Peter Moore: EA Can and Will Do Better

April 5, 2013 -

With EA within striking distance of winning the Consumerist's "Worst Company in America" award for a second year in a row, EA chief operating officer Peter Moore thought it might be a good idea to mention that the company is paying attention to the dubious distinction it might end up winning next week and that it realizes that it needs to make some changes to better serve its customers.

Moore took to the EA blog to write a post titled "We Can Do Better." In the blog post he claims that the company wants to do better for its customers, but at the same time he throws down a gantlet for the litany of complaints leveled at the company. First though, he points out some glaring mistakes - including one that still brings a tear to players of a certain game's eye:

Are we really the “Worst Company in America?” 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.

But then he goes on to deny many of the complaints and to throw a conspiracy theory or two as to why they are winning the Consumerist tournament: 

- Many continue to claim the Always-On function in SimCity is a DRM scheme. It’s not. People still want to argue about it. We can’t be any clearer – it’s not. Period.

- Some claim there’s no room for Origin as a competitor to Steam. 45 million registered users are proving that wrong.

- Some people think that free-to-play games and micro-transactions are a pox on gaming. Tens of millions more are playing and loving those games.

- 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. Yes, really…

- In the past year, we have received thousands of emails and postcards protesting against EA for allowing players to create LGBT characters in our games.

- This week, we’re seeing posts on conservative web sites urging people to protest our LGBT policy by voting EA the Worst Company in America.

That last one is particularly telling. If that’s what makes us the worst company, bring it on. Because we're not caving on that.

Moore closes by saying that EA will do better but that he is proud of the company he works for: 

"So here’s my response to this poll: We can do better. We will do better. But I am damn proud of this company, the people around the globe who work at EA, the games we create and the people that play them."

Of course it is easy to blame conservative websites and groups who are against gay marriage and equality for EA winning this award, but those numbers pale in comparison to the millions of customers that have formed an angry coalition against EA for its always-online scheme for SimCity (and we disagree that it is not a form of DRM), for online passes when buying used games, for pulling its library from Steam and forcing people to use Origin (they have millions of customers because they require you to use it in all of their PC games), their questionable use of EULAs and TOSs , their implementation of intrusive ads and questionable micro-transactions in both paid and free-to-play games, and so many other reasons. If you need proof of this, simply go to the blog post, read the whole thing, and then read the comments.


Comments

Re: Peter Moore: EA Can and Will Do Better

EA is the "used car salesman" of video games.  Sleazy, crooked, and a whole bunch of other adjectives.  I haven't bought a game from them in a while now - so many other better choices exist.

- Left4Dead Why are zombies always eating brains? I want to see zombies that eat toes for a living. Undead-related pun intended.

Re: Peter Moore: EA Can and Will Do Better

Basically to sum it all up "You people ask too many questions, please refrain from questioning our business plan."

Re: Peter Moore: EA Can and Will Do Better

I agree with Andrew and Lisa on many of the same points.  I'll just add my two cents...

- Many continue to claim the Always-On function in SimCity is a DRM scheme. It’s not. People still want to argue about it. We can’t be any clearer – it’s not. Period.


- Some people think that free-to-play games and micro-transactions are a pox on gaming. Tens of millions more are playing and loving those games.

Jim Sterling's video on last week's Escapist did a great job addressing this issue.  Like he said, EA can call it whatever it likes.  But if it looks like DRM and acts like DRM, then I'm sorry, but it's DRM.

As for micro-transactions, as others have pointed out, the numbers are artificially inflated as most gamers don't have a choice.  EA effectively put a gun to their heads and forced them into it.  I personally didn't like having to shell out extra cash for such things as the Tau Volantis Survival Kit of Dead Space 3 which had upgrades for the Scavenger Bots to increase their capacity and speed, or weapons like the Evangelizer which all should have been there in the first place.  But the alternative would have been to use their micro-transaction system to get the weapons upgrades, which also would take longer if you didn't have the stuff that came with the Tau Volantis Survival Kit.  As Jim said, companies like EA are essentially holding part of the games for ransom; hoping you'll pay more to unlock all the content that should have been there at time of purchase.

(Note: I'll give a pass to the "From Ashes" day one DLC from ME3.  Stuff like that generally doesn't bother me.  In fact, I think it's kind of nice to have something like that available right off the bat.  But walling-off huge amounts of content, only allowing you to access it in the form of Online or Season Passes, is really starting to annoy me.)

Even 2K did this with BioShock Infinite; offering a "Season Pass" of extra content, such as side-quests, that had no reason to not have been part of the game proper.  And players like me really didn't have much of a choice, as the pass offered "three DLC packages for the price of two."  Basically it was forcing us into a "Pay now, or pay more later" situation.

In short, to EA I'd like to say in the words of Judge Judy, "Don't pee on my leg and tell me it's raining!"

- Some claim there’s no room for Origin as a competitor to Steam. 45 million registered users are proving that wrong.

