I don’t hate EA and neither should you

With no thanks to the internet, the EA bandwagon of hate rolls on. EA, were once again to my astonishment voted the worst company in America; with no thanks to the internet. I can appreciate people’s passion for video games as it’s something I share, but what I don’t appreciate is undeserved criticism.

Yes, EA have made mistakes, but more so than say the banks who have squandered away our money on risky investments? Or even the government due to the lack of quality health care? The point I am making is there is more important things in life to be annoyed about than a video game publisher who has made a few mistakes.

 

Reasoning

The whole Mass Effect 3 ending debacle was a complete and utter sham to me. Some idiot on the internet decided to blame EA for poor writing on BioWares behalf. This persons reasoning for this? EA rushed them to release the title. No! EA set a deadline for the title to be released like all other publishers due who fund the projects for the studios.

Now if you wanted to vent your frustration at someone you should have vented it at Casey Hudson (Director of ME3) or Mac Walters (Lead Writer of ME3) for shoddy writing. I am sure Drew Karpyshyn was laughing in disbelief as much as the rest of us at the red, blue, green ending. The point of this is not to drag up the past though but to trace what triggered this ill feeling from the public towards EA.

Mac games Mass Effect

Maybe it was the introduction of micro transactions into their games with people believing it would make their games, pay to win. Have we seen any instances of this yet? Not to my knowledge.

Micro transactions in Dead Space 3 for example do not break the game but only add more content for people who wish to pay for it. You don’t need to pay for anything to complete this game. Now if they were to implement it into a multiplayer game then I could understand the issues as obviously it would give these players a vast advantage over others. I honestly don’t foresee EA doing this in the future. Why would they when Battlefield 3 and FIFA both won awards and have heavy MP aspects to their games.

Why change a winning formula? ‘Always Online’ mode has come in for heavy criticism and deservedly so after the debacle of the Sim City release. This shows the way of not implementing a DRM system into your games. For years now PC/Mac gamers have had to put up with DRM within games or services they have used. Sure it can sometimes be frustrating but if you want to blame someone blame the people who pirate games for forcing developers/publishers hands.

Sure it’s bad news for those people who don’t have a stable connection due to their geographical location but it’s just the way it is today with technology and networking moving forward as fast as it is. I won’t go in to the no refund issue as I believe EA to be in the right here due to them in a right about way asking for more time to fix the issue. I believe the public outcry to this was frankly pathetic with good journalists I respect even jumping on the bandwagon.

SimCity for Mac The industry wide war against pre-owned games. The measures put into place are perfectly acceptable as for too long now developers and publishers have had to foot the cost of the used games market when companies like GAME and Game Spot have more than had their fill. Paying £7 to allow me to play online with my friends really isn’t a deal breaker for me when I have paid less than half price for the game already.

When Batman Arkham City was released you were only able to play as Catwoman if you had bought the game new now that’s story based content not MP but Warner Brothers were not chastised for this. Why? Now onto what I believe to be indefensible. The closer of studios upon release of a game or the lay off of staff and putting it down to business strategy is one way to alienate yourself from your consumers.

Consumers are now more in touch than ever with developers thanks to Twitter so when you actively hear about staff being laid off or a whole studio closure upon the release of a game it makes your heart sink a little. Redundancy is a terrible thing to go through I have personally been through it twice in the last two years losing a job it tears a part in you and people can relate to that. Don’t make your development teams so big if your going to have to make cuts once the game is shipped. Cut your cloth accordingly.

I felt so bad for the guys at Visceral Games upon hearing of the layoffs immediately after the release of Dead Space 3. EA, need to look at this and think is this the right message to be sending out to developers and consumers a like.

 

How to be heard

If I have said it once I have said it a million times before going on a foul mouthed rant on YouTube, Twitter, Reddit whichever form of media takes your fancy is not the right and proper way to make yourself heard. It makes you look ill-educated as well as prat at the same time. This will attract the trolls of the internet to jump on the bandwagon and this is exactly how we get into the situation we find ourselves in today. If you wish to be taken seriously you can contact EA via there various social media outlets or you could even drop them an email. Remember to be constructive and factual as you won’t be listened to if you’re just bashing the product.

Frostbite on Mac - Battlefield 3 Mac

Battlefield 3 on Mac? We’ll
take it!

