EA Forum Bans Can Lock You Out Of Games

By John Walker on March 11th, 2011 at 12:50 pm.

The very definition of quick and dirty

UPDATE: EA are now saying this was a mistake, and Arno has access to his games during the ban.

Original story: Be careful what you say. That’s the lesson BioWare forum user Arno has learned in the last 24 hours, after an ill-advised comment on the BioWare forums has led to his EA account being locked, such that he cannot play his purchased copy of Dragon Age 2 for 72 hours.

It reveals a clause in the terms of service that accompany buying an EA game that will surprise the vast majority who do not read the microprint. Misbehave in the forum (as Arno fully admits he did), and you can have your right to play a legitimately purchased game taken away from you. Forever, if they want to.

Arno made a mistake. He posted a comment in which he said,

“Have you sold your souls to the EA devil?”

In the world of forums, it’s a relatively innocuous remark. But if you’re EA, and someone’s come into your front room, you may not want to put up with such insults. Sure, go say them somewhere else, but not in our house. Constructive criticism it was not.

A response we might expect would be – well, here we’d just mock you in our comment thread, or edit your comment. Keep doing things we’ve asked you not to and we’d block your account. Which is essentially what happened. Arno received a 72 hour ban. But not only from the forum, but it seems his entire EA account.

A scene in the BioWare forums, yesterday.

In the last few years EA have tied an increasing number of their games to one universal user account. The same login is used for Burnout Paradise as for Mass Effect 2. It’s pretty convenient as a gamer. But it turns out it offers them a greater power than you might think. Because now Arno, despite wanting a copy of Dragon Age II that unlocked at midnight last night, is unable to authenticate the game with the account it’s tied to (by pre-release DLC), and thus cannot play.

He’s also locked out of an enormous amount of other gaming content. For instance, Arno tells us, if he wanted to play Dragon Age: Origins, he’d now have to start a new game since all his save positions are tied to DLC. Try to play those without being logged in an EA assumes it’s pirated DLC and refuses to run. And his second forum account has been locked because he suggested that bans like this could lead people to piracy – something he’s stated he does not intend to do.

We’ve seen Arno’s correspondence with BioWare, and it’s fair to say that he’s not been as controlled as he could have been. While there’s been no abuse or inappropriate language, he’s certainly cocky. BioWare’s response so far has been to repeatedly state the rules to Arno, with a moderator explaining to him,

“It’s not like you get to pick and choose your own punishment when you break the rules. The various punishments, up to and including permanent bans, EA account termination, and loss of access to entitlements, is very clearly laid out and is part of the rules you agreed to follow and be governed by.”

They’ve also locked threads discussing the matter.

During Arno’s attempt to find out what he’d done wrong, the EA live chat told him,

“You have been banned due to some inappropriate content posting on forums and we can not reveal it due to some security polices.”

Perhaps most confusingly is the moderator comment in the locked thread, in which he attempts to explain the crossover between BioWare and EA rules:

“1. BioWare community bans are forum-only and can be for as little as 24 hours. These bans should have no effect on your game, only your ability to use all the features of this website/community. these bans are handed out by BioWare Moderators as the result of our travels around the forum and/or issues reported by fellow community members.

2. EA Community bans come down from a different department and are the result of someone hitting the REPORT POST button. These bans can affect access to your game and/or DLC.

Because the BioWare community now operates under the same umbrella as all EA Communities, community members here have all explicitly agreed to abide by and be governed by both sets of rules. Consider it an added incentive to follow the rules you say you’re going to follow.”

And there’s no doubt that they can do this. It certainly does state this in the EA terms. They, without question, reserve the right to take away your access to games you’ve bought at their discretion, and no refund will be offered. It says so here:

EA may also terminate your Account(s) (and access to all related Entitlements) for violation of this Terms of Service, illegal or improper use of your Account, or illegal or improper use of EA Services, Content, Entitlement, products, or EA’s Intellectual Property as determined by EA in its sole discretion. You may lose your user name and persona as a result of Account termination. If you have more than one (1) Account, EA may terminate all of your Accounts and all related Entitlements. In response to a violation of these Terms of Service or any other agreement applicable to EA Services accessed by you, EA may issue you a warning, suspend your Account, selectively remove, revoke or garnish Entitlements associated with your Account or immediately terminate any and all Accounts that you have established. You acknowledge that EA is not required to provide you notice before suspending or terminating your Account or selectively removing, revoking or garnishing Entitlements associated with your Account. If EA terminates your Account, you may not participate in an EA Service again without EA’s express permission. EA reserves the right to refuse to keep Accounts for, and provide EA Services to, any individual. You may not allow individuals whose Accounts have been terminated by EA to use your Account.

If your Account, or a particular subscription for an EA Service associated with your Account, is terminated, suspended and/or if any Entitlements are selectively removed, revoked or garnished from your Account, no refund will be granted, no Entitlements will be credited to you or converted to cash or other forms of reimbursement, and you will have no further access to your Account or Entitlements associated with your Account or the particular EA Service. If you believe that any action has been taken against your Account in error, please contact Customer Support at support.ea.com.

To summarise, EA can take away your access to your purchased games at their sole discretion, and not offer any refund. That’s what you agree to when you buy an EA game. And of course this is not unique to EA. We are very aware of other services with similarly draconian bans, and are actively investigating them.

So be warned. There’s no legal recourse here. The EA terms are clearly laid out, and you are required to agree to them before you can install a game they provide. And their rules are ambiguous enough that they can choose to ban you at their own discretion. Oh, and of course it can all be avoided by just not posting on their forums. Or at least not being rude if you do.

EDIT: All this makes it a bit strange that three years ago EA told Shack News that they’d certainly not allow forum bans to affect game playing.

“Posting in EA Forums is enabled by an EA Nucleus account — but access to the forums and access to the games are separate. Players who have been banned from EA Forums are not automatically banned from online access to their other EA games. Players can be banned if they breach the Terms of Service or Code of Conduct in a forum, game or service. Each forum, game and service is managed independently by customer support representatives responsible for that specific forum, game or service.”

So, er. Thanks to kyrieee for the tip.

EDIT EDIT: The moderator responsible for dealing with this incident has got back to us. I asked him to explain why this happens, and for how long a ban could potentially last. His reply, quite bizarrely, was:

“Sorry, but I have no comment for you.”

So there you go.

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309 Comments »

  1. poop says:

    note that bioware is blaming the lukewarm reception of DA2 on 4chan and is basically banning the shit out of everyone with a negative opinion on the social forums

    • Orija says:

      Is that 4chan-trolling allegation true?

      Also, the last the time I checked the forums, there were several active threads denouncing the game. Seems EA has gone into damage control mode after realizing that the detractors weren’t a minority.

    • Lobotomist says:

      I said this before regarding Bioware (and I used to LOVE THEM)

      “Stick a fork in it , its finished”

      ………

      But now i can only gasp

      And say “Do not buy games made by Bioware”

    • Hoaxfish says:

      A “business” the size of EA/Bioware shouldn’t really be too troubled by massed internet trolls, they apparently have enough moderators (both EA and Bioware staff) to hand out kneejerk bans like this. It shouldn’t be too hard to “weather the storm” of a fresh release.

    • Calneon says:

      To be fair, to me it does seem like an attack on the game and Bioware by fanbois and people following the hive mind. I would bet not 50% of the people posting negative reviews on Metacritic have actually even played the game, at least not enough to give a good account of it.

      If I was Bioware/EA, I would be pissed off too. Sure, the game may have many faults (I haven’t played it), but I’m sure it doesn’t deserve the beating it’s getting.

    • abhishek says:

      Yes, 4chan is indeed ‘trolling’ (if you can call it that) the game’s user review score on Metacritic en masse, as you can see here

      http://www.metacritic.com/game/pc/dragon-age-ii

      Just yesterday or the day before, 500+ user reviews showed up which all rated the game around 0 to 2 and dragged the user rating down to 2 or 3.

