Remember last week? It happened about 34 years ago, so if you don’t, I understand. But last Thursday, the official EA Twitter account tweeted a bad joke about single-player games that led to an internet-wide roasting and eventually an apology from the Battlefield publisher. And apparently, EA is still dealing with angry employees who felt the tweet was an insult to them, their staff, and the games they are making.
A new report from USA Today sheds some light on how the terrible tweet came about, what the reaction to it was internally at EA, what plans were pitched to handle the situation, and the ongoing aftermath of it all. The whole mess is both equally 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 angry responses (some from current EA execs) that were popping up all over. As negative reactions spiraled out of control and the discourse began, folks at EA began formulating a plan to turn the tweet into a positive. It just wasn’t a good one.
The initial plan was to get all the other EA social media accounts to start dunking on the tweet while hopefully drawing more attention to the various single-player games the publisher has in the works. But some staff pointed out that this “roasting EA strategy” would just reinforce the narrative online that EA’s own studios and teams hate the company. And so, after many social media managers backed out of that plan, it fell apart.
“The most agreed-on idea was to take responsibility for it and apologize,” one source told USA Today. However, this apology ended up being an equally embarrassing tweet saying people who play single-player games were actually 11s.
But while the internet moved on to its next target, higher-ups at EA are continuing to deal with the fallout from the tweet. USA Today reports that the FIFA publisher is hosting roundtable discussions and team meetings with executives who felt the joke was an insult to the games they’re working on and the staff making them.
As for how this happened, well it turns out EA’s official Twitter account isn’t run by anyone from EA or its social teams. According to sources who spoke to USA Today, it’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 percent sure the person who posted the tweet and their manager don’t even know about the single-player games comment from a decade ago,” one source told USA Today. (The comment they reference was the infamous 2010 quote from then-EA Games president Frank Gibeau, saying that single-player games were “finished.”)
Further, that source says that the staff running the Twitter account are “all new” and that most of them “aren’t really game industry people” and likely had no idea about EA’s long, bad history with single-player games.
It seems wild that the official Twitter account for one of the largest 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 do large corporations make logical decisions?