The image to my left is a powerful, visceral reminder of just how stupid it is to vote a video game company the “worst” in America. Theoretically speaking, Electronic Arts – not even the shittiest video game company in America, in my estimation1 – shouldn’t have gotten past their second round opponent, Facebook, who had an IPO fiasco where they’ve been accused of shorting their own stock to the benefit of executives, and who routinely collect and sell the personal information of their users, unapologetically2. They surely should never have beaten AT&T, if for no other reason than giving Ma Bell a lifetime achievement award.
However, Electronic Arts won, and not only that, they won handily, beating Bank of America with almost 80% of the final vote.
Let’s look at the list of things each company is guilty of.
Bank of America
* Guilty of foreclosing the mortgages of military veterans who were actually paid up.
* Guilty of poisoning the waters regarding a government review of mortgage foreclosures
* Dead last in the American Customer Satisfaction Index survey.
* Participated in the bad debt swaps that helped crash the fucking economy in 2008.
* Cocked up a video game launch.
* Refused to give refunds regarding said launch.
* Threatened people with Origin account closures who went to the forums and complained.
* Charges microtransactions, along with virtually every other publisher in the world.
In no way are EA’s offences – which are legion in the video game industry, obviously – comparable to Bank of America’s. Hell, in no way are they comparable to third place Comcast’s, who hold selective monopolies on internet connectivity in many areas and routinely violate network neutrality principles to parlay their advantage in having an ownership stake in NBC. I’d wager, if put head to head, half the companies on the list – including every Internet Service Provider, who are willingly collecting personal information and transferring it over to lobbying groups such as the MPAA and RIAA, and every single oil company on the planet for reasons too numerous to list here – are worse than Electronic Arts, which says a lot because EA is in no way a good company to consumers.
With a silly little online poll, gamers proved only one thing, and no, they did not prove that EA is a terrible company. All they really did is show that no matter how bad of a company you are, you’ll escape scrutiny so long as you don’t piss off a bunch of basement dwellers with Asperger’s Syndrome who have the software means to stuff an online ballot. If anything, it justifies an outsider’s position on video gamers: it adds weight to the thought that we’re all losers with a complete lack of priorities and common sense, and that maybe we should do things like regulate violent games to the porno bins. After all, we can’t handle it, right?
Obviously, the typical warnings about these polls – they’re unscientific, EA’s an easy target, something something 4chan – apply. But it’s news – mainstream news – that a video game company beat arguably the worst example of corporate malfeasance outside of the Russian oligarchy. Video game comment boards are lighting up in celebration, but everyone else is looking at us and wondering why we’re so stupid.
Gamers really need to grow the hell up. This is much more pathetic than SimCity’s launch.
1 – No Zynga in the voting? My, how the mighty have fallen.
2 – Actually, EA was doing this for awhile with Origin, too.
EDIT @ 5:33PM EST – CEB: OK, so here’s the deal.
I do not take Asperger’s Syndrome seriously. However, the problem is that it is because 98% of the people I meet are what I’d call self-diagnosed. They use it as a crutch for simply being socially awkward, or worse. Asperger’s was removed from the list of diagnoses and put under the Autism umbrella.
THAT is what I would change. THAT is what I should have clarified. That’s an editing error on me. For THAT, I apologise to the people who have been to a doctor, been diagnosed, been medicated or given therapy, and are attempting to find help to play well in society.
However, my original opinion of Asperger’s – that it is not extremely serious, often self-diagnosed, and even when it’s not, is used as a crutch to euphemize “I don’t like people” – stands.