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Company says DRM debacle has little to do with its unpopularity

Each year Consumer Union's The Consumerist site doles out a dubious distinction to one dastardly corporation -- the title of "Worst Company In America".  Last year pro-digital rights management Electronic Arts, Inc. (EA) beat out bailout whipping-boy Bank of America Corp. (BAC) for the crown.

This year BAC and EA emerged yet again as the top two contenders from a field of 30 gleaming prospects.  But when the smoke cleared it was EA who once more received the most votes, via a healthy 78 percent margin.

Perhaps the single defining moment that allowed EA to bring home the gold was its SimCity 5 DRM debacle, which saw thousands of gamers unable to play a game they paid for due to EA's lack of server support for its DRM-scheme.  Aside from the SimCity mess, many take issue with declining quality in titles from the top gamemaker, which saw its financials slide this last year.  

In a recent blog company COO Peter Moore acknowledged that his company was in contention for a second win, but looked to shift the blame, claiming it was a homophobic conspiracy that was driving votes.  He points to players ability to create cross-dressing/transgendered characters in certain titles and gay relationships in other titles as leading to a boycott.  Mr. Moore failed, however, to cite any specific examples of these posts and we were unable to locate any at the time of publication.

EA COO blames homophobes for his company's "worst" win, not his firm's own DRM missteps.
Last year EA released an official statement to Kotaku after the award was handed out. We'll see how they respond this time around.

Sources: The Consumerist, EA

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By Amiga500 on 4/11/2013 8:09:40 AM , Rating: 2
When you think of all the resources EA has at its disposal, this is simply astounding.

I wonder what their entire executive board renumeration is? I reckon I could do a better job by myself. Of course, the focus would change from screwing every last dollar/pound/whatever out of gamers and would be on quality games. Revenue and profit would follow.

- Forget marketing. In fact, make the marketing budget little more than the review distributions for every game and get rid of all the marketeers. Its a waste of time and money - review sites and word of mouth will do the job better.

- Just focus on getting fewer well made titles out the door, and don't constrain the programmers to deadlines. If they slide, they slide.

- Open up the games for the mod community. Forget the incremental DLC stuff, consider charging only it is a substantial update to the kernel itself (that doesn't fix bugs).

- Hire a few top coders with managerial acumen and get rid of every single last clown in the company that has an MBA but f**k all experience of coding. [Unless they are accounting functionaries - and that particular tail should not be allowed to wag the dog.]

(Basically, stop being a shower of c**ts and you won't be held in such distain.)

RE: Wow...
By BRB29 on 4/11/13, Rating: 0
RE: Wow...
By StevoLincolnite on 4/11/2013 10:06:39 AM , Rating: 2
1. Forget marketing? marketing sells games. COD proves that

Minecraft. Never marketed, sold in droves. - Hence Mojang/Notch needed less capital to make it a successful game.

3. Opening the game up to mod community is great for gaining popularity but doesn't make you money. You put all that money into making the engine, games, characters, etc... and let someone mod it and steal your sales?

Doesn't make you money? You're kidding right?

DayZ, when that went nuts, people bought the game "Arma 2" in droves.
Arma 2 actually sold better years after release thanks to DayZ than when it was first launched.

Left 4 Dead, Dota all spawned from mods and make significant money for Valve.
So yes, mods -DO- make money, just not directly and it's not something that should be underestimated either when a developer properly supports modding.

I doubt Skyrim or Oblivion would have been as popular on the PC without mods, in-fact Bethesda have even stated they take inspiration from mods to improve the next game that they are working on as it's a good way to see what people really want and what people were trying to fix or improve.

RE: Wow...
By Amiga500 on 4/11/2013 2:13:32 PM , Rating: 2
^^^no idea what he's talking about

I sense the stench of managerial BS off you. You may or may not believe it, but I know my way around very large technical projects.

1. When the game is good, review sites will have it front and centre - people will read it and they will react. Word of mouth from there is infinitely better than any advert.

2. If something is not ready, it is not ready. Yes, dates should be aimed for, otherwise things would never get done. But they are not inflexible. I've seen far too many project managers insist on compromising quality too far to meet schedule. EVERY SINGLE TIME it comes back to bite. Do it right first time, even if it takes a bit longer.

3. Popularity = More sales of that game and of subsequent games.

4. You are right, the very high-end specialists usually do not want to manage and couldn't do it well. That is where instead of the brilliant, you get the very good - those that understand deeply what is going on. The number of meetings I've sat in on where time is completely wasted and actual time-to-completion lengthened 'cos project management doesn't have a f**king clue what is going on is unreal.

Management done right with the right systems in place does not take half as much time or effort as the majority of the clowns that end up doing it would purport.

RE: Wow...
By Just Tom on 4/11/2013 3:30:28 PM , Rating: 2
While I am all for setting reasonable schedules and not shipping sub-beta software if you let programmers decide the schedule no project will ever be done.

There is a lot more to shipping software than just pressing DVDs or uploading a digital file. Review sites and magazines work on schedules and if your fantastic new game's release date keeps slipping it impacts their publication scehdule. If the game is sold as a DVD there are distribution timelines.

In my professional experience involving large projects, admittingly not in the software industry, the real culprit behind less than ideal work and slipped deadlines is the constantly changing requirements for those projects. Nothing blows up a deadline like "Well, add this to the project. It is not a big deal."

RE: Wow...
By Motoman on 4/11/2013 4:11:12 PM , Rating: 2
When I was in college taking computer science classes, I couldn't understand how anyone could release software that had bugs in it.

After my first few days working as an intern for a major insurer, writing COBOL and some other stuff on a major project of theirs, I became astounded that anything ever worked at all.

RE: Wow...
By Amiga500 on 4/12/2013 7:37:07 AM , Rating: 2

In my professional experience involving large projects, admittingly not in the software industry, the real culprit behind less than ideal work and slipped deadlines is the constantly changing requirements for those projects.

Indeed - military programs are notorious for changing requirements. But, a lot of that is due to an ever evolving threat environment and the requirements that cascade from that.

However, in this environment, things are relatively stable - so if the people planning the project understand the work area - then it'll all follow through much easier.

Additionally - setting deadlines before fleshing out basics will lead to problems too, as things are invariably forgot.

"I mean, if you wanna break down someone's door, why don't you start with AT&T, for God sakes? They make your amazing phone unusable as a phone!" -- Jon Stewart on Apple and the iPhone
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