Tell Us, Dammit!

EA have been voted the worst company in America. When you think of what other companies exist in the US, this news is both baffling and depressing.

If you were to ask me which company I think should be voted the worst, I would probably name an oil or mining company, or a weapons manufacturer. Heck, I'd even list a pharmaceutical company before listing EA!

So here's a question: Do you think EA is deserving of this (dis)honour? Which company — US-based or otherwise — do you think deserves the title of being The Worst?

All I have to say is if selling first-day DLC is viewed as such an enormous crime then our world needs to rethink its priorities.

Tell us, Dammit! is a regular Kotaku AU post where we bring the community on board for a discussion on the relevant, the irrelevant and, occasionally, pizza.


    This seems to be a matter of timing more than anything. If this vote hadn't been this year, but 2 years ago, Activision may have topped the list. Before that, a company like BoA, or anything held by the Koch Brothers. The recent BS pulled by EA in the last 2 years has taken focus, and when asking on the Internet, where many gamers live, giving EA as an option will mean they will vote for it.

    Now, do I think they deserve it? Hell yes. I can't deny they publish some great games, but their business practices are far from kosher in my view. Are they the most evil corporation around, no, but again, in light of recent actions , coupled with the activism seen over Mass Effect 3, and all the rest of the rigmarole, it's not surprising they 'won', and maybe this will open their eyes a little (although I doubt it, and won't be holding my breath).

    They aren't the worst corporation out there, not by a long shot, and I doubt anyone would say otherwise, but if this 'award' serves to make EA hesitate about the things they've done, I say it may just be a good thing in the end.

      I agree with you completely. They are not the worst company of all time but their lack of respect for their customers, mixed with their poor choice in ethical business practices, especially over the last couple of years, has well and truly put them under a bad light.
      I'm as pessimistic as you about the message sinking in to their thick skulls but hope springs eternal.

      Agree with your statement that it is about timing but I also think a growing dissatisfaction with EA's business practices and decisions is coming to a head with this poll presenting an opportunity to send another message.

      Day 1 DLC, Dragon Age 2, SWTOR and Mass Effect 3 are still fresh in people's minds.

      Gaming is becoming more mainstream and accepted, WoW and MMO's in general are no longer activities that are not to be discussed in public and more and more people use games as an outlet or an avenue of escape - possibly more so in the current economic environment (especially in the once mighty US).

      Should CUSTOMERS (deliberate choice of group categorisation instead of 'players') have a sense of entitlement? Absolutely. They pay for a product / service - and many people feel that they have not received a fair value exchange.

      With regard to the rules governing the poll itself - It doesn't seem that there were any prerequisites on # of kittens killed, home repossessed etc. so it's all fair game. Simply put, EA won worst company in America because voters felt they earned it.

        That might not be the case. In my opinion the poll is somewhat biased. It's supposed to be "worst company in America" but I can assure you many thousands of people that voted for EA are not from America/Americans. Considering how much publicity this poll has been given (especially on Game sites and forums) many of those people aren't from America and won't be familiar with Bank of America or AT&T or Comcast, etc. Thus they will obviously vote for EA and because they are familiar with EA and have probably had a somewhat bad experience with them.

      You are supposed to vote from your personal experience, not from what you have seen over dramatized on the news.

      Personally I think it's the games industry in general that's shit, not just EA on their own.

    With their recent drama, Capcom can compete against EA for their "Disc-Loaded Content" on their games. Also making the "true" ending as DLC for Asura's Wrath.

    Why are you covering for EA Tracey Lien?

      Because the internet has voted EA, a company that publishes videogames, as the worst company in America. It is the epitome of first world problems.

        Sure Bank of America has taken peoples houses and are selling them for peanuts, but Day One DLC is SO MUCH WORSE.

          Who are you replying to buddy?

          at least you have a house #evenmorefirstworldproblems

          Yes, damn the Banks for taking people's houses. HOW DARE THEY reclaim property because people borrowed funds and did not repay them. It's just not fair!

