With EA within striking distance of winning the Consumerist's "Worst Company in America" award for a second year in a row, EA chief operating officer Peter Moore thought it might be a good idea to mention that the company is paying attention to the dubious distinction it might end up winning next week and that it realizes that it needs to make some changes to better serve its customers.
Moore took to the EA blog to write a post titled "We Can Do Better." In the blog post he claims that the company wants to do better for its customers, but at the same time he throws down a gantlet for the litany of complaints leveled at the company. First though, he points out some glaring mistakes – including one that still brings a tear to players of a certain game's eye:
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.
But then he goes on to deny many of the complaints and to throw a conspiracy theory or two as to why they are winning the Consumerist tournament:
– 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.
That last one is particularly telling. If that’s what makes us the worst company, bring it on. Because we're not caving on that.
Moore closes by saying that EA will do better but that he is proud of the company he works for:
"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."
Of course it is easy to blame conservative websites and groups who are against gay marriage and equality for EA winning this award, but those numbers pale in comparison to the millions of customers that have formed an angry coalition against EA for its always-online scheme for SimCity (and we disagree that it is not a form of DRM), for online passes when buying used games, for pulling its library from Steam and forcing people to use Origin (they have millions of customers because they require you to use it in all of their PC games), their questionable use of EULAs and TOSs , their implementation of intrusive ads and questionable micro-transactions in both paid and free-to-play games, and so many other reasons. If you need proof of this, simply go to the blog post, read the whole thing, and then read the comments.