EA’s CEO Peter Moore made a post today on the EA.com called “We Can Do Better” where he defends his company. The piece is more of a reaction to EA’s current standings in the Consumerist’s "Worst Company in America" tournament that EA won last year and is currently in the semifinals this year against Ticketmaster. Although defending your company is always noble, how he defends his company is another example of how some people at EA just don’t get it.
Going through his post, it doesn’t take long for Moore to not realize the hate there is for the company:
"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. 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."
So first off, he wants to point at other companies and say “LOOK AT THEM, THEY’RE WORSE!” Well yes Bank of America, BP, and other companies are terrible companies. That still doesn’t excuse EA’s behavior. Yes, the Mass Effect 3 ending really angered gamers so much that they sent cupcakes to BioWare. Also while EA did not fully commit to being pro-SOPA, they were far from opposing the legislation.
Still, should Moore be reminded that EA was the first ones to start the online passes? Or how about shutting down servers of games that had online passes even though those online passes were supposed to pay for those servers? Let’s also not forget the talented studios that have been gobbled up by EA to only have iconic games become bastardized shells of what they used to be.
No, Peter Moore, there was more to the hate for EA than just SOPA and Mass Effect 3.
"This year’s contest started in March with EA outpolling a company which organizers 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."
There are plenty of beer drinkers online, yet that was not why you won against Anheuser-Busch. They may make crappy beer, however you can be a long time beer drinker without touching their stuff. On the other hand, you can’t be a gamer without having something you play get tainted by EA in some fashion.
"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."
As I mentioned earlier, there’s way more to answer for that just that, and yes, you do owe gamer a better performance than what you’re doing right now.
"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."
Ok, Maxis is insisting that their game is a "MMO" and online only is not DRM. That still is NO excuse for not being properly prepared for the game when you know that it can only be played online. I also have a problem with what Maxis is saying considering that they insisted that SimCity cannot be played offline yet videos clearly show that it works fine offline.
"Some claim there’s no room for Origin as a competitor to Steam. 45 million registered users are proving that wrong."
No one claimed there was no room for competition. Gamers Gate, Gamefly, and Green Man Gaming are all showing that Steam doesn’t have to be the only option to play PC games. What people had the problem with is when EA controls a platform as evident by the myriad of customer service issues with Origin over the years.
As for the 45 million registered users, when you have major franchises like Battlefield, The Sims, and Mass Effect, then you’re going to get millions of people that will sign-up to play those games. If those games were on Steam, Origin would be a lonely place right now.
"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…"
Yes those people are idiots, but if you think that is even a remotely part of the hatred for EA, well Peter you're delusional.
"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."
Now this is something I find to be somewhat rage-inducing. EA was in the news last month for being very open about their support to their LGBT employees and the issues those employees face. They were even named "Best Places to Work for LGBT Equality" last year by the Human Rights Campaign. That is incredibly commendable for a company to put themselves out there. Yet again, this deflection game that Moore is doing is so petty.
Right now there is a major discussion about marriage equality going on in the U.S. with politicians putting themselves on the line to show their support. Big names have come out to fight for the right of gays in America. With that said Peter, do you really think there focus is on EA? Aside from a few psycho conservative websites you may be privy to, the answer is NO. The country is having a major conversation about the rights of people and the fact that someone can make a gay character in an EA game is not high up there on those discussion points.
"We are committed to fixing our mistakes. Over the last three weeks, 900,000 SimCity players took us up on a free game offer for their troubles. We owed them that. We’re constantly listening to feedback from our players, through our Customer Experience group, Twitter, this blog, or other sites. The feedback is vital, and impacts the decisions we make."
Yet none of those decisions involved making SimCity offline? I have a feeling you had a hint of feedback with that suggestion.
"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."
The proof is in the pudding, and right now, EA has been doing what they can to benefit themselves in spite of what gamers want. Time will tell if Moore will change the attitude of EA to become a better company, or to stick with this “woe is us” attitude that will guarantee them a return to the “Worst Company in America” competition.