EA’s CEO Peter Moore Accuses VideoGamer Of “Standard, Shoddy Website Journalism”

An interesting war of words has broken out between publisher EA and gaming site VideoGamer. It started with the rumours that Dead Space 4, as yet unannounced, had been canned – that rumour started out on Tuesday and was swiftly followed up by a Tweet from Gamasutra that suggested all was well with everything.

“Rumors about poor Dead Space 3 sales and an unannounced Dead Space 4 being cancelled are ‘patently false,’ EA tells us,” says the micro-blog. “Spread the word!” It’s an odd state of affairs when an industry site breaks the news on an official level, but that’s what happened.

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But first, that rumour.

It seems, from what we can gather from VideoGamer’s official stance, that the information about the cancellation (which the site claimed was down to poor sales) was from “a trusted source” – someone that had “background and statements” that were enough for the site to “trust their claims.”

That’s not unusual in the industry, but it’s probably best to always get at least two sources for stories as potentially big as this.

Regardless, it appears that VG contacted EA’s UK PR department on Monday, and were asked if they would wait until the Tuesday so EA could get “more time to get a response from its US team”. This they did, and then the site claims that the only response on the Tuesday was that EA didn’t want to comment on the story, as per their usual policy.

EA said the same thing when we checked with them.

From here on in it gets more intriguing. The “patently false” quote from Gamasutra? VG say that EA’s US press office issued no such statement. It transpires that it was EA’s Corporate Communications department that issued that statement.

Four hours later, there was an official line from the US that read: “These rumours are patently false. While we have not released sales data for Dead Space 3, we are proud of the game and it continues to be an important IP to EA. Appreciate your help bringing down this baseless rumour.”

We got a similar response yesterday when we asked EA again on the matter.

The curious thing is that Peter Moore, EA’s CEO, took to GamesIndustry to make public comments about the story and the site.

“Standard, shoddy website journalism recipe, born out of a desperate need to increase click-thru rates to support advertising revenue,” he said. “Fabricate a story using an ‘unnamed source’, post it first thing in the morning, add the letters” EA” to the story (oh, and link it to micro-transactions – always a fan favourite) and then stand back and enjoy the vitriol which you turn into revenue.”

“Rinse and repeat…”

He comments again: “…in answer to the question above, my comments were fairly and squarely aimed at Videogamer. My issue is not the rejection of community feedback (we get that in bucketloads all day long and we learn from it in real time), rather it was the fabrication of a story in order to generate controversy and ultimately readership.”

He seems adamant that the story is fabricated.

Regardless of whether it is or it isn’t, and whilst the story has obviously got everyone worked up, are these the sort of comments we’d expect from a CEO of one of the world’s biggest video game publishers? The timing is obviously cruel – EA are just in the middle of promoting DLC for Dead Space 3 – but surely there are readily available facts that will establish who’s right, here?

For example, VideoGamer’s claims that the sales were poor? They’d easily be verified via sales data. EA have publicly stated that Dead Space 3 needs to shift 5 million copies to make continued investment worthwhile – we’ll know soon enough whether they’ve managed it.

And whether or not there’s a Dead Space 4? Well, obviously if there is (and it’s not cancelled) EA aren’t likely to want to talk about it yet – it’s almost certainly next gen and with the third game at the forefront of their current marketing the “no comments” make sense.

But this seems like it’s gone out of control a little.

The posts from Peter Moore are hard to ignore, and websites run “rumour” posts all the time. This is the first instance of something really blowing up, though, and it’s telling that it’s with EA, a company seemingly constantly on the backfoot with regards to a fair chunk of public perception, especially with regards to Dead Space 3.

It’ll be interesting to see how this all turns out.

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12 Comments

  1. If I’m being honest I think that’s a pretty unprofessional comment from EA.

    • But you can’t deny that he’s right! Just look at the number of comments on negative stories about EA. It’s obvious that a little EA hate means a lot of clicks for websites.

      BTW this reminds me, has anybody heard anything from Bobby Kottick recently? Looks like Activision really managed to keep him from giving comments and interviews.

  2. More dirt on EA as possible, bunch of tossers

  3. but it’s their job to make money isn’t it?

    seriously though, ea condemning another company for wanting to make money.

    that’s like jordan calling anybody a skank.

    maybe they’re just pissed because the site wouldn’t reveal the source.

    it doesn’t make ea look very good when the ceo is slinging insults at people who say something he doesn’t like.

  4. There’s definitely some truth to it I reckon. They nearly didn’t go ahead with Dead Space 2 if I remember correctly. And with sales said to be down it wouldn’t be a surprise if the series was cancelled.

  5. If EA wanted to refute VG’s claims, they should of just released sales data for Dead Space 3, rather than going on the attack. They’re not going to make many friends that way and they already annoy most gamers as it is.

  6. Didn’t they also say the developers Visceral were “being disbanded”. That’s people losing their jobs. You need to be pretty damn sure you’re right before put those sort of rumours out.

    Can you imagine the reaction at Visceral when that came out?

  7. Pot,kettle,black,they’ve got some nerve EA.Shoddy Publishing,try bringing a game out that doesn’t need a massive patch day one.Or doesn’t repeat itself over and over(Dragon age2) all because your a “business”.

  8. And i accuse EA of forcing a certain developer who were known for their RPGs to release a half baked sequel to a certain game that i loved but despise the shit sequel, as well as well as dumbing down everything because they only care about cash and not releasing quailty games thus resulting in more cash.

    This is unproffessional as publishers should not be attacking websites, even if it turns out videogamer were hitbaiting with false rumours. All they needed to do was show sales data but instead their CEO decided to do this. Because being CEO doesn’t mean that you have to act proffesionally or risk harming the company if you choose to do something like this. Oh wait…

  9. Ignoring the obvious situation EA have found themselves in as of recent, I think it’s pretty shit where things like this are being reported. The developers (and publisher) must think “what the holy hell?” when rumours are posted and commented on to the point of them feeling like fact. The internet has sped many things up and it also means that sites are looking to report on things as quickly as possible. This can lead to sloppiness when substantiating things.

    I’m with Moore on many things here. The franchise could be dealt extra damage with fabricated nonsense like this. Equally, it must be very tiring to see the media reporting and banging on about the same ol’ thing when publishers and devs are working their arses off to try to both please and appease the masses. Don’t get me wrong, they screw up plenty but the very nature of this digital beast means that we’re utterly bombarded by conjecture, supposition and hearsay.

    • I completely agree. There are always two sides to a story and it’s a current trend to focus on the one saide that put’s EA in a bad light.

  10. EA – Easily Antagonised? Effortless Ars*holes?
    Introducing the “rent a server” in BF3 really pee’d me off. I understand they are a company but it is so obvious that they would squeeze your last penny out of you if they could.
    Naughty Dog get my money because of the consistent support for their quality games. Drive Club will most likely get a few extra squids thanks to Evolution giving me a cheap yet entertainment rich experience with Motorstorm RC. But EA have done nothing to impress me for a long time now, FIFA servers are crap, Ultimate Team was is a blatent milking strategy, Dead Space 3 went off the rails that made the original so good.

    Put it this way, I would hate for them to announce a Mirrors Edge 2 as I know they would ruin it with some stupid cash milking tactics and a dramatic change from the original gameplay.

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