The Consumerist is running a poll for the worst companies in America and guess who has been steamrolling through the competition? If you said Capcom you would have been right if they were actually on the list and if their headquarters was located in America, but if you guessed Electronic Arts you win some cupcakes.
The Consumerist picked 32 of the worst companies in America for 2012, ranging from Facebook and Best Buy to the Citibank and Paypal, as well as everyone else in between, including Electronic Arts.
EA was listed as a small dark horse entry but they've quickly become a legitimate force to be reckoned with, and they even made the semi-finals and actually managed to beat out Comcast...yes, Comcast.
The electronic software giant is now pitted up against the big bad, super-mofo, AT&T in the semi-finals. On the opposite side of the bracket there's Wal-Mart and Bank of America. It's anyone's guess who comes out on top on that side but if I were a betting man I would bet my bottom dollar on Bank of America.
As for AT&T versus EA...well, it's hard to tell. AT&T wrecked absolute havoc when they were formerly SBC America and they've continued to wreck havoc (especially in regards to all things mobile) with their current contracts and schemes.
However, Electronic Arts is a whole other beast...this company is being pegged as a prime suspect for the next great video game market crash and there's substantial evidence building to support this belief. EA is known for buying up studios, churning out whatever software they can and then gutting the studio from the inside out if they don't feel they can milk them any further (i.e., Westwood Studios, Maxis, Pandemic, etc.,etc.,) and have been adopters to things such as Project $10 to thwart used game sales, as well as aiming to cash in on the digital distribution realm with the spyware-savvy Origin. Gamers, not the media, have also blamed EA for Mass Effect 3's ending and many of BioWare's shortcomings since the company was acquired by EA back in 2007.
Just recently an alleged viral marketer came forward about EA's marketing practices, their exorbitant spending procedures, as well as putting forth rumors that the publishing giant will be buying out a fan-favorite firm that "gamers will not be happy about".
While most gamers recognize that Origin is not consumer friendly in the long run, that online passes have expiration dates and that EA is responsible for the closure and disruption of some of the most beloved game studios in the industry, most media sites aren't keen on actually bringing this out (or doing anything more than playing kiss-up and kiss-arse).
In-the-know consumers could rally together and easily put EA at the top of the bracket as the worst company in America, but it's going to be an uphill struggle against AT&T. You can learn more about this poll and whether EA will make it or break it as the worst in America over at The Consumerist.
Congratulations EA, I don't know how you did it but you managed to beat out one of the most evil banking entities in the entire world and crown yourself as the worst company in the United States of America. Bravo....bravo.
The Consumerist ran their final showdown between EA and the Bank of America and more than 250,000 votes later, EA took the crown as the worst in America. I think the Consumerist summed up the feeling from informed consumers like you and me, saying...
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. Totally agreed.
EA has been destroying jobs, destroying a fan-favorite hobby and ruining the artistic integrity of creative artists the world around for years, despite constantly growing bigger, and bigger, and bigger, with a venture capital expected to peak at close to $5 billion by the end of this year. They even managed to escape two class action lawsuits not from consumers or gamers, but from employees due to mistreatment and poor working conditions. While big businesses such as oil companies, banks and defense contractors are always middled out as being "the worst", I think it's fair to say that it doesn't matter what industry you're in, if you screw over consumers you need to be held accountable for it. Period.
GameIndustry.biz international landed a quote from John Reseburg in EA Corporate Communications, as he commented about EA's win as worst in America, saying...
"We're sure that bank presidents, oil, tobacco and weapons companies are all relieved they weren't on the list this year. We're going to continue making award-winning games and services played by more than 300 million people worldwide,"It might also be safe to say that Award Winning doesn't really equate to quality service (i.e., Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3) and the number of people playing a game certainly doesn't equate to consumer importance (i.e., pick any game from Zynga). You can basically take that quote from Reseburg and toss in the pile of other hollow PR responses from a big business.
You would think a company might show a little more humility in the wake of hundreds of thousands of people chiming in to voice their displeasure with the way the company does business. But I guess EA makes enough money to maintain their hubris.
Anyways, I'm glad this garnered enough exposure as it did, because a lot of consumers are just completely blind to what EA pulled with their digital distribution platform Origin, or their Project $10, or what they plan to do with the Mass Effect 3 ending. At least smart marks used a large enough platform to make their cries heard. Score one win for consumers.