Some EA Criticism

Posted by HumanityPlague (251 posts) -

1.  Them shutting down game servers.  As opposed to *every* other game company out there (that uses MS/Sony servers) EA saw fit to build their own for online play (and features).  This gives them the power to also shut down the game servers.  If you want to, you can go out and buy a copy of Perfect Dark Zero and play it online.  You *can't* do that with any EA game older than 2 years old.  They continually shut down older game servers for the official reason of "It's a drain to keep them up", when the actual reason is, they want to force people to buy the newer and inconsequential version of the game.   If it really was a drain on them, they could just do away with the server system entirely and use game servers that everyone else makes do with.
 
 
2.  EA's pandering, desperate attempt on Origin.  EA claims that Steam provides too many restrictions on DLC (reason 1) and that EA wants to have "a relationship with the consumer" (reason 2) for making Origin.  Yet, every other company seems to like Steam *just* fine when it comes to DLC (Capcom, Activision, Ubisoft).  No, they just want to control the market on their own games, like they always have (see Dreamcast for a good historical reference).  I don't *want* a relationship with a game company.  I want to buy a game, and that be it.  I don't want them constantly e-mailing me with stupid ads, survey's, and other garbage that EA is intent  on doing.  Worse yet, if you criticize them on their own forums they have the right to block you, rendering your purchased goods inert.
 
3.  Them completely nickel & diming people to death over content.  A good page on the topic:  http://www.pastapadre.com/2011/05/30/criticism-over-ea-sports-handling-of-pay-for-features-justified

Other companies do it to, sure, but not to the complete extent & ultimate detriment to the game.

Activison/THQ admit they're evil to an extent.  That's all Cod Elite really is, just a method to bilk people out of money.  Capcom is just stupid (and doesn't learn from their mistakes) and greedy.  But EA tries to hide their greed with platitudes of "Oh, we're not so bad!  Everyone does it!  We're here for you to provide you the best content we can!"  What a load of shit.  I'm surprised they're not trying to say "Greed is good", or better yet "2 + 2 = 5".

Look at my Burnout Paradise column (here:  http://www.411mania.com/games/columns/231077/Crossing-the-Steams-3.27.12:-Burnout-Paradise.htm ).  You can't even buy the DLC anymore.  They shut the store down.  Instead of doing right by the consumer (and releasing a patch to just unlock the content for everyone), they take a shit on it, and just ignore the problem.  They never face up to their mistakes, because in their eyes, they never make them.  They are the absolute worst.

#1 Posted by HumanityPlague (251 posts) -

1.  Them shutting down game servers.  As opposed to *every* other game company out there (that uses MS/Sony servers) EA saw fit to build their own for online play (and features).  This gives them the power to also shut down the game servers.  If you want to, you can go out and buy a copy of Perfect Dark Zero and play it online.  You *can't* do that with any EA game older than 2 years old.  They continually shut down older game servers for the official reason of "It's a drain to keep them up", when the actual reason is, they want to force people to buy the newer and inconsequential version of the game.   If it really was a drain on them, they could just do away with the server system entirely and use game servers that everyone else makes do with.
 
 
2.  EA's pandering, desperate attempt on Origin.  EA claims that Steam provides too many restrictions on DLC (reason 1) and that EA wants to have "a relationship with the consumer" (reason 2) for making Origin.  Yet, every other company seems to like Steam *just* fine when it comes to DLC (Capcom, Activision, Ubisoft).  No, they just want to control the market on their own games, like they always have (see Dreamcast for a good historical reference).  I don't *want* a relationship with a game company.  I want to buy a game, and that be it.  I don't want them constantly e-mailing me with stupid ads, survey's, and other garbage that EA is intent  on doing.  Worse yet, if you criticize them on their own forums they have the right to block you, rendering your purchased goods inert.
 
3.  Them completely nickel & diming people to death over content.  A good page on the topic:  http://www.pastapadre.com/2011/05/30/criticism-over-ea-sports-handling-of-pay-for-features-justified

Other companies do it to, sure, but not to the complete extent & ultimate detriment to the game.

Activison/THQ admit they're evil to an extent.  That's all Cod Elite really is, just a method to bilk people out of money.  Capcom is just stupid (and doesn't learn from their mistakes) and greedy.  But EA tries to hide their greed with platitudes of "Oh, we're not so bad!  Everyone does it!  We're here for you to provide you the best content we can!"  What a load of shit.  I'm surprised they're not trying to say "Greed is good", or better yet "2 + 2 = 5".

Look at my Burnout Paradise column (here:  http://www.411mania.com/games/columns/231077/Crossing-the-Steams-3.27.12:-Burnout-Paradise.htm ).  You can't even buy the DLC anymore.  They shut the store down.  Instead of doing right by the consumer (and releasing a patch to just unlock the content for everyone), they take a shit on it, and just ignore the problem.  They never face up to their mistakes, because in their eyes, they never make them.  They are the absolute worst.

#2 Posted by NovaDTH (155 posts) -

What an original and shocking opinion on one of the most beloved companies in this industry.

