Actually, our analysis of the reasons for EA’s inclusion in last year’s finale makes no mention of Mass Effect 3 or SOPA. Instead, it looks at EA’s history of buying up smaller, successful developers with the intention of milking — and arguably ruining — the intellectual properties that made these acquired companies so attractive. It also discusses EA’s exclusivity deals on popular sports games, that some say effectively sets the bar for retail prices for the rest of the gaming industry.
Then there’s the issue of microtransactions, in-game purchases that EA has made no secret are at the center of its business model. Many customers believe that EA’s view of microtransactions isn’t to simply charge customers a little bit of money for something that is additional, but not integral, to the core game, but rather to put out broken or deliberately incomplete games with the ultimate goal of selling add-on content that should have been included in the $60 price tag to begin with.
In today’s post, Moore contends that microtransactions are okey-dokey because “tens of millions” of people are enjoying EA’s free-to-play games that include microtransactions. We’d counter that just because people are allowing you to nickel-and-dime them it doesn’t mean you should be doing it.
SHIFTING THE BLAME
Moore even admits that EA has made some pretty bad boners in recent years:
I’ll be the first to admit that we’ve made plenty of mistakes. These include server shut downs too early, games that didn’t meet expectations, missteps on new pricing models and most recently, severely fumbling the launch of SimCity. We owe gamers better performance than this.
As for more recent accusations, Moore tries to shrug off the always-online requirement for SimCity 5 that not only made the game unplayable (because EA didn’t have the foresight to think people might want to play the game after they bought it), but also pissed off a lot of people who felt that it was an invasive form of digital rights management (DRM) that assumes users are trying to play pirated versions of the game.
“Many continue to claim the Always-On function in SimCity is a DRM scheme,” writes Moore. “It’s not. People still want to argue about it. We can’t be any clearer – it’s not. Period.”
Actually, you could be clearer. Make it optional and maybe people will believe you.
And then there is this:
“We’ve seen mailing lists that direct people to vote for EA because they disagree with the choice of the cover athlete on Madden NFL,” writes Moore. “Yes, really.”
Really? Show us. Because while readers certainly complained about the declining quality of Madden, not a single person griped to us about the player(s) on the box cover.
Regardless, all of these concerns are apparently not the real reason that EA is once again heading toward a possible WCIA victory. No, says Moore, it’s homophobia.
In coming out and responding to its previous win — and possible repeat victory — EA had the opportunity to show the gaming community the respect it deserves, but instead has insulted its intelligence by asking it to accept that its quite obvious faults are really just minor problems and that the actual source of trouble are faceless, homophobic hatemongers.
A sampling of gamers’ reactions to Moore’s post indicate to us that EA has only done itself a disservice by trying to pin its own high-profile problems on homophobia and whiny gamers. These people are EA’s customers.
Writes Joystiq commenter paladriver:
I don’t dislike EA because they are pro-LGBT. In fact I am supporter of LGBT rights. I dislike EA because they have a long standing history of anti-consumer practices. Not liking EA does not make me anti-LGBT, it makes me anti-EA.