IGN wrote a corporate apologists editorial a few days ago pretty much saying that all this "hate" for EA is really unfounded. The article completely overlooks every consumer complaint leveled against the company, and there are 10 simple reasons why people hate EA and it doesn't take a genius to figure it out.
Let's get one thing clear, though, no one should be surprised that a site like IGN, who is corporate-first and consumer-last, would do a pro-EA article where they ask EA's Peter Moore why people hate EA, and come up with a bunch of excuses why the "hate" shouldn't exist. I mean, do you really think any figurehead at EA is going to come clean about why they receive the hate? Of course not.
Well, that's a discussion for another day, the phalanx and halo combination of IGN's corporate media pandering and EA's capitalistic industrialism is a match made in industry-monopoly heaven. But the reality is that consumers, enthusiasts and gamers who hate EA do so for all the following reasons compounded together:
1.) Forced Multiplayer For Broader Appeal EA recently went publicly defending Dead Space 3 in a number of interviews about why the game has such a strong focus on multiplayer, it's because it was too scary as a single player game, and to make it more broadly appealing to a wider audience they included co-op. The same thing was done to Mass Effect 3, a single-player story-driven game with a tacked-on multiplayer. Could you imagine how much better the story and scope of the single-player could have been without the multiplayer? (Perhaps a more fleshed out ending?) Let's leave multiplayer co-op features in games designed around multiplayer co-op, this way we don't have a market saturated in "Me-Too" co-op shooters *cough*Resident Evil 6*cough*.
2.) Rehashing IPs To Cash-In I love a lot of the Need for Speed games and Battlefield titles. I never really liked Medal of Honor. The thing is, EA has each of these games coming out so frequently and so often that it's easy to confuse Activision with EA in today's market climate. DICE managed to breathe some form of distinction into Battlefield 3, but a lot of the Battlefields between Battlefield 2 and Battlefield 3 were hit or miss. Medal of Honor was milked so bad that even with a reboot some people were still trying to wash the old games out of their mouths. And Need for Speed...I mean, could they go a year without an NFS game and actually come up with something original? We're getting remakes of Need for Speed games that are barely five years old.
3.) Massive Expenses With Small Profits Every time publishers throw it up in the face of gamers that gaming is getting more and more expensive and that used games are evil, piracy is killing the industry and mobile games will overthrow consoles, it fills gamers with a sense of guilt where they feel they must buy new games at $60 a pop even when the games aren't even that good. Let's be real, EA is the one who manages their expenses, and as reported by VG 24/7, out of the $4.14 billion revenue intake in the past year EA only managed to post profits at around $76 million. Really? Really? I wonder how much they could have profited without that $747 million marketing budget. This is part of the industry bloat that does more harm to gaming than good. In the words of "Notch", EA is destroying gaming.
4.) Overblown Marketing This ties into EA's expenses above. Just because you're a big gaming publisher doesn't mean you have to spend like no tomorrow, especially in marketing. For those that don't know, marketing pays for things like commercials, online ads, giveaways, promotional events and more. Marketing is also responsible for things like DLC charity events, fake Christians protesting for controversy, and anti/pro-gay movements to deflect from bad PR. It would be better if EA took a page out of Rockstar or Valve's playbook and just promoted the game with features that gamers will want to play, instead of spending three-quarters of a billion dollars on ridiculous, insulting, low-brow PR stunts...and trolls.
5.) Buying Out Studios And Gutting Them This here can make you throw up a little bit in your mouth. Remember Bullfrog Entertainment? Remember Westwood Studios? Remember Pandemic Studios? That's a few who have fallen to EA's poor attempt at monopolizing the industry to fill their coffers. A lot of people will jump to the defense and say "But, but, but...they're a business, they needs the monies!" of course, but if they can't make money making good games then maybe they shouldn't be in the game making business, eh? Zynga seems to be heading the same way, trying to buy their way into continued success. It's sad, sick and a complete antithesis to gaming culture. Gamers hate corporations who buy out studios who designed fun games and then turn those studios into industrialized, perfunctory factory-outlets. We don't buy and trade games the way Wall Street suits buy and sell stock, we buy games that look fun and we play games that are fun. EA killing out favored studios in order to control their brands is easily one of the top reasons why people hate them the way they do. Must. Keep. Blood. Pressure. Under. Control....moving on.
