Editorial: Congratulations, EA!

Idiots!

In the words of Nate Liles: Ahaha ahaha ahaha….

This Tuesday brought the news that everybody’s favorite game company, EA, has won a second straight Golden Poo Award. This award labels EA as the “Worst Company in America,” and in the eight years it has been awarded, no company has won it twice. EA’s COO, Peter Moore, has released an arrogant statement that seems to point the finger at Madden fans that are angry about the cover athlete and conservatives that hate that EA allows players to make LGBT characters in their games. Of course, Mr. Moore neglects to realize that EA was a worse company in the year 2012 than the year 2011, which is something a company should avoid after receiving its first Golden Poo.

Peter Moore’s other comments regarding this year’s award were no less entertaining. Apparently the Maxis programmers still have not clued the rest of the company into the fact that the online requirement for SimCity is nothing more than DRM. Peter Moore attempts to be emphatic in disputing this saying “We can’t be any clearer – it’s not. Period.” Apparently nobody taught Peter that proof is everything. It is nice to say that it is not DRM, but it would be even better to actually produce proof.

Peter also insists that Origin is a viable Steam competitor, saying that forty-five million users are proving that fact. Of course, once again Peter obscures the truth, glossing over the fact that an Origin account is required for just about every current EA title. Also glossed over is EA’s penchant for banning Origin accounts at the smallest hint of criticism towards the service or EA’s ineptitude with their games. How many banned Origin users have created a secondary account after their primary account has been banned? On top of being required to run EA’s PC games, Origin had the added benefit of accessing one’s personal information in other programs. EA did patch up that “oversight”, but Origin will still collect a broad range of user information; much more than a company like Valve does with their Steam service.

'Believe in the lie, and never waiver from it, no matter what.'

Hello, I am Peter Moore, and I am a three time winner of the Biggest Douche Award.

To me, the most telling part of these consecutive awards is how arrogant the company remains. In an 2012 interview with an IGNorant gaming website, Peter Moore said the reason why EA won the 2012 award was because they were the biggest video game corporation. He is under the impression that many gamers believe that video game companies should make no money. Once again, he misses the point, the distance between not being profitable and bleeding the consumers dry is a chasm. A game company can be profitable and not have to resort to using EA’s tactics, such as re-releasing Fifa 2012 as Fifa 2013 on the Wii and the PS Vita.

If EA put forth the effort, they could remain a hugely profitable company while generating goodwill with gamers. A company with resources like EA’s could easily offer a more substantial product to its consumers. At the same time, being upfront with customers can go a long way into establishing trust. Most people would rather hear the truth, even if it is unpleasant, rather than be force-fed lie after lie with no actual evidence to support the lie. Lastly, if EA really wants to avoid a third straight Golden Poo, they need to actually listen to the complaints of their fans. When people complain about the Origin spyware, do not sit back and point at the forty-five million subscribers as to why that system works. The same goes for the micro-transaction model, if a person is basically required to purchase sixty dollars or more of these items, as is the case in the Simpsons: Tapped Out, do not sit back and gleefully claim the model is working.

There are many horrible American companies, and consumers do shoulder a part of the blame for these companies. American consumers just make it too easy for these companies to thrive on questionable business practices. Fifteen years ago, EA’s current tactics would not have had the success they do now. The sports games of the past had more additions on a yearly basis, at the same time, the sales of these types of games was nowhere near to what it is today. Today, it seems to be a contest from year to year to add as little as possible in new content while maintaining the same sales level.

For as much as I hate EA, the truth is they are far from the worst company in America. Companies in all other types of industries utilize business practices that make EA look innocent. EA is by far the worst video game company today, as rated by Lusipurr.com, for the better part of the current console generation. They could easily right the ship, but comments from people like Peter Moore portray a company far too arrogant to make even the smallest of changes to appease fans. Do you think there is a company in gaming that exceeds EA? Better yet, have a friend who leads an EA fan club in the office? Refer him to this article and tell him to post a comment professing his love for this horrible company. If you get the whole fan club to post, you could win our April contest and a free game! Lose the contest and you will have to sit in the official Lusipurr.com Pleasure Chairs!