    • Longrat says:

      Anyone who seriously buys the “4chan troll” allegation seriously needs to get his internet facts together. If this were a real 4chan invasion, you’d be seeing thousands of low rankings, complete DoSing of all EA servers (See: mastercard and american express, post wikileaks) and a total invasion of the servers.

      They’re just using 4chan as a pathetic miserable excuse for the mediocre responses their mediocre game is getting.

    • kharnevil says:

      I agree with Longrat

    • Valvarexart says:

      Being a /v/ (part of 4chan, if you didn’t know) lurker, I have not got the impression that the bad impressions are “trolling”. What I can say, though, is that 90% or more of the /v/ regulars had terrible impressions of DA2, and they then started hating and posting hate threads etc, and of course, even people who HADN’T played DA2 joined in on the DA2 hate. There was no collected attempt to down the Metacritic ratings, but what we did have was a big part of the elite gaming community hating on the game, thus the bad ratings. There is no 4chan “conspiracy”, it’s just that it’s a place where hate for a game can brew up…

    • Premium User Badge

      Rinox says:

      Yeah, no way it would be this ‘mild’. Only a few hundred reviews, that’s a joke for 4chan.

      I think the more probable explanation is that in fact, the vast majority of people who loved DA:O didn’t want DA2 to take the direction it took. This would have been clear to ANYONE except for the moneymaking machine, and almost everyone I personally know/read about went ‘huh…’ when they saw the DA2 announcements and said worse things still after playing the demo.

      But, they went ahead and did it anyway. You reap what you sow.

      (and I’m sure the game isn’t nearly as bad as a 3/10, but as a statement it works)

    • bagga says:

      It may or may not be down to 4chan action (I personally think the game deserves the 3.9 rating) but it’s just not accurate to say ‘They’re not DDOSing EA, so it can’t be 4chan’. 4chan isn’t ruled by a Galactic Council and the group trolling can range from a few dozen afro’d avatars blocking the entrance to a virtual swimming pool to getting thousands of people to trend swastikas by googling them.
      It’s not all servers, servers, servers.

    • Orija says:

      I think you guys’ overestimate 4chan. The DDOS’ing is carried out by Anonymous which sometimes makes its intentions known at the site. It’s totally possible that someone made a thread asking people to score DA2 low on Metacritic.
      I don’t think anyone should be surprised the direction DA is heading in, Bioware/EA would prefer having the game sell on the consoles if that means shunning the pc minority which salivated all over DA:O.

    • Lukasz says:

      EULAs are NOT contracts.

      They are not enforceable at all. They exist just in case. Just to give a company a bit of power in case they are legally challenged.

      Brilliant part is the one contained in all, which can be summarized.: “we are not responsible for anything unless we are”
      That thing is quite illegal to put in contract but as eula are not contracts they can contain that clause. Anyone actually trying to enforce that would probably make judge, other lawyers a janitor, a son of janitor laugh out loud.

      on topic

      EA is f–ing this up. ban from forum? sure. watch your mouth next time. ban from gaming? bad bad bad decision. Valve is walking very thin line with their ban for cheating but since its cheating and SP games are not harmed then people are in my opinion more forgiving to this kind of power valve has over our purchases.
      what EA did basically means: if you are mean to us we take your games from you.

      that;s wrong on many levels.

    • Wulf says:

      Heh. Those user reviews confirmed my worst fears. Fantasy unchanged since Wizardry I, with awkwardly nerdy ‘sexiness’ thrown in that’s handled by someone who’s never actually engaged in anything even mildly sexy, along with edginess and darkness that comes across more as emo and goth than any actual ethical greyness. I kind of got that vibe from the first game, too, but it’s interesting to see people saying it about the second one.

      Roll on Neverwinter, I suppose. Actually looking forward to that.

    • Acristoff says:

      As a regular over at /v/ I can without a doubt say that there is no raid, 2 were attempted by people trying to validate their fears of a raid out of spite and were shot down.

      Though I do have evidence of accounts created to give the game a 10/10 and no other review and vice versa, Bioware however is actually attempting for their fanboys to raid the metacritic score.

    • Premium User Badge

      Chaz says:

      What is this 4chan? I was always under the impression it was where Manga fan nerds hung out, but now I get the impression it’s also a home for angry script kiddies.

    • Acristoff says:

      Depends on which section you go to.

    • Fronk says:

      There wasn’t a formal raid and there’s more to 4chan than just /b/. /v/ (the video game board on 4chan for those that are fortunate enough to not have visited that cesspool) has been whining about DA2 for months so it’s not surprising that there are a lot of newly created accounts that give the game on all 3 platforms a 0. Also they aren’t all “WE ARE LEGION!!!!!” like /b/ so there’s not going to be tens of thousands of people. There are legitimate low scores, legitimate high scores, some fanboys that just made accounts to give it a 10, but there’s a lot more trolls that are giving it 0′s. It’s not a particularly great game, but it’s obvious that there’s trolling going on. I’m guessing 90% of those 0′s and 1′s haven’t played the game, and certainly not on all platforms. Most of the 4′s and 5′s do seem like legitimately disappointed gamers. About 75% of the 9′s and 10′s seem to be fanboys.

    • Commissar says:

      I was in the original thread on /v/ when this all went down. Some dickheads wanted to raid but they were shut down pretty hard for being retards since Bioware would just use the excuse that it’s ‘just a raid’ and sweep it under the carpet. All we did was tell every one we could like Reddit, Kotaku and RPS.

      Just so everyone is clear, 4chan is not just /b/. Every other board hates /b/ with a passion.

  2. Astalano says:

    Who reads the terms of service? This is rubbish. If I buy the game, it’s MINE. FOREVER. I can download/install it whenever I like and have access to all its features at any point in time. No matter what anyone said on a forum, he BOUGHT your game, so you respect his right to play HIS game.

    What is gaming coming to…

    • poop says:

      I’m fairly certain that if he lost his games forever he could probably go to small claims and win, bizzare grey area EULAS dont actually hold up in court that well

    • John Walker says:

      I’m afraid you’re absolutely wrong, Astalano. When you spend money on a game agreeing to the T&Cs that come with it, at best you’re renting it. And worst you’re paying for the right to let them let you play it for as long as they feel like.

    • Sarlix says:

      Apparently we just rent games these days, we don’t actually own them.

      edit: Beaten to it *shakes fist*

    • Perkelnik says:

      I hate to admit that, but shit like this will only lead to piracy. I mean, what do you do, if you pay for a game and then are not allowed to play it, for whatever reason? Youre going to download a crack. And next time, you dont bother to pay…
      It is wrong, but thats how it is.

    • Mark says:

      I wouldn’t mind seeing an RPS article in the near future regarding the legality of EULAs and whether we actually own the games we buy. *nudge nudge* ;)

    • Kefren says:

      The whole EULA thing is impossible. Between 6th August and 30 December 2010 I copied and pasted the text from all EULA’s into one document (which I still have). In less than six months it came to 331,993 words, or 592 pages of dense single-spaced legalese. If I had done something like reinstalling Windows and all my software during that time, it would have doubled.

      EULA’s and T&Cs are ridiculous nowadays, and the only people who could read and agree to them (as opposed to just clicking the proceed button) would be insane lawyers.

    • Catastrophe says:

      EULA’s don’t hold up well in court and the fact you buy your game before signing any EULA also causes more issues with EULA’s.

      Also Trading Standards > EULA.

      As does Country Law.

    • BaronWR says:

      John, I’m not a lawyer, so I’m not sure about this, but I think quite a lot of EULAs would fall foul of the unfair terms in consumer contracts acts and similar. I’d also be interested in how well the “you’re not buying it you’re purchasing a subscription” argument would hold up in court, given that it seems to be an explicit arrangement to reduce people’s statutory rights.

