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EA Games Declared "Worst Company In America 2012"

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Pat
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#1

Posted 04 April 2012 - 07:31 PM

http://consumerist.c...a-for-2012.html

QUOTE
Whether it's on a console, a PC, a smartphone or tablet, hundreds of millions of people play video games every day. Yet most mainstream media covers the industry the same way it treats adult dodge ball leagues and cat fashion shows (both noble ventures, but neither of them multi-billion dollar industries). And the only time you hear legislators discuss video games is when some politician decries them as the death knell for all things righteous in the world (hint: they're not). Now, after years of being ignored and relegated to steerage, game-players have voted to send a message to Electronic Arts and the gaming business as a whole: Stop treating your loyal customers like crap.

After more than 250,000 votes, Consumerist readers ultimately decided that the type of greed exhibited by EA, which is supposed to be making the world a more fun place, is worse than Bank of America's avarice, which some would argue is the entire point of operating a bank.

To those who might sneer at something as "non-essential" as a video game company winning the Worst Company In America vote: It's that exact kind of attitude that allows people to ignore the complaints as companies like EA to nickel and dime consumers to death.

For years, while movies and music became more affordable and publishers piled on bonus content or multiple modes of delivery as added value to entice customers to buy, video games have continued to be priced like premium goods.

There have even been numerous accusations that EA and its ilk deliberately hold back game content with the sole intent of charging a fee for it at a later date. It's one thing to support a game with new content that is worth the price. It's another to put out an inferior and occasionally broken product with the mindset of "ah, we'll fix it later and make some money for doing so."

New, independent game companies do pop up all the time, but the cost of entering the market has historically been too expensive, making these indie innovators prime targets for acquisition by mega-publishers like EA. Our hope is that the growth of app-based gaming and downloadable games will continue to make it easier for developers to get their products out without the backing of companies that don't care a lick about the people who fork over their cash.

Oh well, Worst Company In America 2012 is officially in the books. All that's left to do is send off the Golden Poo to EA.

Traditionally, the Poo has been delivered on its little red pillow. But this year, we'll give EA three different color options for its pillow, though in the end it's still the same old Poo.

So, I'm interested in hearing how everyone here feels about this. As you can see from the comments, many people are upset about this, and believe that BofA should have won. And while I don't agree, I don't necessarily disagree either. BofA is undoubtedly a worse company than EA, but they have won this award before, and they completely brushed it off. EA, however, has been trying to hide their feelings and failing miserably - to put it simply, they're pissed.

I feel this victory was a good thing because even if EA isn't truly worse than BofA, this will have more of an impact upon their practices than a victory for BofA would have against their practices. Maybe the Consumerist visitors are right, though. Maybe this is all just "gamer entitlement." Or maybe they're passing judgement on an industry they don't understand - somehow, that seems more likely to me.

Anyway, what's everyone's thoughts?

The Yokel
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#2

Posted 04 April 2012 - 07:41 PM

I'm glad they've won. I was rooting for them.

TargetTango
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#3

Posted 04 April 2012 - 07:54 PM

EA= Releases ridiculous DLC
Bank of America= Forecloses homes and almost destroyed the US economy.

Yeah, this result is stupid.

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#4

Posted 04 April 2012 - 08:04 PM

The battlefield 3 "DLC" packs alone are enough for them to earn that award.

Pat
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#5

Posted 04 April 2012 - 08:41 PM

Erik Kain of Forbes has released an article pertaining to EA's response to this situation for anyone interested. Those who have been keeping up with the recent controversy over EA and Mass Effect 3 are probably already very familiar with Kain by now.

Los Santos Pedestrian
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#6

Posted 04 April 2012 - 08:50 PM

What I don't get about EA (and Activision) is how they just eliminate game series that is slightly falling out of style, and, almost always, the studio as well. Like the Tony Hawk series, that was going well and then it's stopped dead in its tracks in 2007 with almost no warning. What's with that? That's just one thing that makes those companies a bunch of assholes.

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#7

Posted 04 April 2012 - 08:54 PM

Shame Activision weren't on the list, their butchering of Spyro in my mind is reason enough for them to get this award. I don't hate EA like the rest of the world seem too, they release the majority of my favourite games, so I don't think they should've 'won' this at all.

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#8

Posted 04 April 2012 - 09:12 PM

I'm shocked that Activision aren't top of that list, or even included at-all. They just rape everyone in the gaming community. I haven't bought a single Acti game since MW2, never will either.

