It seems unsurprising that Electronic Arts Inc. (EA) has once again made the list of America’s most hated companies.
EA’s notorious reputation has been cemented after financial news publication 24/7 Wall St. published its 2017 edition of “America’s Most Hated Companies”.
The annual list ranks American companies based on reasons such as “negligence and deceptive business practices”. With 2017 “marred with revelations of corporate scandals”, many more businesses and organisations have found themselves on the list.
The research, which analysed the American Customer Satisfaction Index, Glassdoor employee reviews and findings from 24/7 Wall St.’s customer satisfaction survey, concluded with EA standing at 5th place.
The top four comprises the University of Phoenix, the NFL, Fox Entertainment Group and consumer credit reporting agency Equifax. Equifax had made headlines for unethical management of security flaws that became apparent in one of the largest data breaches of all time.
As for EA, in 2017, the video game giant sparked ire for a Star Wars Battlefront II loot box controversy which locked game content behind massive paywalls.
As a result, the company suffered a whopping $3.1 billion drop in shareholder value and 8.5% drop in share prices, according to American business news channel CNBC.
This is on top of its other questionable practices such as buying up video game companies, only to run them into the ground within years or even months of acquisition.
It also prompted political action by several US states due and countries such as Belgium, in response to the Star Wars game’s “gambling” loot box component.
Not the first time
EA was also listed in the 2013 edition of the same list after suffering PR disasters, choppy game launches and lawsuits from investors for dishonesty about the success of their games.
Non-profit consumer affairs website The Consumerist labeled EA as the “Worst Company in America” in 2012 and 2013. It cited that “EA and its ilk deliberately hold back game content with the sole intent of charging a fee for it at a later date” and included “microtransactions in all its free-to-play games” among other reasons for its listing.
Things may be looking up for EA nonetheless, as the company sees some financial recovery and optimistic stock prices after the storm.
The video game company has even announced a return of microtransactions to Star Wars Battlefront II in coming months despite the backlash.
But the dust has not settled.
With gamers, investors and political organisations keeping a watchful eye on its future actions, EA has little room for further mistakes.
Other corporations will have to tread carefully as well for fear of becoming a repeat offender like EA.
Here is the full list of America’s Most Hated Companies in 2017:
20. The Weinstein Company 19. United Airlines 18. Facebook 17. CenturyLink 16. Monsanto 15. Comcast 14. Uber 13. Sears Holdings 12. The Trump Organization 11. Wells Fargo 10. Cigna 9. Spirit Airlines 8. Vice Media 7. Sprint 6. Foxconn Technology group 5. Electronic Arts 4. University of Phoenix 3. NFL 2. Fox Entertainment group 1. Equifax