EA. The single most hated company in the landscape of video games. Many a great game and company has been ruined by the devilish brand behind those two simple letters. Saying that you hate EA is as easy as saying that water is refreshing and it’s nice to be able to breath.
But it wasn’t always this way. Once, long ago, when I was just a boy, EA wasn’t the monolith of greed and evil that it is today (or maybe it was and they were better at hiding it back then). Once, they actually made games. Games that were good and well liked!
And most well-liked of them all was one department: EA Sports. A fact further supplemented by the fact that you, without a shred of doubt, read it as ‘E-A-Sports; it’s in the game!’ in your head.
As you might expect, EA Sports was responsible for all the sports games the company produced. You know, the Maddens and the Fifas, all those games. The ones that were low-key strategy games disguised as regular sports so that jocks who thought video games were lame would buy and play video games.
This might come as a shock to you, but I’ve never been much a fan of sports. I know, the nerdy blogger that talks about anime and video games all day every day isn’t an athlete. Shocker. But what I did like were these games.
Keyword there being did. Don’t get it twisted.
Not because the games themselves were all that appealing, mind you. Whenever I tried to play them seriously, whether it be by myself or with friends, I just ended up confused. Instead, I’d just screw around and see what kind of catastrophic plays I could come up with. Simple entertainment for a child, but entertainment nonetheless.
But that’s my point. Back in the day, these games were entertaining! Whether you were playing them ironically or completely seriously, you could have a good time playing them! EA Sports may not have had the same pedigree as companies like Nintendo. But people still liked their games and consistently came back for more.
Very often, might I add. Even back then, these things were cranked out year after year after year like they were on an assembly line. But back then, it was much easier to forgive. Back then, they’d actually put effort into making it a different, sometimes improved game. And even if they failed, the one you already had would still do.
Now? Everything has changed. And by ‘changed’, I mean ‘become worse’.
See, the thing about video games is that they constantly evolve. A game that is considered groundbreaking can often find itself becoming completely lackluster in just a few years time. As games become more complex, whether it be in terms of visuals or gameplay, older games start to age worse and worse.
Not only that, but newer games get more expensive to make by the year. Technology becomes more advanced, capable of doing incredible things. But it also becomes more challenging to work with. Games take longer to make and are more expensive to do so. They’re not the kind of thing that you can release year after year after year anymore.
But here’s the thing: it isn’t impossible. If you reuse assets or engines, you can greatly reduce your workload. However, one needs to be careful with how much they recycle as to not be obvious.
Then there’s EA, who said “Eh, fuck it, just release the same game again and slap a new title onto it, no one will notice.”
As time went on, EA became more and more insidious. I won’t go into all of it; that would take way too long and everyone already talks about that every time the topic comes up. We’re going to stay focused on EA Sports. Because let’s be honest: that’s where they got the greediest of all.
Where once EA Sports actually tried in making games, now they have truly become an assembly line. Year after year they release the same games with the barest minimum effort put into making it different from the last one. And year after year, they get completely lambasted by just about everyone.
Everyone, that is, except for children. Small, naïve, and vulnerable children.
This is where EA Sports stops being a shell of its former self and becomes a straight-up evil entity. See, one thing that they love to include in every single one of these games are microtransactions. Loot boxes, pay-to-win mechanics, all that shit that you hate. They are so malicious about it that the mobile gaming market would feel disgusted at the sight of it.
What’s truly fucked up about it is that EA knows damn well that the people who still play these games are kids who love sports. Kids who don’t understand the value of money and thus grab their parent’s credit cards and start buying stuff in the game with them. EA Sports literally cranks out a casino disguised as a sports game every single year and then sells it to children.
Which is a problem. Considering that gambling for children is illegal in… just about every single country in the world.
It’s not just children, either. See, gambling can be addictive for anyone of any age. It’s a genuine problem for millions of people. These mechanics aren’t just harmful for the young. They’re also harmful for people with addictive personalities.
I cannot tell you the number of times that I’ve seen a news headline about some new bullshit excuse EA pulled out of their ass to justify them literally breaking a law. ‘It’s not gambling, it’s a surprise mechanic!’ and ‘We don’t push people to spend in our games!’ Blatantly obvious lies that make children who lie about eating out of the cookie jar seem honest.
EA Sports were never gods of the gaming industry. At best, their games were enjoyable. But now? They’re a genuinely dangerous and evil company that turn these assembly line sports titles into casinos for children and people with gambling problems. It is truly disgusting and reprehensible.
Fuck, man. What else is there to say?