OysterBarron
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#9

Posted 04 April 2012 - 09:13 PM

QUOTE (Los Santos Pedestrian @ Wednesday, Apr 4 2012, 20:50)
What I don't get about EA (and Activision) is how they just eliminate game series that is slightly falling out of style, and, almost always, the studio as well. Like the Tony Hawk series, that was going well and then it's stopped dead in its tracks in 2007 with almost no warning. What's with that? That's just one thing that makes those companies a bunch of assholes.

this might help add to the picture abit! http://www.gtaforums...howtopic=505909

I would like to know the average age of voters in those polls! is there a breakdown of this anywhere? by the looks of it we can either support the hated DLC model or just pay double the price outright for games! i know what im going to prefere!

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#10

Posted 04 April 2012 - 09:18 PM

It's good if it inspires any kind of change, but I doubt it will. Obviously living in the UK, BofA doesn't mean much to me as a company, but I do buy a lot of EA games, so global change there would be nice. I imagine EA won't lose much (if any) money because of this, but it might make higher-ups consider a change in their image and practices.

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#11

Posted 04 April 2012 - 09:18 PM

I wouldn't say Activision is as bad as EA, honestly. They're both bad, yeah, but Activision is the lesser of two evils. They're pretty bad about DLC, but they aren't doing what EA is doing, which basically amounts to seeing how far they can push their customers before they stop being customers. The Prothean DLC and the Mass Effect 3 endings have been referred to as "experiments," attempts to see just what their customers will take, and they were both successful because the fans - while they have spoken out against them - still bought them anyway. And honestly, EA doesn't care if you don't like them as long as they have your money in their pocket. Hell, the CEO of EA even told customers to "f*ck off" at one point. That is word-for-word, not implied. Let us also not forget the attempted hostile takeover of Rockstar Games in 2008. For those of you who weren't here, EA attempted to purchase Rockstar before the release of GTA IV and only failed because less than 10% of shareholders sold to them, even when offered double the price of the shares.

It's also interesting to watch EA's stocks fall as we speak. They never really recovered from the recent market crash anyway.

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#12

Posted 04 April 2012 - 09:19 PM

EA Origin is sh*t.

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#13

Posted 04 April 2012 - 10:27 PM

Finally. Can't stand them releasing the same sort of shooter with a different title all the time. Everything they release feels exactly the same as their previous game from the same genre.

Finn 7 five 11
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#14

Posted 04 April 2012 - 10:33 PM

QUOTE (TargetTango @ Thursday, Apr 5 2012, 06:54)
EA= Releases ridiculous DLC
Bank of America= Forecloses homes and almost destroyed the US economy.

Yeah, this result is stupid.

It is kinda stupid, but banks aren't charities pal.

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#15

Posted 04 April 2012 - 11:52 PM

That's just the court of public opinion. EA has a lot of history to be proud of, one year won't kill them! haha

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#16

Posted 05 April 2012 - 12:00 AM

QUOTE (finn4life @ Wednesday, Apr 4 2012, 17:33)
QUOTE (TargetTango @ Thursday, Apr 5 2012, 06:54)
EA= Releases ridiculous DLC
Bank of America= Forecloses homes and almost destroyed the US economy.

Yeah, this result is stupid.

It is kinda stupid, but banks aren't charities pal.

BoA has a history of mistakenly foreclosing people's homes that are payed off, and generally f*cking up people's bank accounts.

However, Bank of America already knows they are sh*t, winning "Worst Company In America 2012" wouldn't change a thing. At least with EA there is some hope in change, and if nothing else it gives EA a chance to see the public's opinion.

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#17

Posted 05 April 2012 - 12:02 AM

QUOTE (Pat @ Wednesday, Apr 4 2012, 19:31)
Traditionally, the Poo has been delivered on its little red pillow. But this year, we'll give EA three different color options for its pillow, though in the end it's still the same old Poo.

And there's the money shot. icon14.gif

Slamman
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#18

Posted 05 April 2012 - 12:02 AM

John R. still CEO?, maybe his tenure will change?

trip
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#19

Posted 05 April 2012 - 12:48 AM

QUOTE (Slamman @ Wednesday, Apr 4 2012, 19:52)
That's just the court of public opinion. EA has a lot of history to be proud of, one year won't kill them! haha

Yes.

People seem to forget how vital EA was in the early days. They were the first company that recognized video games as an art form. Oh and Activision was the first publisher to actually recognize and honor the developers. Before Activision, a game developer would have gotten more respect if they were running the fryer at McDonalds. They very well might be the only 2 companies to revive themselves after the video game crash of the 80s - for that they should be commended.

Sure, we all may not agree on their current business practices, but they are still businesses that are actually still in business and turning a profit while putting out quality entertainment.

