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EA Comes Under Fire for Shady PR Stunts 228

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the reinforcing-bad-behavior dept.
EA has come under heavy fire lately for some deliberately shady PR techniques. You can't argue with the result, however, that has pretty much everyone (including us) talking about it. The question is: will extensive discussion, and the resulting widespread anger that seems to accompany it, actually help their game sales? Stunts have ranged from their "win a date with a booth babe" contest to paying game site editors a faux "bribe" to fit with their sin motif. "Outraged Christian bloggers, complaining female and LGBT gamers, editors being sent checks made out directly to them — all of this makes for delicious copy, and much of the gnashing of teeth seems to be centered on the fact that the gaming press continues to fall for the contrived controversy to give the company exactly what it wants: coverage. The campaign has been childish, daring, and borderline tasteless. Writing checks directly to game writers is cheaper than advertising on a site, with a much better result."
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EA Comes Under Fire for Shady PR Stunts

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  • Marketing (Score:5, Insightful)

    by sopssa (1498795) * <sopssa@email.com> on Friday September 11, 2009 @02:48PM (#29392145) Journal

    all of this makes for delicious copy, and much of the gnashing of teeth seems to be centered on the fact that the gaming press continues to fall for the contrived controversy to give the company exactly what it wants: coverage.

    Submitter and the editor didn't actually see the ironic thing here?

    For that matter I didn't actually had heard or read about this game, but thanks to slashdot now reporting about this, I think I will just google it. Just to know what it is about. Maybe I even buy it - after all everyone is talking about it. Good work Slashdot!

    So what kind of game it is? Does it look good? What features are there? Is it fun? Is there multiplayer, and how is it? Is it fun to play with friends?

    In the latest chapter of this fun tale, EA has finally decided to simply send editors of prominent gaming sites checks for $200. The point? If the checks are cashed, the gaming press is greedy. If they're not, the gaming press is wasteful. "By cashing this check you succumb to avarice by harding filthy lucre, but by not cashing it, you waste it, and thereby surrender to prodigality. Make your choice and suffer the consequence for your sin," the included note stated. "And scoff not, for consequences are imminent." The sin theme remains, if nothing else, on-topic.

    This has to be one of the first times money has been sent directly to reviewers and editors with the hope that the story is broken publicly, and that's what makes the stunt so devious; of course it's going to be written about. Joystiq cashed the check and donated the money to charity, Kotaku posted video of their check burning. Without having a list of sites that received the faux bribe, it's impossible to tell if anyone actually cashed the check and kept the money.

    Cheapy D, who runs the popular deals site CheapAssGamer, weighed in on the check. "Kotaku charges an $8 CPM (cost per 1,000 banner impressions) for their standard advertising banners. Their news post about this PR stunt will likely surpass 40,000 views," he explained. "To err on the safe side, let's say the total cost of the check and fancy box is $300. Since [the post's author] burned the check, EA basically spent the equivalent of a $2.50 CPM for a front page news post on Kotaku. That is an incredible value. Nice job, EA Marketing!"

    This sounds like a fun stunt. And now it continues on slashdot too. Someone is going to get a nice christmas bonus!

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      Agreed, this is tastefully tasteless, tongue in cheek, and WAY better than EA's other marketing. Besides, bribing game reviewers blatantly? We knew they did anyway, but this smacks of BRASS BALLS! I love it. The wooden cases with pillows were a nice touch... heck, I'd write a favorable blog article for that alone.
      • Re:Marketing (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Gerzel (240421) * <brollyferret&gmail,com> on Friday September 11, 2009 @03:28PM (#29392623) Journal

        Indeed. It helps them so they don't have to write great games, and just keep churning out the medeocre sludge that EA's trademark stands for.

        • I heartily approve of these stunts. In fact, I wish it would happen a lot more.

          We have already seen 'astroturfing' being done by political organizations to fake grassroots support for candidates, political parties, and political issues. The more of this blatant abuse we see, the more skeptical the world will be of these fabricated events.