    • Jolly Teaparty says:

      I reckon it’s clear any court would rule in the gamer’s favour, but wouldn’t that mean going to court over a game? It’d be totally awesome if someone did it but are you going to do it? I ain’t.

    • John Walker says:

      My comment was regarding our perceived ownership of games, not whether someone would win in court of not. According to their rules, we no more own games than we do music.

    • vanilla bear says:

      There are a number of ways in which a term of this sort might be attacked – for instance, under the Unfair Terms in Consumer Contracts Regulations 1999, if a term “contrary to the requirements of good faith, causes a significant imbalance in the parties’ rights and obligations arising under the contract, to the detriment of the consumer” then it is deemed unfair and therefore unenforceable against the consumer.

      The Director General of the Office of Fair Trading has a duty to consider any complaint made to him alleging that a term is unfair, unless he considers the complaint to be frivolous or vexatious.

    • Masked Dave says:

      What you buy when you pay for software is a license to use that software (and also the hardware it came on, you can do what you want with the disc and box).

      Licenses can be revoked and those EULA you agree too are, whether you read them or not, contracts.

      This is not just about games but how the entire software industry functions.

    • Bluebreaker says:

      He could aways use a crack and screw them and their greedy dlcs.
      Anyway he should be gratefull. He has been spared of playing the crappiest game released this year.

    • Avenger says:

      I am not very well informed in legal issues as much as you guys are, but may I ask: Is there no hard limit to what a license agreement can cover?

      I mean, what happens if it explicitly says “you are bound to sacrifice your first-born to the producer gods EA and Bioware in under a period of 3 weeks” and you click “I agree” ?

      Aren’t there bigger laws that prevent companies from literally scamming you into paying for stuff that they don’t actually GIVE to you? I understand the company reserves the right to quit giving you the SERVICE if it doesn’t suit them but aren’t games PROPERTY ?

      They call them “Intellectual property” when talking about piracy, anyway…

    • CMaster says:

      What you buy isn’t the game or software itself (as that would give you rights to copy it and sell on as much as you want). What you buy is a license for software. The question really is what rights you get with that license and under what causes that license could be revoked. EULAs are very dodgy ground in a lot of ways. As pointed out above, you only see and agree to them after purchase, not during. They often contain unreasonable or illegal clauses (eg a EULA demanding you report to Activision for labour at their request would fall foul of slavery laws). They don’t make any effort to actually explain to people what they contain and in fact are often so long and legalese as to activley discourage it. Etc.

      Although, the way I read it, if he’d already activate the game, he could play it offline?

    • mda says:

      Imagine no posession…
      THANKS EA U JUST MADE US ALL ENLIGHTENED :D
      Btw b happy you have ANYTHING to experience you selfish gutless (i just thought that word sounded good there) morons, it’ll all be gone one day.

    • Butler says:

      @CMaster “What you buy is a license for software.”

      Correct. People refuse to admit this. I’ve said it time and time again in endless forums and it always causes people problems.

      My source: a lecture from the head of the BCS & a lawyer that specialises in gaming law.

      And yes, the fact that EULAs are largely a complete joke and would get laughed out of court is a seperate issue entirely.

    • trjp says:

      EU consumer law would be in your side if this were almost any other form of goods but when it comes to software it just cops-out completely.

      It’s 2011 and this should really have been sorted-out by now – we need consumer protection for ‘virtual’ goods just as we have for physical goods (and indeed we need protection for physical software purchases which simply do not work properly).

      As it stands tho – Trading Standards etc. will just raise their hands and go “huh?” if you mention software to them – it’s just not in their realm of understanding.

      Sooner or later tho – when a game requires online access to work and that access can be revoked (whether here, or XBL or PSN or whatever) someone will test this shit in court – sooner the better I think.

    • ScubaMonster says:

      But does the EULA and ToS say anything about posting inappropriately on forums suspending your privileges to play all of your games? That has to be specifically spelled out for this situation to hold up. Even then a judge could still rule against it.

    • Metonymy says:

      Would it be trolling to say that pirates are on the moral bleeding edge here?

      The transferal of money doesn’t not expedite the transfer of computer code. It’s merely a formality to pay for entertainment. Wandering bards played for tips, for millennia.

      We don’t ‘own’ music or games? I certainly do, not sure what your opinion is. If I don’t own all music, games, and video on earth, just by virtue of being a human being, then it’s time to aggressively change the laws.

  3. MrThingy says:

    One of EA’s better ideas?

    • Lobotomist says:

      BTW

      Eula’s are not legally binding.

      It was ruled by USA court of law. Check it

  4. MrMud says:

    There is no way in hell this behaviour from EA would stand up in a european court.

    • Perkelnik says:

      Its hard to tell. Also, who is willing to go (and pay) against the army of EA lawyers because of some 30€ game? Nobody, thats who.

    • Premium User Badge

      Rinox says:

      Many European law systems aren’t heavily skewed towards the richer party. In many cases, the losing party has to pay all court costs and a substantial % of the lawyer costs of the the winning party. So if you have something that is a blatant violation of customer rights, you’ll probably win and recuperate most of your money even as a single private person – instead of just winning a moral victory and coming out financially bankrupt after months of proceedings.

      This also works the other way, in scaring off people who file one frivolous or far-fetched lawsuit after the other, obviously.

    • iniudan says:

      Actually I would for a small case like this, since it would cost them more to just have a lawyer present himself at court (since claim is less then 7000$ dollars I can pursuit in small claim where I live, which also kind of limit the army of lawyer they can bring for they will have to chose one to act has a legal person), while a amiable agreement would cost them less and be without risk of setting precedent.

      Also all judgment of that court is final so they cannot lock me in interminable appeal.

  5. Premium User Badge

    alphager says:

    I don’t know about the legal situation in the UK, but EULAs have no legal standing in Germany. THen again, who sues because of a $50 game?

    • SuperNashwan says:

      In the UK EULAs, last time I checked at least, were simply governed by ordinary principles of contract. Quite often you will have apparently completed the purchase of the software before ever getting access to the EULA so there is no agreement to its terms. The alternative view is no sale takes place until you agree to the EULA but this is difficult to square with how retail works, what a shop would do if you came back for your money saying you didn’t like the EULA. Again, last time I checked this had never actually been tested in court, which means because of the way English law works we don’t really know and can only guess.
      In any case as people have said above, in the EU this kind of banning almost certainly falls foul of an EU directive on consumer contracts preventing ‘unfair’ terms. It’s quicker to crack the damn thing than going to court of course…

    • Archonsod says:

      You don’t have any rights on the license. The entire point of a license is to protect the rights of the license owner, not the licensee. As far as the law goes, EA can at any time revoke a license to use their services for any reason, up to and including “the lulz”.

    • Dao Jones says:

      “Then again, who sues because of a $50 game?”

      Amercians.

      It’s cool, I’m American. =p

  6. Mengtzu says:

    If your EA account is banned, doesn’t that just stop you from associating your game with that EA account? If he hadn’t registered, he should be able to just make a new account with a new email address to register the game. If he had, he’d just be stuck without his DLC and achievement uploads until the ban expired.. The game should still work in offline mode once it’s been activated, banned account or no.

    • Schadenfreude says:

      I believe he bought it through the EA Online Store, hence why it’s tied to his account before he’s even activated it.

    • Premium User Badge

      Gundato says:

      I can’t speak for his specific case, but when I installed DA2 (a bit of a letdown, but still a great game. At least, for the first few hours :p), it had me log-in to my account and provide the serial number (that I had already entered on the social site, but whatever…).

