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EA named ‘worst U.S. company’ by consumer poll

Posted at 05 April 2012 00:00 CET by Justin_Massoud

Video game company Electronic Arts has been widely criticized for monopolistic business practices, shuttering studios and spearheading a controversial anti-used game online pass program that has quickly become de rigueur for other publishing heavyweights. But does that make it the worst company in America? According to The Consumerist, yes, it does.

EA squared off with Bank of America in the site’s annual March Madness-style “Worst Company in America” tournament and won. By a lot. An estimated 160,000 visitors voted for the game publisher, compared to its opponent’s 90,000 tally.

“After more than 250,000 votes, Consumerist readers ultimately decided that the type of greed exhibited by EA, which is supposed to be making the world a more fun place, is worse than Bank of America’s avarice, which some would argue is the entire point of operating a bank,” wrote the site.

The Consumerist then defended the results: “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.”

An unsatisfying finale to the publisher’s latest critical and commercial darling “Mass Effect 3″ possibly spurred gamers to vote en masse. Until now, disappointment with the trilogy closer was relegated to rant-y YouTube videos, hundreds of funny memes and an online petition for a new ending. Most of that backlash was appropriately aimed toward the title’s developer, Canada’s BioWare, and not EA. Gamers seized on the next best option.

But one divisive ending does not a terrible company make. Some questionable advertising campaigns and business decisions over the years certainly helped work gamers into a froth.

Promoting a hack-and-slash adaptation of literary masterpiece “Dante’s Inferno” in 2009, the publisher made headlines when it urged San Diego Comic Con attendees to “commit acts of lust with a booth babe and tell us about it” to win prizes. The company attempted to quiet mounting criticism over the contest’s sexist underpinnings by arguing that it was “done in the spirit of the good natured fun of Comic-Con.” Maybe gamers would have agreed had the company not, just weeks earlier, paid actors to stage a fake religious protest over the title right outside the industry’s annual Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3). And then there was the time EA illegally shipped brass knuckles to game reviewers.

On the actual gaming side, many sports fans were incensed when EA landed the exclusive rights to both NCAA and NFL licenses in 2005. Instead of having a choice, the company’s football games became the only ones in town. Several high-profile closures of fan-favorite development studios over the course of a decade didn’t help win over critics.

Unsurprisingly, EA was a little salty about its “win.”

“We’re sure that bank presidents, oil, tobacco and weapons companies are all relieved they weren’t on the list this year,” the publisher told Game Informer. “We’re going to continue making award-winning games and services played by more than 300 million people worldwide.”

Did EA deserve to win, or is Bank of America more deserving of the dubious honor? Let us know in the comment section.

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There are 4 comments

MyCE Senior Member
Posted on: 05 Apr 12 00:48
    Pitty the poll wasn't extended to Canadian Companies.
    Rest assured that Shaw Communications and Telus would have eclipsed EA in customer dissatisfaction.
    As for wether the Banks or EA are the worst in America, just remember that a vast number of people who lost their homes courtesy of the Bank's avarice and greed no longer have access to the Internet, or food or clothing and thus were unable to vote "online"
    MyCE Rookie
    Posted on: 05 Apr 12 08:32
      Originally Posted by olddancer
      Pitty the poll wasn't extended to Canadian Companies.
      Cos Canada is not part of America!!!!!!
      MyCE Member
      Posted on: 05 Apr 12 15:54
        Originally Posted by chickenlittle
        Cos Canada is not part of America!!!!!!
        Canada is a part of America, North America to be specific. It is not a part of the United States and the poster knows this which is why he said pity that the poll did not also incorporate Canada instead of just the US alone. Basically he is saying that Canadian companies can be just as crappy as US companies.
        MyCE Resident
        Posted on: 05 Apr 12 21:17
          BELL Canada takes the cake.

          And the SAQ, for taxing the F*** out of alcohol in Quebec.

          Whatever, NHL '93 - NHL 12. 'nuff said

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