Electronic Arts

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"EA Games. Charge for Everything."

Electronic Arts Inc., also known as EA and EA Games, is an American developer, marketer, publisher, and distributor of video games headquartered in Redwood City, California.

Founded and incorporated on May 28, 1982, by Trip Hawkins and Bing Gordon, the company was a pioneer of the early home computer games industry and was notable for promoting the designers and programmers responsible for its games. As of 2014, Electronic Arts was the world's fourth-largest gaming company by revenue after Tencent, Sony, and Microsoft.

Why They Suck

  1. Their highest priority is earning as much money as possible. "Do you want five additional guns? You'll need to pay $10. Do you want more maps? Pay $25. Do you want the Ultimate Edition, which gets you a few free DLC packs? $100!"
    • On October 12, 2017, a customer complained about Star Wars Battlefront II on Reddit, asking why Darth Vader was locked despite paying $80 for the premium version of the game, and that review copies had Heroes at a lower cost. It was then revealed that unlocking Heroes would require either random luck or roughly 40 hours of grinding. An EA Community member replied to the thread with a poorly written excuse defending the game's loot box system and long grinding hours. Said comment became the most downvoted comment in Reddit's history with over 680,000 downvotes as of October 14, 2017. As a result of this massive backlash, EA reduced the in-game cost of Heroes by 75% (it was later discovered that EA had sent out review copies of the game with the hero costs reduced by this much), but they also reduced the number of credits received from completing the game's campaign.
    • They also experienced heavy backlash for the implementation of loot boxes in the UFC 3 beta.
    • EA defends microtransactions by saying that games are becoming "too expensive for [them] to develop" as an excuse. But after the backlash over Battlefront II, they directly told their investors that microtransactions have no effect on profitability, confirming that the "too expensive" excuse is nothing but PR garbage. Moreover, the cost of developing games has actually gone down over the years, not up, due to the abandoning of convoluted proprietary console architectures with poorly-documented functions and ludicrous hardware bottlenecks, and use of powerful third-party tools and pre-built game engines with baked-in functions: in addition, shipping and packing costs have vastly decreased with the rise of digital distribution, and on top of that, they keep recycling many of their games (most notably the sports games), making it hard to believe that their games are expensive to make.
    • One of the very few times they have lost a chance to earn money was the cancellation of Thrill Kill.
    • EA now defends loot boxes by claiming that they aren't a form of gambling. While there is something to this claim since products the user pays for while blind to their contents (such as Magic: The Gathering card packs) are not regarded as gambling, loot boxes skirt the line between what is legal and what is not. In addition, state gambling laws mean that gambling is whatever the local government says it is, not what EA says it is.
    • Their game presentations (like E3) and games are more catered towards pleasing investors rather than consumers, and it really shows in the products with their rampant monetization tactics. To EA, it is never enough to make a lot of money; they have to make all the money in the world.
  2. One of the worst customer service systems ever, which thankfully receives a lot of lawsuits from gamers.
    • Great example: Their Origin platform is awful. Not only is the security weak and collects profile info which is invading privacy, but if one were to so much as say something bad about EA or any of their subsidiaries, they get banned. In addition, while not confirmed, it may be possible for them to delete the entire Origin account if it is left unused for two years.
    • In April 2012, The Consumerist awarded EA with the title of "Worst Company in America" along with a ceremonial Golden Poo trophy, thanks in part to the massive outcry over Mass Effect 3's controversial original ending. EA earned the award again in 2013.
    • Recently, a customer wanted to get a refund for Star Wars Battlefront, but EA Support staff flat out refused to give him one despite the customer meeting the conditions to receive one. After insisting that the customer wasn't eligible for a refund (brushing off all of his troubles), the representative just hung up on him abruptly.
  3. They force their employees to work up to 100 hours every week, making this equal to four entire 24-hour days and four hours. Given that a human's average sleep is 56 hours per week, such a week leaves an employee with a whopping 12 hours of free time.
  4. They've started to release games in unfinished states, just like Capcom. This resulted in the terrible launch of Battlefield 4 which forced EA to allocate all of DICE's resources into attempting to resolve the problems with online multiplayer and EA to mend the bad publicity caused by the game being launched in an unacceptable state for release and lead to EA getting four lawsuits over it.
