EA Shits on Gamers, is Awarded With Golden Poo
In a show of incontrovertible proof that the universe can get it right on occasion, EA were this week named by the Consumerist website as the single worst company in America for the year 2012, beating out the Bank of America by a significant margin. EA managed to capture a princely 64.03% of the vote to the Bank of America’s paltry 35.97, amply demonstrating that there was only really ever one horse in this race – and with that in mind, the Consumerist set about reducing EA to glue.
By way of announcement, the website noted that: “After more than 250,000 votes, Consumerist readers ultimately decided that the type of greed exhibited by EA, which is supposed to be making the world a more fun place, is worse than Bank of America’s avarice, which some would argue is the entire point of operating a bank. To those who might sneer at something as “non-essential” as a video game company winning the Worst Company In America vote: It’s that exact kind of attitude that allows people to ignore the complaints as companies like EA nickel and dime consumers to death”, an entirely agreeable sentiment, provided one does not mind the hyperbole. The article goes on to cite a number of EA’s crimes against gamers, such as launching broken games which require a patch after launch, deliberately holding back on a game’s content so that it can be sold on at a later date as DLC, and EAs tendency to buy promising independent studios only to convert them into a corporate toilet like Bioware. Regrettably, the consumerist does not list EA’s two biggest perversions wrought upon the gaming landscape: the Online Pass and Origin. The Online Pass is EAs way of reaching into one’s pocket and helping themselves to what they feel is their entitlement, namely everything. It is minor sabotage of personal property inflicted on such a grand scale that it beggars belief that John Riccitiello is not currently enjoying some hard loving in Bernie Madoff’s state facility. Meanwhile, Origin, the service that nobody wanted, is guilty of much the same thing, banning people from playing their own single player games due to infractions that could be charitably described as illusory – though that may well be regarded as ‘fine’ by the sorts of people that the Consumerist references in their above statement.
EA for their part have been characteristically catty and indignant, bristling at the mere suggestion that they would gleefully trample upon the rights of their consumers: “We’re sure that British Petroleum, AIG, Phillip Morris, and Halliburton are all relieved they weren’t nominated this year. We’re going to continue making award-wining games and services played by more than 300 million people worldwide.” EA are seriously kidding themselves if they somehow imagine that they are in some way superior to the companies they list above; the smart money says that not a one would flippantly brush off a quarter million dissatisfied customers – but hey, at least the world now knows where Paul Christoforo got his rebound gig.
Traditionally, the golden poo award is served on a pillow as red as the cartoon devil on both of John Riccitiello’s shoulders, yet as a kindly gesture to one of EAs more high profile acquisitions, the Consumerist has offered to to provide EA with a choice of three different colours of pillow, though of course the poo remains the same irrespective of the outcome.
Release Window Announced For the Launch of Mass Effect 3’s Ending Sequence
Perhaps the Consumerist gave EA-Bioware the kick in the pants that it needed, or mayhap it is just one big happy coincidence, but at any rate the official worst company of 2012 will seek to retcon the worst ending of 2012 – gratis – this Summer. That is to say that the company that would monetize game saves if it thought it could get away with it, has this week offered to redress an ending so abysmal that it has been all that anyone has talked about for three weeks, completely free of charge (for two years) – perhaps there is something to be said for media pressure after all.
After a highly amusing fan campaign which saw a whopping $80,000 raised for Child’s Play, and 400 red, green, and blue cup cakes delivered en masse to the Bioware offices, executive producer Casey Hudson has this week announced that post-launch DLC development initiatives have been re-prioritised in order to bring Mass Effect fans what he has dubbed the “extended cut”. The way that EA describes it is that “through additional cinematic sequences and epilogue scenes, the Mass Effect 3: Extended Cut will give fans seeking further clarity to the ending of Mass Effect 3 deeper insights into how their personal journey concludes. Coming this summer, the Mass Effect 3: Extended Cut will be available for download on the Xbox 360 videogame and entertainment system, Playstation 3 computer entertainment system and PC for no extra charge.”
This move will likely come as too little, too late for many disenchanted players. Moreover, given what they have to work with, it is not difficult to imagine them confecting a bigger mess than they started with. Nevertheless, it is heartening to see a company at least making the effort – too bad it is likely being made for wholly cynical reasons.
EA Loves the Gays
As the saying goes, a broken clock is still right twice a day, and so it seems is EA, if the latest furor to embroil them is anything to go by. This past week EA has been met with a barrage of indignant hate mail from the irate Christian fundamentalists at the Florida Family Association for not having the good taste to treat Gay people like lepers. Chief among their complaints is the option for homosexual trysts in Mass Effect 3 and The Old Republic, a feature they claim is pushing the homosexual lifestyle on children despite both games carrying ‘Mature’ and ‘Teen’ ratings respectively. Is a generation of lazy Christian parents condemning the nation’s children to a life of sodomy?
Fortunately EA look to be taking a principled stance on the issue if the words of communications VP Jeff Brown are anything to go by: “Every one of EA’s games includes ERSB content descriptors so it’s hard to believe anyone is surprised by the content. This isn’t about protecting children, it’s about political harassment. EA has not been pressured by any groups to include LGBT characters in our games. However, we have met with LGBT groups and sponsored industry forums to discuss content and harassment of players in online forums. In short, we do put options for same-sex relationships in our games; we don’t tolerate hate speech on our forums.”
Seriously though, nobody should be surprised at Bioware incorporating gay romance options in their games anymore, theirs is a culture built around personal choice, just like the homosexual lifestyle.