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EA Repeats As 'Worst Company In America' 346

Posted by Soulskill
from the show-what-our-priorities-are-at-least dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Electronic Arts has successfully defended its title as the 'Worst Company In America.' Consumerist finished its annual tournament for bad companies, pitting notorious companies against each other in a single-elimination bracket where readers vote on which is worse. EA won last year, and today Consumerist announced the results of this year's final vote. EA was voted worse than Bank of America by 78% of participants. 'A made a royal mess of the SimCity release by failing to foresee that the people who would buy the game — and who would, per the game's design, be required to connect to the EA servers — might actually want to play at some point in the week after making their purchase. But that's just the latest in EA's long history of annoying its customer base with bad support.' Of course, EA saw this coming, and its CEO pre-emptively responded last Friday. Of course, many of his explanations and promises rang hollow for gamers who are sick of the company's practices: 'Until EA stops sucking the blood out of games in order to make uninspiring sequels, or at least until they begin caring about how much gamers hate their lack of respect for our money and intelligence, this is going to continue. We don't hate them because we're homophobes, we hate them because they destroy companies we love. We hate them because they release poor games. We hate them because they claim our hate doesn't matter as long as we give them our money.'"
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EA Repeats As 'Worst Company In America'

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  • Simple (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Locke2005 (849178) on Tuesday April 09, 2013 @03:08PM (#43404723)
    Your hate doesn't matter as long as you keep giving them your money. Here's an idea: stop giving them your money!!!
    • Re:Simple (Score:5, Insightful)

      by tatman (1076111) on Tuesday April 09, 2013 @03:15PM (#43404823) Homepage
      mod this up.
    • Re:Simple (Score:5, Insightful)

      by eksith (2776419) on Tuesday April 09, 2013 @03:16PM (#43404847) Homepage

      Rephrase: Better to be rich than loved

      If people showed their disapproval with money rather than vitriol on social media, EA would have been a completely different company... or out of business.

      • Re:Simple (Score:5, Insightful)

        by PRMan (959735) on Tuesday April 09, 2013 @03:55PM (#43405323)

        I often tell my kids, "I can only vote with my dollars."

        One day, my 13-year-old responded, "But dad, if everyone did that, they would go out of business. So why don't they?"

        Exactly.

        • Re: Simple (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 09, 2013 @05:01PM (#43406107)

          You are doing a good job teaching them why libertarianism ultimately leads to a hypercapitalist dystopia. The vast majority of people making up "the market" are not informed, do not want to become informed, and probably cannot become informed in any meaningful way for any appreciable percentage of the product categories they participate in.

          You might be the smartest, most savvy consumer around, always rationally voting with your dollars--but most people aren't, and they're going to dilute your good choices with their bad, uninformed, irrational or random ones.

          • Re: Simple (Score:5, Insightful)

            by Opportunist (166417) on Tuesday April 09, 2013 @05:07PM (#43406163)

            Hey, you act as if it was different in politics. The only difference is that rich people get more say when it comes to voting with your... erh ... never mind. It IS the same.

          • Re: Simple (Score:5, Insightful)

            by RabidReindeer (2625839) on Tuesday April 09, 2013 @05:56PM (#43406717)

            You are doing a good job teaching them why libertarianism ultimately leads to a hypercapitalist dystopia. The vast majority of people making up "the market" are not informed, do not want to become informed, and probably cannot become informed in any meaningful way for any appreciable percentage of the product categories they participate in.

            You might be the smartest, most savvy consumer around, always rationally voting with your dollars--but most people aren't, and they're going to dilute your good choices with their bad, uninformed, irrational or random ones.

            Even worse. Many of the ones who are informed don't care enough to do something. They want their Lower Prices Everyday and their "you-can-only-get-it-from-here" name products and so they collude to feed the beasts.

          • by Grishnakh (216268)

            And what exactly is your alternative? Having a big government agency that determines how companies should act, and forces them to act in ways that (some) people like? Or better yet, just eliminting private companies altogether and having the government own and run everything?

            History has shown that command economies don't work. We've also seen many times that very large companies can be destroyed or at least massively shrunken when their customers abandon them. Remember AOL? It's a tiny shadow of its fo

        • Re:Simple (Score:5, Insightful)

          by magisterx (865326) <TimothyAWiseman@nOsPAm.gmail.com> on Tuesday April 09, 2013 @06:06PM (#43406819)
          Sadly, not everyone knows. Lots of gamers just buy the games without really paying any attention to who the publisher is much less whether that publisher treated its customer's well or not.
      • To paraphrase Homer Simpson: To be loved you have to be nice to people...all the time! To be hated you don't have to do squat.
      • Re:Simple (Score:5, Insightful)

        by gstoddart (321705) on Tuesday April 09, 2013 @04:03PM (#43405431) Homepage

        If people showed their disapproval with money rather than vitriol on social media, EA would have been a completely different company... or out of business.