I'm probably one of the few actually who doesn't out-and-out hate Origin.  At worst, I'm ambivalent about it.  While I like the idea in principle (a Steam-like downloadable distribution service for EA's games), it seems redundant when I consider that every EA game I've purchased I bought at retail anyway.  I don't think Origin is any worse than Steam.  In fact, many seem to have forgotten that early on, many felt the same way towards Valve about Steam, as they felt they were being strongarmed to enroll in a service they didn't want.

But the difference I can see between Steam and Origin is that Origin seems to specifically cater to EA titles - many of which as stated earlier I can just as easily buy from a store, while Steam on the other hand has since grown to include exclusive downloadable and indie titles you can't get anywhere else.  So while I don't think Origin is the great evil that many others seem to believe it is, if you were to ask me if I get as much out of it as I do Steam, the short answer is "no."

As for EA being LGBT friendly, nice but as Conster said, it doesn't let them off the hook.  In fact, the flip side of it is I think their Politically Correct attitude has gone too far.  To wit, look at Yahtzee's review for Sim City where he pointed out that EA wouldn't let him give his city an obscene-sounding name if he wanted it.

As Lisa indicated, if EA really wants to improve, they need to get a CEO who actually knows about games and the game culture.  Not one whose previous experience was with a company like Sara Lee (as Riccitiello was).  Gaming is not the same as baking.  The tech is moving way too fast and is constantly evolving.  And that's a qualification that needs to be considered when EA chooses their next CEO.

Re: Peter Moore: EA Can and Will Do Better

- This week, we’re seeing posts on conservative web sites urging people to protest our LGBT policy by voting EA the Worst Company in America.

That last one is particularly telling. If that’s what makes us the worst company, bring it on. Because we're not caving on that.

It really isn't, and quite frankly, while I appreciate EA being LGBT-friendly, that doesn't give them a get-out-of-jail-for-free card for being a shitty company in many other aspects - and it especially doesn't mean you can try and blame EA's LGBT-friendliness for people saying EA is a shitty company. It not only looks you're not taking people's genuine grievances seriously, it also looks a bit like you're trying to prostitute EA's LGBT-friendliness.

 

Also, I agree with DorthLous: people don't "want to argue" about SimCity's Always-On thing being a DRM scheme. You say it isn't, they know it is. Period.

Re: Peter Moore: EA Can and Will Do Better

It did with Dragon Age 2 and Mass Effect 3. The gaming news except Forbes completely blasted customers for being upset that you either got bad points for not being gay or sexually harassed. Jim Sterling writer from destructoid and he also did a few articles reprinted here actually picked out a random person on Twitter who a Bioware staff member literally told their customer to "Fuck you" at this point Jim Sterling released this mans information and picture and blamed all the fan hate on Bioware to this man which on twitter you had a homosexual pedophile upset this 'fan' did not approve of being sexually harassed in game so on twitter the gay male found pictures of this fans kids and school posted them and he received threats that are still visible. All the major game sites refused to point out the major problems of Dragon Age 2 and a repeat was happening with Mass Effect 3 with IGN's Colin Moriarty literally telling fans to "shut up" and stop complaining. The gaming news and blogs were than forced to cover but defend EA / Bioware after the REAL news picked up on the Mass Effect 3 public relations disaster.

Re: Peter Moore: EA Can and Will Do Better

Reading that "We Can Do Better." makes me feel sick.... to say things like that shows his ego is in the way and he's only defending his own ass in this because he wants the CEO position.

"Are we really the “Worst Company in America?” 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."

Then help bring in a new CEO that knows gaming (it's not you [Peter] or Frank Gibeau), that plays games, that knows how to listen to gamers, etc... not some stuffed shirt that's never played games before.... how can you run a company and not fully understand the products your selling or understand the consumers (gamers) you're selling them to?

Now I'll comment on these points...
"- Many continue to claim the Always-On function in SimCity is a DRM scheme. It’s not. People still want to argue about it. We can’t be any clearer – it’s not. Period."

It might not be a DRM as such, but it certainly ACTS LIKE one ... if it's something gamers really don't like, then allow an option for offline play for those that don't like being connected or don't like playing with others.

"- Some claim there’s no room for Origin as a competitor to Steam. 45 million registered users are proving that wrong."

Yeah, you have those numbers, but that's all they are, they're people who didn't have much of a choice, some are even people who had your games and were forced to use it (at one point- Sims3 players were forced to register with Origin if they wanted to get back onto the Sims3 forum to access their accounts and post.)... they are not HAPPY customers, so what's your point. No point bragging about how many UNHAPPY customers you have, that just makes you look even worse.

"- Some people think that free-to-play games and micro-transactions are a pox on gaming. Tens of millions more are playing and loving those games."

Again, more numbers that mean nothing, especially when you don't know first hand how those numbers/people really feel. When you start a franchise as normal, then release a next one as F2P, what do you expect will happen if people want to continue with that franchise? Of course they'll play it, but it doesn't mean they WILL get into the whole microtransactions side of it...