    • Sometimes, EA's games crash occasionally for five seconds and then speed up very fast. For example, this happens in Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare 2 as a bug.
  5. EA is often criticized for buying smaller development studios primarily for their intellectual property assets and producing drastically changed games of their franchises. The most infamous example is Plants vs. Zombies, a real-time tower defense game from Pop Cap that EA created an online-only third-person shooter series out of (called Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare) and also created a sequel of the original Plants vs. Zombies that is a freemium game (Plants vs. Zombies 2) because of microtransactions when the first game had no pay-to-win mechanics in it. Later, they fired George Fan, the creator of Plants vs. Zombies. George, despite claiming that he was against the freemium model, didn't specify if that was the reason why he got fired.
  6. They kept acquiring big-name companies, such as Westwood Studios, Bullfrog, Origin Systems, and Maxis just to milk their franchises and shut them down just a few years later.
    • They converted great game franchises from other game companies they were given the rights to own and turned them into utter garbage with Command & Conquer and Dungeon Keeper.
    • They also ruin and close down other third-party big-name companies (like Oddworld Inhabitants and Pandemic) just by sabotaging their products' marketing, such as the case when they sabotaged Oddworld: Stranger's Wrath, which almost reduced Oddworld Inhabitants to rubble.
    • They tried to make Command & Conquer Generals 2 (or just Command & Conquer as they put it) a client-based free-to-play game instead of it being a proper sequel to C&C Generals. It eventually got canceled before any playable builds were released.
    • They even selfishly tried to secure sole rights to use the Porsche sports car brand in any of their racing games and forced all non-EA racing games to use third-party brands acting as original equipment manufacturers for the Porsche bodies, including but not limited to RUF, Gemballa, 9FF, and Rinspeed, as a workaround for their depiction of the vehicles until 2017. Ironically, RUF vehicles can sometimes have better performance than Porsche's vehicles.
  7. Lots of controversial advertising. For example, they hired people to act as enraged Christians protesting their then-upcoming game Dante's Inferno.
  8. EA has succeeded in partially monopolizing the sports game market by buying exclusive licenses to certain sports leagues or teams, therefore obliterating the competition. The most infamous of these was the case when they destroyed the highly acclaimed NFL 2K series by buying the exclusive NFL license after they went nuts over sales of their then-released Madden NFL 2005 bombing due to the critical and commercial success of Sega's ESPN NFL 2K5. This also happened with Konami's Winning Eleven/Pro Evolution Soccer franchise, which was greatly damaged after EA bought exclusive licenses from almost every major soccer team to put them in the FIFA series, and also to Sierra's NASCAR Racing series, especially the latest-released and highly-acclaimed NASCAR Racing 2003 Season, which EA successfully killed off in March 2004, when they bought the exclusive NASCAR license. They held it from 2004 through 2009 until the exclusivity deal ended with the release of NASCAR 09.
    • EA Sports games are not up to technical standards set by games from years ago, such as sidelined and injured players acting unrealistically in Madden NFL 25 on eighth-generation consoles when an older football game on Xbox 360 not published by EA had more realistic sideline and injury simulations.
    • EA Sports is responsible for sports game franchises that are released every year (or season in term of sports), such as FIFA, NFL, UFC, etc. They are notable for having many physical glitches that were never meant to be fixed. Even when EA announced that FIFA 17 would be using the Frostbite 3 engine used in the Battlefield series, it still has various physical bugs that have haunted the series for over 10 years.
  9. They gave nearly no support for the Wii U. In fact, only four EA games were released for the console: Mass Effect 3, Madden NFL 13, FIFA 13, and Need for Speed: Most Wanted (2012).
    • They've also ignored the Nintendo Switch, and as of June 2019, only five EA games have been released or announced for the console (FIFA 18 and 19 which is based on the Xbox 360/PS3 editions and not the PC/PS4/Xbox One edition and FIFA 20 as a Legacy Edition Reskin, and Fe, an indie game that EA is publishing for the Switch and other consoles, and a late port of Unravel Two, and lacking key brands like Madden, NHL, NBA Live, UFC, The Sims, Burnout, etc).
    • It has been widely speculated that EA ignores Nintendo out of spite because Nintendo refused to implement their Origin system on their console. This is somewhat inaccurate, however; EA has never gotten along with Nintendo, going right back to the time when Sega let them manufacture Genesis cartridges in-house (the ones with a yellow tab on the side) while Nintendo refused to do the same.
    • Also related to the above, they refused to support the Sega Dreamcast after they were burnt from the Sega CD, Sega 32X, and Sega Saturn respectively, and the fact they did not want to compete with the much more successful Sega Sports' 2K games. The lack of support contributed to the Dreamcast's early demise.
