In 2012, the video games giant, Electronic Arts, won the title of “America’s worst company”, as voted by The Consumerist, and the Golden Poop trophy that comes with it. I could go on about how The Consumerist is a Gawker media company, which is a terrible and biased blogging platform that presents itself as a news outlet and coincidentally is tied to EA competitors, but instead I’ll get into why I think that while they are poorly managed, the title is excessive since terrible companies and eco-terrorists like Monsanto are also American companies.
EA makes most of their money producing sports games
Their best selling titles are, in order, FIFA, Madden NFL, Nascar and NHL, the last of which won multiples ‘Sports Game of the Year’ award. As a major NFL football fan (go Eagles!) I’ve bought every Madden NFL game since 2007 and I spent alot of time playing them.
One thing I noticed over the time is that every game is basically just a roster update of the one that came before, with minimal upgrades to hit detection and graphics. Linebackers jumping three feet up in the air to grab the ball for an interception, quarterbacks making consecutive games of 500 yards, and 5’11” tight ends repeatedly pancake blocking 6’3″ 300 pound defensive ends. That stuff happened ever since I picked up my first football game and as of today, it still happens. Those are silly problems that taint the realism of a game which pretends to be more realistic than arcade games like Blitz.
A lawsuit couldn’t change EA’s ways
A consumer group, tired of buying the same game year after year and not having an alternative, filed a class action against EA. The case went to court as Pecover v. Electronic Arts and was eventually settled out of court in 2012 for 27$M and made residents of the United States who bought a Madden NFL game between 2005 and 2012 eligible to receive a small part of the cake. Even the menace of an antitrust lawsuit floating over their head didn’t make things move like we thought it would and to this day, the games remain the same.
This is the result of poor management and lazy developers taking shortcuts and reusing the same codes. Every year, I play the game so much that I can predict what the color comments are going to be before I even make a play and then it hits me: I hate Phil Simms. I hate the playbooks. I hate the depth chart system, which doesn’t consider that players like Denard Robinson and Joe Webb can be backup quarterback, running back and wide receiver at the same time. I hate the way that AI players constantly block the wrong guy. I hate the way there’s either too many blocked and missed kicks or none. I hate this game from the bottom of my heart. More important, I hate myself and I promise myself that I will never to buy this game again.
Then comes the off season. No football. Bored of old Madden game. Watch some Australian Football to pass the time. Suddenly, a fantastic trailer of the next Madden game, with highly rendered graphics, promising that every little thing that sucked in the past game is now fixed. Hype builds up. August comes… and I buy it again. Rinse and repeat.
I don’t understand why I do it. Maybe I’m a dumbass. Or maybe I convince myself that even though this game sucks, I can still have some fun with it.
No, I’m definitely a dumbass.
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