22 comments on “Editorial: Congratulations, EA!”

  1. “Peter Moore said the reason why EA won the 2012 award was because they were the biggest video game corporation.”

    So… why hasn’t Activision won it?

    “Companies in all other types of industries utilize business practices that make EA look innocent.”

    I hope this is hyperbole on your part. While I acknowledge that EA probably aren’t the very worst company out there [largely because there is only so much damage a company can do while selling $60 games], their theft from consumers elevates them right up there into the same bracket as American industry’s worst offenders.

  2. “…their theft from consumers elevates them right up there into the same bracket as American industry’s worst offenders.”

    They’re no even on the same planet as some other companies.

  3. I have a coworker who once said that EA is his favorite video game purveyor. Would you really want him or her to be a Lusipurrcom reader now?

    I think as far as a company who provides tangible consumer goods, EA is easily the worst or among them, insofar as they sell garbage while punishing and stealing from consumers. However, I think an example of a more insidiously evil company would be Monsanto, who you never intentionally buy anything from, yet the chemicals and GMO’s and shit are actively destroying nature. If you think about it though, EA’s ethical position is quite similar to a company who copyrights a staple crop plant which requires pesticides they also produce, as well as having to purchase their seeds every year, and when their copyrighted genetic material naturally spreads to surrounding farm land, sues the farmer for owning Monsanto product without purchasing it. Yeah, that’s similar in spirit to what EA does in the video game industry, but consider the difference in scale and visibility of damages. You can always not buy EA games, but even Whole Foods Market (the “organic” grocery chain) has bowed down to Monsanto’s pressure in some of their conventional goods. It’s easy to protest something you see screwing you in the open, but more difficult when it’s invisible, pervasive, and necessary to survive.

    As for their arrogance, they’re thieves and liars. It goes hand-in-hand. American society seems to have this masochistic tendency which says it hates its oppressors, but lets them fuck us anyways. So what if EA is a giant poo when there’s so many scat munchers to eat it up? Give the shit award to people who buy EA products instead.

  4. Hah, well put Matt. And Monsanto was one of the companies I had in mind.

    I mean, I’m all for publicly categorizing EA as the shitty company it is. But I think out of respect for the people harmed by the *actually* evil-doing companies, I wouldn’t even compare EA to others. EA hasn’t ruined anyone’s life, they just sell video games to willing consumers via despicable means.

  5. I’ll add this: EA screws the people they employ and the studios they’ve eaten up over the years. But you can always work for someone else… and indeed they do.

  6. @Mel: Wrong again!

    @Matt: I would argue that scale [after a point] has almost nothing to do with matters of ethics.

    Hitler had the capacity to exterminate 6,000,000 Jews in his quest for racial purity. Now supposing that a regional warlord only had the capacity to slaughter 600,000 people along ethnic lines, but was every bit as committed [or more so] than Hitler – would he be a better person purely by dint of the fact that he lacked the capacity to pursue his agenda to the same magnitude?

    I would argue ‘no’.

    The banality of evil makes it no less terrible.

    EA is the worst company in the world when it comes to respecting consumer rights – EA completely owns that sphere. They have had a tangible and detrimental effect on the lives of the hundreds of millions of video game consumers from whom they have stolen – and they will very probably be chiefly responsible for the video game crash that we all know is coming.

    Now tell me in what way does EA not qualify to be seated along-side the major players in the shitty corporate governance stakes.

  7. In addition: Mel, you are truly thick, and deserve to suffer all consumer dissatisfaction and indignities of Chris Privatere and more!

    “I’ll add this: EA screws the people they employ and the studios they’ve eaten up over the years. But you can always work for someone else… and indeed they do.”

    Just what kind of defense is this?