I wholeheartedly think we need to stop trashing them. You don't need to buy all of their games or DLC maps and whatnot... but I honestly fee that they pioneered the attitude of game development that we are lucky enough to be living with today.

I think the really big issue now is publishers and their power/money. Gone are the days of the small firms - the small developers either pushing their own stuff, or working with a small publisher. It's just the like old days when there were local and small town banks. All the banking is run by a handful of big companies that can run large operations. Just like there are no longer small independent game developers(with small publishers) there are no longer small town unnamed banks.

Look...if I am old and cranky and willing to accept change you all need to just stop bitching and enjoy the fun that is in front of you.


Pat
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#20

Posted 05 April 2012 - 12:54 AM

QUOTE (trip @ Wednesday, Apr 4 2012, 19:48)
People seem to forget how vital EA was in the early days. They were the first company that recognized video games as an art form.

But defending them from the standpoint of "well, they were good back then!" is flawed logic. That's like defending a burglar because he was a Boy Scout when he was a teenager.

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#21

Posted 05 April 2012 - 12:55 AM

Well it's.. you know..

f*ck it, trip hit the nail on the head.

However I still support them winning the award, because lately they treated their customers like crap, it's not about their history or their quality as publishers/developers, but it's about their attitude towards customers, and this award highlight all the complaints which they ignored for years. I doubt it will change anything but they thought they were on top of everyone, this should at least be a slight shock considering the scale of the votes when compared to banks and other businesses! They need to step up their game and appreciate the people who have kept them surviving all these years - us.

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#22

Posted 05 April 2012 - 01:46 AM

QUOTE (Pat @ Wednesday, Apr 4 2012, 20:54)
QUOTE (trip @ Wednesday, Apr 4 2012, 19:48)
People seem to forget how vital EA was in the early days.  They were the first company that recognized video games as an art form.

But defending them from the standpoint of "well, they were good back then!" is flawed logic. That's like defending a burglar because he was a Boy Scout when he was a teenager.

I hear ya. Totally. Sure, I'm drawing from an emotional stand since I watched their birth while following the [then weak] industry at the time.

They might not have the best customer care, and they might have positioned themselves more towards the profit side than the noble 'do it for the love side', but still they do publish quality AAA titles that the world enjoys. They are no longer boy scouts for sure, but I like to think that some of their core people still have the hearts they started with. And come on how can someone with the name ,Trip Hawkins, be bad??? tounge2.gif

Really. We have to accept some necessary evils now and than. (like most people)I hate hate Comcast cable, but I still pay the bill. I hate Netflix because of their recent greed, but guess what - I still pay the bill.

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#23

Posted 05 April 2012 - 01:58 AM

QUOTE (trip @ Wednesday, Apr 4 2012, 20:46)
Really. We have to accept some necessary evils now and than.

But we shouldn't have to. EA shouldn't be able to get away with this kind of sh*tty conduct towards their customers. I mean, how many other industries out there where they can insult a customer to their face and the customer has no other option but to buy from them besides video games? Compare Origin to, say, a car dealership - if the owner of a dealership does something you don't agree with, you can go to a different dealership and buy the same exact car you were going to buy at the first dealership. What if you want Battlefield 3, though? You don't have any other option. It requires Origin. If you want BF3 but you don't want to support Origin, you either drop your principles and support Origin or you just don't play the game at all.

EA is becoming a monopoly. They have killed somewhere around ten studios that they bought out (two major studios that come to mind are Maxis and Pandemic, and the way it looks now, BioWare could potentially end up with the same fate in the near future), and to this date, only two studios have ever successfully evaded being purchased by EA when they got serious - those two studios being Valve and Rockstar Games. Valve was able to resist because it was big enough by then to be a publisher itself, Rockstar was able to resist because of the loyalty of its fans.

If we sit back and let EA continue this kind of conduct, they'll never stop. You complained about how greedy publishers are the real problem in your first post, well, EA is a greedy publisher. sh*t, EA is the greedy publisher - like I just said, they have the biggest history of acquiring studios only to make a quick buck from their games and then casting them off like so much dead weight, compromising the jobs of numerous employees in the process, literally ruining lives.

I cannot understand why anyone would defend them. I don't know what they were like then, but this is now, and now, they're trying to become a monopoly and they don't care who gets in their way.

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#24

Posted 05 April 2012 - 02:09 AM

QUOTE (Pat @ Wednesday, Apr 4 2012, 21:58)
QUOTE (trip @ Wednesday, Apr 4 2012, 20:46)
Really. We have to accept some necessary evils now and than.