          I realize I'm dreaming here, but maybe someday, people will learn to mistrust what they see and hear in the 'media'.
        • by tholomyes (610627)
          I would give them more credit than that. In the last couple of years, EA's really put out some quality games, mostly because they have gone from a buy-and-assimilate mode to a buy-and-nurture mode. In recent memory, that means Black Box (Skate), Harmonix (Rock Band), Criterion (Burnout: Paradise), and BioWare (Mass Effect), which is nothing to sneeze at. All this without forcing out a new Rock Band game every three months on every available platform. No, Activision is the new king of sludge.
          • by Deosyne (92713)

            MTV owns Harmonix. EA just publishes their games. Otherwise, agreed.

          • by Dutch Gun (899105)

            I would give them more credit than that. In the last couple of years, EA's really put out some quality games, mostly because they have gone from a buy-and-assimilate mode to a buy-and-nurture mode. In recent memory, that means Black Box (Skate), Harmonix (Rock Band), Criterion (Burnout: Paradise), and BioWare (Mass Effect), which is nothing to sneeze at. All this without forcing out a new Rock Band game every three months on every available platform. No, Activision is the new king of sludge.

            If by "nurture", you mean the way Lennie "nurtured" his small pets [wikipedia.org], or the loving way Microsoft "embraces" competing companies, then sure.

            I'm sure it starts off comfy, but you can bet the squeeze will come eventually. They won't be able to help sticking their finger in the game development pie. Everyone thinks they can design games.

      • by Bakkster (1529253)

        Makes sense to me, advertise your game heavily influenced by the 7 deadly sins by using marketing tied to the 7 deadly sins.

        Their execution was a little... off on a couple of the stunts (lust). This latest greed ploy, though, is quite good. Guaranteed to get press, generates lots of debate (and therefor attention), and doesn't hurt anybody. Well, I suppose if a reviewer gets caught cashing the check they could lose credibility, but it's better than asking a convention full of geeks to commit "acts of lu

    • Re:Marketing (Score:5, Informative)

      by cthulu_mt (1124113) on Friday September 11, 2009 @03:06PM (#29392349)
      I played it a bit at Gen Con. Its a fighter game like God of War. In game graphics are stunning and the cut scenes look nice.
    • by sopssa (1498795) *

      Wikipedia article [wikipedia.org] also seems to have an another interesting marketing plot

      Electronic Arts partnered with GameStop for a one-day only promotion of Dante's Inferno on 09-09-09. Those that pre-ordered the game were offered a $6.66 discount, the Number of the Beast.[5]

    • Harnessing the Streisand effect is genius. It's almost on a level with exploiting Murphy.
      • by poetmatt (793785)

        This idea is so old you have no idea. This is just one of the few times the press has covered it. Literally the concept of harnessing the streisand effect goes back around 50+ years, just in different forms.

        Things that are "banned" or go against old-folks values, are another. good ole basic reverse psychology.

        You didn't think those bollywood threats about products being illegal were because they actually were, right?

      • by moose_hp (179683)

        [...] It's almost on a level with exploiting Murphy.

        That's actually the whole point or Murphy's law. It it not a "oh, woe is me, everything is going to fail." is more like "even if everything fails, we're good"

    • donate the amount to charity in your name and drop EA a note to say thank-you :)

    • all of this makes for delicious copy, and much of the gnashing of teeth seems to be centered on the fact that the gaming press continues to fall for the contrived controversy to give the company exactly what it wants: coverage.

      Submitter and the editor didn't actually see the ironic thing here?

      FTFA:

      No matter how upset a few groups may get, this has been a successful way to market the game; we're very much aware we're falling into the trap ourselves. The question is a simple one: are we sinking to EA's level, or is it the other way around?

      But you know, no need to read the article on slashdot or anything...

    • Re:Marketing (Score:4, Informative)

      by timeOday (582209) on Friday September 11, 2009 @04:07PM (#29393095)

      the gaming press continues to fall for the contrived controversy to give the company exactly what it wants: coverage.

      Submitter and the editor didn't actually see the ironic thing here?

      You forgot to quote the following from the article: "No matter how upset a few groups may get, this has been a successful way to market the game; we're very much aware we're falling into the trap ourselves. The question is a simple one: are we sinking to EA's level, or is it the other way around?"

      So, no, you're not the only one who "gets" it.

    • Greed or waste? Why not cash it and send the money to one of the Gamer charities (I thought there was one that raised money for children's hospitals for example). Make sure that you credit them for the contribution and be done with it. Certainly not greedy, and certainly a better use of the money than [random blogger] has for it.

