I dislike Electronic Arts (EA) nowadays. I really quite strongly dislike them. I dislike them enough to not buy anything they put out there on principal alone. I consider that quite a feat for a gaming company, especially one that does produce quality games once in awhile. Let me also point out that this is not just because they’re a major video game studio: I have a healthy respect for the products and business practices of Blizzard. I’ve enjoyed a number of titles by Take-Two Interactive over time. Perhaps I should start a few years back.
Let’s look back to when things first started to go downhill, at least in my opinion. Back in 2009 EA was running some of the worst conceived marketing campaigns in the history of the game industry. If you’d like a quick run down I’m providing a video by the folks at Extra Credits right after this paragraph, and it goes deeper into detail regarding what occurred. EA was promoting a game based off of Dante’s “Inferno”. They started off by hiring people to pose as Christians protesting outside their office. I kid you not.
The gaffes did not end with EA admitting to hiring people to protest the game. EA went on to run a “Sin to Win” contest that they ended up having to publicly apologize for, as the contest asked people to take pictures of their most “sinful acts” with booth babes at Comic-Con that year. For a community that’s tried to shake the stigma of being made up of primarily immature men that objectify women, well, this greatly hurt the average gamer’s image in the public eye.
Fast forward a bit to when their Deadspace 2 game was going to come out. Now, this was covered in the Extra Credits video as well, but I think I should speak about it a little bit here. Deadspace has been a pretty successful franchise for EA, and it has received a mature rating on all of its titles due to the graphic violence in the game. Well, EA decided to run the following ad in an attempt to market Deadspace 2.
If you can give me a good reason why I shouldn’t think that ad was targeting the 13-16 year old age group I’d love to hear it in the comments below. The ad is stupid, juvenile, and frankly makes me want to not buy the game. I honestly don’t know what EA’s marketing department was thinking other than possibly trying to make a grab for a teenage audience.
At least it’s not just me that can’t stand EA. They were awarded the Consumerist’s Worst Company in America in 2012, and then again in 2013. They managed to beat out some stiff competition from Bank of America, Comcast, and Carnival Cruise lines. You may remember Carnival Cruise from the horrific “Poop ship” incident. Yes, EA managed to beat them all out. Consumers cited EA’s poor customer service, as well as policies such as withholding game content to be released at a later date to incur a higher profit.
I feel bad for their in house developers, because they do produce good games. The Mass Effect and Sim City games look gorgeous. It really is torture for me not to buy them. Both franchises have had their share of issues, though. Mass Effect had issues with regards to their endings being too similar, among other areas. Sim City suffered from horrific server problems at launch. This after constant complaints from users in the Beta phase of the game that you had to always be connected to EA’s servers during play. Many considered this to be for DRM purposes, but EA will still deny that to this day.
I’m done with EA. They continually employ slimy business practices, and they continue to do so without remorse or apology. If you don’t believe me read EA COO Peter Moore’s response to the Worst Company in America Award. Instead of taking all this feedback and learning from it, which most sensible companies would do, they decide to mock the very people who are telling them they need to shape up.
Who am I to tell him how to run his business, though. People still buy their games. I just know he’s not getting any money from me.