I won’t bother recapping this past week; it’s a story you should know by now. If you don’t know that EA won The Consumerist’s poll in a landslide victory (loss?) then I don’t know why you’re on a video game website right now. Now that the poll is over, The Golden Poo has been awarded, and the Twittersphere has calmed down from the shit storm of butthurt, it’s time to reflect on the reasons this past week came to be.
EA didn’t win because of the countless developers they have pillaged; EA didn’t win because they continue to ship games that need a day one patch; EA didn’t even win because they think that DLC and microtransactions are they way of the future. EA won because we, the angry consumer collective as a whole, keep falling for it, and we are pissed. EA isn’t the worst company in America, let’s be real here. EA is the fall guy. We voted them to the top because we want retribution for the mistakes we made and the mistakes we will continue to make. (Also, banks and oil are necessities for life, so they can do what they want and never worry about losing our business.)
After Sim City failed to launch, what did the internet look like? Reddit was flooded with angry posts, Neogaf was was pissed, and Twitter bombarded EA with complaints. The ideal response would have been: silence. In an ideal world no one would have bought it, and there would have been no need for these posts. How many times have you heard the phrase “I’m never buying an EA product again?” I heard it after Mass Effect 3, I heard it after Battlefield 3, I heard it after SWTOR, and I heard it again after Sim City. Those are just the ones coming to mind right now, there are plenty more examples. If we, the consumers, had any sort of backbone we wouldn’t have continued to give them our money, but we did and will keep doing so. Go ahead, sound off in the comments about how Sim City was the last straw, I’ll laugh.
EA is the worst company in America because we’re idiots. Now we’re angry idiots that can’t believe they tricked us again. EA is the way they are because we told them to be. We kept buying day one DLC, so they kept putting it out. That’s not EA being evil; that’s a company giving consumers a product that they will buy. People out there payed money for the Battlefield 3 premium pack to skip the leveling up process. The microtransaction weapons put in Dead Space 3 were there because people would buy them.
“You’re showing just how greedy EA is if they wouldn’t ship that stuff with the game.” Good point, EA is insanely greedy. They run companies into the ground to make a quick buck. But how did they become greedy? Because we were offered items like map packs for much more than they were worth and gladly bought them. A selling point for the 360 is that it gets COD DLC early. EA did what they do best: copy others. Others were selling horse armor and skins, and they were profiting; of course they did it too. Any retail centered company will follow the market, the market follows the consumer, and the market bought fucking horse armor.
Here’s a prophecy of mine: Battlefield 4 will sell pretty well, but not as well as Battlefield 3. After that, people will go online and complain about the idea of paying to rent servers to host their own game (which happens now in Battlefield 3 and we gladly accept it), there will be tears about the day one map pack, and someone will ironically complain that the online multiplayer requires an internet connection. After that, Cliff Blezinski, Phil Fish, and the other video game “celebrities” will tweet about how the consumer is entitled for complaining about the game. I’m willing to put this out there and hope I don’t have to eat these words later with confidence because of what happened last year.
Last year, EA won the golden poo award, spun some quick damage control, increased their marketing budget, and gave us Sim City to a consumer base willing to buy it. This year, EA has already won the golden poo award and spun some quick damage control. Somehow, after a few paragraphs of obvious bullshit, we are willing to buy more of their games. Believe me, the damage control is obvious bullshit. No one voted for them because of gay rights or the cover of Madden, we voted because we’re projecting our past mistakes onto them. And forget the comment from Greg Zeschuk, it’s an obvious PR spin and not legitimate.
Article by Chris Lohr