If that's what makes us the worst company, bring it on. Because we're not caving on that."

Moore summed his post up, saying, "We can do better. We will do better. But I am damn proud of this company, the people around the globe who work at EA, the games we create and the people that play them. The tallest trees catch the most wind. At EA we remain proud and unbowed."

EA has cruised into the final four on the Consumerists' tournament-style bracket of the country's 32 most terrible companies. It has so far ousted Anheuser-Busch InBev, Facebook, and AT&T head-to-head, posting the most lopsided victory of each round (Facebook proved the toughest opponent for EA, but still only mustered 21 percent of the vote). It is currently matched up against Ticketmaster, with the "winner" going on to face Bank of America or Comcast in the finals.

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Latest comments (19)

Justin Trautmann Studying Digital Media & Multimedia Technology, Hillsborough Community College8 years ago
I believe Peter Moore is missing out on the complexity of responsibility on being a provider of an individual's "me time."

Alternate energy, global trade and economic inflation, bad investments, bad policy... a (wo)man working a 40+ hour week, with some other possible dependency (a significant other, a pet, children, the pretty guy/girl at accounting) is not concerned with world crisis'. They have more pressing concerns; like paying mortgage, rent, food bills, and keeping their lives in order. Sure, they may give to some charity or organization or even cast a ballot during an election season - but when it comes down to it they have to be satisfied (or just grudgingly accepting of the fact) that those big ticket items are the responsibility of some other person or groups of persons to handle.

Now, if this generic person finally gets themselves some time off on a Sunday afternoon to sit down for some "me time" and chooses to slay dragons, build cities, or put buckets on a guards head while you rob their town of apples and brooms... they don't want something that doesn't work or does not meet a minimum expectation of standards.

Showing the effort to address these issues is commendable and I personally appreciate it as a consumer of game entertainment - but there is a moment where written and verbal assurance loses its effectiveness and it comes down to showing a change in the way someone does business.

Lastly, what is up with the excuse that beer drinkers are hanging out at bars and not on the internet? This is not the 1900s where all the menfolk are hanging at the tavern after a hard day at the factory. This is the 2010s - we have WiFi and smart phones. You never know, I could be at a bar RIGHT NOW!

Insert head explosion.

Edited 3 times. Last edit by Justin Trautmann on 5th April 2013 9:12pm

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Paul Jace Merchandiser 8 years ago
Moore also said EA had received thousands of complaints about its decision to include LGBT options in its games, saying, "If that's what makes us the worst company, bring it on. Because we're not caving on that."
That alone should make them a candidate for one of the "best" companies. And this is coming from a straight heterosexual dude.
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Curt Sampson Sofware Developer 8 years ago
This is utter rubbish. My most recent experience with EA was related to trying to use Origin in English, among other things, and I finally just gave up, in the last ticket update saying essentially, "It's too much work for me to try to use Origin to give you money. When you're ready to help me, let me know." (I can't find the actual quote because their support site is so badly organized that I can't figure out how to access my old tickets.)

Their response? They closed the ticket with the following comment:
We listen, and we're committed to making sure you always have a personal and positive connection to our games, our people and our community. We very much appreciate you as our customer, and assisting you today was our pleasure.
That's just insulting, and pretty much every statement in that is patently untrue in this interaction.

I'm guessing that it's simply the nature of their support system design that they can't even close out tickets as, "we failed on this one." But that sort of approach, where you can't accept or even acknowledge negative feedback, much less act upon it to improve, is why they simply can't fix what they're doing.

Essentially, they suffer from a lack of imagination (they can't work out that not everybody wants to do things their one way, as exemplified by the always-connected Simcity issue, among many other things) and a mentality that so long as the majority of people don't complain, they're ok. That works from a business point of view, but leaves quite a number of the more serious gamers in the cold. I spent over $1600 last year on gaming software and I'm at close to $800 this year to date. EA is seeing almost none of that, and they appear to be just fine with it.
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Show all comments (19)
Morville O'Driscoll Blogger & Critic 8 years ago
Apologies for just a simple C&P, but it definitely bears a wider audience.

Re: LGBT Concerns
If there is such a campaign, the people involved in it have not reached out to us, nor have we seen evidence of this traffic to our pages. While any number of tech and video game sites and forums have been writing about and linking to the WCIA polls (here’s lookin’ at you /v/), our analytics show absolutely no incoming traffic from anything we’d label as political, let alone conservative.