 

Final statement

Let me state, I like the rest of you am a gamer and only want to see the gaming scene flourish and just because I predominantly play games on the Mac OS these days doesn’t mean I don’t play games on other platforms. The only way it will flourish is with harmony within the community. Say what you want about EA but they do not saturate the market with dross like Activision do every year with a cynical cash in on COD or like Ubisoft do with the Assassins Creed series. These are the types of publishers to be frustrated with stopping talented development teams working on the next big idea in search of a quick cash in.

I hope I have given many of you food for thought. I feel I have been fair in my assessment of the current situation both praising and criticising, EA.

C’mon people it’s time to be mature and honest; you need EA as much as EA needs you.

If you don’t agree with me, I am more than willing to have a civilised conversation with you in the comments section. I emphasis the civilised part of this statement.

This article comes from Resident Author Mark Gregory. You can find him on Tumblr.

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  • http://twitter.com/smoke_tetsu Smoke Tetsu (@smoke_tetsu)

    Personally I wish we’d get a little more Assassin’s Creed “saturation” on the Mac. The last one we got was Brotherhood and they are already preparing Assassin’s Creed 4 at this point! Also I’d like a bit more saturation from Ubisoft’s other games like Rayman Legends and Far Cry 3 Blood Dragon officially on the Mac.

    • Mark Gregory

      The article wasn’t specifically about the Mac platform but about the state of gaming in general. I do agree though a few more ports of some triple A titles would be a welcomed addition.

  • einergegenuber

    are you serious?
    defending ea because … seriously? they don’t respect the people paying the bills. plain and simple. and no one in the public sphere as a business can complain of unfair criticism
    if they lose a dime I would be shocked. furthermore … legitimate complaints … well reasoned critiques? they sure as fuck haven’t listened to a single one of mine.
    go fuck yourself.

    • Mark Gregory

      I refuse to be drawn in a discussion with someone who is incapable of pointing there point of view across without swearing. It’s tasteless and makes you look uneducated, go and better yourself then we’ll have a civilised adult conversation about this.

  • Rebel Scum

    Whilst I agree with your sentiments I have to point this out. You said:

    “Say what you want about EA but they do not saturate the market with dross like Activision do every year with a cynical cash in on COD or like Ubisoft do with the Assassins Creed series.”

    What about their EA sports franchises?

    For me, I’m happy EA exist. Over 30 years they’ve released some awesome games.

    • Mark Gregory

      I somewhat agree with this. I think personally patches could be applied to FIFA/Madden titles every year updating of rosters, bug fixes, more stable match making and gameplay features could all be added with patches BUT these are sports titles so it makes sense for a yearly turn around. Where as it takes time to develop a deep and menanigful story for a Assassins Creed type, can you honestly say the game play has changed much since AC2?

      • Rebel Scum

        Can you honestly say that the gameplay has changed much in annually released sports titles?

        Fact is EA do saturate the market just as much as other big publishers. But some of them are beautiful.

        • Mark Gregory

          I only really play FIFA mate so can only comment on that. Every year it is innovated on in my opinon with new gameplay features and abilitys. These are core games the AC and COD’s of this world are not as they are very repatative.

  • dougie

    Hello (sorry didn’t catch your name!)
    Where do you stand on EA effectively bullying their way into niche gaming markets, and effectively destroying gaming franchises with their mega loaded marketing departments?

    EA used to be about games, but sadly they are the epitome of money-grabbing plunderers that plague the industry.

    For example, basketball and rugby games were never their forte. But when they saw an “opportunity” to crash someone else’s market – they ripped up the opposition who couldn’t compete with the marketing that EA lavishes on it’s products.

    They don’t innovate, they just imitate and pulverise companies.

    Take even the new BF v COD battle now – instead of giving the “premium” product as standard to really take the battle to COD (pun intended!), they’re effectively just offering a like for like product financially – and guess what – COD will win again! Personally speaking I’m happy that COD is winning, since it means twelve year olds don’t play BF games…

  • dougie

    Whilst I’m at it:

    1) EA sports franchises – they only do the bare minimum each year to keep the games ticking over. The EA philosophy is: Imitate, not innovate.
    Take FIFA – each year you get micro improvements, yet have to fork out premium prices.
    Years ago I noticed when a new version of the FIFA series was about to be released, the tactics used were pretty much:
    Yeah we know last year’s game sucked because of poor implementation of feature x,y,z, but THIS year is going go be so much better because of feature a,b,c. Has this model of behaviour changed??