    In what sort of feverish and feeble-minded dreamscape is it permissible to act in ways which cause abominable harm, and still have it be OK because there are other employers in this extremely competitive jobs market who are not quite as awful as EA?!

    Last I heard people still elected to retain their employment at Foxcon, and they had to erect suicide netting around their factory premises to mitigate the abject despair that they engender in their workforce.

  8. You make an excellent point again, SN. Perhaps “scale” isn’t the word I should have used, for the reasons you point out. I didn’t really mean the magnitude of how many were affected (though if you do count it that way, EA has affected millions of people), but the type of affection; that is, what kind/how much damage is caused. Like is flaying and eviscerating alive 600 people more or less evil than quickly gassing 600,000 people? Or is evicting 600,000 people from their homes more or less evil than raping and killing 60 people?

    So to bring it back to EA, it seems to me that cheating consumers for products they purchased is certainly horrible, and I wasn’t being sarcastic to compare their methods and motivations to Monsanto – really, if EA were in the chemical and GMO business, that’s what they would be doing. But it’s just because they put out products which are so completely optional that miffs me about the amount of negative attention and scrutiny they get compared to others. I agree that they deserve the worst, and an internet poll is a pretty appropriate place to display that dishonor. Listen, I just see Americans worried the most about the shit which affects them the least. I’m guilty of that too; it’s part of our culture. EA epitomizes the worst of American capitalism, arrogance, and greed. But it seems so typically American too to focus on the big, obvious dolt ad nauseam, ad infinitum. Like hating on George W. Bush when he was just a front for people who actually had a brain behind him. It gives us a face to hate, an outlet for rage.. and yes they are very bad.

    We’ve been given so many invisible walls about what fundamental assumptions of our society are appropriate to question. Not that we absolutely may not, and of course there are still those out there who have open, questioning minds. But it’s like, you can only make fun of things, like John Stewart questioning the government, or giving out a Golden Poo award. Nobody’s taking fucking EA to court, or Monsanto, or Bank of ‘Merica; or if they are they’re losing and consumer and civil rights mostly erode. For instance, gay rights to marriage are important, but it’s a sort of soft-topic to be debated loudly and openly, whether yes or no, while our privacy and economic security are being sold under the table. Do you know the Miami Police have drones to surveil us now? And it’s just okay, because “it’s for our own protection” and “you shouldn’t be worried if you’re not doing anything wrong.” So yeah, we fucking *hate* Chik-Fil-A restaurants for anti-gay donations, something bovine America understands well, whether for or against. But the best you can do is make fun of civillian surveillance, or write a fucking punk rock song against it. So yeah, we fucking *hate* EA for screwing us with video games…

  9. I apologize if I’ve gone way off topic, lacked evidence for opinions, and/or was irrational and incoherent. This really isn’t the appropriate place for manic scribbling. I’ll try to keep my comments shorter and more to the point next week.

  10. Ah, I see, the ‘luxury’ argument.

    That because EA screws consumers who are buying ‘optional’ products, gobbles up and destroys other makers of ‘optional’ products, offers appalling work conditions to those it employs in ‘optional’ jobs, and threatens the very existence of a console industry that merely produces ‘discretionary frivolities’ – that because of all that what they are doing somehow doesn’t measure up to what other companies are doing…

    And thus this is a matter of no more seriousness then when the Gays had their tits in a twirl about homophobic chicken sandwiches!

    I don’t buy that for a second.

    Is any medium of human narrative really that expendable? Not if the history of the human race has taught us anything.

    Would this situation be similarly ‘frivolous’ if the avarice of one company threatened to wipe out global print publishing? Would it be a matter of similar non-importance if the extreme greed of one company threatened to wipe out the entire film industry, by which I mean not just Hollywood, but all of the established film and television producing apparatus?

    Do you think that maybe it would have something of a human impact if we were left with only internet fiction, indy games, and Youtube videos as forms of narrative sustenance and expression?

    I think you have this particular ‘attitude’ towards gaming because large non-gaming portions of our society treat them as though they were optional children’s fancies, as opposed to a perfectly legitimate medium of human narrative expression.