6.) Origin Two Year Entitlement Clause Ignoring everything else about Origin, this two year entitlement clause caused all sorts of vengeful fury from gamers. The idea that you HAD to use Origin within two years lest your account fall victim to mandatory expulsion generated a furor, and rightfully so. EA later threw up their hands and said "Oh, ho, ho, ho...that clause wasn't real, we just put it there by mistake. Our lawyers said it should be there. It was a misprint. Someone in legal got lawyer-hungry." The reality is that had the clause stayed in effect gamers would be forced to re-purchase entitlements had they been revoked. If you think this isn't real or wasn't the plan, keep reading the rest of the items on the list.
7.) Origin Forum Bans Result In Bans From All Your Purchased Games This here created yet another furor. Gamers who found themselves banned on the forum boards were actively banned from their entire Origin account. That's right, doing something idiotic on the forum boards for an Origin game resulted in you being banned from your Origin account, which means ALL the games you purchased would be off limits to you. Rock, Paper, Shotgun has the updated rendition of the forum bans, and we later received word from EA's support staff that banned accounts can now access games in offline mode. Don't take this for a reason to like the company, basically they're just saying they're less restrictive on games you buy from the service, which should send warning bells and red flags off for anyone who considers buying from a company like this. I mean really? It's like a market vendor saying you can now eat your bread sideways without being slapped in the face for doing so. Thank you for letting us eat our bread sideways, I guess.
8.) Early Server Shutdowns This here is such a BS move by EA. They basically fought with Microsoft to take control of their own servers (bypassing Microsoft's own servers hosted through Xbox Live) only so that they could control the ebb and flow of multiplayer accessibility for their games. In other words, every two years EA shuts down servers for their games so you have to go out and buy newer games in order to play online. EA Sports' MMA didn't even properly last two years. And then the company started with "renting servers" while hiding (or removing) their own, so that they were dumping the costs of Battlefield 3's multiplayer expenses onto the end-user. So not only were you paying $60 for the game, $10-$20 for additional DLC, or $10 for an online pass if you got the game used, but a lot of gamers were also giving EA lots and lots of cash to rent servers. An excellent pro-corporate move that was very anti-consumerist.
9.) Online Passes Jim Sterling does a good job in the latest Jimquisition at the Escapist Magazine detailing how EA didn't always pioneer the things we hate most about them, but they do it well enough to make us hate them for it. The real kicker about online passes, though, is that these pieces of horse manure actually expire, seriously?! EA then tried going on the defense in saying that only some online passes are supposed to expire. Seriously! Basically it means you either have to go through customer support to get a new online pass, buy a new online pass or buy the game new once it first comes out. Bravo, EA, bravo. If you thought the other items on this list were tame for hating a company the size of EA, then this here is reason enough to hate them with a passion, because they toss online passes into all their games, even their single-player games like Dragon Age 2, seriously WTF?!
10.) Day-One DLC Some people may not see this as much of a bad thing, but let's be completely clear: gamers buy games to experience the complete game, to have fun and to enjoy that complete game. No one goes out to pay $60 for half a game, for a third of a game, or to find out that they have to pay more to get the true ending. A lot of corporate apologists have been trying to justify what accounts for a quality, complete game experience for $60, but it's becoming more and more hazy with all this DLC. EA was even brazen enough to proudly exclaim that their day-one DLC was a huge success with Mass Effect 3. Moore's headlining phrase was that they managed to turn a $60 product into a $80 purchase. The excuse has become rampant in the industry that people want more content sooner, which means more disc-locked content and more day-one DLC. In other words, more content stripped out of the game and either hidden poorly on the disc (ala Capcom) or hidden on a server (ala EA). It's a really sad example of the direction the industry is heading in, and anyone defending why it's necessary to pay more and get less (other than more Michael Bay 'Splosions™ and scripted, linear corridor adventures) really is out of touch with what makes video games fun.
In essence, gamers hate EA because they're taking the fun out of gaming. They're replacing fun with services. They're taking away products we own in place of leased content packages, and they're turning beloved genres, franchises and brands into bottom line ventures. It's hard for me to believe that anyone could say they love EA considering how much damage they've caused to the industry.
So why do we hate EA? For every single reason listed above.
Origin is Spyware
Mass Effect 3 ending
Always-On single-player for SimCity
IGN bribery .gif courtesy of 4Chan