            What about the mortgages they foreclsoed on even when people were making the repayments? What about the hidden fees they added to accounts because they could? What about the interest rates they jacked up to unreasonable levels without notice?

        Exactly. I reckon I've got 10 games in my collection (if not more) published by EA so obviously I like their products. Are they easy to deal with? NO. Do they put customer interests first? NO - well you could knock me down with a feather, who ever heard of a company that put their investors before their customers! Do they make stuff you the consumer want to buy? More than Likely s get over whatever dumb issue you have with DLC (ie - don't buy it if you don't want to) or Origin (get the console version therefore bypassing Origin altogether or Project $10 (If you can't find a copy of an EA game new that costs less than your local EB Games Pre-owned copy then may I introduce you to internet shopping...) and enjoy life for a change! :D

      Gamers love their slactivism, 'I'll vote for EA in a poll then buy all their games, that'll show them how much of a crappy company they are'.

        Why would you buy EA's games? I can't even think of one I've wanted to play in the last few years.

          I'm just saying - looking at my collection there's the last 3 Battlefield games, Mirrors Edge, Bulletstorm, Crysis 2, Mass Effect 2, The Fancy Pants Adventures, NBA Jam.

          It would be hypocritical to willingly and continouosly buy a compay's products (when you have a choice) and then turn around and bitch about how evil that company is.

          If the amount of bad mojo out on the internet for EA was reflected in their sales - then they'd be THQ

      I'm not "covering" for them as much as I don't believe that a video game company could ever be bad as, say, a coal seam gas mining company that is endangering lives, the environment, and putting entire communities at risk with their drilling practices. That's all.

        I agree that there are others out there who may be endangering lives and such, but I have friends who have worked for EA. After the horror stories I've heard from them, I think it's well deserved.

        "To those who might sneer at something as "non-essential" as a video game company winning the Worst Company In America vote: It's that exact kind of attitude that allows people to ignore the complaints as companies like EA to nickel and dime consumers to death."

        might help if you link the article you are referring to in your 'piece'

          I refer you to ndroste's comment underneath. You have a choice to allow them to. Don't like, don't buy. I for one am very selective on which EA titles I get due to this, even to point of waiting 6 months after release to see all hidden nasties revealed. Video games are a luxury, there are more important things in this world to highlight about as "worst company".

          This is not a 'piece'.

          It was a discussion starting line for a weekly segment which happens here on Kotaku, where people are encouraged to share their views on whatever they wish to say. Most of the time, this discussion sparked by an issue which has arisen in the last couple of days, such as this one. She did link to the actual Kotaku 'piece' which covered this issue, which, I assure you, will plenty satisfy your need for links.

          There are sometimes articles that deserve to be complained about on Kotaku. This is not one of them.

          That's a ridiculous viewpoint. EA producing lesser problems doesn't mean their faults get ignored, but they should be prioritised lower. Being voted the worst of all US companies is not necessary, and trivialises the problems the other, much worse companies, present.

          You can't just slippery slope the reality to death by saying "well if we take more serious problems more seriously we'll have to completely ignore the minor problems!"

            I'm not the one running the poll.

            My issue is that if EA didn't get #1 spot then this article wouldn't exist on Kotaku.

            EA get voted worst company in the U.S. and straight away Kotaku jump to their defense.

            For what? some exclusive reviews down the track?

              The reason this got mentioned on Kotaku is because it's game-related news, and Kotaku aren't jumping to their defence - they're taking the reasonable and rational position that EA's voted position is utterly ridiculous when put in the proper perspective.

              Just because they aren't bashing EA relentlessly and agreeing with the poll results doesn't mean they wholeheartedly approve of EA's activities.

              Kotaku Australia doesn't even do reviews. And "Tell Us Dammit" is a weekly post to spark discussion within our community.

