A multinational chemical conglomerate, a for-profit health-insurance company, and multibillion-dollar fast-food restaurant chain are all “fighting” for the title of “Worst Company in America,” but they’re all underdogs compared to a maker of video games.
Titanfall publisher Electronic Arts is once again a part of The Consumerist‘s annual Worst Company in America tournament. Each year, the blog selects dozens of companies like Monsanto, Aetna, and McDonald’s to go against one another in head-to-head matchups. Its readers then votes for whoever they think is worse. In the end, only the most terrible company (in the eyes of the voters) is left standing. For the last two years in a row, that was Electronic Arts.
Xbox One maker Microsoft is also up for the “award.”
EA first “won” in 2012 after an outcry from fans over how EA subsidiary BioWare ended its Mass Effect trilogy. The developer once promised a number of different endings to the sci-fi franchise, but it actually only served up three mild variations of the same climax. Another EA studio, DICE, had numerous connection issues with its Battlefield 3 shooter in late 2011.
In 2013, EA once again took the title thanks in large part to its problems with the launch of city-management game SimCity. The $60 release didn’t work for properly for weeks after launch because it required an online connection and EA’s servers couldn’t handle the load. Once SimCity did start working, gamers found that the online connection and focus on multiplayer (it did not have a single-player mode when it debuted) created a number of additional problems with its mechanics.
Around the time of its last “Worst Company” award, EA chief operating officer Peter Moore addressed fans’ displeasure with his company.
“We can do better,” he said. “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. The tallest trees catch the most wind. At EA, we remain proud and unbowed.”
Despite that commitment from Moore, Battlefield 4 debuted in October to a variety of bugs and connection issues. Months later, developer DICE is still working to fix the game. That could once again drive some gamers to vote to give EA the trifecta in the Worst Company in America tournament.
At the same time, EA did do better in other ways. While Battlefield 4 did have issues, the publisher and developer came out and said that the studio wouldn’t move on to other projects until it got the shooter fully working.
EA has also used the last few months to develop an offline single-player mode for SimCity that is going live to players today.
Finally, the publisher worked with Microsoft and developer Respawn to launch the hotly anticipated mech shooter Titanfall. That game debuted on Xbox One and PC earlier this month to only very minor and temporary technical issues.
So while many fans might still feel that EA is really the worst company in America, the evidence suggests that it is at least trying to do better.
McDonald’s, meanwhile, is telling its employees to sign up for food stamps rather than paying them more.
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