For the second year in a row Electronic Arts has been voted as the worst company in America by the readers of the consumer-watchdog website The Consumerist. This makes them more hated than Bank of America, Comcast and Ticketmaster (of which took second, third, and fouth).
Despite the fierce competition this year they managed to take home the not-very coveted “Golden Poo” award. They won this because of a love of microtransactions, the price of their games and use of DLC as well as the irritating DRM practices. But the spectacular failure of the SimCity launch was a particular sore spot that was poked a few times.
“EA 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 and 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. Customers who paid full price for games, or who spent or saved huge piles of in-game cash in EA’s online products, would suddenly find a problem with their accounts, but attempts to rectify the problem, or even get a response from EA, would go unheeded.” – The Consumerist
EA chief operating officer Peter Moore, in an open letter to gamers last week, admitted the company could do better, but said the label of “worst company” was undeserved:
“Are we really the ‘Worst Company in America? I’ll be the first to admit that we’ve made plenty of mistakes. These include server shut downs too early, games that didn’t meet expectations, missteps on new pricing models and most recently, severely fumbling the launch of SimCity. We owe gamers better performance than this. … But I am damn proud of this company, the people around the globe who work at EA, the games we create and the people that play them.”
No company wants to win an award like this, EA specifically does not need any more bad press like this amongst everything else that is going on with them. They are already dealing with more significant issues such as the CEO John Riccitiello resigning at the end of last month not to mention the fallout of the SimCity ordeal.
With all of this fueling the internet hate-bandwagon I expect to see a slew of new memes being created in regards to this. But will this actually deter anyone from buying any of EA’s new games? Battlefield 4 will be releasing later this year and there is quite a bit of excitement around it and regardless of this news gamers everywhere will be buying and playing on the “broken” servers they complain about.