PopCap co-founder John Vechey has stepped up to defend publisher leviathan EA after it received the Golden Poo award for being voted the Worst Company in America, beating rivals such as Comcast, AT&T, and even the Bank of America. Over 250,000 votes were cast, and EA picked up 64.03% of the votes in the final round.
But Vechey believes "in EA's leadership", praising the work Riccitiello has done as CEO, and suggesting that EA have been "relentless" in the pursuit of fair and balanced DLC pricing.
"Wow," Vechey began in a post on his personal blog. "Of all the companies we could have sold our souls to, we picked the deplorable, evil, Electronic Arts. The company that has the gall to release a new football game every-single-year! The company that had the audacity to create a game which inspires anger with the ending! A corporation in America that has made hard business decisions and had to close studios! The company which has bought studios that didn’t work out! EA! You tricked me! You promised perfection and now I see the truth! YOU EVEN SELL DIGITAL GOODS! DIGITAL GOODS!!!!!!!"
Vechey continued to suggest that it wasn't exactly easy to balance the figures in this market, and more difficult still to create excellent games. "The business of games is hard," he said. "The art of games is harder."
He did, however, acknowledge that the publisher had made some mistakes in the past, and warned that it would likely do so again in the future.
"EA does not have a perfect past," he admitted. "It’s made HR mistakes. It’s made huge game design screw ups. It’s messed up studios, marketing campaigns and beloved franchises (sometimes all at once). It will do so again. There is no perfect company, and I won’t promise perfection from PopCap."
And the penny drops. Let us not forget that PopCap was, of course, acquired by EA for the small sum of $650 million last year. Understandably, Vechey is quite pleased about that.
"I’m very glad EA acquired PopCap," he said. "I believe in EA’s leadership. John Riccitiello has a vision for EA that is important. Every year he’s been boss, the company has made fewer, better games than the year before. The transition to digital is a hard, difficult road, and John has been leading the company through since he started as CEO.
"Gamers may complain about paid DLC, but there has to be something that sits between Farmville and the $60 price point, EA has been relentlessly trying to find that balance. I’m proud to have my studio sit next to DICE, Visceral, Maxis, Tiburon, Black Box, BioWare and more."
Is this whole situation rather overblown? Of course it is. Does that make it pretty funny? You bet it does. But it is a little worrying that Vechey's missed the point. I don't know many gamers that are irritated by paid DLC. But premium day one DLC? Bought-out-then-burnt-out studios? Overpriced content? Online passes? Yeah those sound like legitimate grievances.
Does it make EA worse than the Bank of America? Well, the algorithm required to objectively calculate that would be far too complex for my brain. But with EA getting a Golden Poo for becoming gaming's Public Enemy Number One once again, Bobby Kotick is probably crying with laughter.