              EVEN if it was an article, and EVEN if Kotaku AU did reviews, and EVEN if EA actually gave two shits about this, you couldn't jump to the conclusion that Kotaku is corrupt. Tracey pointed out something that disagrees with you, and you just insult her? Great job, Anon.

          Regardless of EA's actions, your attitude stinks, buddy.
          You should get that looked at.

            Anon is trolling. Look at Monsanto, BP, Shell, Halliberton, Blackwater. EA just made a bunch of nerds angry. And God help anyone who makes a nerd angry.

          No. I'm sorry, but no. If Americans (or Australians, for that matter) are in a position that they can, in fact, be 'nickel and dimed' to death by a company THAT SELLS GODDAMN VIDEO GAMES, then we might as well just keel over right now and be done with the stupidity of it all. It's not the same as being ripped off by a water company, or a hospital or a supermarket. Those things sell services or goods that people need on a day to day basis, and on which we rely to survive .

          If you can't live without videogames, then you need to get a life. I hear Syria is nice this time of year. I'm sure the people there would love to hear about how ruthless and dastardly Electronic Arts really are.

        the thing is, with coal/mining/gas companies, they want to get as much as possible regardless of the methods because quantity-wise demand is really high and yet people don't want to pay high prices for those resources. So part of the blame lies on people in general.

        Of course, part of the blame for EA's business practices also falls on the people who still buy their products despite EA's dodgy business practices. The main reason they won is really because of all the recent high profile dodgy crap that they've been up to. Plus the fact that a significant chunk of internet users are gamers.

        So, if you're not covering for EA, could you explain why you aren't discussing both sides of the argument? I get that you think that the results of the poll aren't warranted and that this is article is simply designed to spark a discussion, but you've neglected to even mention why consumers are upset with EA in the first place. It just seems biased to me.

          Last week's "Tell Us Dammit" was about pizza flavours. Mark stated the kind of pizza he liked. Should he have spoken of the pros and cons of all the other flavours of pizza lest he be pizza biased?

          Tell Us Dammit isn't about objectivity, it's about kicking off a discussion that the community can partake in. Sometimes it can involve playing devil's advocate, sometime's it's just about throwing an idea out there for people to debate. I chose this topic because I read about it this morning and thought it would be something people would have strong opinions about. I have no investment in any game companies. Anyone familiar with Kotaku Australia would know that our editorial is strictly independent and any sponsored content is clearly labelled as such.

          I apologise if people find this community post offensive for whatever reason; this is just meant to be a discussion thread.

            The key difference between Mark's article about pizza and your article about the poll recently featured in The Consumerist is the tone of the article. In the pizza article, Mark simply stated that he liked pizza, and proceeded to list his favorite kinds of pizza before asking what pizza readers enjoyed. In your article, you stated your opinion regarding the results of the poll, but instead of then asking for the readers' opinions, you proceeded to insult the opposing opinion. To roll with the pizza comparison, what you've written seems akin to Mark writing, "Many people like pepperoni, but I find that depressing. Cheese is obviously a better option-- in fact, so is mushroom. There are so many better options than pepperoni. What flavor of pizza do you all like? All I'm saying is, people who like pepperoni really need to rethink their options."

            I mean, you see the problem with that, right? That clearly crosses over the line of just kicking off a discussion.

            As an aside, I agree with your comment on last week's "Tell Us Dammit"-- videogame is my favorite flavor of pizza.

        you're missing the point. The poll is not representative of the entire country or the amount of damage these companies have done. Its more a question of demographic. Internet polls are more likely to be utilized by Gamers, and EA's bad business practices effect gamers, so of course it is in that area that they will be winning. If you seriously think that this internet poll is Representative of america as a whole, then you are either seriously stretching this or are just stupid.

        As far as who is worse, of course bank of america is far worse, I would not argue otherwise. But there are plenty of protests and journalists already covering the horrors of these companies. Wheras EA shuts down all criticism via banning people via forums and websites like IGN and Kotaku viciously defending their every move.