      So if he just makes a new account, he loses a lot of the DLC he probably already registered to his account. And he will forever have two accounts, which turns a lot of people off.

  7. misterk says:

    Those kind of user agreements seem pretty broad to me. I’m no lawyer, but it seems like holding someone to such a contract is difficult- effectively they represent people surrendering their stautory rights, which normally shops are simply not allowed to do.

  8. McCool says:

    Wow, this really is pathetic treatment of a customer from Bioware.
    Though I do like the irony of the moderator’s actions – I myself had no inkling that Bioware might have sold their souls to EA, nor would reading that comment in its original post had persuaded me. But this…
    Ha ha. Thats real irony.

    • Hallgrim says:

      If they haven’t lost their souls, they’ve certainly lost their minds.

      Temp (and thus potentially perma) banning people from playing games they own because they said something mean on the forums? Grow up EA/Bioware. Or at least grow some thicker skin… looks like you guys are going to need it.

    • Wulf says:

      I think this is just EA being terrified of Bioware turning into America’s greatest flops. Dragon Age II is apparently pretty crap, and people who’re coming down off the hype are beginning to realise that about the whole franchise (welcome back to reality!) too.

      Consider that the response to The Old Republic has been ‘lukewarm’ (and I’m being generous here) across just about every gaming community, and it all adds up to EA doing damage control until they finally dissolve Bioware into other studios. Keeping the good talent but getting rid of the management that’s making poor decisions.

      It really does seem like a plea.

      “Remember Bioware when they were awesome? We do! Please remember Bioware when they were awesome and don’t say bad things about them. For just a little while longer… please? At least until the release of The Old Republic. Then have at it. But please, please, won’t somebody please think of the shareholders?”

      That’s the vibe I’m getting from this, to be honest.

    • poop says:

      woah that is a pretty good pr intervention
      still doesnt really excuse the bioware moderator for being such a cock but atleast they are owning up to a mistake :)
      EDIT: wait hold on I checked the date, 2008? something is weird here or those EA dudes are just really poor informed on company policy.

    • fuggles says:

      He means that they promised not to do this back in 2008, and now they are. Current situation is still current.

  9. ChaosSmurf says:

    So I agree entirely with the idea of if you act like a cunt you get your toys taken away. I don’t like that EA could go “well we don’t really like you so no games for you”, but if you deserve a forum ban I’m all for a little probation time as well. Might make a few people think before spewing their vomit all over the internet.

    • poop says:

      a really obviously sarcastic comment is reason enough to remove hundreds of dollars of stuff from a person?

      and you use the C word?

      you must be great fun to be around

    • ChaosSmurf says:

      Notice I didn’t say I approved of this particular case. His comment seems pretty mild compared to some of the trash out there. For that trash, I’d be all in favour of short-term restriction of access though. It’s just not a concept I can completely disagree with.

    • Axyl says:

      Note: He may be from the UK.
      I am, and here, the “C” word as you put it really isn’t a big deal.

      Get over it, it’s just a word.

    • Neut says:

      I know what you mean, but given the choice between having to deal with dicks on the internet versus companies able to remove my access to games/services I’ve paid for with no refund at it its sole discretion, I think I’ll deal with the dicks.

  10. President Weasel says:

    What a (mild) Shame.
    He’s going to have to wait 3 days to play Dragon Age 2, which considering everyone in Europe has already coped with waiting a bit longer than the Americans doesn’t seem to be the end of the world.
    That EA can ban you from all their games forever, or at least lock you out of your DLC and your saves and make you restart all your games if you want to play them, is something people should probably be more aware of. It’s definitely worth keeping in mind before going to the Bioware forums.

    Blizzard can ban your account from World of Warcraft and “your” characters that you might have played for 5 years will suddenly be lost to you.

    Steam can also remove access to all the games you’ve ‘bought’ from them, more permanently than EA can, based on something as simple as a PayPal glitch. On the other hand, getting a scratch on a DVD or losing a CD key could easily do the same to one or more of your games on physical media.

    • capn.lee says:

      I think where the difference lies is valve CAN do this, Blizzard CAN do this, EA does it

    • Hoaxfish says:

      An MMO is a different kettle of fish… a forum troll might easily be an in-game troll/scammer/hacker/etc (and banning a stolen account can be used as damage limitation until the rightful owner reclaims it).

      A wholesale ban of every game you’ve purchased from a company for something as minor as “sold your soul” is completely ridiculous, especially when talking about offline single-player games (who are you going to abuse/troll except yourself and NPCs?)

    • Lilliput King says:

      On the contrary, Valve does this all the time. Which is obviously more disturbing, as there’s a hell of a lot of cash tied up in those accounts.

      I dunno about Blizzard. Still, if I google banned WoW accounts I think it’s a safe bet that I’ll find a fair number, don’t you?

    • Hallgrim says:

      @Lilliput King: I think you have to be pretty outrageous to get perma-banned from WoW for activity on the forums. I’m not even sure its possible. You can certainly get a temp ban for using naughty language tho.

    • Lilliput King says:

      Hallgrim: Fair enough. In their defence, EA/Bioware haven’t perma-banned anyone either.

      Not saying they won’t, of course. Just that weasel has a good point – this had been going on for a good while before EA joined the party, and even if it hadn’t EA are hardly the worst offenders. Valve probably hold that dubious honour currently – the rps forum was recently visited by an individual who was perma-banned for a fairly innocuous (if slightly stupid) attempt at a joke in a steam chat room.

    • President Weasel says:

      Valve does do this all the time – or at least, there’s plenty of anecdotal evidence of people losing their Steam account because of problems in the interface between Steam and Paypal. Best advice is don’t use Paypal to pay for Steam. (edit: oh, and there’s LilliputKing’s example of that guy who got himself banned for, I think it was jokingly referring to torrent sites or something?)
      I’ll continue to use Steam despite knowing they can remove my access to all of the games I “bought” from them, but people should be aware of the possibility and make their own minds up.
      @Hoaxfish: it’s actually “being unable to register the game he bought for three days” rather than “a wholesale ban of every game”, although I think everyone here would agree calling EA “the devil” is pretty minor league trolling.
      Even his being unable to play the game is down to how he bought it – apparently he bought it direct from their store, which pre-associated it with his account or something. Buying it a different way would have let him make a new account and just miss out on the DLC.
      Very few people responding to the stories about this seem to have noticed the “for 72 hours” part of “banned for 72 hours”. What it comes down to is that, because of arguable overreaction by an EA forum admin, and because of the way the forums tie in to the social network, and because of the specific way this one guy bought the game, he can’t play DA2 until Monday or Tuesday.
      hardly the end of the world.
      However, I do think more people should be aware that we’re basically “renting” Steam games, and that EA and others seem to be moving towards that too. You kind of expect that from MMOs (although there are regularly outraged posts from people who have been banned from their accounts about losing “their” stuff) but you don’t expect it in single player titles.

    • Starky says:

      Care to cite some evidence for that claim Lilliput? Otherwise I’m going to call bullshit.

      I’ve never heard or read anywhere (from a reliable source – there are a few forum threads, which honestly seem like trolling) that valve has ever banned or even suspended a steam account for rude behaviour on their forum/community sites – in fact their forum uses an utterly separate account anyway.

      I’ve never heard of anyone permanently losing their Steam account for any reason – except for selling/buying them, I have read of a few accounts that got banned when it was discovered they were sold on.

      The only thing I’ve ever read (and had happen to me) is a temporary suspension in suspected cases of fraudulent activity (usually because paypal is shit), or they detect the account been used from multiple locations within short times (like someone logging into the account from London, and then 3 hours later from China – which means your account is hacked or you are sharing it.

      At worst it takes a few days and a email to Valve customer support (which is pretty shit it has to be said – valve really need to expand/improve their customer support) to fix.
      I know of people who’ve been VAC banned from source games, but that has zero effect on their ability to play games on steam, multiplayer or otherwise (except for the specific titles/engines they were banned on).

