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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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Not a SimCity 5 issue
By Trisped on 4/11/2013 7:25:41 PM , Rating: 2
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.
I pre-ordered the game and played it the day it came out. Since all the servers were full the game automatically assigned me to a Europe West server. I then switched to a Europe East server (since that would be physically closer) and was able to play that night. Since the game had only been released in the US, the non-US servers were always open. By the time the game was released, the number of servers had been doubled and a few performance changes had been made to lesson the server impact.

While the game may not be very friendly to noobs and has a number of bugs, it is not the reason I hate EA. Personally I hate the way EA treats me. They buy rights to great franchises and push out mediocre and buggy games. They tell me that they are going to give me a $20 coupon when I buy a game, but don't tell me that it covers a very limited selection of games (95% I would never play), that I need to have a total of at least $30, and that all of the software is priced at #9.99 (so you really need to pay at least $40 to use the coupon). No big deal though, I see a game I sort of want and one my brother wants, but to use the coupon I have to use my account to buy the games and there is no way to gift the games to another account (so my brother would have to use my account to play the game).
Finally they release the game I originally bought (SimCity). I start the installer before I leave for the day, expecting to play once I get home. But, when I get home I find that despite the fact that the installer said it would be using GB of space to install my game, it only installed another installer, so now I have to wait till tomorrow to play. A few days latter (after playing for a while) they take the server down with with my cities on it, so I can not play them until tomorrow (it wasn't a big deal as that server had my first 5 cities which I had managed to drive into the ground, and now I have cities on 4 different servers). Those are the problems I have had with EA in just the last month. I personally have avoided buying anything from EA for the last couple of years because of all the bad experiences I have had before that.

When SimCity came out I decided to give EA a chance to prove that they had changed. I can safely say now that while the Maxis team is doing a pretty good job (not perfect, but it is a complicated title) EA is still a mismanaged company and deserves this award. It is too bad, as I think EA could be a great company with leadership who is more in touch with what gamers want and how to get it to them.

"We basically took a look at this situation and said, this is bullshit." -- Newegg Chief Legal Officer Lee Cheng's take on patent troll Soverain
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