The people have spoken and Electronic Arts, for the second year in a row, is the "Worst Company in America." The bracket-style tournament hosted by Consumerist.com included a variety of companies such as Bank of America, SallieMae, Ticketmaster, Comcast, Google, and Facebook; however, EA was the only company to be selected out of the entire gaming industry.
In the end, it came down to a final matchup of EA vs. Bank of America. Despite a heartfelt letter issued by company COO Peter Moore over the weekend, it was EA that took home the Golden Poo award, for the second time in as many years. EA didn't just win, though. It captured nearly 78% of the consumer vote. In a follow-up analysis, the Consumerist argued against Moore's original statements, pointing out consumers were fed up with the company nickel-and-diming them with things like microtransactions, DLC, and Season Passes. They also held EA responsible for ruining beloved gaming franchises and poor customer service.
As I mentioned, EA was the only company out of the entire gaming industry to be included in poll. And while they may be on the forefront, they certainly aren't the only publisher to adopt things like in-game advertising, microtransactions, or Season Passes in their game. Like it or not, it's a growing trend.
While I'm not a fan of EA's business practices, I do have a hard time labeling the company as the "worst" in America — especially when you really stop to think of how evil a lot of major corporations are; I'm talking corporations that have caused millions of Americans pain and suffering beyond "ruining" their favorite game franchise. I can think of far worse cases than being screwed out of $60 for a game. If the worst EA does is "ruin" SimCity by forcing me to be online, or Dead Space by making it into more of a shooter or including microtransactions, then what does that say of our priorities — that we labeled them as the "worst in America?"
In no way am I defending EA's business practices. I hate being nickel-and-dimed as much as the next gamer. I was pissed withhow they handled the launch of SimCity. I absolutely loathe DLC and microtransactions, but I recognize every publisher is headed in that direction. Rather than place the blame solely on one company, step back and look at the entirely industry as a whole; everyone is doing it. It doesn't make it right, though. If EA truly wants to change, and avoid winning the Golden Poo award for a third year in a row, they will rethink their business practices and change the way they operate. If Peter Moore was sincere in his letter he will find a way to embrace the consumer rather than fight them every step of the way.
If you agree/disagree let us know in the comments below or follow me @Matt_GZ on Twitter.