A story has surfaced which has given me pause for thought. The story concerns EA’s receipt of hate-mail on the subject of gay relationships being made possible within the Mass Effect series. The story’s release (appearing in the last 24 hours) is oddly timed. The most recent Mass Effect game was released weeks ago, and the same-sex relationships within the narrative have existed since before the third installment.
Some journalists are (probably rightly) linking the release of this story with The Consumerist’s award of “Worst Company in America” to EA. The story is likely part of a PR counter-offensive, looking to show EA to be progressive, and the victim of unfair (sometimes homophobic) hate. The recent emergence of 4-chan users, who had previously posted pro-EA stories in the forums for pay, (if genuine) is a good indication that these sorts of things take place.
[http://i.imgur.com/UmLsc.jpg] – This image, while perhaps sporting some fairly tinfoil headgear (particularly regarding the “tanking” stock price…), alludes to a real concern – the partisan nature of games industry journalists.
I thought it would be prudent to respond to some readers’ emails with a quick reminder that I have no affiliation with EA (although I do own Madden 12). My most recent post, mentioning the clear voter bias in The Consumerist’s poll, is not a “plant”, but a fairly obvious criticism of a survey with a structural defect.
I also believe that I have made my own criticisms of EA’s business practices (particularly their less-than-strategic approach to consumer price elasticity within a digital distribution model, and poorly staffed online customer service function) clear.
To summarise, to make things perfectly clear: my thoughts (as presented here) remain my own.