  • The hell you say!
    • What they didn't report is that each of those 200 dollar checks bounced.

  • by grub (11606) * <slashdot@grub.net> on Friday September 11, 2009 @02:55PM (#29392233) Homepage Journal
    "Outraged Christian bloggers"?

    Boy, remind me not to get on their bad side! They may pray me to death with their eerie powers...
    • by jgtg32a (1173373) on Friday September 11, 2009 @03:04PM (#29392337)
      Is "Outraged" a bit redundant, I was under the impression that it was implied when talking about Christian bloggers.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        Wow its a Friday night they must all be at home (while their children are with the priest) and therefore have nothing better to do than downmod you :O

    • by hansamurai (907719) <hansamurai@gmail.com> on Friday September 11, 2009 @03:05PM (#29392341) Homepage Journal

      Drop Christian and you have "Outraged bloggers" in general. The pen may be mightier than the sword, but the keyboard is as dull as a blunt pocket knife.

      • by Red Flayer (890720) on Friday September 11, 2009 @03:36PM (#29392719) Journal

        The pen may be mightier than the sword, but the keyboard is as dull as a blunt pocket knife.

        An ICBM is duller than a blunt pocket knife. That doesn't make it less mighty.

        It's kind of scary how much impact the blogosphere can have... a bunch of bloggers get upset... their blog posts are picked up by some intern or volunteer at the Church of the Evangelical Scoundrel, who passes it on to his superior... the head of the Church of the Evangelical Scoundrel gets the ear of his local and state politicians... and the next thing you know, Jack Thompson uses his eye tooth to hatch from an egg, and all video game players are forced to confess their sins before a Grand Theft Auto De Fe.

        Don't underestimate the powers of Christian bloggers.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by gad_zuki! (70830)

          More like EA's competitors write a check to the local pastor of the loudmouth fundie church, he preaches, tells them what to do, and suddenly you have the media bending over backwards for the opinions of these nuts.

          Works with pastors giving political endorsements or are we still too naive to accept corruption in the church?

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          ...except that more people will read THIS post than any christian blog.

      • by mcgrew (92797) *

        The pen may be mightier than the sword, but the keyboard is as dull as a blunt pocket knife.

        A club is pretty dull too, but it can be mightier than the sword, depending on the swordsman and the clubman. The keyboard is only as dull as a butter knife when its wielder is. Most bloggers suck at writing, but not all do.

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by h4rr4r (612664)

        Yet, if I hit you in the head with my trusty IBM type-M you will probably die.

    • by timeOday (582209)

      Boy, remind me not to get on their bad side! They may pray me to death with their eerie powers...

      No, like this [howstuffworks.com].

  • by strength_of_10_men (967050) on Friday September 11, 2009 @02:59PM (#29392271)
    It got posted to the front page of slashdot, to be discussed endlessly. Total direct cost to EA to do this - $0, assuming ScuttleMonkey wasn't a recipient of one of the $200 checks.
    • Most people won't even cash those checks as they honestly look pretty dang cool. Plus it's one of those bragging symbols, "hey, check out this check I got from EA to pimp their game!" It's kind of like getting a check from Knuth.

      • by RobBebop (947356) on Friday September 11, 2009 @03:33PM (#29392677) Homepage Journal

        But getting a check from Knuth means you found a bug in LaTeX. There is genuine pride in debugging a piece of software like that. Being a video game blogger? Not so much.

        I'll be honest... I'd cash it and then not comment about it. Maybe I'd send a private e-mail to EA thanking them for their generosity and informing them how I feel compelled not to comment on this game because of the clear conflict of interests involved.

        • by pjt33 (739471)

          But getting a check from Knuth means you found a bug in LaTeX.

          Not necessarily. I got mine for catching a typo and an abuse of notation in preprints of part of TAoCP vol. 4.

          (Replying because I don't have mod points. Your second paragraph blatantly deserves 5, Insightful).

        • by Xtravar (725372)

          But if you were running a gaming website, you could cash in twice - once from the check, and once from the publicity that reporting on the check would bring.

          I think the problem here is that it's beneficial to EA AND to the websites... wait, is that really a problem then? Well, I guess for the general public it is - unless it's a really good game!

        • by geekoid (135745)

          That's great until the post the cashed check and report your sin.
          There genius it's open and there is no real win...
          Everything can be twisted into a sin in the bible.

