While you weren’t watching, history was quietly made today. Video game company EA has achieved something no organization has ever done before. Through dedication, hard work, and a complete and utter commitment to the cause, EA has become the first company to win the Consumerist’s Worst Company In America award twice in a row.
But why are they the Worst Company In America? After all, as EA itself has pointed out, it’s rated against companies that actively ruin lives and steal from their customers. Some of the other companies that were in the running actually make the world a worse place in a very practical manner. Can a company who limits its activities to the video game industry which, internet drama aside, can’t really affect the public in the way Bank of America can be truly deserving of the title “Worst Company in America?”
Hell yes. And here’s why.
It all comes down to the nature of the award. The Worst Company In America award is not about actually finding the most harmful company in the country. It’s not about warning people away from their products. It’s about sending a message. The Consumerist has even said as much. It’s about letting these companies know what you think of their behavior. I don’t know of anyone, outside of the most petty people, who would honestly state that EA is a more toxic organization than the 2nd place winner, Bank of America. However EA was the one they wanted to send the message too. And it makes sense why they’d want to do so. Just looking at the top four of the competition, Bank of America is already facing some sort of comeuppance for their actions through prosecution, Ticketmaster is in the midst of a class action lawsuit, and Comcast just narrowly escaped class action by one vote in the Supreme Court about two weeks ago. Those three, while there is a lot of well-earned anger at them, have already had very official statements made to them, to say the least. Consumers have been taking action, and have found some sort of outlet. EA on the other hand, hasn’t been the recipient of any lawsuits, and any sort of statement their stakeholders can make is largely confined to whining on the internet. So when people finally get a chance to make a statement that actually has some weight to it, of course they’re going to take it.
It’s about respect. That’s what I’ve said before, the gaming community hates EA so much because of the utter lack of respect they get from EA. The pattern of anti-consumer behavior, inartistic monetization, and a history of limiting the medium for video games as a whole have led to a lot of people pissed off at EA, and they want EA to know it.
That’s why it sucks so much that anything we can say seems to have fallen on deaf ears. EA is not the kind of company that cares about what its consumers think, as perfectly demonstrated by this moronic piece of intellectual masturbation by COO Peter Moore. I’d like to go through this and rebut it point by point, as I’ve done in the past, but reading that statement just once has already caused me to lose brain cells. This is a perfect example of not only missing the point, but fleeing hard from the point directly into oncoming traffic. Did you know the votes for them as Worst Company In America is directly a result of a conservative homophobe conspiracy? They’re really heroes for standing up for the LGBT community! If you think they deserve the Worst Company In America award, that means you hate gays! Also, people love everything they do, and their mediocre sales and fleeing CEO proves it! If you haven’t clicked that link, please note that I’m barely exaggerating here. Luckily, the hosts of the awards themselves have an excellent rebuttal ready for him.
Peter Moore demonstrates in this one piece a complete lack of empathy or basic care for EA’s customer, and this is exactly the kind of corporate culture that leads to the behavior that won EA the award. It also demonstrates that their leadership is not willing to listen to the gaming community, and without that, it’s unlikely that anything with the company is going to change. So, any bets on how many years in a row EA’s going to win this award?