        Sadly, in the modern context, they'd go to lawmakers and say that piracy is killing their business, and then concoct some scheme to make someone else pay them. They'd produce fake statistics and graphs to support their position. Kind of what the *AAs did.

        Companies are incapable of thinking "Gee, have we pissed off our customers", and go straight to lobbying to make sure their revenue stream is untouchable.

        I'm just not confident that a modern corporation would be capable of recognizing and responding to an actual boycott of their products.

        Ads showing up in EA games on my XBox is what made me disconnect it from the network, and why it sounds like I won't be buying an XBox 720 because of the always on internet requirement.

        I seriously doubt they'd be able to arrive at the conclusion that the reason their product is not selling is because of their own behavior.

        I can pretty much tell you right now, XBox 720 has already lost any chance of a sale from me, and by extension, so has EA. Which is a shame, because Tiger Woods is one of the few video games I actually play. Many of us don't play on-line games, and see no value for us in having a gaming console connect to the internet.

      • Re:Simple (Score:5, Informative)

        by Baloroth (2370816) on Tuesday April 09, 2013 @04:20PM (#43405661)

        It should be pointed out that EA did lose a ton of money last year ($45 million quarter 4 2012, $381 the quarter before that). If they keep on track they should go out of business pretty quickly.

      • by Darinbob (1142669)

        Better to be rich and loved.

      • Re:Simple (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Opportunist (166417) on Tuesday April 09, 2013 @05:16PM (#43406221)

        As if. In this time and age, voting with your money fails on more than one level.

        What happens when you vote with your money and don't buy their crap anymore? Didn't we learn anything of the antics of the RIAA, and later the MPAA? Their products sucked, we turned away from their overhyped crap and went on with our lives, we voted with our money. So now they claim it's not that we don't buy their stuff anymore because it sucks, no, it has to be that we're accessing it illegally. You really think EA's reaction would be any different if people just up and went away, if people ignored their latest and greatest invention because they already know how bland, nondescript and simply not worth the money their "Whatever 2013" will be? You think they'd go "gee, maybe we overdid it, we should reconsider and try to offer what people want so they'll buy it again".

        No, the reaction would simply be "they don't buy it, so they pirate it. Lobbying machine to the rescue, we need laws to prop us up".

        And they'll get them.

        Where's that delusion coming from that we're still living in a capitalist world?

    • You may not realize this, but the vast majority of the population doesn't read gamer blogs or Slashdot daily, if ever. Ideas like this take time to pervade society...
      • Re:Simple (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Merk42 (1906718) on Tuesday April 09, 2013 @03:33PM (#43405047)
        GPs point isn't that people are ignorant of the reasons to dislike EA, it's that they come out and say they dislike them by voting in the "Worst Company in America", but don't act as if they dislike them by not buying their games.
    • Re:Simple (Score:4, Insightful)

      by TWiTfan (2887093) on Tuesday April 09, 2013 @03:32PM (#43405035)
      No only that, but it seems like everyone is either selling their company to them or working for them. I realize that companies go under and people need work, but if they end up owning all the decent IP, there is going to be nowhere else to turn BUT to buy from EA.
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by interkin3tic (1469267)
      You present that idea as if it hasn't been around about EA for years. It's done nothing.

      The gaming market is largely children or teenagers who are too young to know they deserve better. They're the ones throwing $60 at whatever game their friends are playing as soon as it hits, and they're the ones who will buy the rest of the game in DLC if they have any money left. Consumer action that excludes them is never going to cause EA to change: they're way too profitable. Consumer action that DOES include
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Hatta (162192)

        The gaming market is largely children or teenagers who are too young to know they deserve better.

        The age of the average gamer is 30.

        They're the ones throwing $60 at whatever game their friends are playing as soon as it hits

        How do you figure that children have more disposable income than adults?

        I agree with the rest of your analysis. I just blame adults who don't know any better instead of children who don't know any better.

        • The gaming market is largely children or teenagers who are too young to know they deserve better.

          The age of the average gamer is 30.