        I am more than willing to admit that this poll was the result of multiple (emphasis on that word) groups of people organized specifically to get EA to #1. But that alone says something, the fact that these people took the time out of their day to make sure that happened shows that EA is far from innocent. Go ahead and write these people off as "trolls" or "H8Rs" or "entitled gamers" (damn right we're entitled, we pay good money for these games and we want decent products) but the fact is most of these people are former customers of EA who were screwed over in one way or another. Remember Westwood? Remember Origin Systems? Remember Bullfrog? Remember Bioware? i liked Baldurs Gate II dammit! If these names mean nothing to you then im sorry but you have no place as a gaming journalist. If you recognize these names then I think you can see just as clearly as I why people were angry enough to band together and make sure EA won this poll.

        TL:DR-Its not that EA is worse than bank of america, its that not enough people are willing to admit that EA are a bad company, so its about time someone got it out there.

        CSG is not nearly as bad as you think. Those companies are pouring millions and millions of dollars into environmental safeguards. Katter got to you, didn't he?
        Bagging out an industry that is creating jobs and economic growth - Free
        Looking bat-**** dumb for believing everything in the media - Priceless

    Its unbelievable. There is no consistent measure of badness here, merely a vocal majority and over-saturation of entitled, clueless gamers with no perspective. Video-games, no matter how rad they are and how much a company over-extends their right to charge you for the games' base components, are A LUXURY ITEM. THEY ARE NON-ESSENTIAL TO YOUR SURVIVAL OR HEALTH. THEY ARE NOT THE EXORBITANTLY PRICED DRUGS WHICH KEEP YOU ALIVE, OR THE WEAPONS MANUFACTURERS PROFITING FROM CONFLICT AND THE DEATHS OF MILLIONS, OR THE FAST FOOD COMPANIES KNOWINGLY ENDANGERING PEOPLES HEALTH, OR THE TOBACCO COMPANIES UNDERMINING PUBLIC HEALTH PROGRESS. We're talking about a company which charges people more than other companies for non-essential digital ether. The CEO's of every company involved must be scoffing in disbelief at the bullet they've dodged, and will accept this as notice that they can continue doing whatever the fuck they want because peoples priorities are fucked.

    No apologies for rant etc.

      Couldn't agree more...

      This is pretty much spot on.

      A ridiculous result to an ultimately pointless study.

      the average person does not need drugs if they would only take better care of themselves (people with hereditary /genetic problems are different of course). Think fast food is unhealthy? don't eat it, simple as that. Think tobacco is unhealthy? don't smoke it, simple as that. Weapons manufacturers? Go talk to your respective warmongering governments. Not saying I disagree with your overall sentiment, since I do agree, but pick better examples. All of your examples except for drug companies are non-essential stuff too.

        Right go talk to the citizens of those warmongering governments and ask them if they think profiting of the death of their friends and families isn't as bad as EA charging for DLC. Are you completely insane?

    Even though selling first-day DLC isn't as bad as say, forcing farmers off their land so you can mine for oil or testing lipstick on chimps (I honestly have no idea what shoddy practices US oil and pharmaceutical companies are involved in), it is still seen as poor business by a lot of people and it's something that consumers are going to notice and care about more then say something like the previously mentioned lipstick on chimps, especially with net users, many of whom would likely dabble in gaming.

    Are they the worst company in America? Far from it. It's no surprise however that they won this contest, especially when you consider how vindictive a lot of gamers can get.

    It's rediculous that ea "won" this, the "heinous crimes" they commited are so miniscule and irrelavant compared to things that walmart and bank of america have done that are actually criminal. While i dont like eas dlc policies and no i havent played me3 these thing should not have even been taken into consideration when looking at worst company in america

    Also.. worst company in America is just a joke

    There are probably dozens that are so so much worse...

