Opinion: The Worst Company In America, Again

For the second year in a row, angry gamers have voted Electronic Arts as the worst company in America on the consumer advocate blog, The Consumerist. At Slide To Play, we are dedicated to protecting the interests of gamers from companies that would sell them shoddy products, excessive in-app purchases, and cumbersome digital rights management. But once again, we must urge The Consumerist and its voters to step back and take a look at the bigger picture.

Sometimes, gamers can get lost in their own worlds. It’s what often defines our hobby. While we have our communities online and in real life, sometimes the latest developments in Azeroth can feel more real than the news on Planet Earth. And while we love charging into battle from the front lines in Call of Duty, there are real wars on the planet where life and death is not just a game.

EA didn’t rock the global economy with mortgage-backed securities, or secretly mess with interest rates for personal profit. They don’t manufacture weapons of war, death, and destruction, unless you count the virtual military hardware in Battlefield 4. They don’t genetically modify our foods, pump pollution into our air and waterways, or overcharge sick and dying patients in the hospital.

Last December, a madman walked into an elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut, and murdered 20 children and six adults. In an attempt to curb this type of gun violence, Congress has tried to pass some form of gun control, but they’ve been met with fierce resistance from the NRA, an advocate for the gun lobby. Why didn’t a manufacturer of assault rifles and high-capacity magazines end up in The Consumerist’s yearly poll?

Perhaps it’s because gun control (along with health care, pollution, and most major issues) have become highly politicized, and it’s easy for people to fall on one side of the debate or another along ideological lines. Perhaps that’s why EA is such a tempting target. No matter how divided people get about big issues facing the nation and world, everyone can agree that Sim City’s latest launch could have gone a lot better.

The Sims of Sim City will be fine. The ones who are hurting are the real worldwide victims of violence, poverty, and exploitation. Gamers shouldn’t just be out-of-touch hobbyists– they should be engaged with the real world. If games can expose us to new ideas and stir us to action, let it be directed at the world’s true villains and final bosses.

8 thoughts on “Opinion: The Worst Company In America, Again

  1. My belief as to why this has happened is essentially because gamers are more likely than most to participate in an online poll and some gamers are a very, very, vocal community…as long as they don’t have to get out of their computer chairs.

    I’m not the biggest fan of EA either, but I’ll defend them against anyone who has the temerity to name them the worst company in America. Exxon Mobil just polluted an entire Arkansas community and the surrounding wetlands and water supply with over 500,000 gallons of toxic sludge that will literally take YEARS to clean up. And yet, people having trouble logging into SimCity is a bigger crime.

    People need to seriously get their priorities straight.

  2. Great article. Still a completely scummy company though. Yes there are real world BIG issues, but that doesn’t make EA any less of a morally bankrupt, greedy souless company though.

  3. I’m not American, but why would you blame an unspecified weapon manufacturer for something that wasn’t directly their fault and that they may not advocate or condone? That kinda seems just as bad as blaming a video game company for inspiring someone to kill.

    Also, maybe Exxon Mobil just polluted an entire Arkansas community and maybe there are other companies that have done more harm, but there’s one thing you don’t understand about this situation. It’s not what the company does that makes them the worst, it’s their attitude towards their own consumers.

    When another company does a bad thing and they’re found out, what you generally expect is a press statement of something like “We deeply regret the bad thing that happened and doing our best to fix the bad thing”. Even if they’re lying through their teeth, they want to look like they’re sorry.

    EA’s response to getting the second golden poop is- no joke, blame homophobes who still hate ME3, dismiss all other criticism as petty gamer hate and say “The tallest trees catch the most wind.”

    It’s not just the problems with SimCity (which run much deeper than just a poor launch), EA likes to make it very clear that they don’t care about any of their consumers. This is coming from a company that’s entire business is to entertain people.

    • I don’t think it had anything to do with real life problems. The internet is filled with gamers who hate EA and we are far more likely to vote in online polls than the general public. Skewing the votes.

  4. EA was voted the worst because they are a company that doesn’t deliver the expected results. Firearms manufacturers don’t have that same problem (guns work as advertised) and neither do natural gas companies (I don’t have to worry about the contents of the gas that makes it into my car). Why didn’t an assault rifle manufacturer make it into the yearly poll? Maybe because the crime outlined wasn’t committed with an assault rifle, and maybe the laws most recently passed would not have prevented the atrocities in the first place. Unless you are looking to start writing for the Washington Post or New York Times you should keep politics where they belong. I don’t come to a iOS gaming website to read about politics.

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