EA Deemed "Worst Company In America"

By Erica Zerbe on April 5, 2012 4:12 AM | Permalink |

EA-Logo.jpgElectronic Arts has been crowned "Worst Company In America" by the people of the internet.

Us gamers, generally speaking, are specific when it comes to what we want in a game. We castigate game development and publishing companies for releasing games that were not thoroughly tested for bugs, use too much gimmicky content in order to pull in a wider audience, or fail to give the player a balanced amount of control. Usually these things are the worst offenses we see from the gaming companies we love, yet some companies achieve an "exceeds expectations" in ruining things for the player. This is typical in the gaming world. However, it normally didn't seep into the world of the average consumer. This year it has. This year, "The Consumerist's "Worst Company in America" reward didn't go to one of the usual targets of consumer rage such as Walmart, Comcast, or Bank of America--companies that are infamous for inhuman business practices and subpar customer support--it went to Electronic Arts. 

In recent years paid DLC has become very popular among games, and it's easy to see why. DLC allows developers to add things into the game later on that they didn't have the time to add in earlier on, such as side-quests, minigames, new areas to explore, character backstories that were irrelevant to the plot, and extra fun content (weapons, clothes, etc). People love this, especially when the game is great on its own, because it allows them to have an even larger amount of play time. The problem is that some companies, like EA, have been caught red handed deliberately holding back (arguable necessary) content for the sake of making a quick buck after the game's initial release.

 EA has been doing this with many of their games, especially The Sims. Content released in The Sims 2 expansions were deliberately withheld from The Sims 3, despite the protests of many fans. They charge a premium for expansion packs ($40 USD) that contain minimal content. Mass Effect 3 had plot-relevant character information withheld from the game's launch that went up as paid DLC a week later. Numerous other EA games have followed this pattern.

The argument against EA as a company is that gamers generally aren't very wealthy. Companies like EA are nickel and diming consumers customers at every turn, focusing on profit margins instead of making a good product. They have been known to install root-kits or other invasive DRM software into their games (with no warning label) that ruined the experience with the paying customer. Rather than being on the consumer's side, they look at the consumer the way a beast views its prey. EA begs the question, "what can the consumer do for us" rather than "what can we do for the consumer".

Those who voted for EA to have this award argued that while Bank of America is undeniably a bad company, they are already well-known for this. EA has been coasting along free of any major criticism over the past few years. It was time to draw attention to EA's business practices. This was the way gamers chose to lash out at their recent behavior.

However, it's a tough decision. Bank of America has ruined people's lives, forcing people who paid their bills into homelessness, charging people to access their money, and making mistakes that really, truly hurt people. What do you think?

Source: The Consumerist