Readers of The Consumerist are expected to today name EA as the ‘Worst Company in America' for the second year running.
MCV wrote the following after EA scooped the unadmirable title last year.
The arms trade? Oil companies polluting the planet? Bankers bringing us to our knees? Companies that sell those absurd magnetic health bracelets? No, these are not the real corporate wrongdoers.”
And it seems EA COO Peter Moore agrees 100 per cent.
This is the same poll that last year judged us as worse than companies responsible for the biggest oil spill in history, the mortgage crisis, and bank bailouts that cost millions of taxpayer dollars,” Moore posted on EA blog The Beat last week. The complaints against us last year were our support of SOPA (not true), and that they didn't like the ending to Mass Effect 3.
This year's contest started in March with EA outpolling a company which organisers contend is conspiring to corner the world market on mid-priced beer, and (gulp) allegedly waters down its product. That debate takes place in bars – our audience lives on the internet. So no surprise that we drew more votes there.”
Moore went on to make some interesting admissions. Confessing to fluffing the launch of SimCity is no surprise. Saying that the company has shut down game servers too quickly is less expected.
Are we really the ‘Worst Company in America'? I'll be the first to admit that we've made plenty of mistakes,” he added. 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.
However, he was also keen to put into context the exact nature of the criticisms his company receives.
Some of these complaints are 100 per cent legitimate – like all large companies we are not perfect. But others just don't hold water,” he insisted.
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. 45m 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.
Here's the truth: each year EA interacts with more than 350m gamers; Origin is breaking records for revenue and users; The Simpsons: Tapped Out and Real Racing 3 are at the top of the mobile charts; Battlefield 3 and FIFA are stunning achievements with tens of millions of players; and SimCity is being enjoyed by millions of passionate fans all over the world.
Every day, millions of people across globe play and love our games – literally, hundreds of millions more than will vote in this contest. 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. At EA we remain proud and unbowed.”
UPDATE: The poll has not yet been decided. The headline and intro have been amended to reflect this.