We've purposely avoided covering The Consumerist's poll for the 2012 user-voted Worst Company in America. We did this despite the fact that both video game publisher EA, and video games retailer GameStop were, at one point, both competing for this year's prize. We even ignored this poll as EA went deeper and deeper into the tournament, going up against the likes of Bank of America, AT&T, and Best Buy. We did this because there was no way EA could possibly be considered a more horrific company than any of those great institutions of corporate shittiness, right? Right...?
Imagine my slack-jawed expression upon learning this morning that, yes, EA did manage to beat all of the above companies and take home the "golden poo" award for the very worst company in America in 2012.
The user voting came down to EA going directly against Bank of America, the financial institution known for raising interest rates on credit card holders with no marks against their credit, misleading mortgage holders who sought to modify their loans, and randomly experimenting with jacking up debit card and checking account fees just for shits and giggles. In the end, EA took 64.03% of the vote, essentially destroying Bank of America 2-to-1 in voting.
Look, I'll be the first to admit that many of EA's business practices are fairly anti-consumer and occasionally even straight-up deplorable, but looking down the list of offenses the Consumerist post lists as justification for why it totally makes sense that EA had won--shipping games that required major patching later on, nickel-and-diming players with held back content as DLC, and acquiring independent developers and their innovative products in lieu of innovating with their own products--these could be lobbed at practically any major publisher in the video game industry. In a competition for worst video game publisher in America, I'm not even sure EA would win outright. They'd probably be a contender, but it hardly seems so cut-and-dried.
Most likely, many of the votes for EA came from those particularly incensed by recent issues like Mass Effect 3's ending, the general lousiness of EA's Origin service, and probably some combination of the things listed previously. Considering that EA has been at the forefront of a particularly nasty bit of Internet vitriol regarding Mass Effect 3 in the last month or so, it's not so surprising that voters came out in droves to express their displeasure via this outlet. Unfortunately, in doing so, they managed to put EA up on a pedestal over a company that has literally illegally foreclosed on people's homes. Repeatedly. So, hey, great job Internet.
EA, for its part, is taking the award in stride, telling Kotaku in a brief statement, "We're sure that British Petroleum, AIG, Philip Morris, and Halliburton are all relieved they weren't nominated this year. We're going to continue making award-winning games and services played by more than 300 million people worldwide."