Which publishers have the most customer complaints?

A breakdown of the Better Business Bureau figures shows Nintendo and Blizzard taking care of their users while companies like Sony Computer Entertainment, THQ, and Sega drop the ball.

by

At the height of the controversy over Mass Effect 3's ending, fans on forums claimed to be filing complaints about developer BioWare with the Federal Trade Commission and Better Business Bureau.

The FTC required a Freedom of Information Act request be filed before it could disclose the nature of any complaints against a company. Having spent months on previous FOIA requests only to wind up with heavily redacted nonsense for the flimsiest of reasons, we turned to the Better Business Bureau. One representative told us that no complaints about Mass Effect 3 had been filed with publisher Electronic Arts. However, a Canadian representative confirmed that "a couple" had been received in regard to the game's Edmonton-based developer.

BioWare has since said it is addressing the complaints with "new content initiatives" next month, likely appeasing the outstanding complaints and (with luck) bringing the entire saga to an acceptable resolution. But not all gamers' BBB complaints have happy endings. GameSpot compiled BBB data on a number of the industry's biggest publishers, and found a massive disparity in the number of customer complaints each has to deal with (as well as how they deal with them).

A breakdown of various gaming company's Better Business Bureau complaints over the past three years.

No gaming company we looked at ticked off more customers in the last three years than one that didn't even exist three years ago. Since 2009, the BBB has received 1,857 complaints about social gaming giant Zynga (which only adopted that name in November of 2010). The BBB worked with the company and its customers to address most of those users' issues, but nearly 20 percent of them were still ultimately unsatisfied with Zynga's resolution. Those numbers were good enough for the company to earn an A rating from the BBB.

Among the console makers, Microsoft drew the most ire from consumers, drawing 1,510 complaints in the last few years. But it also garnered an A+ rating from the BBB in light of its massive customer base and relatively small 16.4 percent of complaints that were not resolved to the customer's satisfaction. However, it's worth noting that's for the entirety of Microsoft--from Windows Phones and Xbox 360s to productivity software and servers--whereas Sony's PlayStation division is counted separately by the BBB. As such, Sony Computer Entertainment on its own only drew 1,314 complaints to the BBB in three years, but with 455 of them leaving customers unsatisfied and another 51 getting no response from the company at all, SCE drew an F rating from the Bureau. Nintendo was far and away the best of the big three when it came to customer complaints, as the Mario maker drew just 53 complaints in three years, and resolved all but three of them to the customers' satisfaction.

A breakdown of various gaming company's Better Business Bureau complaints over the past three years.

Completely ignoring complaints seems to be the easiest path to a failing grade, as even companies like Sega and Namco Bandai, with 10 or fewer complaints in the last three years, were given an F. Sega had not responded to eight of its 10 complaints, while Namco Bandai ignored two of its seven. BioWare and THQ were the only other game companies we looked at listed as not responding to some complaints, and each received an F rating.

If one were to judge the companies not by the number of complaints but by the percentage of them happily resolved, Blizzard Entertainment can easily boast the best customer satisfaction rate. With only 20 customers left unsatisfied from a pool of 1,264, the World of Warcraft publisher addressed more than 98 percent of the complaints levied against it. (This might change soon, considering a recent push to log BBB complaints against Blizzard over promises the developer made with its World of Warcraft Annual Pass regarding beta access to the Mists of Pandaria expansion.) Other publishers with unsatisfied customer rates in the single digits include Activision (6.7 percent), Sony Online Entertainment (5.2 percent), and Nintendo of America (5.7 percent).

All numbers regarding BBB complaints were current as of March 21, 2012. The Bureau classifies complaints it deals with in four categories, two of which are those resolved with BBB assistance, and those for which the business in question never responded to the BBB. The remaining two categories cover instances where the customer was unsatisfied, one where the BBB found the business made a good faith effort to resolve the situation and one where it didn't. For the purposes of the graphs on this page, the latter two categories were combined into one category of complaints where customers were not satisfied with the outcome. The complete breakdown for each company's numbers is available on the Better Business Bureau's web site.

Discussion

154 comments
csward
csward

Sony and Square Enix are both a pain to deal with. Blue ray laser go out after only 2 years of moderate use? $150 plx and ty!

orbit1star
orbit1star

It's interesting to see that my most hated company Ubisoft doesn't make the list. I'll continue to pretend they don't exist now, thank you.

PheneonS
PheneonS

Holy crap sega... *shakes head* Not to mention Capcom's data which makes me raise an eyebrow.

