Wednesday, April 4, 2012

(empo-plaaybizz) GameStop has competition - for the Worst Company in America, that is

Remember my January post about Christine Cavalier's scrutiny of GameStop's business practices - which lead the company to aggressively push customers to take used games rather than new ones, since used games are much more profitable to GameStop.

Steven Hodson linked to a VentureBeat story that mentioned GameStop - and a company even worse than GameStop:

Video game publisher Electronic Arts has a new feather in its cap: it has won The Consumerist’s Worst Company in America award.

The tournament rookie beat out America’s other most-hated companies by a landslide 64% vote. Rival honorees included Walmart, PayPal, Bank of America, and even fellow game industry villain, Gamestop.

Although I missed the earlier rounds, it appears that the Consumerist modeled its voting on the National Collegitate Athletic Association's recent college basketball championships, in which entities compete against each other until only four are left, and then only two are left, and then a final entity survives. Which means that Electronic Arts is Kentucky/Baylor and Bank of America is Kansas/Notre Dame.

The Consumerist explained the decision:

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.

The vote has outraged some people who believe that Bank of America's sins are serious and EA's are not. The Consumerist addressed this line of thought:

To those who might sneer at something as "non-essential" as a video game company winning the Worst Company In America vote: It's that exact kind of attitude that allows people to ignore the complaints as companies like EA to nickel and dime consumers to death.

And it's not just companies like Electronic Arts and GameStop. Turn on your television and look at your local television news. Compare the business reporter and the sports reporter. One of them appears in conservative attire, is probably wearing glasses, and never cracks a smile. The other one is yukking it up, and may be wearing a silly cap. Yet the "fun and games" guy is talking about multi-billion dollar industries - industries which are not taken seriously. Imagine if Wall Street were covered in a sports style - oh, wait, we don't have to imagine it; I forgot about Jim Cramer.

Returning to Electronic Arts, how did they react to the news that tens of thousands of people loudly declared that EA sucks? According to Kotaku, EA was not humbled by the experience:

In a statement to Kotaku, EA Senior Director of Corporate Communications John Reseburg said:

"We're sure that British Petroleum, AIG, Philip Morris, and Halliburton are all relieved they weren't nominated this year. We're going to continue making award-winning games and services played by more than 300 million people worldwide."

Perhaps when GameStop goes to Lamar Smith to enlist him in the battle against a rogue game market, Electronic Arts will also go to Lamar Smith to enlist him in a battle to make sure that rogue groups like the Consumerist and its 200,000+ voters don't illegally use the concepts derived by such outstanding groups as the National Collegiate Athletic Association.
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