EA Creates Revisionist History on Wikipedia

It would be impossible to tell the story of game publishing giant Electronic Arts without including its founder Trip Hawkins. Or, for that matter, the famed EA Spouse, whose anonymous postings helped change the way the video game industry treats its creative talent.

But that was apparently the intention of an unnamed EA staffer who doctored the company’s Wikipedia entry to remove traces of both Hawkins and EA Spouse. As reported by ShackNews:

Someone at EA doesn’t want you to know about Trip Hawkins, the publishing giant’s original founder. On multiple occasions, a user with an IP address of–within a range registered to Electronic Arts’ Redwood City headquarters–has tried to remove several references to Hawkins’ legacy from the Electronic Arts Wikipedia page…

A user at the same Redwood City IP address attempted to further purge Hawkins’ name… while adding a paragraph emphasizing the achievements of Larry Probst, former EA CEO and current chairman, when he became sales VP in 1984…

In addition to removing several paragraphs from the “Criticism” section, the user deleted references to the notorious ea_spouse debacle and spun the class action lawsuit brought on by overworked, undercompensated employees to portray the company in a good light.

GP: There’s not much to say about this other than it is despicable corporate behavior on EA’s part, a not-so-subtle attempt to massage the company’s history.

Kudos to Shacknews, which used a tool called Wikipedia Scanner to examine the EA Wikipedia entry.

UPDATE: GP reader Lazy informs us that EA is far from the only offender uncovered by Wikipedia Scanner. See – and vote – on the list of questionable edits.

UPDATE 2: Joystiq reports that EA isn’t apologizing.

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  1. 0
    Jason Brozek says:

    Claire Newton ,ive been trying to contact her for many years now.Hopefully she will find this post on Google.Dorothy’s mother has my family’s contact info.She might have come across the story that I contributed to on Gamespot.

  2. 0
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  3. 0
    Apathetic_Prick says:

    On one hand, this activity is really childish. The CIA changing the pciture of the pope to Fonzie? That’s so unprofessional it isn’t funny. It’s downright sad. And this is an intelligence agency!

    Regarding EA, they can’t fool us hardcore gamers that’ll never forgive them for the dissolution of Bullfrog, Origin and their other magnificent studios, and we’re smart enough to know what comes from them that’s bullshit and what isn’t.

    But to twist facts – and whomever defended Nintendo, they’re guilty of it, too – especially of your founding roots, that’s absoltuely dispicable. I mean, how is Trip Hawkins being the founder politically damaging? Trying to hide it, THAT’S politically damaging.

  4. 0
    Zigs says:

    This has already gone way beyond EA. Fox, BBC, the CIA, Al Jazeera, Exxon… it just goes on and on and on. Some of these companies have very serious accusations to address. I just added an edit myself about the CIA changing Pope Ratzinger’s picture to that of Fonzie.


    I’m thinking this is creeping up in a big way, and come Monday the world will have achieved the PR equivalent of a brick shithouse. You knew the wiki-prick-waving was going to reach critical mass at some point, right?

  5. 0
    lumi ( User Karma: 0 ) says:


    My god…what a load that was.

    “An EA spokesperson told GamesIndustry.biz that “EA sometimes updates websites with info about the company, games and employees. For example, EA has sent a correction to Yahoo Finance when they had misspelled the name of an EA executive.””

    Comparing a _typo_ of an exec’s name to expunging most traces of Trip Hawkins and trying to erase records of the EA Spouse incident? That’s like not only digger yourself deeper, that’s digging faster than before.

    “Many companies routinely post updates on websites like Wikipedia to ensure accuracy of their own corporate information.”

    Except that this wasn’t “ensuring accuracy”. This was omitting or altering facts to such a degree as to intentionally obfuscate the truth in an attempt to cover up politically damaging aspects of the company’s history.

    I’m sure the folks who work in the trenches over at EA are great people, but it’s like the higher up you climb their ladder, the more of an asshat you become.

  6. 0

    @ Jason Brozek

    true, but Nintendo would never revise its own history so that it erased one of its own, like if Nintendo started saying they’d never heard of Gunpei Yokoi, now THAT would be awful behavior.

    EA has tried to marginalize EAs founder and early history many times before including during the making of G4s “ICONS” [which they then changed the name to Game Makers].

    I just came across this article, EA responds to the wiki incident:


  7. 0
    Jason Brozek says:

    Zigs does have a point you know.

    EA is not the only game company that has edited a wikipedia page in there own favor. Nintendo has pulled something much worse.They edited the pages refering to the gamecube and the ds lite hardware flaws.

    Nintendo has edited out “Features a much strudier hinge than the previous model,witch was somewhat fragile”on the DS lite page.


    They also edited out a paragraph that talked about the disk read errors the early model gamecubes had.


  8. 0
    Zigs says:

    The Wikipedia Scanner is going to destroy the reputation of many more companies before it’s done. It sure has been damaging to the federal government.