          Quite right, but the amount of profit isn't a normal distribution across age. The younger half of the gaming audience has more spare time, and buys more games than those of us who work full time or have kids. They vote more often with their wallet than the rest of us do. "The gaming market" wasn't quite clear. I should have said something more along the lines of "the biggest customers" or "the most demographic that is most profitable for gaming companies." Kind of like how the average age of people who

    • Here's the problem with this capitalistic idea. For every person who uses logic and reason and does not buy a (multi-player) game because it's not supported well, there are at least nine people standing behind him with cash already pulled out of their wallet ready to buy the game. Why? Because they want to play with their buddies, and all their buddies (especially the alpha ones) all are on-line playing that game. So in spite of all the game's and company's flaws, all logic and reason goes out the windo

      • Re:Simple (Score:4, Insightful)

        by DutchUncle (826473) on Tuesday April 09, 2013 @04:48PM (#43405975)

        all logic and reason goes out the window, . . . and capitalism falls apart.

        No, capitalism is working, with unanticipated inputs. That's the problem, and it's been discussed before. Economists expect people to act rationally, in their own interest, yet people don't. Economists also fail to factor in the multiple competing interests involved, like "How much cash will I burn so I can play with my friends". If economists were right, nobody would ever drink at a bar or eat at a restaurant because taking a bottle home and cooking for yourself is so much cheaper, which misses about 90% of the point.

    • No fricken duh.

      Stop the bitching, moaning and complaining. Vote with your dollars or buck up.

      -CF
    • I, for one, haven't given them money since their logo consisted of a cube, a sphere and a tetrahedron and the software ran on 6510s.

    • Don't think hate matters, hmm? Check this out:

                  EA flat on its back [google.com]

      Set to "all". Note the hate effect.

  • by Applekid (993327) on Tuesday April 09, 2013 @03:09PM (#43404737)

    They're right about claiming our hate doesn't matter as long as they get money.

    Because for whatever reason, people still keep buying EA software no matter how buggy, no matter how user hostile, no matter how demeaning, no matter what the price.

    I think it's just proof positive that the majority of gamers are, at heart, masochists searching for a sadist.

  • by Stormwatch (703920) <rodrigogirao AT hotmail DOT com> on Tuesday April 09, 2013 @03:09PM (#43404745) Homepage

    We hate them because they claim our hate doesn't matter as long as we give them our money.

    Guess what: it doesn't, because tons of idiots keep buying EA's DRM-laden excrement.

  • by alen (225700) on Tuesday April 09, 2013 @03:11PM (#43404769)

    i haven't bought or pirated a big publisher game in at least a year

    if you give them money then all they hear is "Thank you sir, may i have another?"

    • by Sarten-X (1102295) on Tuesday April 09, 2013 @03:47PM (#43405209) Homepage

      I've bought probably a dozen big-publisher games over the past two years... but often through GOG [gog.com], which I can't praise highly enough, even though I risk sounding like a shill.

      I don't know what kind of arrangement GOG has with the copyright holders, but their offerings are DRM-free*, unlimited in downloads, and cheap to boot. No, they don't have the latest greatest AAA titles, but they do have games that are fun, and once upon a time, they were big-name games, too. Even if half my purchase profits EA or another psychotic game baron, I'm glad to know that they see the purchase coming through GOG, in the hopes that some data-mining lackey in the hidden lair of evil game companies notices that a more liberal sales model is performing slightly better.

      *I recall seeing a few listings that said the game included its original DRM but came with a fix to disable/bypass it. I also wouldn't be surprised to see a few of the old "find this word in the manual" prompts, but GOG usually includes the game manuals. Of course I can't find any such listings on demand.

      • They also sell new indie games for small/individual developers, totally bypassing the corporate structure of publishing (with its attendant CEO salaries and censorship).

        GOG is doing it right, right now.

  • by blarkon (1712194) on Tuesday April 09, 2013 @03:13PM (#43404785)
    Gotta love sense of proportion. You've got companies like Monsanto and Academi (formerly Blackwater) and a raft of multinationals polluting and doing bad stuff - but the one that causes the outrage? EA. You want to know why politicians don't bother fixing real problems? It's because people passionately believe that EA is the worst corporate citizen.
    • by Applekid (993327) on Tuesday April 09, 2013 @03:17PM (#43404855)

      Gotta love sense of proportion. You've got companies like Monsanto and Academi (formerly Blackwater) and a raft of multinationals polluting and doing bad stuff - but the one that causes the outrage? EA.

      Monsanto, Academi, and Polluting Multinational #32, Inc. don't market to the public. I would doubt the average person has never heard of any of the biggest offenders. Their customers probably like them a lot, and the problem is really that the government oversight is lacking or just plain looking the other way.

      Of course, you could nominate them next year and see how they do.

      • by Dracos (107777)

        Lack of proportion and perspective. The "worst company in America" dishonor belongs to Monsanto, there shouldn't even be a contest.

