Look, I ain't no EA advocate. I'm not here to tell you that they're the greatest game company ever, or that they're even good. I only own a few of their games (Dead Space, SSX, Shank 2). But they sure as hell aren't the "worst company" of 2012, or whatever award they just won. I'm not honestly sure what someone's personal experience with them could be that they have such a strong opinion. Idiots just need some abstract entity to demonify, and EA happens to be the flavor of the month. These are the same sheeple (ooooh yeah I went there) who would've been burning witches at the stake four hundred years ago. What's funny (or sad I suppose) is how oblivious this paints the consumer world: the masses responsible for voting EA to the top of this poll honestly don't understand the difference between "releasing bad video games" (EA) and "genetically and legally eliminating natural-grown crops" (Monsanto). And these are the same masses responsible for voting for political officials!
First, let's establish that it's virtually impossible for a video game publisher to be the worst company in the world. Unless they're skinning endangered tigers to print their manuals and rebranding the waste products as ground beef, there's not a lot they can do to actively hurt the world. You could argue that one publisher could negatively affect the trends of the game industry (by such practices as EA's DRM push), but you're still failing to identify them as harmful. If the consumers are buying it, the trends fall on their shoulders, because games, as a luxury, can be easily boycotted. You don't need them to live, so stop buying the ones that you think hurt the medium. Moreover, "negatively affect[ing] the trends of the game industry" is quaint in how low it ranks as damage to society. Two years ago, BP blew up the Gulf of Mexico. They destroyed the ecosystem of the largest gulf in the world, killing wildlife by the score, polluting hundreds of thousands of square miles of saltwater and coastline, rendering a gorgeous natural resource uninhabitable. Now weigh that against "SimCity had a really buggy launch". Hrm.
Are these tragedies of the same caliber? You decide!
Okay, this was a Consumerist poll, so maybe "worst company" should be understood as "worst-liked company", not "worst-for-the-world". Again, I'm confused how EA could even be nominated. Video games are still a luxury product, that hasn't changed since last paragraph. Which means that continuing sales translates pretty easily into positive opinion. If EA was so hated, how could they sell games? Do they trick you every single time? "I had no choice but to buy Madden 13!"? They've been around for decades - these EA haters should be wise to their practices by this point and avoid their games. And hey - maybe the proclaimed anti-EA crowd is avoiding their games, and the sales are coming from those who aren't 'in' on the hate. Kids or oblivious grandparents or something. In that case, what the hell do you, a non-EA gamer, care about their practices? A truly bad company would need to affect not only their own consumers, but the marketplace, or society at large. I'm pretty sure that the single step of not buying EA games should save you from their influence. And, again, even if EA does have some affect on trends, that means their product is selling well enough to be a market-driver, which means your hate should be directed at EA consumers, not the company itself.
But fuck it. Forget all that logic. Let's just talk about games for a second. Let's look at which video games EA actually publishes, because worst overall company implies worst video game company, meaning they surely must put out a lot of bad games. About ten years ago when all the EA hate got going, they really did put out a lot of dreck like Catwoman. So let's look at what they're up to these days. According to MobyGames, here are all new EA-published titles from 2012 (excluding DLC), and their respective Meta-scores. This is critical consensus, not one man's opinion.
FIFA Soccer 13 90
Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning 81
Madden 13 83
Mass Effect 3 93
Medal of Honor: Warfighter 55
Need for Speed: Most Wanted 85
Shank 2 77
UEFA Euro 2012 69
Do you even need me to parse that data? Only two of those scores fall into what Metacritic calls "Mixed or Average Reviews". Seven are "Generally Favorable Reviews", and FIFA and Mass Effect 3 are "Universal Acclaim". The average score for EA in 2012 is 79, or "Generally Favorable"; of the eleven games they released, zero were "bad" and Mass Effect 3 even won the majority of game-of-the-year awards. Clearly the work of the worst company ever! Even if you, like me, think critics are largely bullshit, and games like Mass Effect are trash, you have to admit that EA is catering to their customer pretty well, which is exactly what a business is supposed to do. I mean, think about how many game companies didn't release Mass Effect 3 last year. Now realize that EA did. Then try to explain again how they have a bad 2012 library.
A lot of the EA hate probably stems from the fact that EA is synonymous with sports franchises, and a certain breed of game nerd passionately hates sports. Because someone threw a football at their head in gym class and broke their glasses, I guess. So the best way they can think of to get back at sports is to proselytize hatred of EA, the company that has polluted their precious gaming medium with athletics. I don't get that, but I do know many a gamer who feels personally violated by the very idea of Madden, let alone anyone who would buy it.
|It makes me SO ANGRY that other people like things that I don't!!!|
And, hell, let's not even get into which game companies are worse (cough Capcom cough). It's Capcom. They are the worst video game mega-company (plenty of publishers have NEVER released a good game, but that's a much smaller scale than this conversation). Their good:bad ratio is like 1:10, they nickel-and-dime with DLC and re-releases (Ultimate Mega Super Arcade Street Super Arcade Fighter IV HD Remix), and they squander their most beloved series (Mega Man, Resident Evil). So if we wanted to talk about worst game companies, that's the first place I would look. But while the scope remains on worst overall companies, luxury and entertainment purveyors shouldn't even be in the room. That they do receive so much attention only evidences the bane of vocal minorities and materialistic, self-righteous consumer delusion. EA-haters may not necessarily be more ignorant or oblivious than EA-consumers, but they seem to experience far more cognitive dissonance. I'd take a casual who plays nothing but Battlefield 3 and FIFA 13 more seriously than I would a "hardcore" gamer who bought Mass Effect 3 and Dead Space while spewing profanities at EA from the other side of their mouth.