Toysoldier34
Toysoldier34

@Gelugon_baat That is my point exactly, there are so many outside things and factors not taking in with this article so it is misleading. Half the people that read through this won't sully understand it and will take away from it misinformation.

Toysoldier34
Toysoldier34

@Gelugon_baat There are many companies that have gamers unhappy. This is only showing people that directly contact them about issues. I had many issues with Ubisoft's solution to PC DRM but never contacted them about it. While the article is about customer complaints and what the companies directly see. I am sure that many customers have complain about about other things that company doesn't directly know about. There is a big difference in customer complaints between me contacting Nintendo about an issue, or me just complaining that they focus to much on casual gaming and not what made old school gamers love them to begin with. Someone below me mentions Capcom, I have huge issues with the way they have taken many series and tried to make them something else. A clear example is the Resident Evil Operation Raccoon City game that is very far from what makes Resident Evil one of my favorite franchises and it is frustrating that they spent time and resources on that instead of the next game I will love.

blue900
blue900

I never had a problem with SCEA or any of the others really. MS resolves things like my RROD with it's warranty and I frankly didn't care enough or play enough to demand a quick fix from them. So I think the resolved cases from MS are due to their big changes from 360's inception (when they denied RROD). Not really sure what all this data will do for me since I am a satisfied customer of all these companies since the 80's for most and 90's for some. They are a business...do they care about me or the bottom line? um duh...so if they happen to NOT aggravate me during their pursuit of the mighty dollar then I don't care what the data is saying.

sakuranoame
sakuranoame

Interesting data. But this doesn't really affect my decision on buying a game.

sfkm2
sfkm2

*looking at capcom's data* LIES! ALL LIES!

Raxyman
Raxyman

Wow, it's sad see one of your favourite companies (SEGA) with an F rating... I never had any problem so i couldn't know, but it's never nice know that you'll be ignored in case of any problem.

dxdevilex0
dxdevilex0

Always heard that nintendo has good customer services.And THQ's,sega's and namco bandai's charts are pretty pathetic.Igoring complaints just makes me not tust them

sasami_adachi
sasami_adachi

I must say, Blizzard's customer service has always been top notch for me. All the issues I submitted over the years have always been solved in a respectful and timely manner. And the stability of their products is really high.

Goatlord6669
Goatlord6669

I'm one of 808 who's issues got solved by Sony. I think they treat me nice because I give them tons of business including PSN games. I got a refund for war hammer kill team with a 2 day response time and bought Armageddon riders which I ended up liking a ton more. Shortly after, kill team magically fixed itself so I got 2 for 1. Obviously you can see why my experience is good, however my only complaint was when they changed the number of accounts on a system from 5 to 2, very inconvenient to have to constantly deactivate ps3s.

DrMatta
DrMatta

I guess you guys didn't include Ubisoft because they would've won no-contest, thus there would be no real article??

astrix2605
astrix2605

EA is definitly the worst community-compiled-response replyer EVA. dat be fact

mtait01
mtait01

for me it has to be Microsoft, banning me from Xbox Live for apparently 'stealing from the marketplace' when I have never pirated a game in my life -_-

xtraflossy
xtraflossy

BBB is a joke. ...and I am one of those unresolved complaints for THQ.

QOSMSTR
QOSMSTR

Why do we care about these useless statistics?

JACOBDRAGON666
JACOBDRAGON666

i think most of bioware complaints are related to EA choices >_

slainta
slainta

I am lost. Where is Bethesda?! i could bet it was number 1 on the list! Both on number of complains and customer unsatisfied.

SickHammer
SickHammer

capcom is making the big mistakes these days... so they should be #1 bioware... they do stupid things but not every time and everyone is jumping on the head of THQ i feel so sorry for them

earlmccormick88
earlmccormick88

Capcom should be #1 with the 3 versions of Street Fighter 4, 2 versions of Marvel vs Capcom 3 and the Street Fighter x Tekken DLC hoax! What a greedy company!

earlmccormick88
earlmccormick88

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

Karjah
Karjah

You know when the ratings seem to jump from A+ to F so quickly I can't help but scoff at the credibility of the BBB.

aahammel
aahammel

I would have liked to see Bethesda's score. They deserve an F. Their games are full of bugs and their only solution is to reload previous saves. That's not support.

g1rldraco7
g1rldraco7

I thought for sure it would be Itunes XD

nate1222
nate1222

The 800lb gorilla in current gen gaming is the western (American) publishers. Ironically, they're the ones not only perpetuating the gaming industry's current grievances: DLC, high ass dev costs, forced online multiplayer, half assed single player, CoD clones...but they've also got the lousiest track record with consumer complaints. I'll be damned, American corporate imperialism hard at work.

goldmask
goldmask

sony have all most and amazing games

shadowysea07
shadowysea07

@parrot_of_adun that's because bamco doesn't release that many games nor do that many people care about them.