  10. They refused to patch games that have game-breaking bugs, like Madden NFL 06 on PSP, which crashes on Franchise mode, and when EA was told to patch the game, they refused and told gamers to "deal with it".
    • They also prevented Double Fine from fixing the 99% completion glitch for Brütal Legend, believing that they "only support games that sold well".
  11. Electronic Arts have a massive disdain towards single-player experiences. Their reason for shutting down Visceral Games and canceling its Uncharted-style Star Wars game was, according to them, that people don't enjoy single-player games anymore and multiplayer-only games are the future, citing a number of high-profile commercial failures and disappointments in 2016 and 2017, specifically citing Resident Evil 7 (successful but fell short of Capcom's predictions), Prey and Dishonored 2 (legitimate sales disappointments), and Deus Ex: Mankind Divided (rejected by gamers for its poisonous microtransaction scheme and horribly buggy launch). This "reason" was heavily criticized by many gamers and even developers like CD Projekt Red, Cory Barlog (SIE Santa Monica Studios), and the best comeback being the trailer Bethesda released that showed Linda Carter defending single-player games and exposing EA as massive liars.
    • In all of this, they completely overlook single-player focused games that were, in fact, major successes, like Horizon Zero Dawn (10 million sold as of 28/02/2019), The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild (11.6 million sold as of December 2018), Super Mario Odyssey (13.76 million sold as of December 2018), The Witcher 3, (10 million shipped by the end of 2017), Monster Hunter: World (12 million shipped by the end of 2018), and many other titles that provide amazing experiences without the need to exploit players through shady monetization. This hasn't stopped EA from cherry-picking the less successful titles to push their greedy narrative.
    • It was quickly discovered that the real reason EA doesn't like single-player games is that they cannot shove microtransactions or loot boxes into them as easily as they could with multiplayer games, yet it hasn't stopped them from trying.
    • They put almost no effort into creating a solid single-player campaign for the majority of their games nowadays, An example of this is Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare 2 having an easy-to-complete campaign that can be beaten in a few hours with objectives that are nothing but Garden/Graveyard Ops missions and fetch quests, as well as enemy-killing quests that require you to defend something.
    • They even had the nerve to blame the single-player campaign and absence of the battle royale mode for Battlefield V's underwhelming performance, instead of, you know... getting political with your game and challenging fans to not buy said game if they didn't like it, and assuming that battle royale modes will make your game an instant mega-hit?
  12. They managed to kill off the once-beloved Mass Effect franchise with the unmitigated disaster that was Mass Effect: Andromeda, a game plagued by countless behind-the-scenes problems including racist and sexist Social Justice Warrior developers, difficulties with the Frostbite game engine, rampant meddling by company higher-ups, and lack of a clear vision for the project which effectively led to the entire game being made in the last 18 months of the five-year development period.
    • They have a division that's dedicated to diversity, which basically means they're catering to Social Justice Warriors. This speaks for itself.
  13. When Spore was going to be released, EA said that it would include a DRM system that required authentication every ten days, and also that the game's product key for each copy could only be used up to three times. This led to Spore becoming one of the most pirated video games of all time.
  14. They tried to acquire Take-Two Interactive, but fortunately lost their takeover attempt.
  15. EA has made single-player games with no microtransactions in the past but those games were TV licensed games that were rushed and the graphics in those games looked awful in the times they were released.
  16. Even back then, they published garbage like Dark Castle and Shaq Fu (the former on the Sega Mega Drive, the latter on SNES first).
  17. In 2018, it was ruled that FIFA 18 was in violation of Belgium's gambling legislation, thanks to its Ultimate Team Card packs (the game's loot boxes). Despite this, EA still tried to deny that their loot boxes are considered a form of gambling.
    • Though European governments are starting to crack down on loot boxes, EA still tried to push them in future FIFA games, showing that they have learned nothing from the Star Wars Battlefront II controversy. This also shows that they refused to be subject to criminal law.
    • Even more damning is that because they refused to subject to gambling laws, the company was under criminal investigation in Belgium for violating said laws for a while, and if EA were to lose a court case over this, other countries will take notice and start applying similar regulations on loot boxes. Fortunately, they eventually caved, and removed all paid microtransactions from the game in the country, though not without trying to pat themselves on the back for doing so.
