Electronic Arts is one of the largest gaming companies in the world. It owns some of the most popular gaming franchises, including FIFA, Madden, Sims, and Need for Speed. Furthermore, EA earns more than $5 billion a year.
However, all this success hasn’t stopped it from getting quite a bad reputation in the gaming industry.
Electronic Arts was founded by Trip Hawkins, a former Apple employee who wanted to start his own video game publishing company, back in 1982. Originally, the organization was called Amazin’ Software, and initially survived due to considerable private investment from outside. Regardless, the early games were not a huge success.
What gives EA such a bad rep in the gaming industry?
The game that can be considered to have given the company its identity is One on One: Dr. J vs. Larry Bird. It was simple enough, and involved the two basketball players going head to head (Julius Erving and Larry Bird). The title began a long tradition of using sports players as gaming characters, something consolidated with the Madden series, first released in 1988.
However, it is somewhere here that Electronic Arts began to get hate from people. The company has a long history of acquiring and killing smaller developers, including Origin Systems, which they bought in 1992.
This company was shut down in 2004 after years of EA setting unrealistic deadlines for its games. Mainly, the Ultima game series suffered, and as sales dropped, Electronic Arts decided to shut down Origin Systems.
Other games such as Dead Space 3 and Mass Effect 3 saw a rather forced 'multiplayer system,' as EA wanted to attract a 'broader appeal,' but failed to do so. Other franchises like Need for Speed saw incessant iterations and sequels that did not have enough features to warrant new games.
Like Origin Systems, multiple studios like Westwood Studios were purchased by EA and shut down subsequently. Further issues such as 'overblown marketing' and microtransactions have also been on the industry's mind.
Most gamers who pay money to buy a game do not want to be paying more to unlock specific parts of the same. While EA did not pioneer 'microtransactions' in gaming, they pulled it off well enough to draw the ire of gamers.
This eventually led to a plethora of titles following the same model. However, unlike EA's offerings, most of these new games, like Fortnite, are free-to-play, with purchasable content.
There are also multiple class-action lawsuits that the company has had to fight through the years. These include former employees who filed suits against Electronic Arts for exploitation and overtime pay. All the above reasons have led to EA being considered an 'evil' company.
To get a detailed view of some of the aspects mentioned above, take a look at the video below.