Well it’s official, the consumerist has done their annual ranking of the worst companies in America and just like last year EA has once again taken the crown as the worst of the worst. An impressive feat considering they were running up against companies like Bank of America, Walmart, Comcast, and Ticketmaster. According to The Consumerist, EA has done what no company before it has; win the coveted “Golden Poo” award two years in a row, something that not even AIG, BP, and Halliburton managed to accomplish. I think it’s a bit unfair to claim that they are “worse” than some of these other companies, some of which have been involved in scandals that caused substantial loss of life, but it’s still an indicator of how some consumers view the company after another year in which they were almost always in the new cycle for bad reasons.
Like I said I don’t know if it’s fair to really label them “worse” than say BP or Halliburton; EA manufactures games, while BP is responsible for one of the worst environmental disasters in the America’s history and Halliburton is a borderline war profiteer. Still, the ranking isn’t based on actual empirical evidence, but on public opinion, meaning even though they aren’t as bad on paper, consumers feel they are which can be just as bad.
The Consumerist has listed a few reasons as to why they made it to the top (or the bottom depending on how you look at it) of this list again this year, most notably their unhealthy addiction of saying they try to give consumers what they want while doing exactly the opposite. They cite Mass Effect 3 as an example of rushing content out the door, leaving consumers who have been fans of the series for years at the mercy of what felt like an “obviously rushed endgame.” They also mentioned their most recent debacle with SimCity, forcing everyone to play the game online when it’s clear that consumers don’t really want it.
But that’s just the tip of the iceberg; they also reference their devotion to charging $60 for every game they release regardless of content, a laughable support system for their titles, and their unwavering commitment to never take responsibility for their bad decisions. Perhaps they wouldn’t seem so bad if their public stance on each of their PR disasters is almost always some sort of political non-apology apology, but since they refuse to ever admit their mistakes it’s easy for consumers to dislike them.
I doubt they will change their ways. As long as they are making money doing what they know how to do they will keep operating business as usual. Last year’s Golden Poo award didn’t seem to influence any of their decisions this year, so I doubt this one will either. Even though they continue to do as they please and weather whatever storms they create, I’m sure that no one over at EA will stand-up and support change until their bottom line is affected. Consumers don’t hate them because they are just plain awful, consumers hate them because they know EA could be better if they chose, they just don’t.