    • by jedidiah (1196) on Tuesday April 09, 2013 @03:17PM (#43404861) Homepage

      Unfortunately, Monsanto and Blackwater weren't in the tournament.

      The site is called CONSUMERIST. So, you know it's going to be about CONSUMER concerns. It's not going to be a sounding board for every random Chomsky wannabe.

    • by Zak3056 (69287)

      Gotta love sense of proportion. You've got companies like Monsanto and Academi (formerly Blackwater) and a raft of multinationals polluting and doing bad stuff - but the one that causes the outrage? EA..

      Bank of America vs EA:

      1. Cratered the economy? ehhhh...
      2. Botched launch of a time waster game? GET THE TORCHES AND PITCHFORKS!

    • by devent (1627873)

      TFA compared Bank Of America with EA. Of course EA will get the price, because they did some bad with games, whereas BofA foreclosing houses, screwing up a homeowner’s loan, has been sued by investors, Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac, and the U.S. government and probably had a lot to do with the last economical crisis.

      Just wonder what BofA have to do to outmatch the busted lunch of Simcity 5.

      • Just wonder what BofA [would] have to do to outmatch the busted lunch of Simcity 5.

        Foreclose on some basements.

  • sad, really (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MickyTheIdiot (1032226) on Tuesday April 09, 2013 @03:13PM (#43404793) Homepage Journal

    EA does suck. They did screw up SimCity in a big way. But they won because gamers are loud, not because they are the worst.

    As another forum (I can't remember which now) pointed out, they were up against a company that has foreclosed on houses they don't even hold the note on.

    EA screwed up a game. BoA has destroyed lives.

    • It's not about EA screwing up a single game. It's about EA's entire corporate attitude towards its competitors that it buys up, and towards its customers. BofA obviously has several bad practices going on as well, but the hate that people direct towards EA is not based on their disappointment with a single game, it's based on their disapproval of the entire way that EA runs itself.

      • Re:sad, really (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 09, 2013 @03:55PM (#43405317)

        It's not about EA screwing up a single game. It's about EA's entire corporate attitude towards its competitors that it buys up, and towards its customers. BofA obviously has several bad practices going on as well, but the hate that people direct towards EA is not based on their disappointment with a single game, it's based on their disapproval of the entire way that EA runs itself.

        ...when they make GAMES. When all they do is MAKE GAMES. In their own tiny, tiny international market, they're terrible. And only in that market. They're highly influential in the GAME market, they treat GAME DEVELOPERS like shit, they run GAMES into the ground, they screw up GAMES, and they suck to GAMERS.

        BoA is a bank. They fuck up people's livelihoods, homes, investments, etc, etc, even if they've never touched a video game in their lives. Those shitty interest rates? BoA's fault. Foreclosing on mortgages they knew were bogus to begin with? BoA's fault. Using connections to mess with international trade for their own benefit? BoA's fault. BoA will screw up EVERYTHING — real-world shit, too, not your damn DLC — from shelter to food to clothing to trade to, oh look, GAMES. Game companies deal with money, too.

        EA, on the other hand, are entertainers. They don't even have the clout of the **AA. A bunch of noisy fucking spoiled gamers are all butthurt because they've been conditioned to waste money on a luxury based on the pretty pictures and a name. That's why EA was voted the worst company. Not because they actually are. When EA screws you over, you have a substandard luxury that you can trivially ditch and go with someone else. When BoA screws you over, you don't have a home or money to get a home .

        Now, if this were about the worst GAME COMPANY in the world...

        • by Endo13 (1000782)

          Basically what it boils down to is which company pissed off the most people the most recently. EA's SimCity debacle hit at just the wrong time. (Or just the right time, depending on your perspective.)

    • by Jiro (131519)

      I don't know about that. How do you compare companies that do drastically different things, but also do them to drastically different numbers of people?

      Taking someone's home is clearly at least ten thousand times as worse as DRMing a game. But there are also probably over ten thousand times as many victims for the latter.

      It's like the argument that we pay actors millions of dollars and we pay teachers a pittance. Well, teaching is more important than entertainment--if you're teaching one person and enter

      • I am not sure I can agree with that when it comes to something as fundamental as housing and defrauding persons out of their life savings.

    • by Guppy06 (410832)

      BoA didn't try to blame their poor reputation on homophobes.

  • Utopia (Score:5, Insightful)

    by blarkon (1712194) on Tuesday April 09, 2013 @03:19PM (#43404875)
    Oh that we live in such a utopia where the thing that outrages the populace the most about the totality of American corporate behavior is the inclusion of always-on DRM in SimCity.
  • by geekoid (135745) <dadinportland @ y a hoo.com> on Tuesday April 09, 2013 @03:21PM (#43404901) Homepage Journal

    "We don't hate them because we're homophobes, "
    wait, what?