EA received hundreds of nominations from Consumerist readers this year, by far the most of any contender in the bracket, but not a single one mentioned anything about sexual orientation. Consumerist does not condone homophobia or hate speech of any kind, and our readers understand the Worst Company contest and nominate businesses based on their merits.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Morville O'Driscoll on 6th April 2013 6:37pm

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Paul Smith Dev 8 years ago
I call it the "Rainbow Shield" Its naive to believe that EA support LGBT rights solely because higher up actually care about it, they do it so when shit hits the fan and they get bad press they can release a video or statement about their support of the LGBT community which they hope takes away the attention from the bad press.
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Mary Hilton Community Manager, Reclaim Your Game8 years ago
It's pathetic that after all the incredibly negative press and attention that EA has deservedly gotten from the horrible botched launch of Sim City that they're still mystified as to why everyone hates them. It's as if they're deliberately ignoring all of it and grasping for straws where ever they can-in this case, their support of LGBT rights. Although admittedly a worthy cause, it's just another distraction from the problems they're facing, and those are not going away with nifty slogans and lots of money.
At this time, if they supported every single charitable institution worthy of time and money, EA would still not gain an iota of respect from anyone-it has everything to do with invoking the rage of customers, ignoring customer wishes/requests/demands, outright barefaced lying, broken products, and just general idiocy at every level of the company.
Face facts, all the suits at EA: your company is on the verge of receiving for the second time in a row a negative popular vote award, beating out such worthy candidates as Bank of America-if that doesn't say something about how badly your company is viewed, perhaps your company should go out of business.
EA has no business selling products and services that are broken from the start and if they keep this string of failing up, they won't be viable much longer.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Mary Hilton on 6th April 2013 9:08pm

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Curt Sampson Sofware Developer 8 years ago
Barrie, because I'm a developer I understand the technical difference between the Origin client (which I did switch to English) and the Origin store displayed by the client (which as you understand I can view only in Japanese). I worded my post in the way I did because a) the origin client isn't too useful if you can't buy games from the store, and b) viewing it monolithically is the way most non-techies will see it anyway.

And you're not the only one besides me who's suggested fixing the issue. In fact, the EA tech. support guy I talked to said that he suggested fixing this a long time ago, and that appeared to go nowhere. This tends to indicate that what EA has is not a problem with not enough good people, but there's simply a deeply embedded culture of ignoring problems. Combine this with a blog post from the very top which can be summed up as, "no, we don't really have serious problems" and EA looks unfixable.

Mary said well, "It's pathetic that after all the incredibly negative press and attention that EA has deservedly gotten ...that they're still mystified as to why everyone hates them." I think it may be even worse than that, though; I think that EA probably really believes that they're not hated.

At this point, my annoyance with EA has gotten so bad that it's overcome my sadness at missing some good games, and I think I simply won't buy EA games any more.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Curt Sampson on 6th April 2013 11:47pm

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Rick Lopez Illustrator, Graphic Designer 8 years ago
You know what sucks about EA, its that they want to make money, without hearing what the customers/gamers want, and expect them to buy what ever they make, because they think its what they want. Its clear that if they listened more, they could gain the goodwill of the customers. They are all the time scheming ways to get more money out of gamers by shady and deceptive, methods, ingame purchases, day one DLC and intentionally breaking games apart to sell you the pieces. I mean... come on... they already sold you a game for 60$. but after that they look for ways to penny the shit outta you. They also fail to see what customers want because they think they know what is better for them. They dont think for a gamer or as gamers. I also doubt Peter Moore or many of the Investors/suits actually play games or understand them. If they listened to the gamers more, they would do better. It worked for mass effect 3. Im happy with the new ending and the Levathen, Omega and Citidel DLC. They felt like they were answering more of the fan demand and it didnt seem planned. Unlike the from Ashes DLC. And as far as I can see Dragon Age III will turn out to be a better game.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Rick Lopez on 7th April 2013 2:19am

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Jeff Wayne Technical Architect 8 years ago
This chaps blog and the abundant spin it contains is just another uncomfortable read for a frustrated EA consumer. His waffle on LBGT reads to me like he wants to portray EA as some bastion of justice against bigotry when in reality it just comes across as him trying to 'run interference' away from all the other terrible problems the company have in terms of consumer perception and customer support.

