Electronic Arts Takes Home the Golden Poo Award For Worst Company in America
According to the Golden Poo awards, a poll-based competition run by the blog Consumerist, Electronic Arts has apparently been the worst company in America for the last two years.
The reality of the contest (as the Consumerist is happy to admit) is that it is actually just a contest to see who "The Internet" thinks does the worst job servicing its customers, and is most deserving of a plastic poop-shaped trophy. For two years running, that company has been EA. This year they trounced such other love-to-hate companies as Bank of America, AT&T, Comcast, and Kmart-Sears.
What is the reasoning "The Internet" (yes, it now collectively counts as a single sentient being) gave? First, there were the long-standing gripes: "free-to-play" games that constantly nag customers for micro-transaction, a reputation for making bad games and absorbing smaller studios, and poor customer service. Add in the recent catastrophe that was the Sim City 5 launch and complaints over always-online requirements, and The Internet has been taking any chance it can get to lash out at EA.
In a stunning example of the type of customer service The Internet was talking about, EA COO Peter Moore responded to the poll by calling the people voting against him homophobes (a reference to EA including LGBT characters in its games) and questioning the significance of the video game industry. The Chief Operating Officer of Electronic Arts, one of the largest publishers of video games, tried to make it seem trivial and whiny to even put his company on the same list as oil companies.
Not only was this a contest about treatment of customers, not environmental degradation, but video games are a multi-billion dollar industry that has become larger than any other entertainment medium in the world. So yes, EA is in a significant-enough industry to be included in the running for an Internet poll contest over a piece of plastic poo.
Now, to be fair, EA actually makes the highest-quality games in the industry, as judged by a compilation of all major critical reviews in game journalism. So the complaints over bad games may be a bit exaggerated. The rest of the complaints stand, however, and making a good product is only one small element of treating customers well.
So yes, recent EA's faux pas regarding the highly anticipated Sim City probably whipped customer dissatisfaction a bit out of proportion, but that doesn't mean EA shouldn't take a hint.
EA needs to make a legitimate effort to respond to The Internet's complaints (like it did with Mass Effect). After all, in marketing, a quality product doesn't matter if the customer's perception doesn't agree.