Remember last week? It happened about 34 years ago, so if you don’t, I understand. But last Thursday, EA’s official Twitter account tweeted a bad joke about single-player games which led to an internet-wide roasting and ultimately an apology from the Battlefield editor. And apparently EA is still dealing with angry employees who felt the tweet was an insult to them, their staff, and the games they make.
A new report from USA today sheds some light on how the terrible tweet came about, what the reaction was internally at EA, what plans were made to handle the situation, and the ongoing aftermath of it all. The whole mess is both confusing and funny.
According to the report, an hour after the tweet went live last week, it landed in EA’s internal Slack chat room, where employees and social media staff began sharing all the roasts and replies. angry (some of EA’s current executives) that were blooming everywhere. As the backlash spiraled out of control and the discourse began, the folks at EA began formulating a plan to turn the tweet into a positive. It just wasn’t good.
The original plan was to get all of EA’s other social media accounts to start diving into the tweet while hopefully drawing more attention to the various single player games the editor has in the works. But some staff members have pointed out that this “EA roasting strategy” would only reinforce the online narrative that EA’s own studios and teams hate the company. And so, after many social media managers backed out of this plan, it fell apart.
“The most agreed-upon idea was to take responsibility and apologize,” a source told USA Today. However, that apology ended up being an equally embarrassing tweet saying that people playing single player games were actually 11s.
But while the internet has moved on to its next target, senior EA officials continue to deal with the fallout from the tweet. USA today reports that the FIFA publisher is holding roundtables and team meetings with executives who felt the joke was an insult to the games they work on and the staff who make them.
As for how this happened, it turns out that EA’s official Twitter account isn’t run by anyone from EA or its social teams. According to sources who spoke to USA todayit’s very likely that the person who tweeted the soon-to-be-infamous joke had no idea how poorly it would be received online.
“I’m 99% sure whoever posted the tweet and their manager didn’t even know about the single player games comment from a decade ago,” a source said. USA today. (The comment they refer to was the infamous 2010 quote of then-EA Games president Frank Gibeau, saying that single-player games were “over”.)
Additionally, this source claims that the staff running the Twitter account are “all new” and that most of them “are not really game industry people” and probably had no idea what it was. EA’s long, bad history with single-player games.
It seems crazy that the official Twitter account for one of the biggest video game publishers in the world isn’t run by people who have a working knowledge of video games and the industry, but then again, when the big companies make logical decisions?