    2) online passes – now I appreciate they’re not the only company cashing in on the used trade, but as one of the biggest players out there, I feel they should shoulder more of the blame of greed culture. So let me get this straight – when someone buys a new game, they “use” up the online pass they’ve bought. So once they choose to sell the game, this online reservation for multiplayer is then just not used anymore technically speaking. So if you purchase a game second hand, you buy a new online pass to play online – so just what has been lost in terms of the overhead of online ability exactly? No other industry can or does try to cash in on second hand sales – but gaming companies can get away with it.

    • Mark Gregory

      Online passes counter act the 2nd hand games trade. How is this a bad thing?

      • dougie

        Your stance is wrong to begin with in my opinion: “counter”??
        Which other industry does this occur in?
        Games are very expensive to begin with. Proof of this is worth of games once they’re sold. The publishers argue that retail selling means there are a lot of middle-men taking a slice of the pie, hence the high retail prices.
        So why do many digital sales of games get sold at the same price as retail?
        These companies sell games at prices that people are prepared to pay.
        Unfortunately we’re held to ransom on prices. If you choose to object to purchasing brand new at high prices, you can choose to pick them up cheaper second hand – yet we’re now penalised on that too.
        When new games are sold at discount prices by retailers/publishers, they sell well – what more evidence do you need to see that they’re just plain profiteering as much as possible. They’re a business first, and a gaming company second. That’s the real issue. Gamer’s interests are not at the heart of their ethos – it’s shareholders.

        And don’t get me started on DLC either! Pay premium prices for regurgitated maps on new games??

        • Mark Gregory

          I don’t agree with MP DLC but story DLC I don’t have an issue with aslong as it is signficant in length. Mass Effect 3 is a prime example of DLC done well. Maps and guns for MP should be free I agree.

        • http://twitter.com/edddeduck Edwin Smith (@edddeduck)

          A small point but an important one. Hosting online servers costs a lot of money plus fees to the console manufacturers in some cases. The online pass is designed so if another user wants to use the online features they pay a fee towards the costs associated with hosting, this helps pay to keep servers running especially after the first 12 months when most of the online players will be second hand users.

          If you want another similar example I would think of the mobile phone industry, you can sell your phone to someone else but when you do they will have to buy their own phone contract/sim card. The phone will work apart form online services, they are a commodity that has a value you pay for.

          If you buy games from Steam you cannot resell them at all, so compared to that the EA method seems in a way a much fairer system.

          I am not arguing either way I am just trying to show sometimes it’s good to take a step back and have a look at the bigger picture and how the whole games industry works. EA are not perfect and I don’t think this article was saying as much but sometimes it seems they are used as the easy target when their behaviour is similar to other members in the industry.

          • John Reczniarek

            Actually your example of using the mobile phone is slightly incorrect. When you buy a game new, I am able to use the online for as long as the servers are available, I paid for it as part of my purchase of the game. The game servers would have no more people online if I then sold or traded my game to someone else instead of having it myself.
            The part you miss with your phone analogy is that with phones you can put your sim card into another phone, with games, you cannot. Once you give your game away, you give away your “sim card” also. So it’s more like I paid for service for a year on my phone, only used one month and then gave / sold the phone + sim to my friend. The phone detects it’s a different voice using the phone so it then requires him to purchase another year of credit even tho the credit has now been paid for twice with still only 1 person able to use it.

            The Steam method is 1000% better and more fair than EA’s method. I can pick up games that are new whilst supporting the developer / publisher for less than second hand games when they are on special. I have never once with my 100+ games on steam ever felt the need to “trade in” a game, because if you keep an eye on the specials, you can pick up some great games for cheap AND you are supporting those who are making the game so they can make more great games!

          • http://twitter.com/edddeduck Edwin Smith (@edddeduck)

            “The Steam method is 1000% better and more fair than EA’s method.”

            Valve/Steam – Cannot resell your copy as you never owned it in the first place. Steam grant you a license to install the game, you cannot resell or give it away to your friends.

