EA’s Peter Moore: ‘We Can Do Better’

EA’s Peter Moore: ‘We Can Do Better’

Video game giant Electronic Arts might not be rumoured to be launching an always-online console, but people are pretty mad at them nonetheless. They have been a lot lately, and now it seems that EA might be about to repeat its standing in a web poll that invites the online public to name the worst company in America. EA’s chief operating officer Peter Moore has some thoughts about that.

Bear in mind that EA is currently going up against Ticketmaster in the poll in question on Consumerist.com. They knocked off AT&T to get there and, should they get past Ticketmaster, will battle either Bank of America or Comcast. (Editor’s note: putting my finger on the scale here, but how could anyone vote against Ticketmaster?)

Here’s a post Moore has written about EA’s rep, EA’s standing and his hopes for the future. This is reprinted in full from EA’s site, with the company’s permission:

We Can Do Better

by Peter Moore, EA chief operating officer

The tallest trees catch the most wind.

That’s an expression I frequently use when asked to defend EA’s place in the gaming industry. And it comes to mind again this week as we get deeper into the brackets of an annual Web poll to name the “Worst Company in America.”

This is the same poll that last year judged us as worse than companies responsible for the biggest oil spill in history, the mortgage crisis, and bank bailouts that cost millions of taxpayer dollars. The complaints against us last year were our support of SOPA (not true), and that they didn’t like the ending to Mass Effect 3.

This year’s contest started in March with EA outpolling a company which organisers contend is conspiring to corner the world market on mid-priced beer, and (gulp) allegedly waters down its product. That debate takes place in bars — our audience lives on the Internet. So no surprise that we drew more votes there.

Let me cut to the chase: it appears EA is going to “win.” Like the Yankees, Lakers and Manchester United, EA is one of those organisations that is defined by both a legacy of success, and a legion of critics (especially me regarding all three of those teams).

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.

Some of these complaints are 100 per cent legitimate — like all large companies we are not perfect. But others just don’t hold water:

  • Many continue to claim the Always-On function in SimCity is a DRM scheme. It’s not. People still want to argue about it. We can’t be any clearer — it’s not. Period.
  • Some claim there’s no room for Origin as a competitor to Steam. 45 million registered users are proving that wrong.
  • Some people think that free-to-play games and micro-transactions are a pox on gaming. Tens of millions more are playing and loving those games.
  • We’ve seen mailing lists that direct people to vote for EA because they disagree with the choice of the cover athlete on Madden NFL. Yes, really…
  • In the past year, we have received thousands of emails and postcards protesting against EA for allowing players to create LGBT characters in our games. This week, we’re seeing posts on conservative web sites urging people to protest our LGBT policy by voting EA the Worst Company in America.

That last one is particularly telling. If that’s what makes us the worst company, bring it on. Because were not caving on that.

We are committed to fixing our mistakes. Over the last three weeks, 900,000 SimCity players took us up on a free game offer for their troubles. We owed them that. We’re constantly listening to feedback from our players, through our Customer Experience group, Twitter, this blog, or other sites. The feedback is vital, and impacts the decisions we make.

I expect the debate will include a lot of comments under this post. But here’s the truth: each year EA interacts with more than 350 million gamers; Origin is breaking records for revenue and users; The Simpsons: Tapped Out and Real Racing 3 are at the top of the mobile charts; Battlefield 3 and FIFA are stunning achievements with tens of millions of players; and SimCity is being enjoyed by millions of passionate fans all over the world.

Every day, millions of people across globe play and love our games — literally, hundreds of millions more than will vote in this contest.

So here’s my response to this poll: We can do better. We will do better. But I am damn proud of this company, the people around the globe who work at EA, the games we create and the people that play them.

The tallest trees catch the most wind. At EA we remain proud and unbowed.

Picture: Michal Czerwonka/Stringer, AP

Comments

  • “◾Some claim there’s no room for Origin as a competitor to Steam. 45 million registered users are proving that wrong.”

    Not by choice :/

    • Agreed. The only reason so many people use Origin is because they didn’t release Battlefield 3 on Steam.

