Normally I'm not really known for my love for EA or anything, but this definitely caught my eye. Maybe not for positive reasons at first, but this story certainly won me over a little bit by the end.
Peter Moore, the chief operating officer at EA, released a press statement regarding that news that EA is in the semi-finals for the "Worst Company in America". I have to say that this actually caught my by surprise. This had me rooting for EA by the end of his speech. I'm going to break it down in to the important parts and discuss it a little bit. However, I should point out that the whole thing did remind me of this:
Moore defended EA's title by saying that last year they were voted the worst company in America, ahead of companies responsible for oil spills, mortgage crisis and bank bailouts that cost millions of tax payers money $$$. The complaints against EA (as he claims it) were for their support of SOPA, which he says aren't true, and that people didn't like the ending to Mass Effect 3.
That's probably true. However, there was more to it than that which is being forgotten. That argument went deeper than people just disliking an ending, but he is right. This is not as bad as major oil spills and such. But in my heart, I'm a gamer first and a human second. EA are constantly doing things that upset gamers like me, and that's what would effect my vote, too. When I sit down at my computer, I tend to get lost in gaming media, not world news. So, to defend this, If I'm voting, I vote for what I think I know, or what I have dealt with the most. EA are something that people have constantly got in their faces if they are a gamer, and that's that. You can't be such a recognisable name and offer a service that isn't working correctly and then wonder why people vote against you. It doesn't work like that.
He then went on to explain that an issue with watered down beer would be discussed within the walls of bars and issues with the internet are usually discussed within the limitless walls of the internet, which is a fine point. However, it is not a completely solid point. I go to Yelp! for peoples opinions on places I would be interested in trying, to see if it is worth it. I go to forums for peoples opinions on websites and companies that effect my daily gaming experience, and EA certainly has some of the angriest forums I've ever seen.
Here is where he kind of gets me hooked in to this. He admits that EA have made mistakes, which includes "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". I'm the kind of guy who respects when somebody can own up to their mistakes and I'm happy to support you and help you build yourself back up, once you are sincere. This post by Peter seems sincere to me. He posted a small list of the main complaints they deal with and he said that EA are "not perfect" (his words, and mine, and the whole gaming communities and the whole internets, but at least he admitted it!). Here's the list, directly from his post.
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. 45 million 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.
Now, I will say this regarding his last point, and then I will deal with the rest of that. As far as I'm concerned, it was no coincidence that the DAY they were named "Worst Company in America" last year, is the same day that they broadcast their support for LGBT. They have had ongoing support in their games (like Mass Effect), which is fine, they just pushed it a lot in the media at that exact moment which makes me feel like it's kind of just so that they don't seem like such a-holes after they got dubbed that incredibly negative title.
They do have great free-to-play games. I love tapped out, and I also love Real Racing 3. I'm happy to freely play those games and I'm happy to let other people spend money in-game, so long as I'm not forced to. However, I do not like being forced to log in with Origin to back up my game, but that's a small issue. My Mom plays tapped out, too (cool mom, right?). She had to sign up for Origin just so that she could play it. I'm willing to bet that she is not the only other one that had to do that, which would could for a nice amount of that 40,000 he used to compete with Steam. Don't try compete with Steam, you just won't win. I feel like EA needs to learn that they will do 1,000,000 times better if they just do their own thing, and stop trying to keep up with all the trends and stop trying to make every single person happy. They won't manage. It'll just earn them titles like "worst company". They need to just take the general consensus and work with that, and stop taking the negative things to heart. The internet is full of voiceless trolls and people who just want a rise and who want to make a negative impact, just because they can.
He promises that EA are committed to fixing their mistakes and very quickly drops into the conversation the 900,000 players who got free games because of the SimCity blunder. I feel like that wasn't really needed. It's an impressive number, but it almost seems like he's trying to push the fact that EA are good. He doesn't need to. Most people already knew that they did that, and the smart ones were incredibly grateful for the opportunity to get a free game. However, again, they all needed an Origin account for that, too. Hmm, how many did you say? I wonder how many of those had Origin before SimCity.
He mentions that customer support is important and that they have been working hard to fix customer issues. Now, this pisses me off to no end. I have had nothing but trouble with the stupid EA customer support. I have been ripped off, treated like crap and I have been ignored by EA enough to know that their customer support is probably 80% of the reason that they get such a negative reputation. He ends the whole thing with something that does win me over a little bit:
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.
Now, this is the part where he got me. If EA truly do better, and they truly work harder to make things better, then I will forgive them. But if I'm getting more negative posts and hearing more negative stories regarding EA, then I will not be able to defend them. I am willing to give them a chance, but c'mon EA. Look at Valve. They have a service and they produce games that just make people happy. Valve are very gamer driven, and (from my point of view) EA are purely money driven. I can't say if they really are or not, but that's seriously how it looks to the average gamer when they just farm out all these games year after year and never really change anything or do anything different, and when they DO manage to do something different, it ends up being SimCity. Always Online will never work for gamers.
Congrats to him for posting a compelling argument for EA, though. It's about time we saw something positive for EA. I suggest you all go read it here, and let me know what you think below. Perhaps you completely disagree with me, which is fine. I'm happy to hear other points of view!
If feel obligated to point out that it's so weird that EA post a very positive and great thing to their website, and meanwhile Microsoft post "deal with it". It seems to be a bit of role reversal. Also, way back, EA raised a lot of money for cancer and it really was a great thing that benefitted a lot of people. So, perhaps there is hope for EA after all, huh? Let me know your thoughts. Good work, Mr. Moore. You made EA look good. A feat that could not be easily accomplished!