  18. Their E3 presentations (starting in 2016) tend to be very poor in quality. The most common issues with them are over-emphasis on their sports titles, too much talking, and insincere speeches about wanting to be better. Their 2018 E3 showing in particular was an utter disaster, even when compared to the previous years.
  19. EA has a history of trying to guilt and shame critics via misrepresentation to get its own way. Besides the incident of Mass Effect 3 where critics are simply labeled as "haters", the recent controversy with Battlefield V is a perfect example, with chief creative officer Patrick Soderlund claiming that "[they] support the cause". What cause?
  20. The publisher likes to use focus testing to determine the types of games they think they should make. One notorious example is what they did to Insomniac's Fuse, in which the design was pivoted and made into a generic gritty shooter more akin to a Gears of War title. They often use younger players as the target of their focus groups. Fuse ended up bombing critically, and commercially.
  21. Poor marketing tactics, with Soderlund claiming that "people who don't understand" have two choices: either accept it or don't buy the game. This is an exceptionally foolish move as unlike Rockstar Games who used the same tactic to defend its fans, EA is alienating its fans and pandering towards people who will never really play their game.
  22. EA has no problem with releasing games in an unfinished state. They even admitted that Star Wars Battlefront (2015) was rushed to coincide with the theatrical premiere of The Force Awakens. This resulted in the game launching with no single-player campaign, and a bunch of other missing content that was later sold as DLC.
  23. EA has stated that "Gamers don't know what they want" regarding Command & Conquer: Rivals, trying to justify their butchering of the franchise.
  24. EA barred a professional FIFA player for speaking out against them, showing how extremely sensitive they are to criticism.
  25. They proudly (and perhaps even tryingly) celebrated Battlefield V's failure by mocking its fans with #EveryonesBattlefield.
  26. EA has been making its studios develop games with their proprietary Frostbite engine. While powerful and capable of beautiful visuals, this engine was built specifically for Battlefield-type games. As a result, it has led to many developers having to make numerous assets from scratch, greatly increasing the length, cost, and difficulty of development, notably for BioWare due to how complex RPGs can be. Manveer Heir, a former BioWare employee, has been particularly vocal about Frostbite's unreliability, claiming that something that takes 2 days to do in Frostbite, can be done in 2 hours on a more competent engine. It is heavily assumed that this is due to EA not wanting to pay licensing fees for a third-party engine such as Unreal. The Frostbite engine was one of the many problems that BioWare faced during the development of both Mass Effect: Andromeda and Anthem.
  27. Their extremely poor handling of the Star Wars license; only two AAA console/PC games have been released since the deal was signed in 2013, both were poorly received by gamers for different reasons. Not to mention, both games are just generic shooters with Star Wars skins. Plus, they also outright canceled the Star Wars game that EA Vancouver (originally developed by Visceral Games) was working on. What makes it worse is that Disney is actually happy with this.
    • Also related, because of EA's exclusive Star Wars video game deal, the only other Star Wars video games we get are smaller scale cross-over projects like Angry Birds/Lego/Disney Infinity, or smaller-scale mobile/web browser/free to play PC games not related to the EA mobile projects, or the recent Bandai Namco Star Wars Battle Pod arcade game not getting a home port because of the EA exclusive deal.
  28. EA has also poorly handled The Simpsons license, to which they gained exclusivity in 2005. Since then, only ONE big project has been released, The Simpsons Game which itself is very good with the exception of three versions. To make matters worse, the rest of their Simpsons games have been nothing but mobile games all the way up to Tapped Out (which has microtransactions BTW), or vaporware projects like The Simpsons Game 2 which got canceled similar to the one Star Wars game that got canceled twice! Due to EA's exclusivity for the franchise, Konami's The Simpsons Arcade Game PSN/XBLA ports were delisted only after being on the PSN/XBLA storefronts for a year and 10 months.
  29. When Anthem's release methods were revealed, they showed off when and how you could play the game using a rather complex and convoluted chart.
  30. They tried to rename loot boxes as "Surprise Mechanics". Furthermore, they denied that pay-to-win loot boxes were unethical and had the nerve to compare them to Hatchimals and Kinder Surprise eggs. (Nevermind the fact that those makes it clear you're getting a plush and a toy along with chocolate while loot boxes are completely randomized, not to mention, PHYSICAL as opposed to digital.)
  31. They (along with Activision and Bethesda) are against the recent U.S Senate bill to ban loot boxes and pay-to-win microtransactions.

