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Hate, Love, and Apathy: My Complicated Relationship With EA

Worst company in America? Hardly.

EA has been in the news a lot lately, and it’s been pretty much all negative. Between the advent of the Online Pass, the botched launch of SimCity, and the appearance of micro transactions in full retail games like Mass Effect 3 and Dead Space 3, it’s really easy to dump on the company. I’m not here to do that, though. I have a complicated relationship with EA; one that moved from hate to love to apathy. So turn down the nerd rage for five minutes, because I’m about to present a different opinion on what a vocal minority consider to be the most hated company in America.

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04/19/2013 at 11:58 PM

Disagree that the backlash against EA is simple "we hate change." People like good change. DRM that treats paying customers like criminals, EULAs that really require you to bring your lawyer to Gamestop to read them, forced multiplayer (along with all the other incredibly shitty design decisions that plagued SimCity 2013), and pushing a microtransaction-based model (which, admittedly, was largely spread to the West by Zynga, but EA is still pushing it) that should have been left to fester in South Korea and China are in no way positive changes, and they're needless when other companies don't push these things and are actually profitable. EA's problem is that it's a very badly managed, bloat-ridden company, and they're passing the costs of their expensive mistakes on to their customers.


No, EA isn't the worst company in America. Technically speaking, only companies manufacturing WMDs should make that list (not even Bank of America really deserves it compared to that metric). People need to realize that the Consumerist poll is not about sheer human misery so much as it is about which companies have the worst customer service records according to their consumers, regardless of whether they make thimbles or GMO food - and EA is therefore a legitimate contender for the Golden Poo Award.   Yes, gaming is a hobby. That doesn't mean that people are passionate about this hobby shouldn't be angry when their hobby's enjoyment is being worsened by the practices of a company such as EA whose influence extends far beyond game boxes with the EA label on them. I'm personally tired f people who speak up against EA and other companies being shouted down as "entitled." This isn't a slap at you, Julian, but it is a general observation of the resurgence of Gilded Age attitudes regarding corporations, workers, and consumers that has reared its ugly head in recent years.

Julian Titus Senior Editor

04/21/2013 at 10:21 PM

I thank you for your moderate tone. Really, I don't see people defending the "big guys" all that much. What I object to is this notion that EA (or Ubisoft, or Capcom...) has somehow personally affronted you (let's call him Gamer X). I just can't get that riled up. If I don't like something, I don't buy it. I was interested in SimCity, but when I found out that it didn't have a dedicated single player mode and the city sizes were rather small I lost interest, and that was before the server problems.

I've seen people say that they'll never buy an EA game ever again because they didn't like the ending of Mass Effect 3. That type of sentiment doesn't make sense to me, and it actually really bothers me.

You mention stuff like the EULAs and DRM, but these are problems that I believe are systemic with any company that deals with digital content, and it's only going to get worse. It's very likely that I'll be getting out of gaming as a major hobby once the shift is made towards a completely digital model.

And as far as customer service, I wonder how many of these complaints are legitimate, and how many stem from people's anger over changes made to the games they love. Because if we're talking about poor customer service in the gaming space I'd put Square Enix at the top of the list. They make simply using their content a chore, and if your account gets hacked or shut down for their online servers, good luck getting that cleared up in less than a week.


04/20/2013 at 03:58 PM

I feel the love hate paradigm as well,Julian! EA published many games I have loved but they've done so many things that piss me off too.

As for the "Is EA one of the worst companies ever?" I'm going to dodge that bullet and leave it alone for the time being.

Let me go on record for saying even if I "did" believe EA was one of the worst companies ever it wouldn't be because I have anything against the LGBT community. Trust me, all my qualms are game,drm, & micro transaction related!

Julian Titus Senior Editor

04/21/2013 at 10:22 PM

While I loved a lot of what Peter Moore said in his "We can do better" press release, I thought it was a little crappy to use the LGBT angle, for exactly the reason you said. It's like them saying "we love kittens and feature kittens in all of our games. You don't hate kittens, do you??"


04/21/2013 at 10:39 PM

Heh, I was thinking the exact same thing you said here. Using the LGBT community as a shield was cheap and below the belt.


