How time flies! In April of last year, Electronic Arts "won" the worst American company of 2012 award, beating out near-criminal banks and oil companies to achieve victory in The Consumerist's publicly voted poll. EA has now begun a streak, defending its title in 2013.
EA took nearly 78% of the vote thanks to organized efforts from disgruntled gamers, becoming the first company ever to retain its title. Not even the RIAA could manage that! On its path to victory, the publisher stormed past such competitors as Bank of America, AT&T, and Walmart.
Peter Moore tried to preempt the award last week, stating the company was being picked on by homophobes and those who were angry over Mass Effect 3. The Consumerist itself argued against such claims, writing that it won for its DLC practices, unreasonable prices, and lack of product support. The publication also stood by its poll results, and rebuked the idea that EA wasn't bad enough to be considered a competitor.
"Video games are big business," the outlet wrote. "A company like EA -- and Activision, Ubisoft, Nintendo, and Sony, etc. -- merits just as much scrutiny as any other business that plays a leading role in a multibillion-dollar industry. It’s only a fractured, antiquated public perception that video games are somehow frivolous holdovers from childhood that allows gamers to be abused and taken advantage of by the very people who supply them the games they play.
"... When we live in an era marked by massive oil spills, faulty foreclosures by bad banks, and rampant consolidation in the airline and telecom industry, what does it say about EA’s business practices that so many people have -- for the second year in a row -- come out to hand it the title of Worst Company In America?"
Some would argue -- and have -- that the results say more about gamers and their broken priorities than it does about Electronic Arts' business practices. Is that the right call to make? Depends on where your own priorities lie, I suppose.
I'll certainly agree, as I did last year, that it may be silly to have EA considered worse than such monstrosities as Bank of America, but at the same time I hardly consider it worthy of outrage. Gamers are concerned with game-related companies, and Electronic Arts has done a lot to earn their ire. It makes sense they'd vote for what they're most intimately concerned with. Ultimately, it's not like the prize for the victory is jail-time, fines, or any other tangible punishment. It's an online poll in which the winner receives a "golden poo."
I'd argue getting upset over EA receiving metal-plated feces is about as silly as it winning in the first place.