Worst Company In America Round One: EA Vs. Sony

If this particular WCIA bout were a video game, we’d charge you $59.99 to play the most basic version, another $20 or so to play the full version, and then we’d still nickel and dime you for extras… But not before your account data is compromised by hackers.

It is indeed the hacking of millions of Sony PlayStation Network accounts and subsequent three-week long network outage that earned the electronics giant a spot in this year’s tournament.

Of course, its believed that the hack only occurred as a response to Sony’s decision to sue a man who figured out how to jailbreak a PS3 and dared to post the information on this thing called the Internet.

Sony then followed up those attacks by showing how much it loves consumers… by changing the PSN terms of service to preempt class-action lawsuits.

EA has spent much of the last decade cultivating a bad name for itself among millions of game-buying consumers. Aside from its reputation for spoiling the good names of all the companies it acquires (and EA has acquired a lot of companies), it has played a pivotal role in the fact that video games continue to be expensive while the cost for many other home entertainment media has dropped.

Since the company obtained the exclusive video game rights to NFL teams, it’s been accused of gouging customers out of millions of dollars on an annual basis by grossly overpricing its Madden NFL series of games.

And like Sony, EA got no love from consumers for its tacit backing of the failed (for now) SOPA legislation.

But what is becoming the biggest sore spot to video game customers is the increasing amount of add-on content that the company doesn’t include in the games it sells, but only makes available in deluxe editions, store-specific versions or as a la carte downloadable content.

For example, Destuctoid recently calculated that you would need to spend $870 to get access to all of the content in the newest big EA release, Mass Effect 3.

We received numerous reader testimonials on why EA belongs in this competition, but this audio clip of the company’s CEO explaining to investors about squeezing money from customers through these micro-transactions basically sums it all up:

Now you’re ready for the big boss fight. Just don’t enter any cheat codes.
(Voting for this poll will close at 11:59 p.m. on Thursday, March 15)

This is a post in our Worst Company In America 2012 series. The companies competing for this honor were chosen by you, the readers. See the entire WCIA 2012 bracket and schedule of match-ups HERE.