PopCap co-founder John Vechey has defended EA after it won the dubious honour of being crowned worst company in America.
In a blog post Vechey admitted EA had made mistakes in the past, but insisted boss John Riccitiello had made improvements during his tenure atop the gargantuan publisher.
Yesterday EA was voted the "worst company in America" by readers of customer watchdog site The Consumerist. EA and Bank America had beaten a number of other contenders - including Ticketmaster, Apple, GameStop, WalMart, Sony and PayPal - to reach the final round, which the games publisher won with 64.03 per cent of the public vote. Over 250,000 votes were counted throughout the contest.
Reasons cited for its win include nickel and diming customers with post-launch DLC, buying up small developers to snuff out competition and releasing buggy games.
The "business of games is hard", Vechey said, and "the art of games is harder". "Everyone makes mistakes. Yup. EA does not have a perfect past. 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."
EA bought PopCap in July 2011 for $650 million off the back of the success of Bejeweled, Plants vs. Zombies and Peggle.
Vechey said he was "very glad" EA bought the company he co-founded in 2000. "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," he said. "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."
"It was a bit frustrating to read EA winning, but when I look at the list of companies, I only see one or two others that actually inspire any emotion or passion. Apple. Google maybe. I may rant or complain about DirectTV's atrocious customer service, Comcast's flakey connection speeds, Bank of America's ATM fees, or ticketmaster charges, but do I really care? Naw. No matter how angry I've been at them, I ultimately don't care.
But man... you miss my expectations on the ending of an epic three game space opera that I've spent hundreds of hours enjoying - go f yourself - PopCap co-founder John Vechey
"But man... you miss my expectations on the ending of an epic three game space opera that I've spent hundreds of hours enjoying - go f yourself."