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Sir Topham Hatt

EA: Don't Hate Us

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EA has been voted the "worst company in America" two years running in an online poll by Consumerist magazine, and comments posted by gamers to other sites - complaining of "price gouging" and "arrogance" - confirm many dislike it.

Speaking to the BBC, Frank Gibeau, EA's president of labels, acknowledges his firm has an image problem.

"That type of feedback is disappointing personally for people inside of EA because we love our company and the games that we make," he says.

Consumerist magazine highlighted three "failings" when it reported EA had been voted the "worst company in America":

It fails to provide products people want and like.

Examples given included Sim City 5's online-only requirement and an unpopular ending to Mass Effect 3. It also suggested titles such as Dead Space 3 and Dragon Age 2 would have benefited from a longer development schedule.

It doesn't sell its products at a reasonable price.

The magazine said part of the reason the firm's sports titles were expensive was that it had signed deals with organisations, such as the National Football League, that prevented others releasing competing products. It also complained about the firm's desire to promote micro-transactions, which it described as "consumer chiselling".

It doesn't properly support the products it sells.

The magazine said players continued to complain about customer-service support despite a previous pledge by EA to improve its response process.

"We're in the business of entertaining and exciting people, and when our business policies get in the way of that and we hear this reaction and see this feedback we have to take note of it. We're not tone deaf."

Criticism of big business is nothing new, and Electronic Arts's status as the world's second biggest games publisher puts it firmly in the firing line. But the editor-in-chief of news site Game Front suggests in this case real change - rather than lip service to the idea - is required.

"EA might be a scapegoat for larger industry trends beyond its control, but a big part of the hatred has to be an image of not caring what players think or want," says Mark Burnham.

DLC "Not Loved"

"Practices like charging for DLC [downloadable content] on day one of a title's release and online passes [requiring buyers of used games to pay extra for access to online content and services] aren't loved, and you can couple that with what many players see as a tendency to try make games more saleable to wider audiences - and therefore, much more generic and homogenised."

Mr Gibeau notes that EA has already ditched charges for online passes, ending a policy which meant second-hand game buyers needed to pay the publisher if they wanted to unlock bonus online content already bought by the original owners.

EA was criticised after problems with its servers meant gamers who bought Sim City were unable to play it

But he defends other controversial strategies, such adding micro-transactions to premium games.

The idea of giving away software for free but charging for virtual goods was popularised in Asia as a way to combat piracy. Some gamers are uncomfortable with its extension to console titles, which cost up to

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LOL EA`s customer service is bad? Try Ubisoft where after 2 days ( and you will wait more than this for a rep) the problem is auto marked solved. To say helpful accurately described there handling of my Farcry 3 probs is to say a blind Orangutan holding a mashed up crayon between its butt-cheeks is an artist.

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Worst company in America is its government. EA's got nothing on that *cough*

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there another thing that i hates form EA but for some reason rarely cited: EA' aggresive accquisition of others game developers.

I really hates it when EA buy another game companies.

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LOL. That's not news! :p

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^ It's sure not. We know why we hate them. :D

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