    • President Weasel says:

      I don’t know if we ever got proof of his assertions, but the assertions themselves are here: http://rockpapershotgun.com/rpsforum/topic.php?id=4177

      Also iirc there was another case of Steam banning someone due to Paypal problems and him being unable to get himself unbanned, and then someone rom the RPS staff helped him, but frankly I might be making that up.

    • dfk789 says:

      I don’t recall blizz banning/suspending the playing account for mishaps on the forum?
      Never worked like that in my case anyway. Had a forum account that was perma banned, from spamming or some other such thing, not sure how it happened, but anyway, point being, I was able to log in and play my characters as I pleased still.

    • Starky says:

      @Pres
      I read that case but frankly that guy brought it on himself, he didn’t get banned for swearing, or been a prat, or making a joke (as he tried to claim) he got banned for linking a Steam hack site, in a steam chat, with steam admin in the chat room at the time.

      So if it is true, he’s monumentally retarded, and fully earned his ban. Or it’s bullshit and he’s just making up a story for the attention (I suspect the latter).

    • Lilliput King says:

      Starky: “I read that case but frankly that guy brought it on himself, he didn’t get banned for swearing, or been a prat, or making a joke (as he tried to claim) he got banned for linking a Steam hack site, in a steam chat, with steam admin in the chat room at the time.”

      So when you said this: “I’ve never heard of anyone permanently losing their Steam account for any reason – except for selling/buying them, I have read of a few accounts that got banned when it was discovered they were sold on.”

      You were lying? Most like (and I hope) you’re just covering your tracks with this ‘deserved it’ shite. If you really think someone’s access to potentially thousands of pounds worth of games can and should be removed because of a careless remark you’re in no uncertain terms a bit of a dickbag. He broke the rules, yeah, but then, so did this fella on the Bioware forums. The rules aren’t always fair.

      And to be honest, other related shit also involving perma account bans through steam comes up all the time and is just as bad. I’m not going to give you a comprehensive list, you can do your own frickin research, but here’s a few:

      http://www.reddit.com/tb/d79n8
      http://rockpapershotgun.com/rpsforum/topic.php?id=4140

    • Deano2099 says:

      Because anyone that is ‘monumentally retarded’ deserves whatever they get right?

      Just because someone is a dick and deserves to be twatted in the face doesn’t make it okay for me to twat him in the face.

    • Starky says:

      @Lilliput, did I need to again put the caveat “from a reliable source” from the previous paragraph?

      FYI it wasn’t a “careless” remark, it was a link to a website that provides Steam hacks, a piracy website.
      So yes, I do think that is a situation he brought on himself, he earned that ban.

      How much do you want to bet that if I head over to Blizzards forums/B.net chat and start linking to Starcraft 2 hacks or World of Warcraft private servers they’ll ban my account too?
      Hell ANY company would do the same, from the smallest indie to the biggest publisher – you start linking to piracy on their official channels and they’ll ban you (and your CD key) faster than you can blink.

      He broke the rules, and this is a fair rule “link to piracy sites and we’ll ban your steam account” is pretty fucking fair in my mind – while “say bad things about us” isn’t. So I’d defend this EA guy (if what he says is true) but I’d not defend the guy who linked to a steam hacking website on a steam chat with steam admins watching.

      The reddit link you provided is an unusual and unfortunate situation, but hardly unique to steam – because paypal is fucking awful, no one should use it if they have a choice – it is constantly doing stupid things that causes all kinds of trouble – disabling accounts, cancelling payments and that kind of thing (just look at what happened with notch and Minecraft), it is massively open to fraud, theft, and other spurious activity, and many many retailers/E-tailers are highly dubious of it and a bit harsh with paypal issues.

      I’ll agree though steam is more stupid that most when it comes to paypal issues, and it is something they need to sort out – and their customer service when it happens is pretty bad (I speak from experience) but it’s not entirely their fault, they are harsh because it happens ALL the sodding time with paypal, and it will be a headache for them to deal with every time.

      I’m moderate [when it comes to steam] – they can improve, and need to improve given their size and importance in a lot of areas customer service above all – but they’re not the evil corporate bastards you try and make them out to be.

    • Wulf says:

      I don’t find that it’s done half as interesting as why it’s done.

      Valve: Promoting piracy, and PayPal fraud.
      Blizzard: Cheating, and forum hate crimes.
      EA: Saying that you don’t like Bioware’s games.

      Now that’s a chin-stroker for me. Methinks Bioware are proving to be not a good earner for EA, to levels that even I hadn’t suspected.

    • DJ Phantoon says:

      Blizzard can and will do the same thing if they feel like it. My friends that still play it say whatever GMs are on their realm forums have gone nuts and are banning a certain group of people while others who regularly use racial epithets and constantly troll get off scot free.

      Also, you can’t appeal a Blizzard ban either. You can send something in, but as you only recieve a canned response, it’s unlikely it’s even read.

    • Lilliput King says:

      Starky, Wulf: Yeah, you’ve both got a point there concerning the reasons given for removing access to games catalogues. I still think it’s a dramatic overreaction in all the cases I’ve linked to, and I don’t think any of those people deserved what they got. I reckon I’m not likely to convince anyone on that front, though, and it’s clear that this EA debacle is taking things to another level.

      “Though I don’t know why I’m bothering arguing with you, you’ve made it more than clear in this thread and others that your opinions are hardline Anti-steam.”

      This comes as a bit of a surprise, to be honest. Are you sure you haven’t got me confused with someone else?

    • Starky says:

      @Lil
      Hmm, I might have – I may be mixing you up with comments made by others – I’ll edit that bit out of my above comment, and I apologise for it.

  11. weego says:

    The legality of that in almost every region would be very unlikely to be upheld if tested. Just because a contract has a clause it doesn’t mean it can be binding if it conflicts with local laws, which I’m pretty sure this would (consumer laws).

    • Premium User Badge

      Roi Danton says:

      This. EA can write whatever they want in their contracts. That does not mean that it will be upheld in court.

    • Vayl says:

      On most European countries EULA’s are not legally binding and you can’t even begin to try to enforce a EULA on a court of law.

    • Jolly Teaparty says:

      They’re probably banking on it never going to court. Which is probably a good bet.

    • Archonsod says:

      If the game is dependent on EA online services they don’t even need a contract to remove access to that service, unless you have a contract with them where they are guaranteeing access. Buying a game doesn’t cover that.

  12. screeg says:

    Wow, indeed that was an inappropriate comment! Talk about selling souls to a devil is serious business, perhaps he should be excommunicated as well? And he was also inappropriate in his email correspondence, nothing abusive mind you, but the pure cheek of it!

    I don’t really think there’s two sides to this story. EA are being pricks. Block him from the forums for disliking your product, whatever. But blocking his access to his paid “account” (since no one apparently owns games these days), in addition to being completely unreasonable* is setting a very dangerous precedent.

    *Who gives a toss what the EULA says? It’s just bad business and just because it’s in writing doesn’t mean it would stand up in court.

    • MattM says:

      I agree, I really don’t care how rude he was on the forums. EA took his money and he is entitled to his game.

  13. OdysseusB says:

    IANAL, but this came up in my business law class:

    Even if the EULA is considered legally binding (a whole complicated issue in and of itself in the States), such an agreement would likely be considered unconscionable. Now managing to survive the costs a lawsuit with EA requires to get to court to argue that is a whole separate matter. There could likely be a class action, or we could all just boycott EA titles.

    • Mister_Bubbles says:

      I’ve seen a lot of responses around the net saying ‘That’s it – I’m not buying another EA game… after Mass Effect 3′. Heh. Which says pretty much all you need to know.

