One of the largest and most profitable video game companies globally is Electronic Arts (EA). EA has released some of the most popular game series in the world like FIFA, The Sims, Madden, and Battlefield.
Chances are you’ve played at least one of their games, even if you’ve never heard of EA. But apparently, all of this success in the industry comes at a cost: gamers unanimously hate EA.
In both 2012 and 2013, it was voted the worst company in America and remains the number one bad guy in public opinion. How has a business managed to piss everybody off with so many amazing games under its belt?
The Death of Smaller Developers
One on One: Dr. J vs Larry Bird is the game that gave the firm its identity. It was a simple and clear game to play with basketball players Julius Erving and Larry Bird going head to head.
The trend of using sports players as gaming characters started with this game. Then the Madden series came out in 1988, it was popular but this is also when Electronic Arts began to get hate from gamers.
The company has a long history of purchasing and destroying smaller developers like Origin Systems. After years of EA setting unreasonable deadlines for Origin System’s games, the company was shut down in 2004.
The Ultima game series was the one that ultimately suffered.
A somewhat forced ‘multiplayer scheme’ was included in games like Dead Space 3 and Mass Effect 3, as EA sought to attract a ‘broader appeal,’ but failed to do so.
Incessant iterations and sequels were created to series like the Need for Speed that did not have enough functionality to justify new games.
The company developed a long-standing reputation for customer dissatisfaction, having been declared three times in the last 5 years to be the worst company in America.
Nevertheless, nowhere is their dormancy more apparent than on their very own Instagram page.
No matter what they post or what subject they discuss, 90% of all comments they receive are from users pleading for EA to create “Skate 4,” a sequel to the popular 2010 skateboarding game Skate 3.
As late as 2014, Skate 3 was a high-selling game, requiring EA to reprint the title, and after a widespread vote, it was made backward-compatible on Xbox One in 2016.
Poor Customer Service
It is quite shocking that EA has not yet agreed to start developing the requested sequel, with hundreds of thousands of messages sent to them over the past three years.
However, it is downright outrageous that they have chosen not to formally answer the grassroots movement that has taken over their Instagram page.
It is surprising that EA, as the second-largest gaming company in the world, is turning a blind eye to the real needs of its customers in an era of digital connectivity where most major corporations are trying harder to connect.
EA can’t figure out how to address the multitude of bugs that crop up year after year, even though a new FIFA game comes out every year
Players routinely sink into the field or contort into weird, sub-human configurations, so without warning, the pitch can turn into a horror scene.
The bugs are so reliable that plenty of collection videos pop up every year to illustrate just how broken each new FIFA installment is.
Selling Online Passes To Players
EA also tried to charge players an extra fee to play pre-owned games online to get cash out of players purchasing their used games. In 2010, EA started to provide codes to provide all new games with online access.
The codes operated only once, so players were forced to purchase unopened games if they wanted to play online. The regulations were made available for purchase, usually for around $10-$15, for individuals who got their games second-hand.
This created a dilemma for players who purchased EA games that were pre-owned. Yes, they could still play the single-player and local modes of the game, but they needed to drop extra cash if they chose to play online.
EA games’ prices were inflated by the hidden costs, to the point that many used games cost the same as if they were new.
The system left many players upset until the concept was scrapped in 2013 by EA.
EA has made some fast in-game improvements, lowering the cost of unlocking heroes by 75 percent. With many successful titles, EA is a massive game company and will probably recover from this controversy.
Let’s hope that EA learns their lesson about customer engagement before the release of their next games.