            EA – You can resell your game however online access requires a pass that comes with the original game, second hand users need to pay a small fee to buy a pass and then they get online access (and usefully proof of ownership if you need something like a replacement disk). If the user does not want to play online then they don’t need to pay anything.

            =====

            Steam is a nice system and has loads of benefits but when comparing this specific feature saying it is a 1000% (or ten times) better to have a more restrictive service that offers way less features is a little biased and kind of proves the point of the article.

            Being able to resell a game (even if online play has a small fee) is better for an end user than a license to rent a copy of the game with no residual value once you bought it. If I have $100 of EA games I can sell them on ebay for lets say $50, if I have $100 of Steam games I cannot sell them and they have no residual value.

            All publishers and stores have pros and con’s including EA and they should be judged by the same rules as we do other publishers. In this case (resale/second hand games) EA actually offer more options to end users than Steam does. It’s not to say Steam are not much better at other things but the article was all about how EA should be judged on actions and facts not just “EA sucks”.

            By all means we should complain about companies when they do things we dislike but equally we should be consistent and base things on the facts not *just* the logo on the box.

  • Marc

    Well… reading this one was different. Someone putting his protecting hand over EA? How can that happen?!

    I honestly have to disagree with you on some points:

    EA did things that made me “hate” them. Hate is not the right word, I just try not to buy their games anymore. I prefer buying non-EA games first and if I really have no other games left to play I pick theirs.
    What did they do to deserve my anger?

    1st: Microtransactions. Don’t look at PC/Mac-Games only. MTs haven’t arrived on these platforms fully yet. Look at iOS i.e…. there you see the future of MTs, and what EA is doing there is ridiculous. Example: RealRacing3. Instead of releasing it as a “Full Version” you get it for free. Great! But wait. As soon as you repair your Car you have to wait 5-10 Minutes. Or buy Ingame-money. This is a game-breaker for me. No option to just Unlock the game completely. Instead you can pay 89€ to buy a big amount of ingame-money. But this is not enough to even unlock everything in the game. And the 89€ are gone at some point and you have to buy more… just to be able to drive i.e. 10 races in a row without waiting for your car to be prepared. Shame on you EA. I see this coming more and more on PC. No chance. I do not buy MTs and I despise EA for what they are doing there.

    2nd: SimCity. Okay, they are not the developer. But they fund the game. They talk to the devs. They do the marketing. They ARE responsible of what they are releasing. It was a desaster. And it still is, despite of all the patches etc. This kind of DRM/Lies about DRM is not acceptable. It really influences the game. Its the same with UBI-Launcher and all the others. I’m happy it wasnt released on the Mac yet, because I really would have bought it. I won’t buy it in the future.

    The other Publishers are not better, they all make their mistakes, I would say. But what EA is doing will not help gaming to get better. It will make their business more profitable (which is really nessecary if you look at EA) but it will change gaming in general in the future, and although change itself is not bad, many changes that EA is driving forward are bad.

    I deleted the Origin-Client from my Mac and my PC and will try not to reinstall it again.
    Perhaps EA will do better in the future but until then I won’t buy their games. It is the only power I have to really let them know what I’m thinking.

    • Mark Gregory

      Marc, first of all nice to see another Mac gamer commenting on this.

      1). I actually have the full compliment on consoles Xbox, PS3, PC (boot camp) and my Mac plus iOS devices. Therefore I feel pretty qualified and well placed to talk about micro transactions. Free to play games on iOS require transactions so the publisher can make money on a product they tasked a developer to make for them. Who works for free?

      I did forgot to mention the boost packs in Battlefield 3, these obviously offer an advantage to new players at lower levels but honestly who is going to be new to a game now that is 18 months old?

      2). As I stated in the article the SimCity release was a farce and not the way to impliment DRM into your games. If it wasn’t for pirates though why would they need to do this?

      • John

        I think the Boost packs for BF3 were a horrible idea. I brought BF3 on release, played it for a month or so and then got swamped with other games. I came back recently to play with some friends who had the boost packs. Not having the boost packs and only having low-mid range abilities on everything really made the game a chore to play and i didn’t see why i should be forced into paying for DLC / Microtransactions just to have a chance at having fun.

        When it comes to Multiplayer, make it aesthetic items only via DLC / Microtransactions otherwise it very quickly becomes pay to win which kills the enjoyment out of the game.

