Electronic Arts Wants a Better Reputation

EA's CEO Andrew Wilson said he does not want EA being viewed as the worst company in America any more, but his ideas to improve that image are still all business-speak.

For the past two years in a row, Electronic Arts has won the Golden Poo award.  For those unaware, this award is given every year to the company people vote for on the Consumerist.  The award is prestigious in all the worst ways, as the votes are for the worst company rather than the best.  EA blamed its most recent win on homophobes, but seemed to take no actual responsibility for the business decisions that led to so many people hating them as a company.

The company has gotten a new CEO in the time since then, one Andrew Wilson, and he has stated to Kotaku that he wants to rebuild Electronic Arts's reputation.  A few of the things he says are hopeful, such as pointing out how annual sequels are a problem.  It never takes long to find multiple people ready to condemn the very idea of such blatant franchise milking, but such should be an obvious issue by now.

Wilson also emphasizes how he wants to improve the company's relationship with gamers over the long term.

Any time we create something, if you’re asking for an investment from the consumer in dollars and time, make sure they feel like they’re stealing from you and that they are getting the best end of that deal and the rest will follow. And that will be our philosophy...

On the one hand, the cynical gamer in me is leery of the obvious business language used in this statement.  There is no discussion about actually making quality games, or appealing to any particular audience, or even listening to most feedback.  Wilson simply says his aim is to make people feel as if they are getting much more than their money's worth out of Electronic Arts products.  This statement could apply to literally any product in any industry, and that vagueness sets off a few warning bells in my head.

Nevertheless, it is still the most positive thing I can recall having heard a representative from EA say in ages, so I will watch the company closely in the near future.  I am still not rushing to install Origin, but I may actually give serious consideration to buying a game that will require it if the ideas Wilson has put forth bear fruit.

Published Nov. 4th 2013
  • fg_4416
    EA is the leader is causing new developing video game companies to have doors shut and quality to drop in the industry , EA Does not care about quality in any shape or form , They are not a major corporation they are a major forceful take over company that steals others work and and ideas and claims it as it own .
    EA has not developed anything original in 15 years and prolly will not in the next 15 years , they assembly line video games without support with server up life of 360 days . The company is a loser from it's take over from the original owner and it is a loser now , it will be a loser 20 years from now .
    The video game industry would flourish in quality and artistry and devotion if EA closed it doors for good .
  • Destrolyn.Bechgeddig
    Featured Columnist
    Hang on....homophobia? Care to expand, this is news to me?

    As a gay man, what annoys me about EA is how shameless they've become in their disregard of gamers when it comes to making money. Yes, they still pump out some brilliant games, but then you have disasters like SimCity and the fact that there are still persistent bugs in the money-machine that is The Sims franchise. Then lets not forget Origin, where having the privilege to download games means you sacrifice the rights to sell them off if they're crap, although that's something they're working on.

    Things have improved customer service wise since their last award. You can actually pretty easily get in touch with a real person in a chat window and get problems sorted pretty damn quickly; something which you couldn't do before, but is working wonders.

    Companies, not just EA, really need to totally rethink how they interface with gamers. With the explosion of the indie scene, players are now enjoying sterling games pushed out by like minded people who give a lot of attention to, and understand, their customers: socially, financially, and culturally - a polar opposite to how big studios have mostly operated for decades.

    However, it's good to hear Andrew Wilson give the company a statement of direction that actually chimes with how many gamers feel about EA. But let's hope his puts HIS money where his mouth is, and not ours.
  • Wokendreamer
    Featured Columnist
    YEP! Have a link. http://consumerist.com/2013/04/05/ea-admits-it-can-do-better-but-blames-worst-company-success-on-homophobes-and-whiny-madden-fans/

    This little spiel definitely did not help EA avoid its fate as two-time golden pooper, so it is hard to imagine EA going any direction but up with new management. I honestly cannot fathom who would have thought such a diatribe to be a good idea.

    The fact-checking Consumerist does on all the statement's claims is honestly hilarious. Definitely worth a read.
  • Destrolyn.Bechgeddig
    Featured Columnist
    Heh, thanks for the read. Seriously, trying to turn themselves into moral martyrs is actually quite offensive. I don't think Harvey Milk planned on dying just so a conglomerate can shirk responsibility for nose-diving customer satisfaction >:/
  • Ryan Kerns
    Featured Columnist
    I think I was one of the few people that didn't mind Riccitiello... he took a lot of crap for things that weren't necessarily his fault. The man let Shadows of the Damned, Mirror's Edge, and Dead Space get made... games that were nothing like anything EA had published before. Anyway we all know Titanfall is going to be a huge success and they'll just milk that series... who knows how many hundreds of millions Microsoft has already paid them for the exclusivity rights to the game.
  • Coatedpolecat
    Featured Correspondent
    I really like 505 Games. They're quite up and coming. :)
  • Coatedpolecat
    Featured Correspondent
    I think EA has it's corporate heart in the right place. There is a mirrors edge 2. Compared to Activision they contribute a lot more financially to gaming charities. The GLASSLab, and they contribute annual for veterans.
    For Activision to do a lot less and not giving back to the gaming community, I never understood why they didn't get the worst company.

    EA has had ups and downs but I think is a good major corp.

    Sorry for the rant, good read and thanks or posting it.
  • Wokendreamer
    Featured Columnist
    I think a large part of the problem has been some very blatant bad PR on EA's part, a lot of it outright refusing responsibility for a lot of the mistakes the company has made in the past.

    Ultimately, arguing which company is worse often becomes a matter of apples and oranges, and the last Golden Poo voting happened shortly after SimCity launched, which also brought back up all of the ugliness that was Origin's customer service.
  • Coatedpolecat
    Featured Correspondent
    I agree, arguing which is worse is apples to oranges. The article personally reminded me of why I have issues w a major corp. big surprise right? :)

    I do hope they change their image, they do take risks and that's scary to do w folks jobs on the line.
    We can't afford too many more major publishers or mid-tier pubs to shut their doors.
  • Wokendreamer
    Featured Columnist
    As much fun as it is pointing the finger at those EVIL CORPORATIONS, it really would be nice to get the industry back to a point where trusting game companies to deliver worthwhile product is the norm, rather than the eye-opening exception.

    Fingers crossed, ladies and gentlemen!

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