"- 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. Yes, really…"

Watch what you're saying there, Peter... that certainly sounds like you're inferring that gamers are so stupid and gullible they they'll do whatever an email tells them to do....
I'll ask you a question .... How many spam emails do you get a day asking you to do something or whatever... do you blindingly just do whatever it says?

"- In the past year, we have received thousands of emails and postcards protesting against EA for allowing players to create LGBT characters in our games."

Of course you would get them, but do you think you're the only company that doesn't discriminate against them (LGBT) and gets those emails... every company that doesn't discriminate against them would get the same treatment from small minded/judgmental people.
Good on you for allowing it, but it doesn't eliminate all the bad that you do, all the mistakes you've made or all the mistakes you're (EA) going to make in the future.

"- This week, we’re seeing posts on conservative web sites urging people to protest our LGBT policy by voting EA the Worst Company in America."

Again with inferring gamers/consumers are so gullible they'll do whatever others tell them to do... Flash News.. Gamers are REAL PEOPLE with MINDS OF THEIR OWN.... and yes, they do make their own decisions, contrary to your beliefs.

So you just keep telling yourself that if it helps you sleep nights, but just remember one thing, your ignorance and ego will catch up with you at some point.

"That last one is particularly telling. If that’s what makes us the worst company, bring it on. Because we're not caving on that."

If that's what you think is causing you to be probably voted the worse company for the second year running, then you clearly have issues and EA doesn't need you for their CEO.

Also, if EA didn't consistently keep screwing up, they wouldn't even be a contender of that poll for Worse Company and certainly wouldn't have received the Golden Poo award last year... not to mention they'll probably get it again this year.

I'm done with this and I'm done with anything else he may have to say from now on... he's not worth my time.

Re: Peter Moore: EA Can and Will Do Better

- Many continue to claim the Always-On function in SimCity is a DRM scheme. It’s not. People still want to argue about it. We can’t be any clearer – it’s not. Period.

Then get rid of it.

Besides, it doesn't matter if that's true or not.  What matters is the perception your customers have that it isn't true.

- Some claim there’s no room for Origin as a competitor to Steam. 45 million registered users are proving that wrong.

Don't bullshit us.  45 million users are registered because it's either create an Origin account or don't play the game.

- Some people think that free-to-play games and micro-transactions are a pox on gaming. Tens of millions more are playing and loving those games.

Again, because it's either put up with it, or don't play the game.  Stop.  Bullshitting.  Us.

- 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. Yes, really…

I'll give you that one.  That's really dumb.

- In the past year, we have received thousands of emails and postcards protesting against EA for allowing players to create LGBT characters in our games.

- This week, we’re seeing posts on conservative web sites urging people to protest our LGBT policy by voting EA the Worst Company in America.

That last one is particularly telling. If that’s what makes us the worst company, bring it on. Because we're not caving on that.

Good for you and sincerely, many kudos to you for being one of the most LGBT-friendly companies out there.

 

Andrew Eisen

Re: Peter Moore: EA Can and Will Do Better

I'm not sure being associated with such a greedy company is something that helps the LBGT community.  When other people see the backlash EA gets, regardless of if it's for the LBGT material, I'm not so sure it encourages others to do the same.  Also, who wants to emulate what EA is doing? Seems more likely that this hurts the LBGT community in the long run.

Re: Peter Moore: EA Can and Will Do Better

I agree. For example all the old Bioware games had wonderful gay romances. The difference is now they sexually harass us to push the issue and make us lose points if we are not gay. Ever since Fox News ran that bogus report on ME1 EA has been using that as an advantage to try to draw the liberals out to defend them. I guess they figure force this issue which an hardcore segment believes in and they think others will come to defend them. The gaming press has a love affair with Bioware and EA because they literally force gay relationships on you and if you notice their complaints about EA are the same thing they praised EA for when it came to fan backlash.

Re: Peter Moore: EA Can and Will Do Better

If anything they're kind or reinforcing sterotypes.

Re: Peter Moore: EA Can and Will Do Better

- Some claim there’s no room for Origin as a competitor to Steam. 45 million registered users are proving that wrong.

The difference lies in how many people bought how many games for each service. My steam library is over 125 games, and if I ever decided to pick up Origin, it would probably be for 3 particular titles- maybe less.

Re: Peter Moore: EA Can and Will Do Better

"45 million users are registered because it's either create an Origin account or don't play the game."

And when they force that particular choice, I choose the latter.  ;)

But yeah.  The Madden and LGBT things are fair points.  The DRM, Steam, F2P points, not so much...  >.>

Re: Peter More: EA Can and Will Do Better

Heh, the editorial at the end of the article resumes my thought pretty well. But just to add my grain of salt:

"- Many continue to claim the Always-On function in SimCity is a DRM scheme. It is. EA still want to argue about it. We can’t be any clearer – it is. Period."

Re: Peter More: EA Can and Will Do Better

Yeah, I'll start believing that oil tanker worth of bull when it happens sparky...

Re: Peter More: EA Can and Will Do Better

If it's really not a DRM scheme, all EA needs to do to prove it is make the game playable offline. If they won't do that, it's a DRM scheme.

 
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