VodkaPundit

Is EA the Worst Company in America?

From Ars Technica:

In the spirit of March Madness, The Consumerist has been running its own version of the famed basketball tournament in recent weeks, except this time it’s pitting American companies against each other in the “Worst Company in America” tournament.

On Friday, this “competition” moved into the semi-final round, with Electronic Arts (EA) being pitted against Ticketmaster—readers can vote in an online poll set to close just before midnight, Eastern Time, Friday night. (EA “won” this event last year.)

But EA CEO Peter Moore actually wrote a letter defending his company. It started like so:

Are we really the “Worst Company in America?” I’ll be the first to admit that we’ve made plenty of mistakes. These include server shut downs too early, games that didn’t meet expectations, missteps on new pricing models and most recently, severely fumbling the launch of SimCity. We owe gamers better performance than this.

Here’s a letter of my own:

Dear Mr. Moore,

You did not fumble the launch of SimCity. Well, you did, but that sin is easily forgiven, once the wrinkles are ironed out. What you fumbled was SimCity itself. You took the first-and-best sandbox game, and ruined it. You over-promised and under-delivered. You broke what was magical about SimCity in favor of a multiplayer mush which absolutely nobody was clamoring for. And then you tried to produce Sims-level simulations of each and every city resident, but couldn’t — and thereby broke whatever was left of the game we once loved.

Until you understand that, you are the worst company in the world.

-Your Friendly Neighborhood VodkaPundit

Yeah, I’m still mad about this one.

PS Moore totally lied when he claimed later in his letter that always-on wasn’t about DRM. It’s a crock that SimCity requires EA’s servers to function:

According to a developer who “worked directly on the project,” is that SimCity doesn’t offload calculations to EA’s servers. “The servers are not handling any of the computation done to simulate the city you are playing. They are still acting as servers, doing some amount of computation to route messages of various types between both players and cities,” the anonymous developer tells Rock Paper Shotgun. The developer goes on to say that the servers are also used to store save games in the cloud, and for detecting cheaters in non-real-time — but that’s it. ”It wouldn’t take very much engineering to give you a limited single-player game without all the nifty region stuff,” he finishes.

So let’s just call Moore the worst person in the world until he fesses up. And until he fixes the great game his company broke, let’s also call him the worst software CEO in the World.

PPS I have no problem with unobtrusive DRM. I have a big problem with lying, ass-covering CEOs who can’t admit reality or recognize a mistake.