It's that time of year, when consumers from around the United States vote on the "worst company in America." Poised not to repeat last year's results, in which EA earned the crown as worst company in America, Chief Operating Officer Peter Moore took to the company blog to campaign against your vote.
"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," Moore admitted. He event went on to list five key bullet points looking to dispel common complaints.
- Many continue to claim the Always-On function in SimCity is a DRM scheme. It’s not. People still want to argue about it. We can’t be any clearer – it’s not. Period.
- Some claim there’s no room for Origin as a competitor to Steam. 45 million registered users are proving that wrong.
- Some people think that free-to-play games and micro-transactions are a pox on gaming. Tens of millions more are playing and loving those games.
- We’ve seen mailing lists that direct people to vote for EA because they disagree with the choice of the cover athlete on Madden NFL. Yes, really…
- In the past year, we have received thousands of emails and postcards protesting against EA for allowing players to create LGBT characters in our games. This week, we’re seeing posts on conservative web sites urging people to protest our LGBT policy by voting EA the Worst Company in America.
Unfortunately, a few of those bullet points don't necessarily have the evidence to support Moore's claims. As consumers were quick to point out, SimCity's always-on functionality will always remain, in gamers' eyes, to be a scheme. After all, why should they believe otherwise? What has EA done — other than giving out a free game for the launch troubles — to prove otherwise?
As for Origin, consumers questioned how many of the 45 million registered users were actually satisfied with their experience. Some even argued that they have been forced to use Origin because EA pulled their catalog out of Steam. Does 45 million count if most of them are unhappy?
Not all of Moore's defenses were out of line, though. The complaints about Madden NFL's cover athlete and the LGBT debate prove that some consumers will never be happy with EA — even if things change. "If that’s what makes us the worst company," Moore said of the company's support of LGBT characters in games, "bring it on. Because we're not caving on that."
"Every day, millions of people across globe play and love our games – literally, hundreds of millions more than will vote in this contest," he defended. "So here’s my response to this poll: We can do better. We will do better. 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."
"The tallest trees catch the most wind," Moore concluded. "At EA we remain proud and unbowed."
For as frustrating as EA can be at times, I agree that there are far worse corporations in America. If the worst EA does is charge microtransactions or require me to be online to play games, then I think many of these voters need to get their priorities straight. There are far bigger problems in America.
[Photo courtesy: Wired]