You would think EA Inc. would consider being more consumer friendly after winning back to back “Worst Company In America” championships in 2012 and 2013, but then again, this is EA we’re talking about. After losing out to Time Warner Cable in the first round of the 2014 version of this “competition”, it seems EA would hate to see themselves fail to advance to the WCIA finals in 2015.
If you’re wondering what is the cause of this article, other than the fact EA just acts horrible towards its consumers in general, it has to do with EA and their consumer relations over their NHL15 and their recently launched new revenue project EA Access. You see, EA has steadily been releasing information out about these two things, but has been careful to omit key aspects that pertain very much to the purchase intent of a multitude of consumers. We’ll start with NHL15, then we’ll talk about what they did with EA Access.
With NHL15, it has become evident to the general public that EASHL (EA Sports Hockey League) and GM Connected modes have been omitted from only the new-gen/current-gen versions of the game. The problem is, EA refuses to acknowledge this fact. Not only have they completely been ignoring fan and media requests for information, they won’t even confirm the absence of the modes after leaks of the game casings and trophies/achievements reveal that the modes are indeed missing. For EA to simply be upfront with its consumers, it would rather leave them in the dark, having to figure things out like this on their own, as to avoid losing any customers due to cancelled pre-orders and what not. Video games are a business, and EA is a company that is out for profit, but that does not mean alienate your consumers and treat them like they lack any sort of wit and common sense. The fact that EA seem to continue hiding the fact that the modes are missing only confirms what the fans already know.
And now on to the curious case of the EA Access early game trial. With EA Access, you can try any of EA’s upcoming games such as Madden15, NHL15, FIFA15, NBA LIVE15 and Dragon Age: Inquisition “Up to 5 days early, for a minimum of 2 hours.” Now on the surface that may not seem like a problem at all, but you see, EA forgot to deliver clear details on how this early access would work. And a multitude of fans assumed that with games that you cannot effectively “finish” such as the sports titles, the full five days would be allotted for unlimited early access play, similar to how EA Season Pass worked, albeit with 3 days instead of 5. Whereas games such as Dragon Age would be limited to the 2 hours as to make sure you don’t beat the game during the free trial. Except, this is not the case at all. Many, many fans and gaming news sources questioned EA on how the trial time would work for Madden15 (the first game that would use the trial feature) and for days, EA simply ignored these people. They would field questions about almost anything else but would always completely ignore these questions. And time and time again, as EA have shown, when they hide things and avoid questioning, it is because it pertains to bad news. As I told others plenty of times, if EA planned to allow you full unbridled access for 5 full days, they would be shouting it at the top of their lungs, and that their silence speaks volumes. And then today (8/18) happened. Out of the blue, about a week from release, and three days from the early access trial going live, I guess figuring most people had already put in their orders for EA Access, EA decided to field a fan’s question on twitter pertaining to how much time would be allotted for the early access for Madden15. Low and behold, it turns out to be 6 hours, and of course backlash ensued. To which EA decided to “officially” announce through a site post that the Madden15 trial would begin 8/21 featuring 6 hours of early access gameplay. I don’t know whether EA thought people wouldn’t see their reply to a random fan, or they just decided they would wait until 3 days before launch to flesh out the details on EA Access’s early access plans. This is the way of EA now.
This company just does not seem to care about consumer perception at all, as it has not seemed to yet affect their bottom line. And we will continue to suffer for it as consumers until it does. This is just the EA you all are going to have to get used to, because they aren’t changing any time soon. The only question that really remains is, what boneheaded act will EA commit next?