Posted By Robert G. about 8 months, 1 week ago
Editorial: Fiction Over Fact, or Why EA is Destined to Lose (Deserving or Not),
But I digress, because we are talking about why EA is destined to fail, and in the end it becomes perception above all else. What is the real difference between Valve and Electronic Arts? Well, one was voted the worst corporation in the United States in an arbitrary online poll, while the other is lauded for being a shining light in the gaming world. Critics and entertainers alike seem to universally agree on this myth that EA is, and always will be, evil and destructive, while Valve can do no wrong and the best company in gaming today.
Opinions aside for each company (in which I personally don’t see a difference between the two since they both make quality products) it seems clear that there are other differences under the surface argument here. Of course, one can say that EA has been doing their emulations of Valve wrong, and that is somewhat true. One example is Origin, a prime punching bag for critics, is again emblematic of that whole perception. But the shortcomings of Origin aside, which there are many that a layman can cite, why does one company get the pass while another gets the boot? Why do both follow a similar business model, but people cry foul against one of the two?
I can’t answer this. Hell, it can be argued that their models are not the same, although the goal they are attempting to achieve is within both of their sights. Of course, reaching it on different terms is up for interpretation, but that is besides the point. In the end, it doesn’t matter if EA copied everything Valve did for their race to gaming as a service, they would still be seen as a blight by the near-sightedness of those around them, as “The inexorable march towards videogames becoming one indistinguishable mass of grey sludge continues,” according to Jim Sterling.
But all is fair though, because EA is evil, right? So it doesn’t matter what Sterling or anyone else really thinks. It can be argued that there are major differencess between the business models of both EA and Valve, and there certainly are, but that is wholly irrelevant in the end because even if they were the same, the company would be called a copycat for taking ideas for taking ideas as their own. Either way, Electronic Arts can’t win.
It all boils down to perception, a slanted myth that everyone based off of hypotheticals. It is one thing for a fact to reach the ears of listeners and to be used to create an opinion, but it is another entirely to eliminate those facts because of such bias. Journalists, entertainers, bloggers, and gamers alike each come loaded with bias, and it skews their vision when facts are present. It is a fact that EA is going to follow gaming as a service model, and hopes to implement a social interaction, through multiplayer, co-op, online connectivity, social media applications, and free-to-play microtransactions into their product line. It is a fact that Valve is doing the same thing, with minor or no differences, social interaction, in-game currencies and barter systems, micro transaction models and online connectivity. It is a fact that they are not alone in this practice, as the comments by Iwata weeks ago indicate. And it is a fact that EA is receiving the brunt of this hated despite being guiltless to the practices around them.
The recent announcement of Command & Conquer: Generals 2 inclusion of a single player mode is proof of this. Despite adding the mode and listening to the rather vocal feedback of the gaming community, the overall feeling is one of uncaring neglect. It doesn’t matter if they cater to our needs, it will still be terrible because it’s EA. I think my point is made clear here: it doesn‘t matter what EA can do to help itself, be it damage control or just being generally responsive to their fanbase. They will always be hated, no matter what.
Maybe I am just biased as well, but it is hard to give a pass to one group over the other when both do the same thing, only in different ways. One can say it is a false equivalent, and I won’t dismiss it, but it seems as though fiction has replaced facts, drowned out by the noise with little chance to rise above it. In the end, it may be too late for EA to ever change their image, but they should not be blamed for the evils of the industry as much as they are, because they are just doing what everyone does best, adapt and survive a changing tide.
Any questions or comments please leave them below, or contact me via twitter @LinksOcarina or via email at Robert@BlisteredThumbs.net