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Game publisher Electronic Arts is voted the “Worst Company in America”

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Game publisher Electronic Arts is voted the “Worst Company in America”

Smaak's Avatar


Smaak
04.16.2012 , 04:21 AM | #1
Video game publisher Electronic Arts has a new feather in its cap: It has won The Consumerist’s Worst Company in America award.

The tournament rookie beat out America’s other most-hated companies by a landslide 64 percent vote. Rival honorees included Walmart, PayPal, Bank of America, and even fellow game industry villain, Gamestop.

A statement from The Consumerist, part of the nonprofit group that publishes Consumer Reports, noted that “while both Bank of America and EA drew consumer ire for their poorly-received practices of swallowing up smaller competitors and nickel-and-diming customers with up-charges and fees, EA’s success in this year’s tournament shines a spotlight on an industry that is often considered ignored by regulators, courts, and the mainstream media.”

“Some may look down their noses at the idea of voters picking a video game publisher as the Worst Company In America, but that is the exact kind of attitude that has allowed EA and its ilk to nickel and dime devoted customers for a decade,” said Chris Morran, Deputy Editor of Consumerist.com. “This is not just a few people complaining about bad games; this vote represents a large group of consumers who have grown sick and tired of being ignored and taken advantage of.”

Forbe’s Paul Tassi writes, “I’ve been covering hate of EA for quite a while now, and understand why their brand is so despised among gamers. They have [a] habit of buying beloved gaming companies and either summarily executing them, or corrupting them to the point where they’re almost unrecognizable. Most recently, fans mourned the apparent loss of Bioware. The genius [developer] was behind Knights of the Old Republic and Mass Effect, but the way newer titles like The Old Republic and Mass Effect 3 have been handled since EA took over has caused fans to lose faith. EA is at the forefront of some of the most annoying practices in the industry to date, such as restrictive DRM, seemingly abusive DLC and appearing to trade creativity for cash.”

Admittedly, while companies such as Bank of America and others have a much larger (negative) impact on America overall, Electronic Arts’ highly questionably business practices extend far beyond just mistreating consumers. In 2004, Erin Hoffman anonymously started the “EA Spouse” blog, where she detailed the company’s labor practices. This led to three class action lawsuits ultimately resulting in the plaintiffs being awarded $14.9M in unpaid overtime. Over the past several months, a number of former and current EA employees and journalists have told GamesBeat that the known offenses pale in comparison to the company’s ongoing practices. As The Consumerist notes, hopefully now more people will begin caring about it.

EA has also been caught manipulating media outlets into giving favorable coverage. Another anonymous blogger who claims to be a former viral marketer for EA asserts that his job (and many more like him) was to “troll” popular websites and forums under the guise of a normal user with the intention of derailing bad publicity.

Because admitting there’s a problem and working towards improving would be too obvious, EA’s spokesman John Reseburg released the following statement to GamesIndustry.biz: ”We’re sure that bank presidents, oil, tobacco and weapons companies are all relieved they weren’t on the list this year. We’re going to continue making award-winning games and services played by more than 300 million people worldwide.”

You certainly don’t need an evil decoder ring to translate that. As long as consumers keep buying EA’s unfinished games and critics keep handing out inflated review scores, the company seemingly doesn’t intend to change.

Darka's Avatar


Darka
04.16.2012 , 04:24 AM | #2
I see this more as proof that gamers are a bunch of whiny out of control kids complaining, then an actual reflection on the practices of employment that EA undertakes
Its cool to hate EA

anstalt's Avatar


anstalt
04.16.2012 , 05:11 AM | #3
EA for me were always the company who pumped out sporting games year after year with very little innovation, just slightly updated graphics and new team rosters etc.

That was fine because that appealed, in my mind, to the average male console owner, rather than the more "dedicated" / "geeky" / "oldschool" gamers, i.e. the RPG lovers like myself. EA has never been known to produce good games or spawn innovation, they always produced throwaway games. But, they did that for genres I didn't care about.


My first "run-in" with EA was in WAR. I'd heard so much about DOAC and I loved warhammer table-top so figured it'd be good. However, you could see EA's hand everywhere. The quality of that game was non-existant, it was pushed out the door too early, and funding was cut too soon after launch. Now, you could blame mythic for not pushing back enough and not holding their own, but at the end of the day, EA is the big dog with the money and they call the shots.


With SW:TOR, luckily Bioware are holding their own a bit more but again, there is no innovation! There are so many "missing" features in TOR that were discussed during development, features that would have made this a standout game. Instead, we have the same old recycled features and a lack of willingness to innovate that follows EA everywhere. Again, you could blame Bioware for not insisting on extra time/development, but EA just seem unwilling to take risks.


From a business point of view, I dont blame EA, they are out to make money and they are playing it safe. From a consumer point of view, they don't benefit me at all. The games they produce never hold me for long, they aren't advancing the technology, they aren't advancing our ideas of what games should be. They are certainly the wrong people to be producing RPGs / MMOs.
Anstalt - lvl 50 valor 81 Shadow Consular

Currently retired due to poor design decisions within the game that have killed its longevity. Get rid of Hickman before he ruins the game completely!

Meluna's Avatar


Meluna
04.16.2012 , 03:55 PM | #4
Hello, there! We do ask that threads in our Community forum be centered around sharing community-related conversations and creations with the Star Wars™: The Old Republic™ community. Due to this we will be closing the thread for being off topic. Thanks!