Friday, April 6, 2012

Conspiracy Theory

Ahhh...Electronic Arts...while I wouldn't call them the worst company in America I think it's safe to say they are the most hated company on the internet right now. So bust out your tinfoil hat because I'm going to give you a link to some crazy stuff right here. Read it yet? Don't worry take your time this blog isn't going anywhere. Finished? Good. So..yeah...can you believe that EA might actually be paying people to go around to internet message boards and slander anyone that criticizes their products? That's some serious black ops stuff right there (no, not Call of Duty).

Is it true? Meh...probably not. It was originally posted on 4Chan after all. Then again just because something is posted on 4Chan doesn't automatically mean it's false. Regardless, people have plenty of other reasons to focus their ire on EA. Personally, I got sick of the company after seeing their ad campaign for Dead Space 2 and refused to buy anything from them again despite really liking the original Dead Space. That's just me though. Other note-worthies include online passes, on-disc paid DLC, retailer-exclusive pre-order incentives, expiring in-box codes, and the shutting down of servers for games that people still play, even ones that are sometimes less than a year old. Then you got Origin. A poor clone of Steam that feels like it was the brainchild of the worst kind of egotistic control freak. Not to mention the current CEO saying this about micro-transactions:

I think the most disturbing bit about all the EA hate going around right now is the reaction of "gaming journalists" toward the upset members of their readership. I won't mention any specific names since I really don't want to give these glorified corporate boot-lickers more publicity than they already have, but sufficed to say these guys undermine the industry with their unprofessional behavior far worse than the supposed destruction of art in gaming because of changes being made to the ending of Mass Effect 3. As it stands now Forbes (a business journal) is better at reporting on video games than all the websites dedicated to the hobby combined. There is something very wrong about that.

So, where do we go from here? I definitely think that voting with your wallet is a much more effective way to bring about change than voting on an internet poll. Especially considering how dismissive EA was of the fact that they "won" the golden poo. That said there's nothing wrong with people offering feedback on products they are dissatisfied with. Does that mean companies have to change their products? No, but don't be surprised if sales take a hit. Maybe EA could serve as an example to other video game companies. There's an old story about the ancient Chinese military genious Sun Tzu which comes not from the Art of War but rather the Records of the Grand Historian. The tale is as follows:

Before hiring Sun Tzu, the King of Wu tested Sun Tzu's skills by commanding him to train a harem of 180 concubines into soldiers. Sun Tzu divided them into two companies, appointing the two concubines most favored by the king as the company commanders. When Sun Tzu first ordered the concubines to face right, they giggled. In response, Sun Tzu said that the general, in this case himself, was responsible for ensuring that soldiers understood the commands given to them. Then, he reiterated the command, and again the concubines giggled. Sun Tzu then ordered the execution of the king's two favored concubines, to the king's protests. After both concubines were killed, new officers were chosen to replace them. Afterwards, both companies performed their maneuvers flawlessly.

Perhaps the "financial execution", via boycott, of EA and say Activision or Ubisoft would net similar results? Would such an action be justified or benefit the game industry as a whole? I can't say. That's for you, the reader, to deiced.

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