EA in the running for Consumerist's Worst Company in America


— 1:00 PM on April 8, 2013

To perhaps no one's surprise, Electronic Arts is in the running for Consumerist's "Worst Company in America" crown. The game publisher has made it to the final round in the March Madness-style tournament, which uses online voting to whittle down a list of 64 widely despised companies. Only two remain: EA and Bank of America. The matchup in this year's finals is actually a repeat of last year. In 2012, EA won the title with 64% of the vote.

Voting for this year's final is open until midnight ET, so don't forget to cast your ballot. Before you do, I encourage you to read this blog post by Peter Moore, EA's Chief Operating Officer. Moore addresses the Consumerist contest and even shows a hint of contrition:

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.

However, the post is mostly dedicating to defending the actions that have EA in the running for back-to-back titles. Moore insists that people have wrongly characterized SimCity's always-on Internet requirement as a DRM scheme. But he doesn't address why the connection is required for the single-player component of the game, and he ignores the fact that gamers were essentially lied to about whether the game simulation was run locally or server-side.

Bizarrely, Moore also claims Origin's 45 million users prove that there's room for the service as a competitor to Steam. He doesn't seem to get that the problem with Origin isn't its existence, but the fact that some of EA's games are exclusive to it—at least as far as online services go. I wonder how many of those 45 million users would be on Origin if they had the choice to buy, say, Battlefield 3 on Steam.

The last two bullet points in Moore's post take the cake. He claims people are voting for EA because they don't like its choice of cover athlete for Madden NFL. Also, the conservative media is to blame. Moore says "we're seeing posts on conservative web sites urging people to protest our LGBT policy by voting EA the Worst Company in America." Yes, EA is on track to repeat as the Worst Company in America because Mass Effect 3 has a gay romance option. Or something.

I have to admit that Moore's piece has moved me to vote... just probably not how he'd like. EA may not deserve the title of Worst Company in America—plenty of others do far more despicable things—but the firm appears to be completely out of touch with why the gaming community finds its practices so objectionable.

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