    • telpscorei says:

      Yeah, see, that’s the moral dilemma I’m facing. It’s far worse than the time I murdered the last of the rachni…

    • Mister_Bubbles says:

      Maybe this is all part of some grand meta-marketing scheme for Mass Effect 3 – REAL LIFE DECISIONS! CHOOSE YOUR LOYALTIES!

      EA is a lot like Cerberus, come to think of it. Insanely rich, of highly dubious moral character, continually betraying your expectations and infiltrating all echelons of society, yet all the while stating they want THE BEST FOR pc gaming MANKIND, and building big shiny ships, saying ‘Here; go on. We built this for you, Shep.’

    • Mattressi says:

      Yep, yet another company added to my boycott list. Soon I’m only going to be able to buy indie games…though I’m not sure if that’s really such a bad thing

  14. V. Profane says:

    The whole EA/Bioware web account thing is a nightmare. The amount of hassle I had to go through to get access to the Cerberus Network in ME2 because the printed code in my boxed copy didn’t work was enormous. And I will NEVER buy any Mickey Mouse money for DLC. Any future EA/Bioware purchases I might make will be heavily discounted Goatee editions.

  15. Medo says:

    It’s at least dubious if this clause is valid under European law. When you buy something, you have certain rights to it no matter what any EULA says. It helps the situation al lot though if you bought the game as an actual DVD, apparently the situation is not quite as simple when it comes to digital downloads. From my understanding though, you should even be able to sell games from your Steam account off to other people. Whether you could win a case in court over this is a different matter though.

  16. juandemarco says:

    Maybe, probably, I’m wrong, but this is one of the reasons why piracy is a good thing. I may retain the rights to something, but I don’t have to be a dick about it, and that’s exactly what EA is doing. It’s bulling its customers and arbitrarily deciding what they can and cannot say. I won’t go as far as saying that their kicking freedom of speech in the ass, because EA is not government, but they are indeed approaching a dangerous behaviour and since in the end I, as a customer, am BUYING their product, they should have no right whatsoever to prevent me from using it. If I piss them of on the forum, why should I be prevented to play a game that I have paid? Flip off EA, I consider that playing dirty, and thus I’ll do the same next time I’ll have the occasion.
    Sorry about my rant, I hope you get my point anyways.

  17. Tei says:

    This another reason why “permanent connection” or “remote activation requiered” are evil.
    It give power to the wrong people. Anyone but you, the owner of the game, the dude that has paid for the box, must have power about playing or not with such box.

  18. Lilliput King says:

    “And there’s no doubt that they can’t do this.”

    Hella confusin’. Tentatively suggesting this could be a typography error John.

  19. Memph says:

    That is bloody frightening. It was nothing more than an innocuous remark. A throwaway joke at EA’s expense. Boo-hoo for them. Delete/edit the post, move on.

    Put this into real-world terms and it’s like calling Comet sellouts to Sony and having Sony turn up at your door all butt-hurt to snatch up your TV and PS3 to punish you for having an opinion.
    Honestly the seemingly limitless completely one-sided ‘rules’ that get into license agreements these days is nowt short of utterly preposterous when they can effectively remove and steal back bought and paid for goods from your posession ‘at their discretion’, which is basically for whatever the hell they feel like at the time, be it right or completely over-reactively wrong.
    Seriously, does any kind of trading standard law apply to this in any way? They’re literally ending up with money for nothing from the consumer’s perspective.

    Somewhat humerously all this control freak behaviour has accomplished here is make it painfully aware to a vast number of other folk and the watchful eyes of communities like RPS, what exactly the very real risks are of purchasing a game and simply having something bad to say about it. Bioware’s forums sound like Silent sodding Hill with some delusional people’s thinking making nightmares a reality for the normal folk by desperately burning anyone not conforming for solidarity. Or something. Scary shit nonetheless.

    • Acorino says:

      I agree.

    • Axyl says:

      This truly disgusting action by EA/Bioware has done only one thing in my mind…

      Guarantee that i will pirate any and all EA/Bioware titles i feel like, until one comes along that, AFTER PLAYING IT, i feel is worth my money.

      Congratz, Corporate soul sellers…you have just pushed me (and i’m sure many others) even further away from paying for your PoSs. Yeah that’s right, i’m gonna pirate them ON PRINCIPAL because of this until it’s corrected.

      If they can be petty and spiteful, then so can we, and EA/Bioware need us a LOT more than we need them.

    • katinkabot says:

      I agree. Also, the Bioware moderators are some of the worst I’ve ever seen. Not only do I see a lot of people getting banned on those forums for seemingly bizarre reasons, they always leave the shittiest/vagueest/most un-professional responses. Even the guys on the WoW forums – who take a ridiculous amount of abuse – are surprisingly patient and even-handed(most of the time). My suggestion: Stay away from the Bioware forums. They’re terrible. Go to reddit and join the community there.

    • Davie says:

      Memph, you hit the nail on the head there. I guess companies think they can do whatever they damn well please–technically, they’re not forcing you to agree to anything, and they can easily say it’s your own fault for not reading the fine print. It’s immoral to say the least.

      And honestly? This will lead to even more piracy than the most awful DRM. When a wayward comment can get your $60 purchase instantly revoked, people are going to prefer products with no strings attached. This is going to come around and bite EA in the ass.

    • Vagrant Zero says:

      Axly I’d love to see you pirate TOR.

      No really. Go for it genius.

  20. node says:

    This would be an entirely fair move, but it puts even more pressure on the community team to be consistent, fair, and clear on what will earn you a ban.

    In this case, that hasn’t happened.

  21. georgemoshington says:

    you approached the subject of ubi-drm with considerable ire, willing to throw the full weight of your indignant rage behind your principles of the rights of the consumer.

    this, an undoubtedly greater offence, has been greeted by you with a measured, neutral tone. stating the facts as known but unwilling to let your personal convictions seep into the editorial, despite there being far more call for it. infact, the whole article is so passive and robotic that i’ve had to keep checking the url every other paragraph to be sure i’m on the right website.

    it was then that i noticed the beautiful design that ea have so kindly lacquered the background of your site with.

    • poop says:

      you think thats bad

      ” IGN: After the game is finished, do you go back through a play it again with all of the music in place?

      Zur: Sure thing. I’m actually really anxious for the game right now, so I can pop it in and start playing. I’m really looking forward to see it. I know there are a few bugs that still need to be fixed. Unlike other titles from Bioware, this [score] was kind of a rush job. EA really wanted to capitalize on the success of Origins, so the game was really being pushed hard to be released now. So I’d like to know if there are bugs, or if there’s anything we could patch or fix. [Editor's note: Zur is speaking about bugs in the score only; he had no involvement with the rest of the game's development.]“

    • Memph says:

      Neutral maybe, but the news was delivered, even if EA are paying to have DA2 plastered on the site, that makes it more respectworthy whether John resorted to toe-stamping white-knighting for the guy or not. That it is undeniably outragous didn’t really need to be hammered home by the article, we are warned, the measures are labelled ‘draconian’ and it’s now a topic being discussed further. Job done tbh.

    • georgemoshington says:

      i don’t want to live in a world where there are comparisons to be made between rps and ign, however favourable.

      although omitting such a story would have been considerably more damning, i understand it’s a victory of sorts to have this piece posted atall. but the gears of conflicted interest are visibly churning away here, unavoidably so, and it’s always an ugly thing.

      it’s the perpetual curse of gaming journalism that the only hand that will ever feed them is the one they so frequently have both cause and obligation to bite.

      given john’s character and prior moral convictions (i’ve no doubt he was the one pushing hardest to produce this article), you can almost hear the gritting teeth as your eyes pass over his leashed words.