          Genius.

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by RobBebop (947356)

            Sins are a slippery slope. If I get a check that's personally addressed to me, I'd consider that either a gift or a bribe. Bribes are illegal. Gifts aren't, though you're beholden to report them to the IRS. There's no greed in taking the money. The only greed is in reporting it publicly for your own benefit... which also benefits EA. Thus, the only guilty parties are (indirectly) EA and (directly) the people who blogged about it so they can rake in advertising dollars.

            I suppose I'm guilty for commen

      • by Ironica (124657) <[pixel] [at] [boondock.org]> on Friday September 11, 2009 @03:37PM (#29392731) Journal

        It's kind of like getting a check from Knuth.

        ...In the way that meeting the guy who sings for the band playing at the mall on Labor Day is like meeting Bono.

    • Come on, /. haven't got a Rockstar game "controversy" to give four or five advertisements to at the moment.
    • I'll resist the marketing pressure by refusing to read the story or participate in the discussion.

      NO, wait, aww shit...

    • assuming ScuttleMonkey wasn't a recipient of one of the $200 checks.

      I certainly plan on lodging a formal complaint. Where is my $200 EA?

  • Marketing... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by CopaceticOpus (965603) on Friday September 11, 2009 @02:59PM (#29392279)

    I wonder if there might be a better place for creative, unconventional thinking, for risk taking, and for the willingness to not water down an idea because it might offend someone. Oh, at EA? Nevermind!

  • The current economic model for games means that there's a few huge winners, and a lot of games that ultimately lose money. In this environment, the selective pressure is massively against smaller independent studios. A small studio has to publish a hit every time, and this is becoming nearly impossible to do because of the expense involved in making a game with modern graphics. There's only a few success stories, and many failures. EA, on the other hand, can cash in on it's big hits and can afford to fi

    • by IgnoramusMaximus (692000) on Friday September 11, 2009 @03:30PM (#29392643)

      A small studio has to publish a hit every time, and this is becoming nearly impossible to do because of the expense involved in making a game with modern graphics.

      This is a self-inflicted malaise as far as the independent studios are concerned. There is absolutely no requirement to use "modern graphics" (whatever that means, I assume you are talking about ridiculously detailed models with megazillions of polygons). That is because there is absolutely no direct relationship between game play and the graphics quality. Some of the most popular games have graphics reminiscent of the 1990s or even 1980s, while some of the greatest bombs sport fancy 3D engines with programmable shaders, deformable environments and what not.

      In fact this whole obsession with graphics to the exclusion of everything else seems to me very much like a hardware vendor instigated mass psychosis, helped along by the likes of EA and others who wish to achieve a strangle-hold on the gaming industry by setting up massive, artificial, budgetary "barriers to entry" for competitors. Which also happens to be a pre-requisite to cartel-forming, creation of oligopolies and finally monopolies.

      • by Red Flayer (890720) on Friday September 11, 2009 @04:28PM (#29393335) Journal

        That is because there is absolutely no direct relationship between game play and the graphics quality. Some of the most popular games have graphics reminiscent of the 1990s or even 1980s, while some of the greatest bombs sport fancy 3D engines with programmable shaders, deformable environments and what not.

        And yet there IS a correlation between graphics quality and the number of people willing to shell out $50 for the game.

        For a disconcertingly large number of gamers, graphics quality is an indicator of game quality when making purchasing decisions -- especially for people who buy games for other people to play (parents buying for their kids, for example).

        It's been true since day 1, graphics have always sold games. I believe we're at the point where the relative increase in graphics quality now is outweighed by gameplay factors, but that's just me and some others... and I don't spend more than $20/yr on games. So why would the studios care about me?

      • People spend money on games with better graphics. End of message. It's not for you to decide what people want, it's consumers, and they want games that look more realistic and detailed and immersive. No one is happy with even the current state of the art.

    • by mwvdlee (775178)

      so EA game projects are going to be lower risk sequels whenever practical

      So you think EA is going to make even more sequels?
      How is that even possible?
      They already make sequels for every title that doesn't make too much of a loss.
      Are they going to do "2009 1/2" editions now?

