In 2013, video game giant Electronic Arts became the first business to be named Worst Company In America twice by Consumerist readers (a feat that has since been matched by Comcast). EA made the brackets again this year, but narrowly lost out to Time Warner Cable in the early rounds. And if relatively new EA CEO Andrew Wilson had his way, his company would never be up for WCIA consideration again.
“We didn’t even make it out of the first round this year,” Wilson tells The Guardian, apparently taking his company’s two wins with a sense of humor missing from his predecessor. “When I came into this job, the board didn’t want the company to be perceived that way.”
He claims the company is learning from its mistakes, like the decision to unleash a broken Battlefield 4 on the market earlier than it should have been, resulting in glitches galore and people unable to play the game they’d spend at least $60 on.
Wilson points to what he maintains was a successful beta test of the upcoming Battlefield Hardline title as evidence that EA is living up to its supposed “player-first” philosophy.
“We learned about scalability and stability [from Battlefield 4] and that allowed us to let gamers in earlier and give us feedback,” explains Wilson. “What we got from the community was, ‘this is cool, but we think the fiction should go deeper’. We were then able to make a judgment call on that. I don’t think it would have been possible before.”
EA has a couple opportunities in the near future to prove that its business plan isn’t to release half-baked, cookie-cutter titles that are merely cash-ins of well-established series. Next week sees the release of Madden NFL 15, which has already resulted in one of the more hilarious glitches we’ve seen in a while:
Then later in the fall EA will release the third title in its popular Dragon Age series. It’s both the first DA title for the latest generation of gaming consoles and it follows the tepidly received Dragon Age 2, a game that annoyed many fans of the first with its repetitive settings and other corner-cutting that resulted from EA’s rush to release the game on time.
“I hope we never appear on that list again, I truly do,” says Wilson. “But I expect that, as we push the boundaries of entertainment, we will get feedback from time to time that people want us to do different things. That’s okay. That’s the cool thing about our industry.”