After over 250,000 votes were pulled in, The Consumerist, a large business-oriented website that offers news to the everyday consumer, has officially branded the worst company of 2012: Electronic Arts. EA was a finalist alongside Bank of America and won out against other companies such as Comcast, UPS, Chase, Verizon, PayPal, and AT&T.
The overall message that this vote delivers?
Now, after years of being ignored and relegated to steerage, game-players have voted to send a message to Electronic Arts and the gaming business as a whole: Stop treating your loyal customers like crap.
The website also offered a heap of the gaming industry’s related faults (with some quick jabs at the company most responsible):
To those who might sneer at something as “non-essential” as a video game company winning the Worst Company In America vote: It’s that exact kind of attitude that allows people to ignore the complaints as companies like EA to nickel and dime consumers to death.
For years, while movies and music became more affordable and publishers piled on bonus content — or multiple modes of delivery — as added value to entice customers to buy, video games have continued to be priced like premium goods.
There have even been numerous accusations that EA and its ilk deliberately hold back game content with the sole intent of charging a fee for it at a later date. It’s one thing to support a game with new content that is worth the price. It’s another to put out an inferior — and occasionally broken — product with the mindset of “ah, we’ll fix it later and make some money for doing so.”
New, independent game companies do pop up all the time, but the cost of entering the market has historically been too expensive, making these indie innovators prime targets for acquisition by mega-publishers like EA. Our hope is that the growth of app-based gaming and downloadable games will continue to make it easier for developers to get their products out without the backing of companies that don’t care a lick about the people who fork over their cash.
Oh well, Worst Company In America 2012 is officially in the books. All that’s left to do is send off the Golden Poo to EA.
Traditionally, the Poo has been delivered on its little red pillow. But this year, we’ll give EA three different color options for its pillow, though in the end it’s still the same old Poo.
Pay attention, EA and other game companies. Your new policies of nickel and diming your loyal customers have been recognized not just by gamers, but by the entire business industry and consumers worldwide, casual and hardcore alike.
Perhaps the new attention will finally sway some bigger name titles and policies to change for the better of all of us.