Every time I read a story about EA, I often wonder what the normal staffers in there think. I'm sure EA have thousands of content staff that take genuine pride in their products and it must irk them reading the to and fro between the consumers and the Brady Bunch running the show. Their PR department must be like working a chain-gang with all the heat EA gets!
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Best you all remember your history:

-Midway - voted unpopular - crumbled
-Infogrames - voted unpopular - crumbled (after a failed Atari acquisition)
-EA - voted unpopular....

EA and Activision now look like they will be victims of investor dissatisfaction - emulating what we saw with RockStar!
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Andreia Quinta Photographer 8 years ago
"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,"
Except BP wasn't even in the bracket, and like Justin Trautmann mentions in his comment, the average Joe (read, consumer) has little to no interest in something like "alternate energies, global trade and economic inflation, bad investments" or even oil spills since for most of the world consumerist population, it has no direct impact in daily lives.
"The complaints against us last year were our support of SOPA (not true), and that they didn't like the ending to Mass Effect 3."
Also untrue, since the final analysis made on last years EA vs BofA vote had no indication whatsoever about SOPA or Mass Effect. What in fact did contribute to EA being the victor was Nickel&Dime with Microtransactions, killing off smaller companies and IP's *cough*Westwood studios*cough* and holding monopoly on prices for licenced Madden NFL games.
So specifically choosing Mass Effect 3 and SOPA as a scapegoat to all other EA's problems is just inappropriate. But so have been all the PR comments from EA lately.

The problem with EA is always the same, it never changes... They. don't. listen.. EA hears the complaints, they acknowledge them, but they don't listen or act upon it, instead they shrug them off and dismiss them as if the consumer is speaking some sort of stupidity, Moore is doing the exact same on this blog post.

Yes you can do better, but you won't while your premise remains that the consumer is a moron and a whiner. One day it will backfire, and I hope another worthier company vultures your IP's and staff away to the bone, to a better place.
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Aaron Brown BA Computer Science Student, Carnegie Mellon University8 years ago
This whole thing is hysterical. Let's just be realistic here. The fact that EA is even being considered as the Worst Company in America, shows you how irrelevant this poll is to anything going on in the world today.
This poll simply gives technically apt fans of products and services a voice that will get a fair amount of coverage. Companies with consumers that frequent the internet are sure to make it deep into the ""tournament". The funny thing is that this poll is meaningless and will not change any executive decision EA makes from this point forward.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Aaron Brown on 7th April 2013 9:30pm

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Curt Sampson Sofware Developer 8 years ago
The fact that EA is even being considered as the Worst Company in America, shows you how irrelevant this poll is to anything going on in the world today.
That description, when it stands alone, is easy to misinterpret; what it really means is something more along the lines of, "the company selling mass-market products treats its customers poorest." In that light, do you still agree that it's irrelevant? If so, would you consider the whole games industry irrelevant?

And I disagree that the poll is going to be terribly skewed toward "technically apt" people. It doesn't take a lot of technical know-how to read a web page or vote in an on-line poll: rather less than using Facebook or even e-mail.
...this poll is meaningless and will not change any executive decision EA makes from this point forward.
I find the poll quite meaningful. One of the things it indicates is that my experience with EA is not just an aberration but an expected result of how they operate. That influences advice I give when others ask me about, e.g., Steam vs. Origin.

But yes, i believe you're right in that it's going to make no difference to EA. It's quite telling in that in the post immediately after yours Peter Moore popped in and the biggest issue he saw was someone calling him, "this chap." Between that and is blog post he's demonstrated quite clearly that he's simply not going to listen to customer complaints.

EA's position in the Consumerist poll, and their generally bad attitudes toward their customers, obviously start from the very top, and as long as their C-level executives remain in denial about their problems in this area those problems will never be fixed.
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Henrik Pettersson Games Designer, The Voxel Agents8 years ago
I don't think the voices of the critics should be brushed aside like this. People are unhappy, I am unhappy. Reading this was disappointing.
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Welcome to the vocal minority. Dismissed. :)
I really can't comprehend how a community manager could say something like that.

