Gamers with a long memory can remember when EA Games wasn’t so bad. But as Obi-Wan Kenobi might say, that was “before the dark times. Before the Empire.”
Now, EA is a gaming monolith that manages to make the gaming industry terrible for workers and consumers alike. Here are just a few of the times we nearly punched the TV because of rage at EA!
Killing Your Favorite Studios
Do you have a favorite smaller game studio that put out some sweet games in the last 10 years or so? Well, we have bad news: EA has most likely destroyed that studio.
Over the years, EA has absorbed some really major game studios. This includes Westwood Studios, Pandemic, Dreamworks Interactive, Origin, and many more.
The typical EA motive is to take over a good company and then force them to make a worse version of their signature game. And that was truly on display when Star Wars: Battlefront (2015) came out.
Disappointment and DLC
The original Star Wars: Battlefront games are a part of gaming legend. Especially the second game (2005) which manages to combine awesome online multiplayer with competitive couch play and an engrossing campaign mode.
Hopes were high when the 2015 Battlefront came out. And those hopes pretty much died on arrival.
The game shipped with very few maps and gameplay modes, including no campaign mode at all. Eventually, more content came out… for a price. That’s right: after paying $60 for an allegedly “complete” game, you had to pay EA for more and more DLC just to feel like you enjoyed a complete experience.
Battlefront 2 Lootbox Fiasco
Of course, the disappointment of the 2015 Battlefront was soon overshadowed by a newer, bigger disappointment. And its name was Battlefront 2.
The new game added the campaign mode that fans had demanded last time around. And in all fairness, it was a pretty good campaign! Online, however, was a different story.
EA pushed players to earn (or outright purchase) “loot boxes.” However, these loot boxes were not initially limited to cosmetic features. Instead, major gameplay elements were hidden behind completely random boxes!
After enough fan outcry, EA made sure the loot boxes no longer had gameplay features hidden in them. But the damage was done, and EA’s milquetoast attempt to defend its greed on Reddit quickly became the most downvoted post in the site’s history.
EA is a company that wants its hands in as many pies as possible. That’s why it launched its wannabe Steam competitor Origin back in 2011. Fans soon found out this service offered almost nothing but headaches.
Some of the inconveniences were relatively minor. For example, EA demanded a ton of system information and only offered players an unencrypted chat feature.
However, if you didn’t login for two years, EA reserved the right to cancel your account, including every game you paid for. And if you managed to get banned on EA’s online forums, you could be banned from Origin.
Thanks to EA, customers were just one pissed-off moderator from losing hundreds of dollars in games!
Always Online? No, Thanks
Remember truly singleplayer games? Thanks to EA, such games have nearly become a thing of the past.
With games like SimCity, EA forced players to always be online in order to play it. This was particularly annoying for players with a poor internet connection or limited data.
EA insisted the online component improved gameplay, but intrepid fans discovered online offered nothing but intrusive DRM. After enough time (and a lot of fan outcry), EA finally removed this annoying feature from SimCity.
Andromeda: The Dropped Ball
The Mass Effect series has been a relative bright spot in the world of gaming. It showcased that Bioware could build its own awesome sci-fi world, and fans flocked to the original trilogy of games.
Mass Effect: Andromeda came out under the EA banner. And thanks to EA, that banner may as well have been a funeral shroud.
When the game launched, there were too many problems to count. This included insane facial animations, a nonsensical plot, and writing that had none of the charm of the earlier games.
This was clearly another game rushed out of the door by EA. And fans and reviewers responded by shutting that door as fast as they could.
Singleplayer? Not Quite
Most gamers like their games to stay in a single lane. One lane for multiplayer and another lane for singleplayer.
When EA is behind the wheel, though, the lanes all blur together. For example, it added unnecessary multiplayer to the single-player campaign of Mass Effect 3.
The end result is that nobody wins. Mass Effect 3’s campaign mode suffered from the weird addition while players didn’t exactly flock to the multiplayer mode.
Hating Their Developers
As a gamer, you might wonder if there was any way you could hate EA more. But nobody hates EA quite as much as its own workers!
Over the years, workers have sued the company for unscrupulous labor practices. This included forcing workers to labor for 13 hours a day as much as six days a week, all without any overtime pay.
EA settled back in 2005, but developers continue to complain about the company’s “crunch” mentality and the need to rush game development.
Despite EA’s terrible relationship with both gamers and developers, they remain at the top of the gaming industry. And with surefire hits like Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order on the horizon, it doesn’t look like they will lose the throne anytime soon.
If gamers want to see other companies succeed, the only solution is to vote with their dollars and support other publishers. Otherwise, your next EA purchase is just another loot box where you spend way too much money on the biggest gamble of all: that EA has finally started caring about gamers.