EA has decided to issue a direct response to its likely chances of "winning" The Consumerist's Worst Company in America survey two years in a row. Chief Operating Officer Peter Moore words the publishing giant's pledge , saying, "We can do better. We will do better."
"It appears EA is going to 'win,'" Moore writes. "Like the Yankees, Lakers, and Manchester United, EA is one of those organizations that is defined by both a legacy of success and a legion of critics. Are we really the 'Worst Company in America'? I'll be the first to admit that we've made plenty of mistakes. These include server shutdowns too early, games that didn't meet expectations, missteps on new pricing models, and most recently, severely fumbling the launch of SimCity. We owe gamers better performance than this."
It's refreshing to see EA address some of its critics directly, particularly after SimCity's launch debacle worsened over EA's perceived stubbornness. That's only a sliver of the company's less-than-stellar reputation among gamers who've risen concerns throughout the years on other hot topics such as the Steam/Origin rivalry, free-to-play, and microtransactions.
Moore, however, disputes the validity of some of these complaints. He explains:
- "Many continue to claim the always-on function in SimCity is a DRM scheme. It's not. People still want to argue about it. We can't be any clearer: it's not. Period."
- "Some claim there's no room for Origin as a competitor to Steam. 45 million registered users are proving that wrong."
- "Some people think that free-to-play games and microtransactions are a pox on gaming. Tens of millions more are playing and loving those games."
- "We've seen mailing lists that direct people to vote for EA because they disagree with the choice of the cover athlete on Madden NFL. Yes, really."
- "In the past year, we've received thousands of emails and postcards protesting against EA for allowing players to create LGBT characters in our games. This week, we're seeing posts on conservative web sites urging people to protest our LGBT policy by voting EA the Worst Company in America."
It'd be nice if Moore backed up EA's refusal to take the heat on Origin or microtransactions with data beyond random numbers. Moore doesn't really say how exactly the company will "do better" and seems to focus more on discrediting an Internet poll of public opinion. I get that a positive image is important for a company the size of EA, but clarity of communication and seeing a solution in action is far more critical.
"Every day, millions of people across globe play and love our games—literally, hundreds of millions more than will vote in this contest," Moore concludes. "So, here's my response to this poll: we can do better. 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."