04/21/2013 at 08:34 AM

Enjoyable take on EA from someone who doesn't play their sports franchises.  That is where my bitterness roots, but is also where most of my EA experience lies.  

This had me thinking that maybe hardcore gaming's future can be invigorated by casual powerhouses willing to diversify.  Made if Rovio went wild and made Angry Birds 3d or something to that effect.  Seems silly, but those companies are doing well, and cross-partnerships are only a handshake and a contract away.

Julian Titus Senior Editor

04/21/2013 at 10:23 PM

We actually posited on an episode of Nerds Without Pants that Rovio will be one of the "evil empires" of the future. I see their beginnings and rise to parallel the way Activision came up in the industry, actually.


04/21/2013 at 09:42 PM

I can't complain about EA  it would make me a hypocrite. Just this past week I bought three EA games!  SSX, MOH Warfighter and today Bulletstorm. I am enjoying all three of them. Especially since i got them all new and for $20 or less each.

Julian Titus Senior Editor

04/21/2013 at 10:24 PM

I can't attest to SSX or Medal of Honor, but Bulletstorm is great! Another sales failure, but again, I'm glad that they took a chance on it for sure.

Chris Yarger Community Manager

04/22/2013 at 08:08 AM

EA doesn't really bother me that much. They have games that flop and they have games that completely fail, but they have also given me some great games. I loved Dead Space and I personally think Army of Two is one of the greatest co-op shooters ever (That's solely my opinion though). I don't like the microtransaction crap though, but it's not being forced upon me and I don't have to do it if I don't want to.

My biggest qualm about EA is how they charge full price for a sports game that really has no updates other than roster changes. That really irks me..

Julian Titus Senior Editor

04/25/2013 at 06:38 PM

Even though I'm not a sports guy, I've been saying for years that it would be great if Madden could take off for a year or two to let the team really put in some polished new features. The only problem with that is that Madden remains one of EA's biggest sellers every year, and it would be suicide for them to do that.


04/22/2013 at 09:53 AM

Wow.  That old-school EA logo on the home page brings back some memories.  I loved EA back in the C64 days.  M.U.L.E and Archon were both published by EA.  The games would take forever to load, and everytime I'd start up either game I'd just have to stare at that logo for several minutes while it changed colors every now and then.

I'm not a fan of microtransactions and stuff like that, but they don't really bother me.  I just don't do them.  Personally, I believe the recent lawsuit against them is beyond stupid.  How can somebody sue a company because they release a similar game year after year?  Nobody is forcing them to buy it.  Does a car company get sued if their next model is similar to the year before?  I can understand someone's frustration that they are the only company that can use the NFL license for the games, but that's business.  I don't really see how that can be considered a monopoly in the real sense that that laws against monopolies are meant for. Others can still make football games. Anyways, I don't really give a crap about sports games, but things like that annoy me.  


04/24/2013 at 09:49 PM

What a fantastic editorial! Ah, I remember playing James Pond for the Genesis. Good times. x)


04/24/2013 at 09:52 PM

I didn't know we could add multiple pages to our posts? I wish EA would put out a Dragon Age 2 all DLC included edition out. Currently all the DLC are seperate and like $10 each. Damned you EA!

Julian Titus Senior Editor

04/25/2013 at 06:42 PM

Yeah, I'd love that, too. With games I really care about that have a lot of DLC I'd rather buy a physical release that has all that content on the disc, just in case. That's why I own two versions of Dragon Age: Origins.

I still haven't bought the DLC for Dragon Age 2, but I guess I should go ahead and do that. I doubt EA thinks a complete edition of that game would sell well.


04/25/2013 at 09:09 AM

My relationship with EA is the same and some of the things they do is insane but no matter how much i cant stand them i always get sucked back in i told myself no more tiger woods so for 13 i didnt play and now i have a freind who works for EA and this year we talked about EA and i told him about the online pass the dlc thats beats the game out at launch so what does he do,he gave me a free copy of Tiger 14 and now here i am playing it again lol.

Julian Titus Senior Editor

04/25/2013 at 06:43 PM

I think your friend is a crafty EA company man!

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