The Consumerist's Worst Company in America Award is probably the worst public award anyone can be awarded next to a Razzie. The list is usually filled with recognizably common place names that you would expect most consumers to complain about in regards to service and affability, this even includes video game companies. Back for their hopeful three-peat is Electronic Arts, and joining them on the opposite side of the bracket is Microsoft.
The Consumerist's nomination list was rolled out today, as noted by VG 24/7, and it includes the likes of companies practicing the sort of anti-consumerism that would make Nazis squirm uncomfortably in their graves. Companies who don't give a rat's mutated anus about their public reputation will be facing down against Electronic Arts and Microsoft.
Some of these other competitors include Monsanto (just Google them... that's all I'm going to say), Bank of America (if you lost your house, your life's savings and your reason to live... well, I'm not pointing fingers, but... eh... yeah) and Time Warner Cable (you know, bandwidth caps and throttled speeds that prevent that all-digital future from being a reality? Well again... not pointing fingers, but eh... yeah).
Now the common pro-corporate enabler have probably already taken to the net-waves to decry gamers for standing up for their rights and using the Consumerist's poll to bring attention to bad consumer practices. Sad times, right?
The average Doritocrat is already gulping down their Dew and munching their Doritos and calling up the Pope for advice on how they can spin things favorably for the game companies that made it onto the list, but let's not listen to advertorialists. I mean, if it were up to them there would be a giant rod from Kinect jammed up your butt at all times and subscription fees forced so far down your throat that the rod would feed the information to your TV screen and remind you about how much dept you're in thanks to all the costs you would accrue for watching TV on your freaking TV.
But let's not beat around a cordial bush here, let's talk about why these two companies could end up being finalists in this year's Consumerist showdown.
While most sites will point to SimCity as EA's greatest (and only) fault in 2013, they're just as likely to point to EA's abolishment of Online Passes during the summer of DRM – as well as the recent move of adding an offline mode to SimCity – as reason enough to keep the company from being voted worst in America; but they're missing other key events that led to them being nominated in the first place.
EA is a company that never formally resolved the NHL microtransaction issue; this is a company that has been moving toward in-game ads on-top of premium game purchases; this is a company that pushes broken products out of the door and still finds time to scavenge your wallet for the coin to buy DLC for a broken game. This is a company that managed to piss off senior citizens with Scrabble and even more than that, works as part of the problem with feeding addictive behavior in the mobile space using in-app purchases, so much so that the monetization model required the European and Australian government to step in and setup new regulations for microtransactions.
If you think EA has their three-peat in the bucket, I don't think they're going to win it without a fight. Microsoft is looking to cash-in big on that Worst Company in America award, as they're sitting just opposite of EA this year. I don't know who really deserves it more, but boy oh boy did Microsoft do everything in their power to earn it like they stole it.
Last year Microsoft whipped out the Xbox One and some of the most anti-consumer policies that would make the leaders in North Korea look benevolent. All of the Xbox One issues can be summed up in this single article right here. But that's not all... oh no... that's not all.
Microsoft's software and hardware was caught in deep connection with the NSA PRISM program. The NSA and other spy agencies had been using backdoors offered in programs like Skype and peripheral devices like the Kinect to gather data on users, including facial recognition, sexually explicit images and even biometric feedback data. There's also a little something-something about games no longer being playable when Games for Windows Live Shuts down.
I don't know which is worst between poor consumer treatment or selling out consumer trust. Nevertheless, both Microsoft and EA will be in a harsh battle to win the Consumerist's Worst Company in America Award. I don't know if I should root for EA to take home the golden poo award for a third year in a row, or if Microsoft deserves to usurp the crown. It's a little like choosing to eat dirt or lick mud.