    "We hate them because they claim our hate doesn't matter as long as we give them our money.'
    And they are correct. If you claim to hate them, but then play their games, then you are either a hypocrite, or need to look you the word 'hate'.

    • "We don't hate them because we're homophobes, " wait, what?

      "We hate them because they claim our hate doesn't matter as long as we give them our money.' And they are correct. If you claim to hate them, but then play their games, then you are either a hypocrite, or need to look you the word 'hate'.

      Penny Arcade is commenting on EA claiming that one demographic that voted them the worst company was homophobes.

    • "We don't hate them because we're homophobes, "
      wait, what?

      Yeah, that is completelty without context, and totally stupid.
      Unless of course EA is somehow particularly gay - which I'm
      pretty sure it is not, not even in the old meaning of the word.

    • by lord_mike (567148)

      "We don't hate them because we're homophobes, "
      wait, what?

      EA was claiming that they got a lot of negative votes from people upset with their use of same sex characters in some of their games.

  • Sure, EA screwed the pooch on the SimCity release, but at least they aren't on the government lobbyist gravy train like AMD, Bank of America, Goldman Sachs, Monsanto, etc. These companies use the government to screw over the public. At least with EA you have the choice to not buy their products. With the others, you're paying for their products whether you use them or not, either in the form of subsidies or flat-out money grabs.
    • by Merk42 (1906718)
      Worst consumer company. Of the four you listed, only one, Bank of America, was even in the brackets. It did come in second to EA. I didn't vote and I'm not a consumer of either EA or Bank of America, but what has Bank of America done in the past year? I'm not saying they are innocent, I just honestly don't know since I'm not a customer.
      • by Xelios (822510)

        More importantly BoA has been branded "too big to fail" and owns so many subsidiaries by now [sec.gov] that they don't need to worry themselves with what ordinary consumers think of the Bank of America brand.

        EA, on the other hand, was bothered enough to dish out pre-emptive damage control, so maybe some good will come of this.

        Well, probably not.

  • Your hate really does not matter as long as you keep giving them your money.

  • Debunking EA's spin (Score:5, Interesting)

    by onyxruby (118189) <{onyxruby} {at} {comcast.net}> on Tuesday April 09, 2013 @03:32PM (#43405041)

    The consumerist has already debunked [consumerist.com] EA's attempt to spin this. The link should have been included with the story to prevent EA from blaming this on homophobes or people who didn't like the athlete on the jacket of one of their games.

  • My indifference to EA stopped after I noticed that SSX required a code to play the game online, presumably killing its resale value. I've already boycotted Ubisoft and EA is the latest to join that list. There's just too many good games to play for me to give my money to companies that act like greedy dicks.
  • I've been a huge BF3 player of the past year, but the hacking and bugginess have been ridiculous. In the past, EA has been shrewd enough to patch everything right before a new release. I was hoping they'd at least try to do that for BF4, but we haven't even gotten that yet.

    Just too aggravating really. They don't do anything to punish to block trolls, spammers, or in-game asshattery, which turns every round into 60%-fun, 40%-frustration.

  • by Ambassador Kosh (18352) on Tuesday April 09, 2013 @05:11PM (#43406189)

    Sure EA is not a great company. Actually I think they are pretty bad but they are not even in the top 10 for the worst companies. Given that we have companies like Monsanto around there is no way that EA is actually worse. We have companies like BP that deal hundreds of billions of dollars in environmental damage and the taxpayer gets most of the bill and somehow EA is worse because they have DRM and crappy servers? We have some drug companies that have made fraudulent journal articles in order to push medications that they know are lethal but are very hard to trace back to them and even when they are caught pay tiny fines compared to the money they made and somehow EA is worse?

    Yeah I just don't buy it at all. This is more like some kind of internet popularity contest and it is popular for people to hate EA. Most people have no clue about what evil companies actually do because they don't really look around them. If EA is the worse company you know of then grow up and look around the world a bit and find out what worst really is.

  • WTF nerds (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Snotnose (212196) on Tuesday April 09, 2013 @07:23PM (#43407415)

    Company A screws people out of their homes with shady business practices. Company B prevents people from playing a video game after paying $50.

    Correct me if I'm wrong, but I'd rather be out $60 than out my house.

Nothing is more admirable than the fortitude with which millionaires tolerate the disadvantages of their wealth. -- Nero Wolfe

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