    The consumption of human narrative experiences is not an ‘optional frivolity’. It is a core human psychological requirement, only a short way bellow food, shelter, and love in the hierarchy of human needs.

  11. I don’t think that the “human narrative experiences” are optional; of course, I indulge in them continually, in one form or another (games, books, music), and as I’ve remarked in another thread, they are very meaningful to the developing human consciousness. The point I made there about them maybe not being as wonderful, awe-inspiring in adulthood as they are in childhood, which could also apply to those other forms of entertainment, is for the reason that as a person ages and creates the narrative of their life by building up experiences, those personal experiences may become more important than the externally consumed ones. This is an attempt to explain why there is a diminishing emotional reaction besides “they don’t make good games anymore.”

    I agree with you, sir, that video games are perfectly legitimate forms of expression. I would not read Lusipurr.com if I didn’t love them. I think maybe that a good conversation certainly provides me with more narrative sustenance and expression than the cheaper forms of electronic entertainment, and that the greater forms provide, amongst other mental and emotional nutrition, fine material for a good conversation…

    By ‘optional’ [and rereading my comments I see how obtuse they can be], I mean that nobody has to buy EA products – not video games in general. Yet, as you point out, their swallowing up of other companies, sucking their creativity dry while increasing their market share is more insidious, and detrimental to what good there is there. I wasn’t thinking about that while commenting, but it does make the situation considerably worse. It causes damage to people in the industry whose livelihoods are ruined by destructive competition, or who have to work in humiliating conditions under EA themselves, as well as to the consumers.

    Well, thank you for taking the time to cut down some poorly thought-out and written arguments. Also, I apologize if I’ve come off at all for judging anyone for their lifestyle choices. It is neither my right nor privilege nor interest to do so.

  12. “nobody has to buy EA products”

    That is not actually the case when you consider that when EA adopts a poor industry practice the rest of the industry adopts it six to twelve months later. In their own way EA are industry trailblazers…

  13. As SN quite rightly points out, the nature of a profit-centred industry means that when a company develops a way (however evil) of increasing profit, the rest of the industry will quickly trend to that direction.

    A couple hundred years ago, someone got the brilliant idea to take the linen trade and mechanise it. Nevermind that this would result in a need for less skilled labour, and the exodus from rural villages to factory cities would lead to the destruction of the former and the lowered standard of living in the latter. Men like Oliver Goldsmith penned deeply moving elegies and lamented the greed which eventually led to the desertion of villages: “Ill fares the land to hastening ills a prey / Where wealth accumulates and men decay” indeed.

    Now, of course, people could have chosen to buy products that were not produced in factories. Just like they could choose products that were not produced overseas in the 1980s. Just like they can support companies that don’t do on-disc DRM, always-on connexion maintenance, and any of the other processes which have been steadily chipping away at what gamers get. And look how successful those choices have been.

    There are two forces at work here which the apologists for these processes seem to be ignorant of: the first is that the market will always go where the profit is so long as it remains profitable for them to do so. The second is that the vast majority of people are totally ignorant of the ramifications of their purchasing decisions upon the industry, and–more importantly–they do not care.

    Sure, you can walk around telling people “supporting EA hurts the industry,” and expect them to change their behaviour. But they will not. Trust me, it just isn’t going to happen. And as a result, EA’s practises will be profitable. And as a result of that, other companies will adopt those same practises in due course. And then what was formerly an imposition becomes de rigeur–the state of the industry, not an exceptional case of one company’s avarice.

    People who point at this argument and shout, shrilly and idiotically, “Slippery Slope!” seem to forget that it is a slippery slope only when a causal practise is not established. But in this industry, causes do have certain effects, just as they do in all forms of profit-centric merchandising. And that is why we must constantly point out to EA that what they are doing is harming the industry in the long-term, and that there is ire for it. It probably won’t make one whit of difference, but it is our duty, nevertheless, as people who have a stake in the industry and who want to see such practises curtailed.