    • A more revealing statistic would be how many people actually bought non-exclusive games from the Origin store. Pricing-wise it really is no competition to Steam.

    • Exactly. If they’re so confident in Origin, release all their future games on Steam as well and see how many people stick around.

  • I continue to claim the Always-On function in SimCity is a DRM scheme. It is. People still want to argue about it. I can’t be any clearer — it is. Period.

  • EA are right that it’s a bit silly in the big scheme of things for them to be anywhere near the “worst company in America”, and they’re right that in the context of an extremely large business there are a range of things they do that are not only “not the worst” but are actually worth being proud of, including some great games, some great policies, and a generally quite high level of commitment to quality.

    But to suggest that they cop the flack merely for being big? It’s clearly not the case. There are a range of large game companies that have very positive relationships with their customer communities. Ubisoft does not do it well, but they do it better than EA. Valve does it exceptionally well. Square Enix seems to still be tolerated despite producing nothing but rubbish for quite a number of years now. EA needs to be looking squarely at why THEY get the hate; and accepting that it’s for good reasons.

    • Deus Ex: Human Revolution was not rubbish, but I agree it certainly was no Deus EX.
      Tomb Raider(2013) is also another game published by Squeenix and its a bloody fantastic game and for all intents and purposes its really is already a contender for Game Of The Year.

      Final Fantasy XIII was flawed but gameplay aside there is a lot to like about the mythos behind the game- the mythos thats been expanded upon and will be further expanded upon. The Fabula Nova Crystallis mythos is by far my favorite in all of the Final Fantasy Mythos. I was never a fan of chrono trigger or kingdom hearts(especially the latter since I generally despise Disney and have despised them for a long time).

      That being said this is my personal opinion. yours obviously differs but there is a reason why Squeenix is tolerated: they still make and publish good games that are received well

    • Is that the same Square enix that produced Hitman Absolution, Deus Ex, Tomb Raider and Just Cause 2 in the last few years? Doesnt seem like rubbish to me.

      • I think he means Square Enix the developer not Square Enix the publisher.

        I think Square Enix publishes tons of great games and are fairly ethical with their business practices however the games they have made themselves in the last few years haven’t been as great as we’d like.

  • Not a complaint but giving people a free game doesn’t correct EA’s mistakes and sure they may be listening to thier player base but they don’t act on it. Instead they post this nonsense to defend themselves rather then address the real problems. Does Peter Moore think by saying this the problem is solved? It seems to me that he just wants to stoke the fire.

  • as for EA being the worst company: not by a long shot however its as Peter Moore said: EA made mistakes. I doubt they will learn from them but does that make them worse than say British Petroleum who are responsible for a LOT of ecological damage? hell no.
    Are they worse than the banks that cause the stock market freeze and in effect caused a ripple wave that made potentially millions of people who had money thanks to stock investments broke and forced to sell their equity to make ends meet(my old employers family got forced to move out and sell all their equity within 3 months of America freezing their stocks). hell no.

    People who rage on about EA being the worst company in the world via the internet over a couple of games that probably cost an individual less than $250 of their money have no perspective of matters outside of their own interests

  • In the past year, we have received thousands of emails and postcards protesting against EA for allowing players to create LGBT characters in our games. This week, we’re seeing posts on conservative web sites urging people to protest our LGBT policy by voting EA the Worst Company in America.
    Oh my god the damage control. This is amazing. This isn’t owning up to why people hate EA, this is pretending that having a handful of gay characters is the reason everyone hates EA.

    “Everyone hates us. Why is this?”
    “Because we take beloved companies and their IPs and grind them into dust?”
    “Because we cut content from the games we make and sell it as day one DLC?”
    “Because we prioritise our stockholders over our customers?”
    “Because Origin?”
    “No! You’re all wrong! They hate us because they hate GAYS and we have GAYS in our videogames! THAT’S THE ONLY REASON.”

    The tallest trees catch the most wind. At EA we remain proud and unbowed.
    I don’t know, have you looked at your stockprices in the last 6 years?

