Electronic Arts or EA for short, has become a bit of a household name. They’ve also become synonymous with greed and according to many, they represent everything that is wrong with the gaming industry. But are we being unfair towards them?
There is no doubt that EA has done some really greedy things that were clearly not in favour of the gaming public. Their main focus for a long time have been the shareholders, and how to keep them happy. They’ve also killed off some of our most beloved studios such as Westwood and Visceral. So the hate towards them is kind of understandable, but why do they deserve so much more animosity than their peers, who have exactly the same thing, arguably even worse?
EA, for instance, got ridiculed for bringing in a pay-to-win microtransaction system into Star Wars: Battlefront 2, yet this is something that has been done by Rockstar in GTA: Online for years. They add vanity loot boxes to a game of theirs, and they get all the backlash, yet nobody says a word about it for Overwatch, because everyone loves Blizzard. EA makes a game that is a bit buggy, and have characters with wooden faces, yet Bethesda does it all the time and gets defended for it (although that has changed a bit with Fallout 76).
At the same time, Electronic Arts have a pretty cool and affordable subscription service which is available on PC and Xbox One, which allows you to play almost their entire library of games. They’ve even given some older games away for free on Origin Access, yet we cannot stop hating on them.
Yes, there are many quite nefarious things that EA have done over the years, and I will never defend that, but they are trying to clean up their act because somehow, general public sentiment might actually be starting to affect their bottom line. The upcoming (or depending on what platform you’re on and what level of Origin Access you’re on) Anthem is looking quite promising, even though the demo was a bit rough and there are rumours of a bit of the same for the game at launch. Bioware has been quite transparent about the game and what to expect about it, and it seems like EA is giving all it’s support with it, removing any sign of loot boxes, and keeping the monetisation straight forward and clear.
I’m not defending EA, but rather pointing out that we are unfairly singling them out for things that everyone else is doing. They produce good games that play decently, and they even gave us the rather good Apex Legends. So isn’t it time we start being a bit more objective about these things, instead of writing everything off as a money grab, just because it’s EA? Because seriously, all these companies are in it for the money.