  • Outrage! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by koterica (981373) on Friday September 11, 2009 @03:02PM (#29392319) Journal
    Why, its horrible that they are sending out money, and hot babes, and... wait, where can I sign up?
    • by TiggertheMad (556308) on Friday September 11, 2009 @05:32PM (#29393953) Homepage Journal
      The real question is why are all these people getting bent out of shape over the 'commit acts of lust' contest?

      Yeah, you are gay, bi, or just some sort of feminist who is offended by anything with a penis. Whatever. The contest is just asking for you to take a picture of yourself with a booth babe. That's it. Take a freaking picture.

      Now, last time I checked, a lot of people take pictures of booth babes. in general, its a pretty acceptable practice (except in England, where cameras are only used by terrorists...) that has been going on for years. Now, you can complain that there isn't equal representation of 'booth beefcakes' (or whatever else you might want), but that really has nothing to do with EA's contest, does it? You might be a transgendered feminist lesbian hemaphrodite, all you have to do is stand next to a booth babe and have your picture taken. IS THAT REALLY SO AWFUL?

      Pretty much anyone complaining about this PR campaign are idiots in my book.
  • by Lord Ender (156273) on Friday September 11, 2009 @03:08PM (#29392377) Homepage

    It sounds to me like EA has some madly-ambitious marketing executive who gets paid based on the number of sales, so he has authorized any wacky stunt imaginable to drive sales to their target audience (young men).

    If additional sales could boost your yearly bonus check by $1,000,000.00, would you give a shit if you "offend" someone? No. Money talks, and it does so a lot louder than angry bloggers.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by demonbug (309515)

      Nah, it's just the natural progression when your creative talent realize they can make more money for less work by transferring to the marketing department. You really don't need many writers and such to throw together the formulaic BS story for Flashy Graphics Sequel 9.

      Instead of looking at it cynically, though, I think we should all be very excited. Here is a company, formerly known for selling over-priced, often crappy games, that has decided to give away their best work! There's no need to actually buy

    • by jythie (914043) on Friday September 11, 2009 @03:37PM (#29392737)

      Probably less someone getting paid based on number of sales, and more getting paid based off how much impact the people above the exec thing they had.

      I've seen execs rewarded for horrible sales simply because they convinced their bosses/clients that it 'would have been so much worse if I had not done XYZ'.

  • They staged something at E3? It's cute and a good technique. Considering you get the odd Cosplay at E3, why the hell not...

    They paid writers to write about it? Isn't that like... their job? If someone pays you money to write something, you write something! I only consider Bribery truly immoral if its to commit an immoral act. To write? Writing isn't immoral under any circumstances, you can write as much as you bloody want and it won't hurt anyone physically, and if its hurts them in any other regard its the

    • by PitaBred (632671)
      The main shady part (IMHO) is that they encouraged you to accost women for "lust". Sure, you might get some to go along with it, but there are enough douchebags out there that will take it as a free pass to be... well, themselves, that it's just irresponsible for EA to do that.
    • by Ironica (124657)

      I only consider Bribery truly immoral if its to commit an immoral act. To write? Writing isn't immoral under any circumstances, you can write as much as you bloody want and it won't hurt anyone physically, and if its hurts them in any other regard its their own fault.

      So if someone writes something libelous against me, it's my own fault if it causes me to lose my job or my spouse or my life?

      I think you underestimate the power of the written word.

    • by steelfood (895457)

      Writing isn't immoral under any circumstances

      Would you consider defamation immoral? What about written defamation then?

      What EA is doing may not be immoral per se. But it might not be ethical; it may cause some reviewers and their employers to lose their credibility.

      Aside, the note from EA accompanying the check is a false dichotomy.

    • by Darkness404 (1287218) on Friday September 11, 2009 @05:21PM (#29393863)

      They paid writers to write about it? Isn't that like... their job?

      They pretty much bribed writers to write favorable reviews. Thats why people started flocking to the internet rather than print for all their gaming reviews because just about all the paper magazines were written to have a favorable bias on some truly terrible games. No one wants to be ripped off when they buy a game, and some publications were even owned by the company that made games (such as Nintendo Power) that even went as far as to put in propaganda through the years of the evils of GameSharks and Game Genies, the evils of old ROMs and why you should always make sure that all of your games had a Seal of "Quality" on them.

