E3 Musings: Has EA Finally Shifted The ‘Evil Company’ Tag?

After watching the EA Play event coverage I popped onto social media to see what other people* thought of the showcase and the news that had been relayed about the free access to Origin/Demos, Free Content for Battlefront II, efforts to support Indies with EA Originals and their recent charitable efforts, Play to Give.

Of course dipping into the turgid cesspit of social media had one overwhelming answer.

Pure criticism and hatred.

Tweets saying ‘Games aren’t *really* free’ or ‘Take, Take, Take!’ were commonplace.

It’s nothing new for EA, a company that was named the most Evil Company in America in 2012 by Consumerist:

“After more than 250,000 votes, Consumerist readers ultimately decided that the type of greed exhibited by EA, which is supposed to be making the world a more fun place, is worse than Bank of America‘s avarice, which some would argue is the entire point of operating a bank,”

For years EA were criticised for their inclusion of DLC in games, pre-order DLC being exclusive and for season passes. Now we take all of this in our stride, as well as allowing some retailers to survive a digital onslaught by giving them a leg to stand on, especially indies.

Then you have the more recent criticisms of the company, namely for their efforts to provide diverse and respectable content in their games. So for every BioWare game that may or may not have same-sex relationships you can guarantee that someone will level a criticism of them being ‘Afraid of SJWs’ or for any time they stand up for equality they will be hit with comments about being ‘profit minded’.

But this is all horseshit.

In my mind EA are now top of the pile when it comes to big name publishers for the levels of respect they show the consumer and the developer. How else can you explain the decision to make all major content for Battlefront II (and before that PVZ Garden Warfare 1 and 2) FREE to all purchasers? Huge franchises can easily be gouged for a season pass payment (or two in Destiny’s case) but EA clearly see the benefit of providing all players with the same content. It keeps the game fresh, it keeps the player base loyal and in turn they make money from that.

Whenever I read of EA fighting back against critics of their diversity policies I think back to the turn of the century and wonder if Sony would have done the same? It is a better time now for acceptance in gaming, but a big chunk of that is down to the work EA did with their studios.

Visit EA’s news section and among the information about new releases of big titles you’ll find loads of community focused articles, celebrating fandom. This doesn’t make money, so why do it? Because COMMUNITIES PROVIDE MONEY!

Their work with indie devs via EA Originals promises to give ALL profits to the developer. Back in the early days of the 360 I spoke to a developer of some renown who explained the breakdown of finances in a retail sale of a game. In short they received about £2.50 from every £40 game sold, and that was as a reputable developer. Imagine the situation for an indie dev at that point and then wonder why Steam was so desirable for so long. For EA to simply nurture creativity and risk, well that it about as good as it gets.

So next time you think about blaming EA for all the ills of the world, remember, they’ve done more than enough to change your mind.

Maybe you are simply a twat.

* Well, people on Twitter

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