Top 10 Video Game Companies Fans Hate the Most
VOICE OVER: Dave Thibault
WRITTEN BY: Nathan Sharp
The gaming companies we actually like seem to be getting fewer and fewer. For this list, we'll be looking at various video game companies and the reasons why they have garnered large amounts of backlash from gamers over the years. Our countdown includes Atari, Blizzard, Microsoft, and more!
Script Written by Nathan Sharp
Top 10 Video Game Companies That Are Hated by Fans
The gaming companies we actually like seem to be getting fewer and fewer. Welcome to WatchMojo, and today we’ll be counting down our picks for the Top 10 video game companies that are hated by fans.
For this list, we’ll be looking at various video game companies and the reasons why they have garnered large amounts of backlash from gamers over the years. For the record, many of these companies have done great things over the years, bu
#10: Gearbox Software
The “Borderlands” series is great. No one is disputing that. But Gearbox also has quite a controversial past, and we just can’t ignore it. The company faced a lot of flak in 2011 for “Duke Nukem Forever,” which many people consider one of the most disappointing video games ever made. Of course, it wasn’t entirely Gearbox’s fault, but hey, their name was on the box, wasn’t it? Things got even worse with the “Aliens: Colonial Marines” debacle. They continuously lied to Sega about the development process, outsourced most of it, and was sued in a class action lawsuit for misrepresenting the game at trade shows. The total collapse of “Battleborn” didn’t do much to quell the negative press, either...
Just hearing the name “Atari” is enough to fill the brain with warm nostalgic memories of blocky 8-bit graphics, looping music, and the glory days of the early 80s. And then the industry crashed in 1983. And while the causes are complex and numerous, Atari’s infamous “E.T.” was a major contributor. Atari, Inc. was done for, but the Atari brand lived on. Granted they’ve had some great success stories since then, but in recent years things have gone from bad to worse. First of all THIS is supposed to be their modern retake on Asteroids, and what they’ve done to Alone in the Dark speaks for itself. Now, Atari is...building hotels? Yes, they are building hotels.
It’s amazing how quickly the tide can turn. After all, this company was once the name in MMORPGs and RTSs. But things have turned real dire for Blizzard in recent years. First there was the controversial reveal of “Diablo: Immortal” in 2018 as their main announcement at Blizzcon. The following year they banned “Hearthstone” player Blitzchung for supporting the Hong Kong protests. This in itself caused a backlash of epic proportions, with even prominent American politicians calling on Blizzard to reverse the ban. And now in 2020 the controversial release of “Warcraft III: Reforged” has led that title to have the worst user rated score on Metacritic. 3 years ago we wouldn’t have even considered Blizzard to be on a list like this, and look where we are now.
#7: Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment
Warner Bros. has done a lot of damage to its brand throughout the years. One prominent issue is its over-reliance on monetization practices and pre-order bonuses. Sometimes even announcing the Pre-Order bonus on the day of a game’s announcement. They typically get way too carried away with the latter, like making six (yes, six) retailer-exclusive pre-order bonuses for “Lego Batman 3: Beyond Gotham.” As for the former, things like the aggressive implementation of loot boxes in “Shadow of War” drew enormous controversy. And who can forget the time they violated the Federal Trade Commission Act by locking review codes for “Shadow Of Mordor” behind brand deals, and wouldn’t allow reviewers to disclose bugs or glitches? Or when they outsourced development of “Arkham Knight,” resulting in the infamously buggy PC version?
#6: Epic Games
Epic has been a mainstay in the gaming industry for some time. They’ve developed iconic franchises like “Unreal,” “Gears of War,” and “Fortnite,” and its Unreal Engine has been an industry staple for over twenty years. Unfortunately, Epic has earned many disparaging remarks recently for its Epic Games Store, which was created to combat Steam’s monopoly on the PC market. This has not gone over well, with fans constantly getting outraged at the storefront sweeping up timed exclusivity deals. However, despite the aggressive backlash; the boycotts didn’t seem to work. In its first year alone, the store drew in over 100 million customers and grossed $680 million in sales, which was 60% greater than what Epic had forecasted.
Microsoft has admittedly been on a successful apology tour in recent years. The Xbox brand is doing some exciting things, particularly its newfound partnership with the PC market. But there’s no denying that this past generation was a tough one. While the Xbox 360 was a monumental success, even that had some difficulties - primarily the infamous Red Ring of Death, or their mishandling of Rare. But then they totally botched the Xbox One reveal and never really recovered from that disaster. Even as this console generation comes to a close, it’s exclusives pitifully pale in comparison to Sony & Nintendo’s output. Even “Halo 5” was underwhelming. Let’s hope the Xbox Series X is a hit, because Microsoft really needs a hit right now.
Bethesda has been slammed with negative press in recent years owing primarily to its weak creative output and numerous business blunders. The fact that they tried to push for paid mods twice despite community backlash the first time speaks for itself. As far as their games go? Well ... while their titles could be absolute marvels, even their best works are well known for lacking polish. That lack of polish has now caught up to them with Fallout 76 and it wasn’t just the game that was a disaster. Bethesda totally bungled its rollout with nylon bags, moldy helmets, and a data breach. Seriously, what happened to you guys?
Much like Atari, Konami was a certifiable powerhouse throughout the 80s and 90s. You couldn’t step into an arcade without tripping over a Konami machine of some kind. But things have gotten bad. Really bad. 2015 in particular was an atrocious year for the Konami brand, as they abruptly cancelled “P.T.” and abandoned Kojima Productions. In turn making their own barren shell of a “Metal Gear” title. Oh, and they treat their employees like utter filth as well. They allegedly refuse them health insurance, ban people from mentioning Konami on their résumés, and threaten lawsuits to media personalities who interview ex-employees. And that’s all before getting into their pachinko machines.
There’s certainly a lot that can be said about the yearly releases of “Call of Duty”, or rushing out the buggy “Tony Hawk Pro Skater 5” just to hang on to the license. However their business strategies in recent years have also garnered criticism, and not just from gamers either. In February 2019 the company laid off over 800 employees despite also announcing “record profits” in an investor call, this was further aggravated by news that a month earlier, the new CFO Dennis Durkin was given a $15 million bonus, just for taking the job. That same year advocacy group “As You Sow” listed the company’s CEO Bobby Kotick as the most overpaid CEO out of any gaming company, and the 45th most overpaid in all of America. That speaks for itself.
Of course it’s EA. How can it not be EA? This company painfully sums up everything that people hate about the video game industry. Like Activision, their CEO Andrew Wilson has been labelled as one of the most overpaid CEOs in America. They have been criticized in the past for poor working conditions. The implementation of Lootboxes in “Star Wars: Battlefront 2” caused governments around the world to change their gambling laws. Not to mention their habit to constantly acquire and kill beloved companies, hell we have a list for that issue alone. In 2012 and 2013 They were named The Consumerist's Worst Company in America back-to-back. Meaning they were more hated than “Comcast” & “Bank of America”. Is it really any surprise?