My blog on games, tech and Sci-Fi

EA executive responds to “worst company” poll: “We owe gamers better performance.”

COO Peter Moore steps up for company, but says: “we’ve made plenty of mistakes.”

In the spirit of March Madness, The Consumerist has been running its own version of the famed basketball tournament in recent weeks, except this time it’s pitting American companies against each other in the “Worst Company in America” tournament.

On Friday, this “competition” moved into the semi-final round, with Electronic Arts (EA) being pitted against Ticketmaster—readers can vote in an online poll set to close just before midnight, Eastern Time, Friday night. (EA “won” this event last year.)

Surprisingly, though, Peter Moore, EA’s chief operating officer, offered up a rebuttal on a corporate blog on Friday afternoon. There, he argued that because EA is high-profile, it draws a lot of negative attention. Or, put in a slightly folksier way: “The tallest trees catch the most wind.”

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 shut downs 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.

Some of these complaints are 100 percent legitimate—like all large companies we are not perfect. But others just don’t hold water:

  • 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 micro-transactions 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 have 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.

That last one is particularly telling. If that’s what makes us the worst company, bring it on.  Because we’re not caving on that.

Electronic Arts has gone through some rough patches as of late, including losing its CEO as of just a few days ago, in the wake of a highly-disappointing release of SimCity, as we reported previously.

That release was plagued by server problems compounded by the lack of offline play, an issue that was eventually “solved” by hacks and mods from the community. EA followed up the widespread problems with quibbling over refunds, and reviewers came back with middling reviews and thedocumentation of AI problems.

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