    • Quine says:

      “We were going to give you a Wot I Think on DA:2 but due to our harsh tone in a previous article our accounts were banned before we got play the game…”

  22. Premium User Badge

    Makariel says:

    Way to go EA.

  23. The Rust Belt says:

    Whatever you say, I think he has a moral right to pirate the game and all the content he has bought access to, to have it available the same way he would have before the ban. Just for the sake of showing these guys how ridiculous they behave only because they have been pressured by EA to release a mediocre sequel earlier. ToS do not matter in light of the simple fact that he is temporarily unable to access the game he has paid for only because he criticized Bioware.

  24. John P says:

    This feels like it should be illegal, really, licence agreement or not. If you pay money for a game, the company shouldn’t be able to take it away. Sort of justifies the ‘EA devil’ accusation, funnily.

    I guess the takeaway from today’s class is to never be an active part of Bioware’s/EA’s community. The small target approach. Or don’t play their games at all, o’course.

    • Axyl says:

      yeah..

      “Have you sold your soul to the EA Devil?”

      “We’re banning you from the forums, and removing your access to your games.”

      “So…that’ll be a yes, then”

      *facepalm*

    • Archonsod says:

      Nah, the take away lesson is “don’t be a dick to someone holding you by the balls”. You’d think it’d be common sense, but then I’ve always thought the modern education system was crap.

    • Premium User Badge

      Joshua says:

      He appernetly also posted an image containing the word Douchebag, and Fucking Asshole. Which is quite strong language.

  25. Freud says:

    But imagine what customer satisfaction rates they will get when they poll their forum users in the future.

    • John P says:

      True enough. Can you imagine being part of their forum now, always ever so careful not to say a bad word about Bioware or their games for fear of being locked out of playing them? Ugh. What an icky way to build a community.

    • Premium User Badge

      oceanclub says:

      Exactly. Saying “sold your soul to the devils” is criticism, but it’s certainly not abuse. There’s no way I would now post anything even approaching criticism of EA, Bioware or their games in their forums – even asking for technical advice – for being afraid that a moderator considers my post “abuse” and I’m locked out of games. This is utterly reprehensible.

      P.

    • Zenicetus says:

      Yeah, I think this will have major lasting consequences for EA/Bioware. There is an enormous amount of “social networking” bullshit when you log into your account to check on, or purchase DLC through their web site. They’ve been making a big push for “community” as a marketing tool.

      I had other reasons not to participate in the forums there — basically just not enough time to post in every forum out there, and with Bioware games you don’t usually need a lot of user hints or technical help. But this really slams the door. I now have a solid reason to never participate in a Bioware forum.

  26. G says:

    It would be interesting to see how well these t&c’s hold up. I remember listening to something on radio 4 about someone breaking the t&c’s on a rail ticket and I seem to remember something along the lines of if the t&c’s are completely unreasonable they would not stand up in court. It would be interesting to see an expert in consumer rights law look into them.

    Also of note in that program was the suggestion that the best way to get the t&c’s simplified for rail tickets would buy your ticket at the desk and ask the person to read them to you in full.

    • Aldehyde says:

      It would be interesting to know if there is some way to read the terms of service pre-purchase.

      I can imagine there is no way to do that and if I’m right then it really is ridiculous.

      “Give us the money first THEN we can tell you what you’re allowed to do with what you just paid for.”

  27. Marshall Stele says:

    Have you sold your souls to the RPS devil?

    • Lilliput King says:

      You ever dance with the EA devil in the pale moonlight?

    • Firkragg says:

      I didn’t know Jim, Alec, John and Quintin were one Entity, this explains alot.

    • diebroken says:

      “You wouldn’t hit a guy with glasses on would you?”

    • hjd_uk says:

      “If you dance with the Devil you wait for the music to stop, y’know what I mean?”

    • Kaira- says:

      Dort wo der Tanz ist, ist der Teufel nicht weit.

  28. bokkiedog says:

    “To summarise, EA can take away your access to your purchased games at their sole discretion, and not offer any refund. That’s what you agree to when you buy an EA game”.

    If this is challenged in the UK courts, it’ll be kicked into the dustbin by even the most senile of judges. It’s so obviously an unfair and unbalanced term under consumer contract legislation that even my 15 month old daughter can tell.

  29. Recidivist says:

    Well, looks like I’m pirating EA’s games from now on. Cya EA, you money grabbing, soul stealing whores!

  30. poop says:

    I think millions of dollars in collective assets would vanish if valve did this with people being too critical on the steam forums

  31. Furius says:

    The can’t get EA (away) with this. no, doesn’t work.

  32. ceebux says:

    I’m confused – was he permanently banned from accessing all of his games, or after the 72 hours is up, can he play them all again?

    • Lilliput King says:

      The latter. Although I guess all the brouhaha is about the notion of permanent bans, which seem to be well within EA’s power.

    • Premium User Badge

      phlebas says:

      He can play them all again after the 72 hours is up – that’s this specific case. The fact remains that there’s nothing in the terms guaranteeing they won’t lock someone out permanently for reasons they won’t even be obliged to disclose.

  33. Mephisto says:

    Having read the Bioware forums for a while leading up to the DA2 release, it seems the mod in that thread gets paid per lock. A clown.

  34. Premium User Badge

    TheApologist says:

    I feel like this article is being pretty generous to EA in saying that the user behaved inappropriately. He is their customer, a regular customer who they should value, and he is giving them feedback that they should value. He was clearly not being abusive but is expressing a view – I would infer a view about the percieved direction of Bioware’s game design or similar.
    That EA/Bioware can do this is not surprising, it seems to me. Rather I’d say the issue here is simply that EA are treating a paying customer apallingly badly. My response will be to never post on their forums, and to consider carefully whether or not to buy a game from a company that would behave like this.

    Having said the article feels generous to EA, I am glad to hear RPS gearing up to tackle this whole issue of bans and the restrictions companies can place on users access to services they have already paid for.

    • Lilliput King says:

      Well, the user was saying he had behaved inappropriately. In that context, RPS reproducing his statement doesn’t seem out of order.

    • Premium User Badge

      TheApologist says:

      Except that the user in order to say anything at all may have felt the need to appear contrite so as to avoid getting banned again and his comment removed.
      Moreover, the users feelings about their own words subsequent to their punishment, though important, don’t necessarily effect our judgment about how he should have been treated

  35. Kdansky says:

    Unrelated: Apparently Switzerland is part of the USA. I bought DA2 yesterday (sick at home, you could call it an impulse buy) and have been playing for quite a while now. It’s decent, though I am bothered by my party being all just, righteous and friendly when they wade through literally hundreds of human enemies which they gruesomely hack to pieces over small disagreements.

    And why are there forty guards in the cellar, and why can the teleport behind me during cutscenes?

    • Zenicetus says:

      “And why are there forty guards in the cellar, and why can they teleport behind me during cutscenes?”

      It’s only fair. If the Rogue in your party gets to teleport for every backstab, then they get to teleport too.

  36. vinhnt says:

    what is this ???
    EA can’t do this shit , it’s unbareable &unbelieveable
    i’ll never buy any games from EA and bioware
    i’ll play crack

  37. vinhnt says:

    what is this ???
    EA can’t do this sh*t , it’s unbareable &unbelieveable
    i’ll never buy any games from EA and bioware
    i’ll play crack

  38. StingingVelvet says:

    Pretty heinous.

    Still, on an open platform like the PC I don’t worry much about DRM or this kind of thing. Try and take my games away and I will just find DRM-free versions to run, no sweat off my back. I would never support DRM on a closed platform though, like Onlive or even Xbox Live.

    • Premium User Badge

      Diziet Sma says:

      You don’t really need to, XBox & XBox Live are DRM. A form of DRM I have no problem with, I own the game and I can play it. I don’t own the game and well…. I can’t.