Redeeming Qualities

  1. Despite their reputation, EA does have good games under their name. Many of them were released during the sixth and the first half of the seventh console generations.
  2. In recent years, they have shown interest in helping indie developers grow, by offering funding and/or publishing for their games (such as Unravel, Fe, and A Way Out), without fully acquiring them. They do this under a program called EA Originals. A Way Out is a good example of an EA Originals title that was well received, and had no shady monetization schemes behind it.
  3. Sometimes, their contemporary games can be fun to play, despite having microtransactions and/or loot boxes.
  4. Even though they can be extremely greedy, their games get price drops and sales, unlike many other greedy companies like Activision and Koei Tecmo (they even sometimes give away free DLCs and season passes for their games on all consoles and PC).
  5. Unlike Activision, when Burnout Paradise was remastered, no microtransactions were added.
  6. EA created the Jacksonville Tribute in response to the Madden NFL 19 tournament shooting and pledged to donate a million dollars to the families of the two victims and the injured contestants.
  7. Some people are nice, like Will Wright, the creator of The Sims.

List of Studios That Were Acquired or Approached by and Shut Down

  • Maxis Emeryville
  • Creative Wonders
  • EA Seattle (formerly Manley & Associates)
  • Westwood Studios
  • Pandemic
  • Maxis (survived, but EA intentionally uses them to milk The Sims franchise further and further)
  • Black Box (formerly EA Canada)
  • BioWare Montreal (merged with Motive Studios after Mass Effect: Andromeda flopped)
  • Oddworld Inhabitants (Survived and cut all ties with the company, but caused them to go MIA for a few years)
  • PopCap (survived, but EA just uses them to milk the Plants vs. Zombies franchise their most popular franchise.)
  • Mythic Entertainment
  • Bullfrog Productions
  • Criterion Games (survived, but currently doing little more than development support. They were responsible for the Burnout franchise, and also created the RenderWare engine, which was one of the most used game engines in the sixth console generation)
  • Origin Systems
  • Virgin Interactive North America
  • Visceral Games (formerly EA Redwood Shores also the only non-bought out the studio to be shut down by EA!)
  • Playfish
  • EA Salt Lake
  • Victory Games
  • DICE Canada
  • EA Mobile Brazil
  • Waystone
  • Easy Studios (merged with DICE)
  • Kesmai
  • EA Bright Light
  • EA Baltimore
  • EA North Carolina (closed in 2013)
  • EA Pacific
  • DICE (Survived, but currently makes almost nothing but Battlefield and Star Wars Battlefront. They also created the previously mentioned Frostbite engine)

List of Exclusive Licenses Held by EA

  • Arena Football League (2005—2009)
  • ESPN (2005—present)
  • English Premier League (1998—present) (Note: EA successfully acquired the exclusive license in 2003 after Winning Eleven/Pro Evolution Soccer 3 became a commercial success in order to destroy the Winning Eleven/Pro Evolution Soccer franchise.)
  • Bundesliga (1998—present) (Note: EA successfully acquired the exclusive license in 2005, leading to various lawsuits against Konami to force them to remove licensed content from Winning Eleven/Pro Evolution Soccer 6.)
  • NASCAR (2004—2009)
  • NCAA (2006—2011)
  • NFL and NFLPA (2005—present)
  • Porsche (2000—2016)
  • Def Jam (2003—2007)
  • Star Wars (2013—present)
  • The Simpsons (2005—present)
  • Formula 1 (2000—2002)

Videos

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