Developer and publisher Electronic Arts has dismissed the "Worst Company in America" label it received from consumer affairs site The Consumerist, denying that it's disconnected with its users.
As part of a March Madness-style bracket competition, The Consumerist invited readers to vote on which company they believe is the worst in the country. After more than 250,000 people voted in the contest, EA beat out oft-criticized corporations like Bank of America and AT&T as the worst.
"Consumerist readers ultimately decided that the type of greed exhibited by EA, which is supposed to be making the world a more fun place, is worse than Bank of America's avarice, which some would argue is the entire point of operating a bank," said the blog in its post revealing the winner
In a statement provided to Gamasutra, EA's Corporate Communications senior director John Reseburg responded, "We're sure that bank presidents, oil, tobacco, and weapons companies are all relieved they weren't on the list this year. We're going to continue making award-winning games and services played by more than 300 million people worldwide."
The Consumerist argued that people shouldn't take the contest lightly just because EA won: "To those who might sneer at something as 'non-essential' as a video game company winning the Worst Company In America vote: It's that exact kind of attitude that allows people to ignore the complaints as companies like EA to nickel and dime consumers to death."
It went on to cite complaints against EA for allegedly holding back game content to sell as DLC at a later date, and continuing to sell its games with premium prices while other media like movies and music have become more affordable over the years.
EA subsidiary BioWare is also suffering backlash over its handling of Mass Effect 3's endings
. Many fans of the series have united to launch a campaign pressuring the company to produce a new ending.
Reseburg sought to provide evidence that EA is connected to consumers in meaningful ways, pointing out The Human Rights Campaign's petition supporting EA for including same-sex relationships in its games, BioWare's selection as a finalist in The Escapist's fan-voted "Best Developer" competition, and its various user-voted contests allowing fans to choose the cover athletes for its sports titles.