    And, in any case, EA has a multi-million dollar PR department. ‘The Good of the Industry’ has no such department. It is our job to argue on its behalf.

  14. I can concur with all above-said reasons why EA may be considered the worst company in America. EA not only pushes the boundaries of worstness, they also take others’ examples up eagerly. For instance, the Always-On quality of SimCity (correct me if I’m wrong) came firstly from Activision-Blizzard and Diablo 3. They just don’t let a bad idea pass them up! But then, I don’t mean to compare them to Blizzard who actually made their game work…

    Video games comprise the area of the intersection of an expressive medium and capitalism which are you all’s specialty of interest and knowledge (which trumps my own – after all I get the majority of my video game industry news and commentary *from* Lusipurr.com, no fooling!), and I highly respect and enjoy reading your critiques. The conversation has helped me to see and understand the issue better.

    By the way I hope there’s a podcast up toooniiight..!! Looking forward to the next one in any case.

  15. Didn’t Ubisoft put always-on DRM for one of their myriad and bland Assassin’s Creed titles before the D3 debacle? And that didn’t even HAVE a multiplayer mode, it was unapologetic DRM. This may have been for the PC version or something, I don’t know. I avoided that series.

  16. “I have a coworker who once said that EA is his favorite video game purveyor. Would you really want him or her to be a Lusipurrcom reader now?”

    Perhaps they should be!

    Everybody on this site seems to be in agreement about the nature of the company and its impact on the industry. It’d be interesting to see an outside, dissenting opinion. If the logical and well written arguments listed above couldn’t bring them to reason…there’s always more room in the Castle Lusipurr dungeons, right? Surely there’s an entire ward dedicated to jock gamers. :)

    Personally, while I agree that EA’s practices are continually driving the industry to ruin at an accelerated rate, I still can’t put them in the same league of awfulness as Monsanto.

  17. @Mel Yeah, they were the first one to use it. The DRM was so poor that it was hacked a few days BEFORE the game was released. The backlash from that debacle eventually led them to abandoning that DRM model for AC 3.

  18. @DefChaos: In what way is Monsanto so much worse than EA that it deserves to be placed in an entirely different category?

    Lusipurr and I just had a lot of fun reading about what a bunch of dicks Monsanto are, but we didn’t come across any information which indicated that their conduct was a magnitude worse than EA.

  19. The problem is how subjective the title of “worst company” is or terms like “same bracket as”, “as bad as”, etc. At the least, if people were unaware of EA’s contributions then they surely do now thanks to SN and Lusipurr.

  20. I think EA and Monsanto are “in the same bracket” or have the same “magnitude” of worstness (or fineness); they have similar ethical values and methods, and they would be making the same choices if their businesses were switched. It’s just the difference in what their product is which I believe makes Monsanto a more *damaging* company to humanity and the environment. And of course that’s not the only company one could have chosen. Misters Taylor, Lusipurr, and Pagel have provided excellent reasons why EA are extremely damaging nonetheless; not only to the video game industry, but to electronic entertainment in general, and in the long run, individual choice, consumer rights, the human psyche, and the integrity of society.

  21. @SN- Your question is direct and fair. I worded my assertion poorly, Monsanto’s practices within its industry aren’t “leagues” worse than those of EA. As a whole, I simply fear the impact of Monsanto’s actions on us more than I do those of EA. A worst case scenario in which EA’s business practices directly lead to another crash of the video game market would be terrible. We would miss lots of new experiences but nothing would stop us from revisiting old ones. From personal favorites to titles that I never got around to trying, video games would still be a part of my life. I don’t want it to happen but I could still be happy. Being an avid player, I’m not one to discount the importance of video games or any artform, I just fear the ramifications of a company’s actions that controls our food supply and cares not one bit for our well being. Due to my interests, I know a lot more about EA than I do Monsanto. I suppose a healthy dose of fear of the unknown plays into my feelings too.

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