But we shouldn't have to. EA shouldn't be able to get away with this kind of sh*tty conduct towards their customers.

And if it gets real bad they will learn a hard lesson.

I have a real life experience with a big name publisher that is no more, thanks to the way they treated their customers. Sierra OnLine - they recalled a game(Front Page Sports Football - last one they released - I forget the year) because it was so bad at release and no matter how hard they tried they couldn't patch it. They actually offered a recall. I was denied my refund because I didn't have my store receipt(even though you just mailed the game back to Sierra). I had everything else in perfect shape. I even wrote them a letter explaining I had been a loyal customer since their birth - they ignored me. I wrote them another letter explaining that I wasn't happy with how a loyal customer as myself was being treated and I will no longer buy a Sierra product. I kept firm on my boycott. Sierra OnLine was one of the biggest developers/publishers at one time...where are they now?

I still don't understand why people say EA is unfair to their customers.

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#25

Posted 05 April 2012 - 03:36 AM

QUOTE (trip @ Wednesday, Apr 4 2012, 20:09)
I still don't understand why people say EA is unfair to their customers.

Have you spent the last three years with your head buried under the ground? Considering the introduction of Origin, an unstable, forced, intrusive peripheral software that, without your permission (though I'm sure it's vaguely mentioned in EA's ridiculous EULA) sends a plethora of personal usage and system information strait to EA as well as being stupidly clunky and rather unoptimized in both design and function. Not to mention EA's borderline fascistic banning of anyone providing criticism about their products or services on their forums. Customer service just as bad as that as it's more about maintaining an image and keeping the money flowing than anything. I've read stories of people reporting issues with product keys to customer service and being thus labelled pirates despite having purchased legitimate products. All of that on top of nickel and dime DLC, if you've even an inkling about the ridiculousness that was Mass Effect 2's stupidly vast collection of minor DLC than the whole Oblivion Horse Armor debacle should seem like a footnote in comparison.

They treat their customers like cattle instead of people, how is that so hard to see.

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#26

Posted 05 April 2012 - 04:07 AM Edited by The Killa, 05 April 2012 - 04:11 AM.

I don't disagree with EA generally being a vile company these days, but I've never had a single problem with Origin yet. Granted having it combined with Battlelog is a bit of a nuisance and I only use it to play two games (BF3 and FIFA), but it's served it's purpose well enough. I really don't have much a problem with the infamous "unoptimized and clunky" design yet. Sure it isn't perfect, but from my personal use so far I don't have much to complain about.

QUOTE
sends a plethora of personal usage and system information strait to EA


So does Steam.

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#27

Posted 05 April 2012 - 05:07 AM

The Bank of America is untouchable, so them winning would've been pointless and tedious anyway.

EA though? Not so much. This is brilliant, I'm sure this will affect them. The onslaught they're getting is going to hurt them.

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#28

Posted 05 April 2012 - 06:13 AM

QUOTE (trip @ Wednesday, Apr 4 2012, 20:46)
but still they do publish quality AAA titles that the world enjoys.

Speak fo' yo'self foo'. There's not a game EA publishes that I give two sh*ts about anymore.

Battlefield 3? I'm sick of just hearing about mp war games and the sp campaign is sh*t as well. Pass.
Crysis 2? What a disaster, first releasing it without DX11 eye candy and then yanking it off Steam. Pass.
Mass Effect series? f*ck it. (although I did pick 1 and 2 up for like 5 bucks on a Steam sale, but dunno when I'll ever play them)
Need For Speed? It's been sh*t for nearly a decade.
Sims? They're not welcome in my house.

The last EA game I played and actually liked was Mirror's Edge, but EA canned any hopes for a sequel. Fine by me, because I sure as hell wouldn't have installed Origin just to play it.


To be honest, Ubisoft is nearly as bad as EA. They've taken DRM to such an intrusive level that I don't know why anyone would pay to be harassed like that. Again, they really don't have anything I care about, so it's another effortless boycott for me. Same goes for Activision.

Rockstar/Take Two look like Saints in comparison.

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#29

Posted 05 April 2012 - 06:51 AM Edited by EverBlazin, 05 April 2012 - 07:08 AM.

Thats amazing. I like skate though.

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#30

Posted 05 April 2012 - 07:21 AM

Of course it's nonsense. EA is obviously not the worst company in America. Off the top of my head I'd say that Haliburton and Black Water are surely worse. If we're talking about working conditions then I couldn't comment but simply on the contribution they make to society and the world, the two I listed are way way way worse.

If you think EA are the worst, a company that makes games, then you're stupid.




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