Consumer Union’s Consumerist blog has named Electronic Arts “The Worst Company in America.” Whether you’re a fan or not, this is still kind of shocking — and no small feat, considering there were contenders like Bank of America and Walmart up for that Golden Poo trophy.
Each year, the site compiles a list of the most hated U.S. corporations and has them face off in pairs for community votes. What began as 32 companies got whittled down as 250,000+ votes poured in: Walmart whupped Gamestop, AT&T beat Facebook, and Bank of America smacked down Ticketmaster. In the end, with Bank of America duking it out against first-timer EA, the game publisher trounced the financial institution, taking a massive 64 percent of the votes.
But the victory isn’t sweet. And it highlights a few pesky issues around the company, like EA buying up (ruining?) smaller businesses, making blatant cashflow grabs via paid in-game downloads, and hiring viral marketers as fake users. Then there’s the stink caused by making STEAM-accustomed gamers use the dedicated Origin service and the outrage over the abrupt, lame ending to Mass Effect 3, put out by subsidiary Bioware. (So upset, were the fans, that the company is revisiting the title’s conclusion via an extended cut DLC.) As an employer, the bad rep remains: EA is known for horrible conditions that grossly overworks its staffers.
EA’s response? Its PR department blasted back with a pithy, sarcastic retort: ”We’re sure that bank presidents, oil, tobacco and weapons companies are all relieved they weren’t on the list this year.”
Is the game publisher winning the Golden Poo award surprising or does it seem spot-on to you?