  • by RemoWilliams84 (1348761) on Friday September 11, 2009 @03:14PM (#29392441)

    this is outrageous. Please, don't fall victim to this EA marketing ploy. It is unethical and EA should be shunned for this.

    Please, as a show of unity against this marketing scheme, please send me all of the $200 checks. Once I have received a substantial amount of them I will take these checks and show EA where to shove them. It's the only way we can get our point across.

    If you didn't get a check and would like to make a donation to the cause, please feel free to send that to me as well.

    GAMERS UNITE!

  • by MojoRilla (591502) on Friday September 11, 2009 @03:14PM (#29392445)
    They are marketing a game called Dante's Inferno and they are having fun with the deadly sins. This is just good marketing, plain and simple. People objecting need to get their funny bone tweaked.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by mr.dreadful (758768)

      I disagree. Staging fake protests undermines the legitimacy of people who are actually concerned about an issue. Were the people who have been interrupting the town hall meetings around healthcare legitimate, or were they just paid for by the marketing departments of big pharma? Are big pharma marketers good marketers, who just scumbags who would take a buck regardless of the effect is has on our country?

      Personally, I think you're confusing "notable" with clever.

      Frankly, I fed up to here with the notion tha

  • Gay Blogger (Score:5, Insightful)

    by imunfair (877689) on Friday September 11, 2009 @03:17PM (#29392469) Homepage
    I like the part where the gay game reviewer dissed the reward involving a night with two (female) models, saying:

    While I'm not sure if it was intentional or not, this stunt projected a view of your target demographic as lustful heterosexual males, when in reality a larger and larger portion of the gaming population are women and LGBT people.

    I'm pretty sure a lesbian would be happy with that reward too. I guess they could have had two male models on hand for a gay guy/female winner, but to portray it as anti-homosexual is pretty unfair.


    Not totally related but - why would you even make a 'gay gamer' site - do tastes in games really vary that much with sexual orientation? Seems like his whole job is built around being controversial and 'different'.

    • by steelfood (895457)

      Seems like his whole job is built around being controversial

      That goes for a lot of people. Most people are sheep. If somebody says, "I am like you, and I will champion your cause," most people will mindlessly follow that person, irrespective of whether the first or the second part of the initial assertion is true.

  • by idontgno (624372) on Friday September 11, 2009 @03:18PM (#29392483) Journal

    In theory, the best response of the media and industry should be the timeless wisdom of the net: "Don't feed the trolls". Ignore the faux protestors. Throw away the checks. Disregard the stupid "contest".

    Alas, however, the mere fact that we have to keep repeating "Don't feed the trolls" is proof that EA will come out on the winning side of this, because the majority of fools in their target demographic either (A) enjoy being trolled, or (B) don't recognize a troll when they see it.

    The only proper response is to allow their trolling to fall, and fail, unnoticed. Their game doesn't work unless others play along.

  • and now that EA has grown a sense of humor, it's kind of tempting. The fake protesters idea is hilarious.
  • Guerilla Marketing (Score:2, Interesting)

    by NoYob (1630681)
    I don't know about you guys, but I don't even notice advertising. I'm a bit interested in this story because of the marketing techniques they're using - I'm not interested at all in their games, btw. With there being so much noise and promotions out there, to get your message across these days you have to resort to things like this. [wikipedia.org]
  • by jythie (914043) on Friday September 11, 2009 @03:34PM (#29392693)

    I wonder if anyone has actually done the research to find out if the old adage 'any publicity is good publicity'.

    Marketing seems full of these 'of course it is true!' rules that they never bother to find out if they are actually, well, true. And some of the biggies are not.. for instance, throwing sex into an existing series usually results in a drop of sales/viewers, not a gain.

    Then again, they would probably keep doing it anyway. The above example also applies here since even though at this point the numbers are out there and known, many marketers and execs STILL think that sexing something up will lead to larger profits.

    I really do not think advertisers actually think through the effects they have.. only how to convince the people above them that they had an effect. Since no one bothers checking, it really just comes down to force of personality and ability to sell yourself to people like you, i.e. your bosses/clients.

    • Nobody who is in marketing believes that. If your brand rep is as a "renegade" then perhaps any publicity is good, but that's only a special case. It's hard to imagine Gerber baby food, or Fisher Price, or Pampers brand managers thinking that any publicity is good.

