EA Exec Responds to "Worst Company in America" Controversy, Admits It Made Mistakes
"We were guilty of some stuff."
Battlefield and FIFA publisher Electronic Arts was named the "Worst Company in America" multiple times in recent years by a fan vote from a consumer affairs blog. The video game company earned a "Golden Poo" award for this, beating out companies like Bank of America and oil giant BP. It might have only been an online poll, but according to EA executive Peter Moore, perception is reality.
As a result, EA went to great lengths to improve its standing in the court of public opinion. Moore, who is now EA's Chief Competition Officer, talked about EA's recent transformation to become a "player-first" company recently in an interview with IGN.
"Yes, [being named Worst Company in America] was ridiculous," Moore said. "And this was also the time of sub-prime mortgage crisis; banks are dumping hundreds of thousands of people out onto the street. You try and be defensive and say this is stupid, this is ridiculous; and then you go, 'Maybe there's a kernel of truth here.' Maybe this is a moment we can step back, look in the mirror, look at who we are, look at how we're perceived, and figure out what we need to do to do something about it."
"Perception is reality so if there perception is that we're not a company that puts players first, then how do we change that?"
Moore decided to create a committee inside of EA that first pored over sites like Reddit and NeoGAF in an attempt to find out if what people were saying about EA was true.
"We were guilty of some stuff," Moore acknowledged, though he didn't share any specifics on the areas where EA could have done better.
Another part of the effort to become a "player-first" company was speaking with other companies, as well as marketing firms, that had been through similar situations. In this process, Moore said EA "learned a lot" about its own company and how it's perceived in the public.
"Then we made a deliberate attempt to say, 'Fine, how do we go forward here?' And the mantra that we came up with was this concept of player-first," the executive explained. "To this day, in fact this morning, in meetings, questions are always asked--what do we need to do here? When do we ship that? What type of experience does this need to be?--somebody will say, but is that player-first?
"And that's the moment we all stop and think," he added. "It's not about revenue; it's not about what benefits EA."
Instead, it's about putting the player at the center of everything that EA does, according to Moore. After the introduction of this player-first model, which EA has been talking about for a long time now, the company's stock price increased dramatically to an all-time high last summer. Executives have also discussed its responsibility to be progressive.
Some of EA's other ambitions for its new, player-first model is to show games earlier in the development process, offer more betas to let players try games, and to delay games when necessary to ensure quality.
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