The votes are in, and the Golden Poo trophy for Worst Company in America is staying with publisher Electronic Arts.
Each year, Consumer Reports’ The Consumerist blog asks the public to vote online for its least favorite companies in a Worst Company in America tournament, timed to ape the NCAA’s March Madness college basketball championship. For the second year in a row, EA pulled out a big “win.”
EA beat other easy-to-hate companies like Bank of America and Anheuser-Busch.
“We can do better,” an EA spokesperson told GamesBeat. “We will do better.”
This latest win follows the disastrous release of SimCity, which embodies many of the issues that compelled gamers to push EA through the tournament.
The urban-planning title requires an online connection, which a segment of gamers oppose on a fundamental level. That decision enraged many more gamers when the game failed to work for weeks following its release due to catastrophic server failures at EA.
SimCity is also designed to sell microtransactions on top of an upfront price of $60. Worse than that, the developers crippled the title’s launch by forcing it online, which could better facilitate those purchases.
In 2012, EA won the tournament due to a wave of gamers angry about the ending of Mass Effect 3. Regardless of that outcome, the publisher still had the best reviewed slate of games for the year, according to Metacritic.
If its games keep selling, EA can probably afford to ignore negative press like this. Last Friday, however, EA chief operating officer Peter Moore addressed the tournament and fan concerns in a statement where he first said that the company “can do better,” as it is echoing now.
If it hopes to avoid a threepeat, EA will have to address the business decisions that led to a release like SimCity. In his blog, Moore said EA “is committed to fixing its mistakes.” Those mistakes include shutting down servers for games, pricing missteps, and “fumbling” the SimCity launch. Moore wouldn’t concede, however, that the metropolitan-building game’s always-online requirement is a problem itself.
That won’t satisfy the gamers that voted EA the Worst Company in America.
It’s important to remember that this is a poll that users could have easily manipulated by spending hours voting for EA. It is possible that the people who feel Bank of America is the worst company were too busy paying off their mortgages to vote in an online poll.