What Should we do When bad Companies Make Good Games?

EA Games is one of the video game industry’s worst actors. From its seedy business practices, to its storied history of closing talented game studios, it’s hard to overstate just how many bad things EA Games has done. So its no surprise that many people try to avoid supporting them. But that’s a whole helluva lot easier said than done. Because, well, sometimes they make really good games.

While it’s not my cup of tea, it’s hard to deny the importance of Apex Legends. As the first game to really take a good run at Fortnite, shade intended, it is significant that AL is such a diverse game and accessible game. Apex Legends is proof that games can take diversity and accessibility seriously and still be successful. There’s just one problem, it comes from EA.

Ok, greater politics aside, Bangalore is…

Ok, greater politics aside, Bangalore is…

And even as the game does some things right, much of EA’s grossness is still present in its execution. I mean, it’s a hero shooter mixed with a battle royal game with egregious micro-transactions. We’re still dealing with the studio that ruined The Sims, closed Visceral, and is somewhat holding the future of Bioware hostage based on the success of Anthem, which they are simultaneously putting in competition with Apex Legends, a move that hurts both games.

Have I ever said how stupid this game looks to me?

Have I ever said how stupid this game looks to me?

I feel a certain amount of discomfort when I think about supporting EA in any way. Their track record is so destructive and toxic, that any amount of good they do is somewhat dwarfed by the bad they’ve done. Seeing the amount of praise Apex Legends has received leaves me with conflicting feelings. I’m concerned that people who care about the health and longevity of the games industry are willing to so easily compromise their feelings about the company in favor of one game. But I’m also guilty of this as a player of the Sims 4.

I admit I never played this game.

I admit I never played this game.

It’s complicated, especially when you take into account the connotations of punishing a game, and thereby their developer, for the actions of their publisher. This is what makes Bioware’s situation so heartbreaking to me. Their failures with Mass Effect Andromeda were, in no small part, due to the mismanagement of the project by EA. People’s “voting with their wallet” ended up wounding the studio more than the publisher.

I don’t really have an answer to this question by the way. But if you do, I’d love to hear it. All I know is, fuck EA and I’m still playing The Sims.