In my posts you probably can see that I have a sort of hatred towards Electronic Arts. That’s not because I am jumping on the band wagon of hating the big guys because they can be used as a scape goat. Its just how the company works and how it treats its selling techniques, games and even players. To be honest, this has only occurred in the past few years, I use to look forward to their new releases.
Electronic Arts started out in May 28, 1982, before my time, they had so I am going to skip forward to when I got to know they existed. My first real experience with an EA game was back on the PC with Command and Conqueror, more specifically the Generals. This Real time strategy game was what I normally saw my dad play at the Gaming LANs he attended. This game was a great game in the loved series due to its easy to play hard to master style of play with many house rules being developed meant that it could be enjoyed at any time of the day. It also had the original EA intro, which is epic no matter what. For that I am grateful for EA because its a game that I now hold close to my heart due to the amount of time I played it with my dad and brother.
The next time I really dipped in with EA again was Battlefield 2. Another game that was introduced to me through my dad let me waste hours on trying to drive the big tanks. This was a pioneer when it came to FPS, as the only real contenders was Call of Duty series or Medal of Honor (which I never really touched). This also set DICE (EA’s game development company) a new series to be develop to this very day. What was key about this game was that Electronic Arts started to do Downloadable Content. This was actually pretty well received during the games span due to the base game not actually having much content. However it planted the seed for later events.
So its going okay for EA at the moment, and I could go on about others like Mirrors Edge, Dragon Age, Spore, Mass Effect, Black and White, even Burnout but what caused all the hatred was the sequels. The earliest start was Mass Effect 2. This game was quite reasonable for a sequel to its great original IP and received very good reviews but what bugged me was the pre-order DLC you got, and this was before it became the norm, including things like “better guns” and a new “appearance” for your character. There was also a total of 18 payable downloadable content for the game over its release. This made the community question the series and saw more in the light of it looking like a money farm rather than an actual game. Although, it was accepted overall due to some of the DLC actually expanding the game and making it bigger and better. This made EA realise that they could make money through this concept rather than the game.
This however, became very apparent for me in the recently mentioned FIFA games. Before, back in the playstation 2 and xbox original era, FIFA was a great footy game which means that every time you went over to your mates you had to ready your tryhard mode and attempt to beat him no matter what the rules are. It brought a feeling of self-worth when you scored in the last minute and crushed the emotions of your opponent as you threw your controller in the air. So, roll around FIFA 14. Part of the yearly series that FIFA made, now with this new attitude EA had acquired they thought of a unique idea. Why not bring the team management of the base game and the competition of the series together? This was the birth of ultimate team. In this mode you draft your team from cards you get from packs, with these teams you then face off with your mates or opponents online for either a tournament or a feeling of being better than someone else. The slight issue was they introduced another way of getting through the game. FIFA points. These were the quick fire way to buy packs with real money so you can get better players than others. Now this spelled out disaster, making people who had already dropped £40 pounds on the game now had to spend more money on just trying to compete. This made that feeling of self-worth I was on about previously, more artificial that most. It also caused much upset for the parents of many finding their credit card being used on multiple payments and just generally bringing a new way to play the game. No one cared about the base friendship game now, it was all about paying to win. Unfortunately, it was highly successful for EA, people were buying points left right and centre and also set the foundation of Free to play models for IOS games now.
Skipping through the notably microtransaction-filled Need For Speed series and the Mistreatment of Mass Effect 3’s new model, EA saw fit to try this model in other games. SimCity was a much anticipated reboot of the much loved city builder, this series was back near the roots of PC gaming with making the player feeling like they can actually change the world. There was not many city builders around, especially ones that didn’t look as in depth as this newly announced addition. This ‘reboot’ promised superb graphics, interactive gameplay with friends and a real feel of immersion in creating the city. The first problem out the game was it had to always be online to play it. This meant that when the game was released it caused hours of waiting for gamers just so they could play their game they just brought. Another problem for PC users was that it used EAs new game hosting platform Origin, this laggy and unrobuse software was nothing compared to the reliable steam platform users had got use to. Then finally, only days before its announcement, it said it would have microtransactions for extra features. A developer later said that the company had given time out on making the game to make more DLC. All these factors made SimCity a flop for the community and this sort of bad reputation EA had gotten now became a villainous one and certainty made me look at them in the wrong light.
This theme of microtransations ran through many of their new games: Battlefield: Hardline, NHL 16, The Sims 4, Titanfall even the goofy plants vs zombies series had a sequel filled with them. This reputation EA has created for themselves is terrible, they rely on this model and promise so much to their community to just let them down with DLC and unfinished games. Although there is a sliver lining, this brought many who relied on the triple A market to look towards the indie game scene where many diamonds occurred all without publishers and these big budgets which restored faith for those who had lost it in the game industry.
So here we are now with EA’s next victim being the legendary series of Star Wars: Battlefront with the same old great graphics but terrible game method. After all this it has sort of left me a state of distrust and the opposite of brand loyalty towards the company and quite frankly I just want to play the games I use to like. It’s a shame because EA and other publishers end up running good games like Dragon Age: Inquisition which I had a great time with, but they somehow managed to jam microtransactions into that as well.
Anyway, now you have read over 1300 words of why I hate a corporate business why not go do something productive?
Buy 10 for £39.99 (Best Value),