Deihjan
Deihjan

@PumpkinBoogie - boy am I glad that there are others who are sad/angry over no AA Investigations 2. I want that game so bad!

TomJimJack
TomJimJack

@parrot_of_adun That is only one of the reasons and as far as I'm concerned as customer the only one that counts for me. Intellectual properties such as products of game publishers are supported by the customers attachment to these products and through insufficiency of CS these companies show their lack of appreciation or will to collaborate beyond just margins of profit.

deth420
deth420

i started reading the article, but after the "Those numbers were good enough for the company to earn an A rating from the BBB" I stopped!! The BBB is a JOKE!! heres another "group" "helping " people...excel isnt a monopoly?? ...oh the hippy with a solar panel can provide my with power... long story, they just make me so mad!!

parrot_of_adun
parrot_of_adun

@TomJimJack I really don't think an increase in the CS budget would net them the hundreds of millions they're losing. The hole they're in couldn't possibly be explained by how they handle customer complaints.

TomJimJack
TomJimJack

@parrot_of_adun As a wise saying goes: You reap what you sow. To manage a company is to mix tactics and to offer services appealing to the customer. The money they spend on publicity shows they can spare more time and resources regarding customers' service and this will increase their profits because if there is something true in gaming world is the fact that fans loyalty pays if kindness is shown toward them.

parrot_of_adun
parrot_of_adun

@TomJimJack Given their finances, I wouldn't be surprised if they simply didn't have the money, and there's not much they could do about that until they're out of the red, if that ever happens.

TomJimJack
TomJimJack

@parrot_of_adun The fact they don't have seen it fit to invest or to find competent staff dealing with the customers show how they care for their product and for the clients need. This policy of "once out of the store is not our problem anymore" have to stop. The gaming world is suffering every day and the only thing these companies offer for their highly advertised yet botched products is post sale patches. Returning to our issue if the gaming companies spend less in bombarding the media with advertising and spend more regarding customers' service they will highly improve relations with the customer.

wexorian
wexorian

activision 443 They work in activision dev team i bet :D

parrot_of_adun
parrot_of_adun

@TomJimJack A company isn't that simple. It's not one person sitting in a chair, making super greedy/altruistic decisions. Like I said before, customer service IS important, but the majority of a company's business practices have nothing to do with it. It would be really quite odd if the board, CEO, CFO and department heads were all completely like-minded individuals who want only money and don't care at all about their customers. If THQ's customer service department sucks, it could be for a variety of reasons, few of which would indicate that the company as a whole is some kind of homogeneous evil. For all you know, they just don't have the money to staff that department fully, and therefore have to prioritize problems in a sort of 'issue triage' that ends up delaying or discarding low priority tickets. Or their employees could be completely incompetent, and no one's noticed yet. Regardless, having a bad CS history doesn't automatically mean the whole operation sucks, just that they have a bad CS history.

SipahSalar
SipahSalar

THQ is by far the worse in personal experience, it took them 3 years to release a patch for Company of Heroes even though it was disgustingly imbalanced.

rayankawash123
rayankawash123

thq deserve bankrupcy just look at thier uffc forums ......they basicaly reply to threads that praise them only

N4o7A
N4o7A

Hmmm, wouldn't a low number of complaints be better than one with a lot even though they were resolved?

jimmytaker
jimmytaker

Well... actually there are a lot of complaints that are more related to the game itself (graphics, compatibility, bugs) than the game distrubution/shipping/sale , so I mean that a "complaint" should be done in response of a failure in the game of any kind.

Gamer-Elias
Gamer-Elias

Zynga for sure :P they always have problems with their games i used to play lots of zynga games but stopped because of their Annoying problems ....

Victorious_Fize
Victorious_Fize

Tis true I'm afraid. However, I'll still remain with Sony for now, as Nintendo's platform and exclusives aren't particularly to my taste. Sony was always great at providing a roundabout console, although that showed to be more difficult with the PS3, we can never forget the success it was on the PS2. Xbox targets Western demographics and shooters, while Nintendo always try a family oriented approach, IMO.