EA Vows To Improve Relationship With Gamers, Mainly Rhetoric

EA has been having a tough time of late with its public relations after being voted the worst company in America for 2013 by the readers of the consumerists, it lost to the Bank of America by gaining 75% of the votes. EA also experience numerous criticisms and controversies over SimCity’s always on DRM and the just generally poor quality of the game as well as with Dead Space 3 and microtransactions. EA’s COO, Peter Moore, has vowed to strive for a better relationship with EA’s customers and has attempted to dismantle some of the criticisms from EA’s perspective.

“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,” Moore said.

EA’s Peter Moore responded to frequent and common criticisms of EA with EA’s story. Although I might warn you in advance, he doesn’t really pledge to fix any of them, just explain why EA are apparently right in what they are doing. Here is what he had to say:

  • On SimCity DRM – “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.”
  • On Origin – “Some claim there’s no room for Origin as a competitor to Steam. 45 million registered users are proving that wrong.”
  • On Microtransactions – “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.”
  • On winning worst company in America – “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…” and “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.”
  • Closing Comment – “Every day, millions of people across globe play and love our games – literally, hundreds of millions more than will vote in this contest. 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.”

What do you think about EA’s responses? Are they adequate?

I don’t know about you, but to me Peter Moore’s responses are inadequate. This next bit is totally my own opinion but this is how I would respond to Peter Moore’s arguments. Even if always-online with SimCity isn’t a DRM scheme, it is still a nuisance to a lot of gamers and they should offer an offline mode. Even if Origin has millions of users, is that not because EA forces people to have Origin accounts to play premium games like Battlefield 3 and SimCity? Even if 10 million gamers play the games with microtransactions it doesn’t mean they are all happy about it, where’s the proof that those 10 million support microtransactions? Playing the game doesn’t mean you support EA’s microtransactions it means you like the game, everyone that plays SimCity doesn’t support the always-on feature yet they still play it. Winning the worst company in America award has nothing to do with petty criticisms, thousands of other gaming publishers have had blunders and petty criticisms from consumers but they didn’t even get close to winning worst company in America. The reason why EA has won it is because it creates minor blunders in abundance, hundreds of them every year and then it refuses to listen to consumer feedback and fix them, these all add up. It may just be small things adding up, but EA’s general disinterested attitude to consumers has caused them problems time and time again.