It should come as no surprise that an industry collar is lashing out on the "little guy". It should also come as no surprise that the guy lashing out is oftentimes criticized within the gaming community for making bad predictions and generally being nothing more than a high-paid fanboy to give opinions about a market he's not too familiarized with. I'm talking about Wedbush Morgan Securities analyst Michael Pachter.
This guy has been wrong on many occasions, but this time he's not making predictions. Pachter, like a lot of other misinformed people chiming in on the debate, feels that EA didn't deserve to win the Consumerist's "Worst Company In America" award and that gamers were just being whiny and entitled.
Forbes runs the story and unfortunately it's not from the gamer-friendly journalist, Erik Kain. The story painted in the article is that gamers have no sense of value, that the ending of Mass Effect 3 prompted them to vote for EA as the worst in America and it prompted Pachter to spout off the following...
"I think the Worst Company award is pretty silly,” .... “It’s not particularly scientific, and given that gamers are far more vocal (and bitter) than any other broad consumer group, it’s surprising to me that a game publisher doesn’t end up at the top of the list every year. I can’t think of anything that EA does that is bad enough to warrant this distinction. They sell entertainment products that are better than the average, at competitive prices.”
If it were a scientific poll Bank of America would have won by a landslide. However, it was not a scientific poll and hundreds of thousands of votes were cast in favor of EA winning as worst company in America. If you don't know why, it's not just over the Mass Effect 3 ending, it's over Origin, it's over Project $10, it's over early server closings, it's about DLC charity abuse, it's over them gutting studios like Pandemic, Westwood, Origin Studios and Bright Light, it's over the lawsuits, it's over the nickel-and-diming with Day-1 DLC, and everything else in between. If you didn't know any of that then you're not informed enough to say why people shouldn't have voted for EA. Plain and simple, Michael Pachter's comments come off as if he's a misinformed EA fanboy.
Anyways, Pachter goes on to spout out defenses in favor of Electronic Arts, saying...
"As far as I can tell, it was a vocal minority of several thousand, but given that the game shipped 3.5 million units and likely sold through 2.8 million, I can’t believe that the backlash comprised more than 10 percent of consumers, and think it’s more likely closer to 1 percent,” .... “That incident was a great example of what a whiny group gamers are in general; while I respect their rights to express their dissatisfaction, the FTC complaint was over the top, and it is what got all of the media attention.”
I bet he would also think that the Better Business Bureau complaints against Capcom would probably be over the top as well if they were lining his pockets? No?
Anyways, Pachter drops this gem on gamers to ponder over...
"EA handled it fine,” ... “They treated their customers with respect, addressed the situation directly and promptly, and are offering free DLC to satisfy those who hated the ending. I shudder to think what will happen if gamers don’t like the new ending choices.”
If they treated their costumers with respect, trust me, they would not have won "Worst Company in America". There's a reason Valve will never win that award so long as they keep doing what they're doing and there's a reason Rockstar will never win that award so long as they keep doing what they're doing. On the flip side, BioWare actually made it into Escapist's "Best Developer" finale, so it has more to do with people's perception of EA and not just this whole Mass Effect 3 fiasco.
In Pachter's small mind this is one of those "dangerous precedents" and he feels that it could lead to a slippery slope...
“Unfortunately, appeasing the whiners here will only encourage fans to be even more vocal next time, so the lingering issue is that gamers will feel even more entitled and empowered than they have in the past, and will be even more demanding about changes to future games.”
Unfortunately, the Forbe's writer John Gaudiosi agrees with Pachter and doesn't really understand any of it at all. I doubt he's a gamer or has been gaming for long. Usually people rushing to EA's defense completely ignore all the company's past transgressions and pretend like the "EA hate train" only started up over the Mass Effect 3 ending.
In reality, EA has been trying to repair their image nearly this entire generation, since 2007. They gained respect and some leeway with games like Dante's Inferno, Mirror's Edge and Dead Space. And while they publish a lot of good games it doesn't excuse their poor business practices. This is something "corporate whiners" like Pachter and those paid-off fellows at IGN (who had an employee appear prominently in Mass Effect 3) just don't seem to understand.
Total Biscuit makes some excellent statements about gamers complaining constructively being a good thing. If it weren't for gamers making their voices heard there wouldn't be a PC version of Dark Souls. If it weren't for gamers shouting at the top of their lungs, there would be no PC specific features in games like Borderlands or Gotham City Impostors. More importantly, if gamers didn't cry and fuss, nothing would be done about the Capcom situation and EA would not have folded and allowed BioWare to make an extended ending to Mass Effect 3.
The upside in all of this is that real gamers at least have KickStarter, and "entitlement" and "whiner" and "brat" can be thrown around all day long but it doesn't change the fact that gamers are passionate about this hobby, even if they have to foot the bill of their favorite game titles themselves.