    BREAKING NEWS! An internet poll is not taken seriously!
    Oh, and by the way, day 1 DLC isn't even a big mark on EA's record.
    Somehow I think betraying your users privacy by adding trojans and data-miners to their online service to bleed every penny out of their consumer base is somewhat more insulting than cutting content from a game to sell. Especially since when they were caught in the act they updated the EULA because they KNOW what they do is wrong, and they just hope their customers are too lazy to catch them knee deep in their dirty, exploitative business practices. Even worse is that they've done it before. []
    They're untrustworthy, they will betray your privacy whenever they think they can get away with it, and let's not even touch on their treatment of developers and franchises.
    Are they the worst company in the world? No. They're not destroying the planet by being sneaky, covert bastards. They're not hurting anyone. They're just dicks. But remember you're on the internet. No one cares about a stupid poll that is judged by popular vote. This isn't news.

      Agreed, I still think the result is outrageous but it will be forgotten about by monday.

    I'm actually annoyed that gamers are apparently so egocentric that they'd vote EA, when companies like Halliburton and Bank of America are huge contributors to actual real world problems that continue to affect millions of people.

    I'm normally the last guy to be dismissive of issues gamers have, even if I personally disagree (i.e.: stuff like the DSE sale mishandling or the ending of Mass Effect 3). But this is really something else.

    Is it just that entitled gamers spammed the polls? Are disgruntled BoA customers just too apathetic to vote? Certainly EA should pay attention to this kind of negative press but at the same time I can't help but feel that is the result of a poll being skewed by a company having a large audience with small problems as opposed to a smaller audience/customer base with real problems.

    EA is not America's worst company, and this result really does make me a bit angry. EA is a morally questionable and greedy company, but they're not actually hurting anyone. They produce entertainment which is a luxury. People in the US who are still feeling the effects of the recession have bigger problems than video games.

      "I’m actually annoyed that gamers are apparently so egocentric that they’d vote EA, when companies like Halliburton and Bank of America are huge contributors to actual real world problems that continue to affect millions of people."

      This is why i like compulsory voting in Australia, makes me actually have to take stock of what is going on and who to vote for. Most of them in America wouldnt even know who is president atm, or who the republicans are trying to put forward as potential to topple him, if he wasnt being parodied on TV.

        The average talkback caller or newspaper site caller in Australia is as ignorant as the average American. I agree with compulsory voting but I don't think it makes Australians more politically aware than the Yanks.

      I stopped reading at "entitled"

        Maybe you could justify why, or respond to my first two paragraphs. OH WAIT, it's much easier to disregard my ENTIRE post because I referred to a sampling of gamers as having entitlement issues (which they DO) instead of actually contributing anything meaningful to the debate. Sorry, I forgot I was on the internet!

      Can you please stop acting like Halliburton was even on the list? They're not a company that deals with consumers, only governments.

      Please read the list

      As you can see, these are companies that are there due to their poor customer service. This has nothing to do with protesting for human rights, it's about consumer goods and how they treat the people who buy their products. Does buying a product instantly make you "entitled" now? People seem to be using that word as nothing more than mere trolling now.

        Fine. All the tobacco companies are companies which sell to consumers. Most of the companies which use sweatshops and dump toxic chemicals into rivers are companies which sell to consumers. EA just overprices games. Big whoop.

        The title of the list was "Worst Company In America" though, not "Worst Consumer-Sales Company In America". If the list isn't meant to include all companies, they shouldn't have titled in Worst Company In America.

          Yeah, I don't see how tobacco companies are better than EA. They sell a product that is known to cause minor cases of death.

          Yeah, it's not like the website's name is the CONSUMERist or anything.

    I think anyone who see's this vote as anymore as a simple message to EA is probably taking the internet a tad too seriously.

    Pffft. Every one knows EA is just a front for some James Bond super villain scheme.

    Harvey Norman.

    That is all.

      Oh Braaains, why do you make these posts when inevitably some mouthbreather is going to think you're being serious?