#3 Posted by Animasta (14677 posts) -

whaaaaaaaat? game publishers lie? SAY IT AINT SO.

#4 Posted by Hot_Karl (3309 posts) -

Here's the thing. The server thing is the only part of this that might bug me, but at worst, it's an inconvenience. It sucks that I won't be able to play EA Sports MMA online anymore (especially since I had an Online Pass for that game), but I can live with servers getting shut down. It's really not something to get worked up about.

You can always opt out of their subscriptions & newsletters without hassle. I've done so myself. DLC for the games I play online (the Battlefield games, stuff like NHL 12 and whatnot) aren't invasive. I haven't bought DLC packs yet for those titles, and I doubt I will.

Origin doesn't bug me in the slightest. Yeah, they're not playing nice with Steam, but EA has their own business practices & they want to stick to them. Nothing wrong with that at all. They're a multi-million dollar corporation, they can do whatever the fuck they want. Blizzard has their own digital store and no one seems to complain about those games not being sold on Steam.

These are all valid criticisms but they aren't reasons to hate a company so much as to vote for them to be "the most evil company in America".

#5 Posted by Apathylad (3066 posts) -

The one that bugs me the most is the last one. I didn't know you could buy the old DLC.

#6 Posted by SethPhotopoulos (5232 posts) -

I hate EA because they foreclosed on my house.

#7 Posted by deerokus (540 posts) -

The 'closing down servers' thing is especially shitty when you consider most of those games don't even use servers for multiplayer. It's all p2p. Battlefield is one of the very few series on consoles that uses dedicated servers. What, exactly, is such a big drain that entails them shutting it down?

#8 Posted by ShaneDev (1696 posts) -

Well the servers for games that they shut down are old and on one plays them, making you buy a new version of a game is probably low on the list of reasons for shutting them down. If that was the case then Bad Company 1 would have been shut down years ago. I still don't really like it though.

Everything else you complain about is the same childish shit people always whine about. If you don't like Origin don't use it, if you don't want emails opt out, if you complain on a forum don't break the terms of use so you won't get banned.

#9 Posted by Duder_Me (307 posts) -

EA is communist

#10 Posted by jakob187 (21665 posts) -

I can counter everything you've stated above, but when I noticed the "go check out my column" part at the bottom, I knew what this was really about. In turn, I'll just give a "cool story bro" and see myself out.

The one thing I'll say is this: EA didn't shut down the store - Criterion did.

#11 Posted by Andorski (5290 posts) -

Why listen to angry consumers when they are constantly giving you money?

#12 Edited by loopy_101 (287 posts) -

It's sad how EA somehow made themselves more evil than Activision during the build up towards Battlefield 3. If anything can be indebted to that game's failure in it's commercial toss-up with Modern Warfare 3 it would all the bullshit they pulled as you mentioned in your blog, especially 2.

As long as EA continue to support Origin, I will continue to neglect buying their games on PC.

#13 Posted by ProfessorEss (7324 posts) -

I can understand people not wanting to use Origin, but I don't understand how people feel a company that releases hundreds of titles for every one that Valve releases doesn't have the right to want to sell things through their own store sans middleman.

#14 Edited by Shivoa (625 posts) -

@ProfessorEss: EA have shown their hand (for a start, see DICE2012 presentation by EA guy for very frank talk about what they see as the way forward for narrative in games and how that is monetised).

You can buy a game anywhere you like, they'll keep pushing up prices with day1 DLC/CE only narrative content to increase the prices beyond $60 (I don't like that bit, in the UK it is more stark with some EA PC releases having a street price of £45 in an environment when PC gamers are used to £20-30 with consoles £35 including their 'platform tax') but over time those prices go down (which is just sane retail, catch the people at the maximum they're willing to pay based on how patient they are; also use sales to trigger a 'buy now, even though not planning to play today' instinct to grab the deal to attract more potential customers and generate awareness/advertising in the long tail) and EA don't care so much about that revenue. Anyone can sell their games, especially when something like ME2 is £5 or even less. They give the retailer the cut for enabling the customer to buy a copy of the game (even if they'd love it if you used Origin to give them all the money, they don't mind the retailer cut).

But ME2's narrative payload isn't completely provided for that £5 sale. The non-sale, non-depreciating priced narrative DLC not included in that £5 sale will cost you another £30 to buy piece by piece. You want the complete story of ME2, every event that the developers wrote up in that story arc? £35, almost all of it payable only directly to EA via their DLC store. That is where the money is. Get a decent revenue from selling the game and enjoying the long tail if the game is good enough but the real move is to maximise the revenue from every fan, even a fan who only came to the game late in the life and so got it cheap. There is not a way of enjoying the entire of ME2 on PC in the UK that costs less than a brand new, full price PC release. There has never been. And EA aren't sharing most of that cash with a retailer. That's why they moved off Steam, because valve decided that every game (going forward) with DLC would have to provide the option of a Steam DLC purchase. You can sell your DLC directly, you can get 100% of the money from an in-game or your store purchase, but you also have to give the option for the consumer to choose to buy the DLC using the same storefront they used to buy the main game. This policy obviously came in before they opened up the Free2Play gates (as otherwise they're providing many-GB downloads of the free client and getting no chance at a cut of the revenue). When EA decided to move all their games off Steam they gave up on some revenue from reaching those Steam customers who don't want to buy a PC game from Origin or somewhere else, because they see a majority revenue source from DLC and they have no need to share that with anyone. If they have to they'll remove their games from anywhere that isn't happy with that and only sell it on Origin.