  9. 0
    Aerodynamo ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    …Trip Hawkins is a great man. He FOUNDED EA, didn’t he? Wasn’t it him that made the company the juggernaut it is today (well, in the the fact that it’s big)? Why would you try to erase someone like that out of your history? o_O;;

  10. 0
    Ben Zupan ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    I have to say…. the link in the update is pretty neat. I like some of those revisions (mostly because I got a giggle out of the NRA changing Hunting to wildlife conservation and management)…

  11. 0
    Marlowe says:

    Wikipedia is mostly accurate for general knowlege, just check their bibliography if you run accross a fact that seems odd, if you can’t verify the fact assume it’s false. Wikipedia isn’t to blame for this, it’s a great tool, you just need to not be retarded when using wikipedia.

  12. 0
    IanC says:

    I dont want to sound like im (dear lord) defending EA (though i do like some of there games) but why pick on EA? Other companies do it – and its not nesseceraly on orders. It could easily be a bored staffer doing it him/herself.

    Oh wait. Its that EVIL EA, isnt it? So it must be on order *sigh*

  13. 0
    Benji, 'Attorney' says:

    At some point I recall reading that the incidence rate of errors on Wikipedia is actually on par with that of the Encyclopedia Britannica. Also, one of my professors was discussing the Chernobyl accident and said that the most complete and accurate description of the events that led up to it was Wikipedia’s entry. Of course, this was a while ago, and the rise of vandalism on Wikipedia might have made it somewhat less reliable. Personally it’s for that reason that I try not to use Wikipedia as a primary source for any research, though I have had good luck sourcing the references used in Wikipedia articles.

  14. 0
    Zigs says:


    Ah, somewhat?

    History is not necessarily factual with Wikipedia, it’s just what every interested party agrees on. Great in concept, flawed in an encyclopedia.

  15. 0
    The_None says:

    @Krull:Madness? This is…..DYSTOPIA!

    Seriously, while Wikipedia has no articles about Tourette’s Guy,Demented Cartoon Movie and Angry Video Game Nerd etc, I knew something’s wrong and CORPORATE is happening at wikipedia……..

    I allways knew Wikipedia somewhat sucked balls…..

  16. 0
    brokenscope ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Of course, issues like this occur on almost every corporate related page, it typically only stays on the ones no on is watching. Most of the time it gets fixed, and frequently the person gets blocked for a few days.

    I really like it when someone tries to claim they are not a corporate shill. Then it gets entertaining.

  17. 0
    Zigs says:

    Maybe EA doesn’t want to be associated with 3DO?

    Wikipedia has an anti-corporate whoring rule that is suppose to result in IP bans. I guess the important question is are these IP’s acting independently of the company or are they actually paid to cover up the company’s blood stained history?

  18. 0

    @Bildo: Simple solution, eliminate the people, and all of the problems in the world will go away 😀

    Seriously though, this isn’t the first time some company (or organization in general) has attempted to revise Wikipedia. Heck, anyone with a burr up their a** can sit there and try to revise things. I loved the fight over the inclusion of the “Play games, not Warcraft” episode of South Park that happened a couple months back… someone decided he or she didn’t like World of Warcraft, and therefore wanted that *one* episode’s content to be edited to remove all WoW references, claiming the game wasn’t important enough to get such a spotlight.

  19. 0
    Silver_Derstin says:

    Reading the EA article on Wikipedia is pretty much like reading the glorious review of all that is good and holy in this world, far from the truth of the matter. Hopefully someone solves those little “revisions” before it’s too late.

  20. 0
    Marlowe says:

    @ AM
    I know, originally they didn’t make any games, that was what was so great about them, they just found programmers and developers that were pissed off with Atari and said “hey, we know how much Atari sucks and tries to play down the role of you guys, we recognize your work as art and we’ll provide the financial backing you need to make the game you want and give you the credit you deserve.” That was an amazing business model, M.U.L.E. is one of my favorite games of all time which ain’t bad for coming out in ’83. Somewhere along the line they’ve sold their souls and got an exclusive deal with the NFL in return.

  21. 0
    AM ( User Karma: 0 ) says:


    Archon was great. They didn’t make it. They only published it. The developers were Freefall Associates. Nontheless, their behavior and vision has changed dramatically since the Trip Hawkins days, about that, you’re totally correct.

    Here’s hoping that not only is the Wikipedia article fully restored, but that this shameful event is added to the criticisms section they wanted gone.

  22. 0
    Tom ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    This sort of this was inevitable. Fox News was just caught with their hands in the Wikipedia cookie jar and we’ll be seeing more companies getting busted in the near future as well. Hell, MS’s fully-disclosed contract requesting an independent source examine a wikipedia entry and make changes without corporate editorial control doesn’t seem quite as bad in light of these underhanded attempts at information control.

  23. 0
    Marlowe says:

    WOW, goddamn, talk about a fall from grace. You start out as this kind of independant company trying to fight Atari’s stranglehold you come out with the most innovative games of your time like M.U.L.E. and Archon. Now you’re the industry juggernaut that’s crushing competition, has a monopoly on the NFL game market and you’re now trying to rewrite facts in your favor.

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