      Just answered my own question ^^ #Success!

    What a horrible, and pretty much worthless list. The only reason that EA is even there is because gamer's (strictly taking the vocal population here, i am in no way inferring that it is every gamer) have proven themselves to be self entitled, vocal bunch of idiots recently. When you compare EA to a number of companies on that list you start to realise that maybe, just maybe, the results were in some way skewed by a vocal minority. This "win" only goes to highlight just how petty some people can be. I mean sure, the BOfA took my house, but it was paid DLC that meant I couldn't pay my mortgage in the first place!

      not to mention that BoA have also been taking actions against people who have been paying back their loans, credit card bills, or mortgages.

      I totally agree, the people who voted for EA games in the final round are entitled idiots.

    "If you were to ask me which company I think should be voted the worst, I would probably name an oil or mining company, or a weapons manufacturer."

    I think the voting was based on consumer companies, most consumers don't deal directly with their oil, mining or weapons manufacturer.

    EA was voted this because of their appalling working conditions (Which they have been sued over in the past) and their downright unhelpful customer service team.

      Just because they haven't affected you directly doesn't mean you can't point out their immorality.

    EA the worst company in America? I am not even sure if it merits mention in the top 100 worst companies. Let us attack the monster under the bed rather than face the real ones destroying people's lives. I really can't help but think the negative reaction over Mass Effect 3 has fueled this. If aggressive marketing and poor wiritng are what qualifies a company as the worst, I put forward Little, Brown and Company for publishing Twilight, the heartless bastards.

    My preference would be the MPAA/RIAA who have corrupted democracy on a global scale, but even then, there are more quantifiably "evil" companies, I'm sure. Big Pharma, Big Tobacco, Big Oil, etc. Big Content is evil, too, but probably not the most...

    A lot of you are no better than the voters for claiming that everybody is *buzzword* (because that's what it is)

    This list is victim of its sociological context: It's an Internet poll for a start, who likes hanging on the internet the most? Probably technologically minded people, chances are they like games and the money and the time to enjoy them. Also the poll is asking for 'what is worst,' seriously would we ever get an even non-biased debate about the negativity of things from a mass population? Of course not, people who want to cry about negatives will want to speak and be heard more often than the opposite. It's poor to call these people entitled even if it's clear they lack the big picture. First world problems are still problems for the people experiencing the context; unless they've lived in the position that would give them perspective they will have no reference.

    I think they only won because the poll was thrown into the mainstream gaming media, factor in alot of annoyed ME3 customers and I would imagine everyone jumped on the hate wagon.

    EA were at one point the worst game company out there, but they really turned themselves around and started releasing some good titles. I think Activision has taken their crown in recent years and that CAPCOM are beginning to stake a challenge to Activision.

    That being said, there is no way that a game company is anywhere close to the "worse company ever" tag... unless of course, they kill puppies for breakfast!

    Meh... internet poll.
    You're not going to get a well thought out answer.

    I'd think AT&T would be more unpopular.
    Some of the defence contractors have wasted billions of dollars with near impunity... so they should be included.
    There's probably an HMO or two that could be on the list as well.

    In a 'worst video game company' poll, capcom would definitely have my vote over EA.

    I honestly thought Zynga was more unpopular.

      Well all Zynga did this week was by OMGPOP which means a handful of people have boycotted Draw Something, which was losing active players as the novelty wore off anyway.

      EA pissed people off slightly more and therefore get 100% of the negative attention.

    I thought it should be fox. Surely their brain washing is up their with these other unethical companies.

    I think it all has to do with the demographic of people who voted. Ask most Americans and I reckon they would say Bank of America is worse because they foreclosed on many cars and houses thanks to their own greed. Ask some privileged people who have a roof over their head and (most importantly) internet access and the answer changes dramatically.

    This vote was decidied on First World Problems.

      yup, agreed. Not saying I don't agree with the fact EA suck, but the vote is very specific to a particular demographic.

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