      • Marc

        1.) The problem is not that there are Microtransactions but HOW these are implimented in iOS games. Publishers should find the right balance between “reasonable” and “ridiculus”. And EA is all the way down to ridiculus right now. (Theme Park, Simpsons, RealRacing) My fear is that these kind of MTs will arrive on PC/Mac as they work so well on mobile platforms.

        2.) well the piracy card… We all know this well. Let’s just say that DRM is important. But you have to do it right. Every Publisher had the server-down-disaster in the last years. EA should have seen what was coming.

        As I described, I do not buy their games right now. It’s not in stone that I won’t buy an EA-game ever again. Leadership changed a few weeks ago, let’s see where they are going in the future.

        Right now I rather rely on Publishers like FeralInteractive, although you can end up with EA-Games with these “Porters” too, but they do a fantastic job with their ports lately, with controller-support, boxed versions, etc.

        I bought Assasins Creed 2 the other day from UBI-Soft… and what can I say… UBIsoft for Mac is dead for me right now. It’s the worst Port I have seen so far on my Mac (I don’t have it that long)…. but this is getting somehow off-topic as it’s very mac-specific and not Publishers in general.

        I’m getting your point with that EA-story. I agree with several points, and to just hate EA is not the right way. Posting stupid comments on Facebook/Forums is not the right way.
        The only right way I see is not to buy a game if you do not approve with DRM/MT/DLCs or whatever is in the game that you do not approve. AND to buy the games that do not have these to show EA what the market (including myself) wants.

        Hope you get my point here.

  • http://twitter.com/Paulyboy69 Paul Natsch (@Paulyboy69)

    I don’t have as much of a problem with EA as so many others (understandably) seem to. But I do have to call them out on something Mac-related. There’s the abomination known as the Sims 3 for the Mac We all know they used Cider to port the game to the Mac, which in of itself isn’t horrible depending on who you ask. I personally have had pretty good luck with Ciderised ports except for this one. The performance wasn’t great to begin with and it only got worse with each subsequent expansion. The stability also suffered. It’s basically unplayable now which is too bad because it’s a game I would really like to enjoy more. If you go into the support forum you’ll find a topic on this several pages long with nary a response from an EA representative. Remember they’re charging money for this. ALOT of money with all the expansions and stuff packs. Inexcusable.

    Hopefully they do a better job on the Mac version of the Sims 4. With the latest Sim City for the Mac allegedly being a native port maybe there is hope for that happening.

    • Mark Gregory

      I think you’ll find a lot more native Mac ports from EA in the future.

  • SnErrorN7

    So I guess day one DLC is ok in your opinion? From ashes was totally ok? Taking key parts of games and selling them for more money like From ashes and Levitian? Is that a good thing to do?

    • http://twitter.com/edddeduck Edwin Smith (@edddeduck)

      It depends on the DLC to be honest, due to approvals and manufacturing lag you can have a few months between dev ending and game being launched. Even on Infinite you have 1.5 months of time to get the first DLC ready.

      I am not saying every DLC is good or bad just saying better to judge every DLC pack on it’s merits.

      Dates for reference:
      19th Feb – BioShock Infinite Mastered
      26th March – BioShock Infinite Released

      • avmf8

        Any DLC that is day 1 is wrong period. As for Mass Effect 3 I hated it because they lied about the game. EA set way to short a development time for an RPG. They did the same with Dragon Age 2 and look how horrible that was.

        No one needs always on DRM. You don’t even need it at all you dont punish your buyers. Saying they do because of piracy is a stupid argument. Some people steal stuff. Should we all have to agree to be frisked when leaving stores because some people steal? If a DRM is more than a CD key its unreasonable.

        As for used sales its a society given right to be able to sell things you bought to others.
        Ea has not right stepping in the way of that. People selling used games is just a loss companies have to accept. It is not something you do anything about.

        As for Microtransactions we are talking about microtransactions in a retail game that costs $60. It is like the free to play model except you had to pay for the base game.
        Just microtransactions is a reason for me to hate EA. If they cause that to be the norm gaming as a hobby will be ruined for me. I tried free to play games I don’t like it.

  • Guy Forks

    This is why nobody likes Mac users.

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