Even if it were the vocal minority, it doesn't mean his opinions should be discounted or that the allegations are not true. To not address them is to say some customers are less important than others.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Ajané Celestin-Greer on 8th April 2013 4:51pm

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Christopher Garratty Associate Counsel, Activision Blizzard8 years ago
I am over 90% sure that Eric was being facetiously satirical. By suggesting that when saying you don't like something in a public forum you automatically join the ranks of "entitled gamers", "serial complainers", "frothing malcontents" and the "vocal minority" and as such your comments will be glossed over and ignored Eric actually means that just because you are vocal and/or a minority it doesn't automatically follow that you are wrong or should be ignored.
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Alan Ashby Recruiter, EA Sports8 years ago
Opinions on EA aside...given my limited knowledge of consumer research and polling, I'm pretty sure that the results from this bracket can be considered "skeptical" at best. That is not to say that the company I work for, EA, shouldn't do a better job of pricing its products or that the poll doesn't represent a certain % of gamers who have bought EA's products and have serious complaints. It's to say that I am not completely sold on the Consumerists motivation (are they more Robin Hood, Fight Club, or is the Consumerist run by four guys named Alex, Dim, Georgie, and Pete) or methods.

Statistically speaking there are tried and trued methods of polling consumer sentiments on something...most of these methods involve a certain degree of randomness, a diverse sample size, regression analysis, etc, etc.. to determine if any meaningful conclusions can be drawn. Further undermining the motivation of the Consumerist is the fact that they (Chris Morran) wrote a response to an EA blog post defending the "merit of Consumerist readers’" who voted in this bracket...however, there are no exit polls to speak of with data on who voted and why he/she voted. So who is Chris Morran defending and how does he know why people are choosing EA. If we are making assumptions based on nothing, we might as well assume that EA is just as likely to win a bracket on the Consumerist site (beating North Korea in the final round) for the Most Communist Institution in the World.

Further....and I will preface this with saying that there is a vast amount of great user generated content on the web, Wikipedia come to mind as a prime example..... when you cite stuff in the comments section of an internet article as empirical evidence...I'm pretty sure you should lose some credibility points. Have a look -

Per the Consumerist - "Just to be clear: The point of this contest, now in its 8th year, is to enable consumers to send a message to a company that provides goods or services to them." As a consumer advocate organization, I can appreciate what the Consumerist site aims to do. As a catalyst for change that provides meaningful data and feasible solutions to companies deemed "bad", I have my doubts...which is why I question the motivations of a contest that 8 years ago may have connected consumers to companies, but in a day and age of increased consumer to corporate interaction via social media as well as other niche forums and channels, I can't help but to think that a bracket that calls out highly visible companies is nothing more than a self-serving publicity stunt (similar to hiring actors to protest something).

Making a fun poll for your readers to poop on companies is great and all. Trying to hold the results up as some product of independent research performed by a Think Tank is another.
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Christopher Thigpen Lead Producer, Kiz Studios8 years ago
How to turn EA around?

Easy. Hire Gamers as your Chief Officers, not money hungry non-gamers.

If you make a great game, and that game truly inspires your audience, you will make money. (See: Minecraft)
The biggest issue with EA is their desire to sell annuals of games. It makes sense with sport titles, as rosters change, but it makes no sense for games such as the Battlefield series.
Sure, you want to gouge your customers out of their hard earned money each year, but should you? Gouging of consumers will surely be the death of these AAA companies. All of EA's current games, their DLC, Pre-order ineptness, marketing efforts, etc... just ooze with grandiose greed and corporate self service. Be for the people and the people will be for you.

Let's be honest. When was the last time anything that EA had a clean launch? Stable servers? No negative press? It has been SO long, I can't remember and I have been playing EA games for what seems to be well over 20 years.

But, on a separate note, my salary would be only 500k a year for the CEO gig. No reason to be greedy, let's save the money for fans. You know, free DLC, non "blackmail" purchases (Pre-order MoH for entrance to BF game- i mean c'mon...that is straight mobster BS!), etc...

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Christopher Thigpen on 8th April 2013 10:21pm

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Craig Page El Presidente, Awesome Enterprises8 years ago
Well EA's earned it this year for their work with Origin, their shady double billing department, and their always on Sim City.

But next year should go to Microsoft for (worst case) their $500 Xbox that won't work without being online, won't play used games, charges a monthly fee for online play, and is using a $50 graphics card from 2010...
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