They are looking at narrative experiences as semi-F2P with a traditional purchase price curve complemented with large revenue flow for the piecemeal DLC content that barely covers what would traditionally have been a £15 expansion pack bundled up 12-18 months after the original game's release. They're thinking seasons of content made up of blocks of episodic content with story arcs and cliffhangers to keep people buying their extra hour of content for £5-10 a shot. Why sell the series box set when you can sell the first (half-)season and then hit the people up who enjoyed it for a fee for every episode going on at a significantly higher price per episode (and no dropping the price over time)? We'll just keep taking £5 off you each month until there aren't enough fans still paying for the small content chunks.

I don't like that model of gaming. I have significant ethical concerns about the so called F2P whales and how you build a game to hook into the player and try to reel in the person who is spending far more than we've traditionally considered value for money for this entertainment form. I see this as the single-player extension of that sort of idea, that twists the design into a type of low payload episodic breadcrumb trail.

So the Origin thing is, for me, an issue with the direction EA are indicating they're travelling in. I enjoy buying games, I own far more than I can reasonably expect to play for more than a few hours to sample (and a few that I simply must devour completely); I like to spread the funds over things that look like they deserve some revenue (especially indie) and a lot of the time that's through sales and buying 6 months after release. I don't like the idea of fast-turnaround ongoing narrative games that end up costing hundreds of pounds for the length of maybe a traditional RPG or small MMO. When you're in an MMO world then you're paying for the server on which the game actually runs to allow you all to play together, it's a bit different. I'm not sure I'm a great fan of that design but I'm on the fence.

I don't like a story based single-player game that has a sticker price that bears no relation to the cost of enjoying all the narrative and each block of content being considered too small for review by a lot of places so getting an informed opinion about it before purchase being tricky. And I really don't like DLC content that makes people feel like they didn't get their money's worth, because that is short term gain and will turn people off gaming. The choice of either constantly knowing you didn't get to see some of a world you liked, or spending the money and thinking you didn't exactly get much for it and flicking between both of those sub-optimal states of mind about a product. Hell, it might even send someone towards TV, or movies, or book, or some other form of entertainment where they know that if they like something, there's a good chance the initial purchase will buy them something they find fillingly complete, that satisfies their desire for a self-contained product without obvious hanging threads of a measly proportion. If there are threads to be picked up it'll be from a similarly large serving of content in a future instalment or prequel. Maybe, if they want a cheap price, it'll require waiting a bit for that next item to depreciate in value, but that'll happen if they have to patience to wait a bit.

I want lots of money coming in to the games industry to build everything we want constructed for years to come; I do not believe EA are concerned with the long term health of the entire industry with their current direction. So I avoid using Origin.

They also do plenty of other things that are rather dubious (but always have been, from the first days of Live and their ultimatum to MS that they'll pull a Dreamcast on them and ignore the service unless they got more control). I think they're pretty rubbish for turning off matchmaking servers and so on, especially with the bullcrap they spout about large ongoing costs to maintain them (despite their lack of popularity so they're only hurting a small percentage of their paying customers when they switch it off). Anyone who has spent any time maintaining servers will laugh that one off, especially as these are just auth and matchmaking services usually, the actual games are all P2P so the cost is going to be tiny, especially for low user volumes. And the purchase of studios for their IP and gutting of the teams, that's another long term concern but maybe a thing of the past.

Edit: Ye, so obviously it's more of a "don't trust them -> not giving benefit of doubt over future direction" thing more than anything. But if we'd had this conversation on any EA forum the likely result would be us all getting banned from accessing any of our games, single-player or otherwise with Origin hooks, (as is within their rights; their forums, their rules), I don't think the world of them and their policies (especially the ones that contradict their public statements about those policies). [added link to DICE talk]

#15 Posted by Time_Lord (715 posts) -

It will catch up with them eventually with the next gen coming it will be interesting to see what comapines do well in the transition and with EA just voted the worst company in America they probably aren't going to do too well espically as they don't do new ip any more just sequels.

#16 Posted by HumanityPlague (251 posts) -
@jakob187: Meh, if you don't want to read my column, fine.  The fact I didn't even link it correctly should tell you it's "up to you" if you want to check it out.  I just go more in depth in it with regards to the hassles in getting the DLC cars in Burnout Paradise to unlock.

This edit will also create new pages on Giant Bomb for:

Beware, you are proposing to add brand new pages to the wiki along with your edits. Make sure this is what you intended. This will likely increase the time it takes for your changes to go live.

Comment and Save

Until you earn 1000 points all your submissions need to be vetted by other Giant Bomb users. This process takes no more than a few hours and we'll send you an email once approved.