       

  • What if an editor who received one of those checks just cashed it and immediately ceased writing about any EA product? Forever? (S)he would enjoy monetary benefit and would avoid conflict of interest. Meanwhile, EA would have screwed themselves.
    • by geekoid (135745)

      They would post the cashed check, and explain her sin. I think Pride would be this one.

      Thay may ahve accidental opened peoples eyes to the fact that the everything is a sin according to the bible.

  • complaining female and LGBT gamers Wait... why are the "L" and "B" gamers complaining? Can't they win a date with a booth babe too? In fact, if they could just have male and female booth babes, couldn't you make everyone happy?
  • How is this news? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Hurricane78 (562437) <deleted@s[ ]hdot.org ['las' in gap]> on Friday September 11, 2009 @03:42PM (#29392807)

    EA is doing this since... well, I think they are pretty much defined by those methods.

    I know that at least five years ago, the German Game magazine Gamestar was the only one not to have a story on some EA game, because they refused to rate it above 90% in order to get access to “exclusive” images etc. I think they even wrote about how EA offered them a pre-written “test” to print practically verbatim.

    But this is not the only area where they are shady. If you remember the lawsuit, where the wives of EA programmers (or should I say “code monkeys”) sued EA, because their men never came home. Apparently, the internal rule was, to work until at least 8 PM, and never have free weekends or ask for holidays. If you would go home on the weekend, your boss would tell you, not to ever come back.

    I also remember that everybody from Bullfrog (don’t dare to not remember them! ^^) quit the company, to found a new one, as soon as they were bought by EA. That company was again bought by EA. And that time, still 60% of the employees did quit on the spot.

    Then their whole process of making games — from my perspective as a game designer — is just disgusting. It’s just like those Hollywood plastic fantastic default movies with ten writers. To them it’s just a production process. No heart, no soul, no free creativity. You just create a mass-product. Never a piece of art, how it should be. They are an insult to the whole business, dragging the reputation of us all down with them.

    Now you’ve got an image of what kind of company EA is. Microsoft’s ethics are a freakin’ joke, compared to EA’s.
    I wish I would be exaggerating.

    • by geekoid (135745)

      Yes, EA make a mass product, and many people like them.

      Yes EA treats there employees like shit. I'[m not sure why people go to work for them.

      There marketing for SIns has been creative, and clever. I hope more people start advertising out of the box.

      All entertainment industries have people making money from creting a mass product. Hannah-Barbera has as many horror stories as EA, and many ones that are worse.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by MrKaos (858439)

      Now you've got an image of what kind of company EA is. Microsoft's ethics are a freakin' joke, compared to EA's.

      So you're saying they're Evil Assholes.

      Actually, come to think of it, I emailed them about getting a game working under wine on linux and they emailed back "go to hell nerd". After I stopped crying I got the game working just fine under wine.

      You're right!!!!! They are Evil Assholes!

  • ScuttleMonkey must have cashed his check!
  • I went to the game's site to take a look.. and being honest it is VERY rare for me to pay attention to adverts of any kind.. Well played EA (that's likely the only compliment you'll get from me)
  • by popo (107611) on Friday September 11, 2009 @04:03PM (#29393057) Homepage

    The Christians are just pissed that their "moral" outrage seems to so consistently coincide with extremely popular titles.

    So much so, in fact that marketing firms are now going so far as to stage 'faux Christian outrage' in the hopes that the outrage itself is the thing that contributes to the hits. This of course must be very annoying for the Christians who were hoping that the world was actually listening to what they were saying. It turns out that marketing departments haven't really been listening to the Christians at all, but instead -- happily noting the simultaneous occurance of increased revenues with the angry mobs of yammering Christians.

    Which is as it should be of course. Trying to ram one's morality down the throats of others is generally regarded as poor form.

    • by Trepidity (597)

      Isn't falsely attributing a viewpoint to someone else by impersonating them also generally regarded as poor form?

  • How is sending those cheques shady? They didn't ask for a review or a mention on the website in return. Nothing was stopping those people from cashing the cheque and then doing absolutely nothing, or even writing a post on their website (or even just a letter back to EA) like so: "I received a cheque in the mail today from a company for no reason. I cashed it and bought some groceries. Thanks for the donation to my nutrition needs." The End.

    The editor gets some free money without keeping it 'secret' and th

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