EA’s Bad Tweet Last Week Has Led To Roundtable Meetings With Angry Staff

EA’s Bad Tweet Last Week Has Led To Roundtable Meetings With Angry Staff
Image: EA / Kotaku

Remember last week? It happened about 34 years ago, so if you don’t, I understand. But last Thursday, the official EA Twitter account tweeted a bad joke about single-player games that led to an internet-wide roasting and eventually an apology from the Battlefield publisher. And apparently, EA is still dealing with angry employees who felt the tweet was an insult to them, their staff, and the games they are making.

A new report from USA Today sheds some light on how the terrible tweet came about, what the reaction to it was internally at EA, what plans were pitched to handle the situation, and the ongoing aftermath of it all. The whole mess is both equally confusing and funny.

According to the report, an hour after the tweet went live last week, it landed in EA’s internal Slack chat room, where employees and social media staff began sharing all the roasts and angry responses (some from current EA execs) that were popping up all over. As negative reactions spiraled out of control and the discourse began, folks at EA began formulating a plan to turn the tweet into a positive. It just wasn’t a good one.

The initial plan was to get all the other EA social media accounts to start dunking on the tweet while hopefully drawing more attention to the various single-player games the publisher has in the works. But some staff pointed out that this “roasting EA strategy” would just reinforce the narrative online that EA’s own studios and teams hate the company. And so, after many social media managers backed out of that plan, it fell apart.

“The most agreed-on idea was to take responsibility for it and apologise,” one source told USA Today. However, this apology ended up being an equally embarrassing tweet saying people who play single-player games were actually 11s.

But while the internet moved on to its next target, higher-ups at EA are continuing to deal with the fallout from the tweet. USA Today reports that the FIFA publisher is hosting roundtable discussions and team meetings with executives who felt the joke was an insult to the games they’re working on and the staff making them.

As for how this happened, well it turns out EA’s official Twitter account isn’t run by anyone from EA or its social teams. According to sources who spoke to USA Today, it’s very likely that the person who tweeted the soon-to-be-infamous joke had no idea how poorly it would be received online.

“I’m 99 per cent sure the person who posted the tweet and their manager don’t even know about the single-player games comment from a decade ago,” one source told USA Today. (The comment they reference was the infamous 2010 quote from then-EA Games president Frank Gibeau, saying that single-player games were “finished.”)

Further, that source says that the staff running the Twitter account are “all new” and that most of them “aren’t really game industry people” and likely had no idea about EA’s long, bad history with single-player games.

It seems wild that the official Twitter account for one of the largest video game publishers in the world isn’t run by people who have a working knowledge of video games and the industry, but then again, when do large corporations make logical decisions?

  

Comments

  • I feel like we’re at a point where ‘The new guy did it!’ it as the excuse for this sort of shit needs to be replaced with something more believable.

    Perhaps we can get a classic ‘My friend typed that while I was gone!’ next time.

    • No the new guy is the old excuse, now…

      The mistake was made by a third party provider/contractor. (Ie not a company employee, so not our fault). They will blame an unnamed PR company that does not exist.

      • that’s the worst bit for me – you’re telling me that a $34B company is really going to outsource their social media to an agency that “aren’t really games industry people” and allow them to post to Twitter without anyone from the company giving it a once-over?

  • This was a shit joke, and the internet rightly roasted them about it…. but isnt that really the end of it? Do staff really need to be angry and have round-table meetings about this stuff? Give me a break…

    • Why did they deserve to get roasted over it? Cos some gamers have no life and have to get upset over the littlest thing and run to reddit and start a revolution?!!! How hard is it to see a tweet or a joke you don’t like and simply move on to the next.

      • This isn’t about gamers but game devs who just saw EA’s twitter have a crack at the expense of the games they’re making.

        • Yes, MAKING. Obviously there are worse things than this… Those games could be cancelled, which would be the -actual- sign that EA doesn’t give a toss about their work.

          • Yeah. They should wait until that happens and ignore any disrespect. Clearly – given EA’s track record – they have nothing to worry about.

          • If you think a, probably, 20-something year old social-media manager in a random office somewhere in the world has real insight into what EA’s upper management are thinking about the broad direction of their gaming franchises then I have a bridge to sell you…

      • By roasted, I mean: they had memes slung at them for a dumb tweet. You know, the kind of things you’d expect your friends to do if you said something stupid. I think that’s about the perfect response… which is kinda my point. Getting angry about it and demanding meetings, heads to roll etc, is completely out of proportion to what this was… A dumb tweet.

    • Given EA’s history with single-player games and the studios that make them, the people working at those studios have an interest in knowing if the bad old days were going to return, or if they even really left.

    • For the employees its about respect, most of EAs most successful titles both critically and commercially are single player titles, and while your at your desk working on the next single player title… your company Slack goes off.

      Leaving employees wondering “Is my project /job a button end of a joke to my bosses?”

      That’s a lot of damage control, for people in high stress jobs.

  • EA appointed someone that’s “not really a game industry person” to run the social media for their fucking game company? Seriously?

    Actually no. That’s right in line with EA’s batshit mindset in general isn’t it.

    • Is every commercial entity now mandated to hire experts in their field to run their social media pages so that they seem normal to you? That’s not a dumb mindset, it’s fairly normal.

      • Regardless of if there a gamer or not, they suppose to be a qualified public relations corporate officer. Well you would expect the person in control of the social media account that has 6.4 million followers, has public relations and corporate communication eduction, also since this was a public release that there would be some sort of guidelines and approval process before posting anything.

        EA doesn’t talk to shareholders without an army of lawyers and PR people double checking every syllable Andrew Wilson has on his Teleprompter script… but they let one person type whatever they want on their Twitter.

        Will this post offend anyone? Y/N… we did poke fun of single player games, but surely no one would be offended by… google… yeah our boss has been in trouble for his comments about single player games… cancel the post.

      • Maybe not experts but normally a large company would want their social media, a part of their PR, to be managed by someone who has a general clue about what the company they’re representing does, the general feel of the industry they’re in and how their target audience would react to certain comments.

        Not knowing basic things like the company’s history with it’s customers and the tastes of the target audience is a pretty big issue when it comes to PR.

  • “….the infamous 2010 quote from then-EA Games president Frank Gibeau, saying that single-player games were “finished.””

    He wasn’t wrong. EA forced Pandemic Games to put out a rushed and unfinished single-player game in ’09 with mandated nudity DLC right before abruptly shutting them down (Pandemic Sydney included). From EA’s perspective, single-player was over and they wanted to rid themselves of every project involving it.

  • Good grief gamers really need to grow a sense a humour?

    The outrage over the tweet says more about the thin skin gamers than it does anything else, and I say that as mainly a solo gamer.

    It’s not like we are starving over single games to play.

  • Thought as much. Some poorly paid social media manager sees an online trend and makes a comment with it and has no idea of the shit storm they are creating.

    • But let’s face it, these days, virtually anything game companies post causes outrage of one form or other. No incompetence or skill required.

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