    • Funnily enough, I wouldn’t have voted for EA as worst company in America because of the LGBT characters, until AFTER his remarks about it. It’s like he shows a complete lack of respect for an entire group of his customers. Let’s antagonise these people, who help keep us in business, because they have a different opinion on a social issue… (it’s his tone I’m complaining about here, not his moral stance or whatever…)

      One thing you usually learn early on in customer service, is not to deliberately anger or challenge your customers. Just seems to reflect on EA’s overall lack of respect for ANY of their customers. EA must be so big that they feel invincible if they’re willing to lie to and disrespect their paying customers.

      Quite deservedly the Worst Company in America for the 2nd year running…

  • IM happy if they remember that not everyone has friends to play video games with, that sometimes my Internet is a bit dodgy and that if you must do DLC, don’t charge me more than $10 for it.
    if they do those three things I will be alot happier.

    I also have a thing for steam that means I cant play EA PC games, but that has nothing to do with EA.

  • How is it possible for one to have ones head so far up ones arse?

    In the grand sceme of things EA isnt that “evil”, but when was the last time EA got something right? Even this PR statement or whatever its meant to be makes me like them even less

  • So they force microtransactions into free games then tell everyone it’s ok because they’ve been downloaded so MILLIONS of people love it?

    I downloading Real Racing 3 and I FUCKING HATE IT. I mean how goddam ignorant and arrogant do you have to be to try and tell everyone “no, they all love it”, when they have absolutely no choice in the matter? It’s pretty simple EA; ask.

    Just ask people what they like and you’ll have your answer. Because it’s definitely not you.

    And don’t tell me what I fucking love.

    • so login, your expecting free games that are newly developed to be purely out of the goodness of the peoples wallets who made them?

      Blame a business fr being evil because they want to make a profit on an investment. way to go

      I can’t say I necessarily like EA myself but they have a lot of good developers putting hard earned time into games that can sometimes come out great and sometimes disappoint despite all the hype and I think its only fair that if EA is paying those people to make a game that EA should be able to try and make a return on their investment. If I dont like a practise, I dont invest. I wont buy Sim City ever because of the always online requirement, I refuse to buy Anno 2070(ubisoft I know) since I do about 3 windows reinstalls per year but I WILL invest my time on Command & Conquer and if it appeals to me, I might invest in whatever IAPs or DLC they offer to show my support for a game developers have worked hard over

      • While I certainly don’t disagree with your stances or opinions, I have to ask how are you reinstalling so much?
        I upgraded my computer this year and I’m not planning on having to reinstall Windows for a few years, I’ll be set for a while. Barring any horrible malware or something.

  • This is the typical attitude of all big corporations – stick your head in the sand, then up your own ass, take it out for a second and blame everyone but yourself. Blame consumers, fake sincerity and never actually fix any of your problems.Oh and always treat consumers like morons, as though they can’t see right through your bullshit. After all, as long as the money keeps rolling in, who the fuck cares right?

    He would have been better just keeping his mouth shut on this occasion. I wonder if he actually believes his own bullshit? I wonder what his IQ is.

  • There are many weak reasons why they are getting hate, like the Madden cover or the LGBT choices they’ve added to games.

    But there are some legitimate reasons, Microtransactions in full priced games, Always Online for SimCity (I swear an offline mode should be prioritized and patched in.), C&C4, and the fact that they seem to be releasing games early that just aren’t ready.

    The fact they are in the running for a worst company should make them look at their customers and try to make us happy. I can’t remember the last EA game I purchased that I felt was worthwhile.

  • “We can do better….AT TAKING PEOPLE’S MONEY!

    Ugh. I said the loud part quiet and the quiet part loud”.

  • He’s right about the SimCity always-online stuff not being a DRM scheme, and you should all pay attention to why…

    It’s not a DRM scheme – it’s a forced obsolescence scheme.

    EA want to be able to switch it off one day so that the legitimate paying customers who spend money on games will buy and play something new. Making it server-based is a means to that end. The anti-piracy effects are secondary.

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