Patrick Soderlund of Electronic Arts says being voted “Worst Company in America” two years in a row forced it to step back and reconsider what it was doing.
Electronic Arts set a new high in lows earlier this year when it was overwhelmingly chosen as the worst company in America in a Consumerist poll, the first, and so far only, time that a company has repeated as the “winner.” It’s obviously a silly distinction and more a reflection of the pool of respondents than of any particular evil committed by EA, but Soderlund, the executive vice president of EA Studios, said it stung nonetheless.
“I don’t believe for a second that we are the worst company in America, but I do believe when something like that happens, you have to sit down and ask yourselves, ‘Why are people saying these things?’,” he told MCV. “We did that and we started to realize that we are doing things that people don’t like.”
“We looked at something as simple as the Online Pass,” he continued. “People were telling us they didn’t like that. So we weighed up the pros and cons and went, ‘Okay. We will remove it.’ These decisions need to be driven by what consumers want and tell us, and that is where we may have faltered a bit in the past.”
Soderlund said it’s inevitable that EA will make mistakes but suggested that the plan going forward will be a simple one: acknowledge that a mistake was made, and then fix it. That’s easy to say and doesn’t mean much without action to back it up, but the long-term goal is to “earn people’s trust and respect.”
“We don’t want to be bad, we have no desire to be voted the worst company in America,” Soderlund said. “On the contrary, we want to be voted the best.”