    • StingingVelvet says:

      There are ways to get screwed out of Xbox content though, from a ban of your account to them shutting the service down someday. They already shut down the service for the original Xbox. Even patches require signing-in to an Xbox Live account, meaning even disc games might suffer from an eventual shutdown.

      Say what you will about PC DRM but at least the nature of the platform makes all of it completely irrelevant.

    • Wulf says:

      Replies like the one above (about the 360) surprise me, quite a lot, to be honest.

      There are a few facts that I think are often glazed over by people.

      1.) It’s fairly easy to get your 360 cracked, not Wii easy, but still easy.
      2.) It’s easier to pirate 360 games than it is PC games (no cracks).
      3.) It’s a completely risk-free sin, in that there aren’t any dodgy torrents/cracks you have to watch out for.

      It seems though that the 360 piracy scene has been successful in convincing people that the 360 is an impenetrable fortress. Good job, chaps, I suppose.

      Sarcasm, yes, as this really annoys me. My 360 is packed away and I have no interest in the bloody thing, but a bit of reading shows me that the above three points are entirely true. Do the research for yourself. So you can easily play games that you don’t own on a 360. Far, far, far more easily than on a PC once you’re past the first and only hurdle.

  39. db1331 says:

    What would happen to this kid if he called his credit card company (assuming he didn’t pay cash) and had them cancel the DA2 charge?

    • Memph says:

      If you do that with Steam it’ll earn you an account ban, forever.
      If he bought it from the EA store i’d assume pretty much the same would happen to his EA account.

  40. mmalove says:

    I want to see people start winning piracy/copyright suits based on events like this. I couldn’t find a better example of someone who I think has every right to download EAs game so that he can continue to play with the game he purchased.

    • Iskariot says:

      I agree completely. In his shoes, I would immediately download a DRM free copy of the game. And I would never pay for EA/ Bioware software again.

    • Archonsod says:

      Assuming he already has the game on his system it’s questionable whether they could sue him solely for downloading a crack in the first place.
      The law gets a bit fuzzy with it. Technically, what you do with data on your system is your own concern, so long as you don’t infringe any IP laws while doing so. He could in fact reverse engineer the game himself, port it to Linux and remove the online components; unless he tries to distribute it he’s not breaking any laws.

  41. Nikolaj says:

    This is disgusting. Let’s chalk up another win for the pirates.

  42. Iskariot says:

    If someone misbehaves on a forum, EA/Bioware should act on it with regards to privileges on that forum. It is ridiculous to prevent someone from playing a game he owns and paid for.

    This is a disconcerting view into EA/Bioware’s mindset as a company. In my mind this is even worse than the Ubisoft DRM debacle.

    I won’t be buying Dragon Age 2 anyway. I was very disappointed by the first one. And I was also very disappointed by Bioware’s abuse of DLC for Mass Effect 2. So I won’t be buying Mass Effect 3 until they release it in its complete form either.

  43. Premium User Badge

    Daiv says:

    Challenge everything.

  44. Acefrog says:

    Ha, and you wonder why people pirate games?

    If I wanted to express my opinion on a game forum which would causes me to get locked out of a game I purchased I would be pissed.

    A multiplayer game where you can interact with others like a MMO and you are outright trolling and being a dick fine, but for a singleplayer game? Hell no.

    Just watch the torrents, the amount of leechers is going to double lol

  45. Dubbill says:

    Seems more likely that the user in question was banned for posting this: http://social.bioware.com/forum/1/topic/141/index/P/12#6429619 which is a nice, clear breach of the TOS.

    • mondomau says:

      Ok, but what the fuck has that got to do with his right to play a game he purchased? Ban him from the forum, ban him from every EA/Bioware forum from now until the end of time, being an obnoxious troll does not justify revoking his access to a service/product/whatever that is utterly seperate from the boards and that he paid for. End of.

    • Dubbill says:

      I’m more interested in how accurate the article is and why it’s deserving of a RPS’s attention. It’s a pretty good post when it sounds like Arno has been stepped on for expressing a pretty benign opinion in the form of a question. It’s less attention grabbing in the form of “Dick acts like a dick. Just desserts ensue”. What about all the users who lose access to their games for racism, homophobia, etc? Will they get their own article? Will the comments thread be full of sympathy?

    • Hoaxfish says:

      what ToS does that break?

      On EA Live Chat they told me that that I said: “Have you sold your souls to the EA devil?” is what he said he was told was the reason. I would assume an accumulation of bad behaviour might get him a ban… but that it would be explained as such, rather than an apparent single instance.

      Without context that picture looks like a joke about MA/DA’s dialog/alignment system.. and the 1st page of that thread has two huge spambot adverts. Bit of a mess really.

    • Axyl says:

      What about all the users who lose access to their games for racism, homophobia, etc? Will they get their own article? Will the comments thread be full of sympathy?

      No. Fuck those people.
      In fact, fuck you too.

      Did you REALLY just compare someone (rightly so) accusing EA or Bioware of being corporate shills doing wrong by their customers… to racism and homophobia?

      So..Hitler should have sympathy for the entire world wanting him dead at one point? Cos that’s what you’re basically getting at.

      EA are a massive corporation with a rather heafy history of being Dicks about it.
      Racism and Homophobia are wrong on every moral and social level.

      There’s a MASSIVE difference. Racism and Homophobia have caused world wars.
      Calling a dick a dick, does not. Hence, no…Racists and Homophobes would not and should not get sympathy. They should be set on fire.

    • Dubbill says:

      @ Hoaxfish: the TOS linked on the Bioware forums. The aggrieved party says was banned for that comment. Meanwhile on the forum there is an image macro he posted including the words “fucking asshole”: a much more credible reason for him being banned. Maybe either Arno is lying (!) or the EA bod got it wrong.

    • Hoaxfish says:

      Sorry, I meant which specific rule in the ToS, not which ToS in general.

      The nearest I can see is “Disrupt the flow of chat in chat rooms with vulgar language”… but the image doesn’t seem to be disrupting anything, even if it does contain vulgar language.

      And the game itself contains such words too (an expectation that “mature” language might appear on the forums for a game which is “mature”)… though, of course, many companies separate “their language” from those of their games, and those of their customers.

    • neolith says:

      Homophobia caused world wars?

    • Deano2099 says:

      “What about all the users who lose access to their games for racism, homophobia, etc? Will they get their own article? Will the comments thread be full of sympathy?”

      I’d hope so.

      Racists and homophobes should be able to play games too. Sorry if that’s not a popular position but I support the rights of dicks just as much as I do those of lovely people.

      By al means, ban them from the forums for saying that sort of thing, but don’t stop them playing games that they bought. It’s got nothing to do with it.

      And on a wider note, where do we end this? I mean we can do it with games now, but what about in 20 years when TV, film, books and so on are all delivered digitally in the same way. Yeah, what we need to do is cut off racists and homophobes from all of culture, that’ll show them how wrong they are. Dragon Age has gay characters in it, we should be encouraging homophobes to play it!

  46. Eightball says:

    These kind of shenanigans are why I hate tying games I purchased to an email-based account. Well that and I usually forget the account password and which email I used to create the account with.

    I really don’t want to make any new accounts because I have a steam account. And say what you will about it, it gives me a lot more service than an EA forum account. With less orwellian forum moderation to boot.

  47. Spliter says:

    Well I guess it just means I won’t be buying their games doesn’t it?
    Freedom of speech and opinion aside, I think that a company having total and absolute power over something you bought is a complete bullshit.

  48. pkt-zer0 says:

    Doesn’t Ubisoft’s DRM do the same thing? I remember being a bit surprised that my forum account worked for the Settlers 7 demo as well, so the accounts are indeed linked. The question is if the bans are separate.

  49. thebluemonkey says:

    Well there’s a reason to avoid developer hosted communities.
    Nice one EA.