Consumer Reports subsidiary blog The Consumerist said on Tuesday that for the second year in a row, readers have voted Electronic Arts as the Worst Company in America, beating out Bank of America once again.
According to the report, the games publisher has repeatedly failed at three core requirements of running a consumer-friendly business: (1) provide a product people want and like, (2) sell that product at a reasonable price, and (3) support its products. What supposedly locked EA into its current designation was Peter Moore's apology last week, saying the company could "do better" while pointing out the faults of other companies.
Among the list of companies competing for the title of "Worst Company in America" were Google, AT&T, Verizon, Apple, Microsoft, Paypal, Best Buy, Sears, and a number of others -- even Carnival. Eventually the fight came down to Bank of America, Comcast, Ticketmaster and EA, and then Bank of America (22.47-percent) versus EA (77.53-percent).
"This is the same poll that last year judged us as worse than companies responsible for the biggest oil spill in history, the mortgage crisis, and bank bailouts that cost millions of taxpayer dollars," Moore said last week. "This year’s contest started in March with EA outpolling a company which organizers contend is conspiring to corner the world market on mid-priced beer, and (gulp) allegedly waters down its product."
The Consumerist points out two possible factors that may have landed EA its current rank: the SimCity (5) launch and the game's always-on Internet requirement, and EA CFO Blake Jorgensen talking (and then later correcting himself) about all future games offering in-game purchases for advancing a level, buying a new character, buying a new weapon and so on. He said "consumers are enjoying and embracing that way of the business."
The Consumerist has been running its Worst Company in America poll since 2006. Those landing the Golden Poo award prior to EA's two-year run include BP (2011), Comcast (2010), AIG (2009), Countrywide Financial (2008) the RIAA (2077) and Halliburton (2006). The runner-up over the last three years has been Bank of America.
"When we live in an era marked by massive oil spills, faulty foreclosures by bad banks, and rampant consolidation in the airline and telecom industry, what does it say about EA’s business practices that so many people have — for the second year in a row — come out to hand it the title of Worst Company In America?" the blog asks.
Does EA deserve to be ranked as the Worst Company in America again? Did the company merely suffer bad timing due to the issues surrounding SimCity 5's launch? What could EA do better so that it doesn't land on the poll again?