EA Retracts Game Ban For Forum Violation

By John Walker on March 11th, 2011 at 10:46 pm.

Maybe not so much then.

Wow, well here’s a crazy update. After being repeatedly told that he was intentionally locked out of his EA games because he broke the rules on the BioWare forum, and that this was in accordance to the Terms Of Service that he’d agreed to, this morning’s internet famous man, Arno, has just been told that it was in fact a mistake.

He received an email from EA’s Senior Director of Customer Support, Boyd Beasley, explaining that his “inappropriate language” meant he had received a 72 hour ban from the BioWare Social Network, but that,

“Unfortunately, there was an error in the system that accidentally suspended your entire EA account. Immediately upon learning of the glitch, we have restored the entire account and apologize for the inconvenience this may have caused while accessing other areas of the EA service.”

So there you go then. A strange one indeed, after he was told by both EA’s live support, and the moderator who locked the thread discussing the matter (who declined to speak to us), the opposite. But good news for Arno, who can finally play the game he’s paid for.

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151 Comments »

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  1. bill says:

    Do steam ban people for forum postings? Because the amount of power they have over your games is a little frighting. But then so are steam forums…

    GOG on the other hand has the same problem in reverse. Forum accounts are tied to games, so they WON’T ban anyone from the forums, no matter how annoying they are.

    • Wulf says:

      Steam forum accounts aren’t linked to Steam game accounts.

      In other words? Never happens.

      If someone gets banned on Steam, it’s either due to attempted fraud (or something that looks very much like it), or cheating in games that are VAC protected.

    • LionsPhil says:

      Pedantically, you mean being considered to cheat by automated software which Valve pretend is infalliable and as such offer no appeals process against.

    • Lilliput King says:

      Wulf: Given that steam has this whole community side to it, and that people have had their access removed from their games because of their actions in that community side, that’s not strictly true.

  2. jplayer01 says:

    Even if this was a legit bug, it doesn’t change the fact that they have the power to lock you out of your own game which is simply absurd. Still not buying. :/

  3. Arglebargle says:

    I loved reading this story and comments while the Dragon Age II banner ad flounced around in the frame. Irony-ation!! EA has been the Devil before. They moved away a bit, for awhile. I think. But my friends who worked at Origins still spit on the floor when their name is mentioned. My friends who worked at Maxis spit on the floor when their name is mentioned. The direct EA ex-employees I know …. etc.

    In addition to the general EA disdain, DA2 really sounds like it’s deserving of the $5 bin. For me, anyway. And if SWTOR is being run (into the ground) in a similiar fashion….?
    I must talk to my local moles and see what the current insider poop is, behind the pasted on smiles.

  4. mbp says:

    So a the little man finally gets a bit of justice from the big bad machine thanks to the power of the “Internet Shit_storm”.

    I can’t help wondering if this is typical though. Is Arno just an exception who was persistent enough not to let the injustice drop and lucky enough to have it picked up by news sites and blogs or is this option of “trial by internet” available to every one of us?

    In my experience it is very hard to make anything stand out enough from the crowd of the internet to get it noticed by anybody. I suspect that for every Jeff Inlo who does actually get his mistreatment broadcast to the world there are hundred’s of others who suffer anonymously.

  5. Maade says:

    Oh well, I have already canceled my Crysis 2 pre-order. EA has never been a good company, and it seems it never has actually cared for it’s customers (Remember late 1990 or early 2000? Yeah, they were a bitch back then too). This was it for me. I have taken the poor customer service, the crappy DRM and all, but this did it. Even though they restored he’s access to the games, they still had the change to lock him out from play the games for good.

    The games he paid money for. And that’s, my friends, the new kind of bullshit. Bow down to them now and not being able to buy and play used games on your XBOX360 and PS3 is the least of your problems. I know nobody cares, since all (Or at least most of you) are morons who haven’t seen how the gaming business has evolved into some kind of alien larva, that eats your internal organs and when there is nothing left, bursts out of your chest. I am more horrified that people seem to accept that as an “Well that’s okay for me” thing, than I am with the company doing it.

    • _nderscore says:

      Addressing your last remarks:
      VALVe.

    • yourgrandma says:

      Most games you can get on steam for extremely cheap if your willing to wait… so the whole used game factor isn’t a big deal on steam. EA is pretty much the the exact opposite of valve. They make horrible business decisions and stop supporting their games almost immediately and sometimes shutting down multiplayer servers within a year.

  6. manveruppd says:

    Isn’t anybody else concerned by this attitude? It’s just one of the implications of the licensing model the games industry works in, whereby all you own is a license to use the software, not the software itself, and it can be revoked at any time.

    Not saying the guy shouldn’t have gotten suspended from the forums, but reneging on a contract of sale simply because of some obscure term in the EULA (which is probably unenforceable in court anyway, not that some punter could afford to sue EA) is disgraceful! And not a little scary! Why should ANY corporation have the right to monitor the behaviour of its customers?

  7. _nderscore says:

    I still don’t see why people think this speaks so terribly about Bioware. Miscommunications are a funny thing, and if you’re not willing to accept it it’s impossible to explain how it was just a series of miscommunications.
    You could just go “No.” for half an hour, and I couldn’t find a way to detest that. Mainly because of how peoples’ words can be taken for whatever the reader is. The foundation of poetry is the reader had just as much in making it than the writer.

    Thing is, even if all of EA felt too lazy to actually check something, but it created some chaos, they weren’t looking for trouble. They weren’t intentionally manipulating people, and holding a veil over their eyes leading them to a quarry and calling it the Grand Canyon. What I’m saying is, they’re White words, not Red/Blue ones.

  8. DaFishes says:

    So, this is all par for the course for BioWare, sadly. I say that as a fan of BioWare games. The purported BioWare community manager, Chris Priestly, only ever shows up to deliver marketing news or to close threads that are uncomplimentary to BioWare’s games.

    The real forum moderators are volunteers–people the BioWare folks have decided they can trust. A friend of mine PMed an actual BioWare employee, Stanley Woo, asking if this meant the volunteer forum moderators could see her personal info, such as email address. (This was before we knew Stanley Woo got into that mess about race on the forums and on his personal blog, so we didn’t know better than to ask him.) He came back with a wall of text about how the moderators could do whatever she wanted if she disobeyed the Terms of Service. It took about five back-and-forths for her to get her simple question answered, and the answer was “probably.” So she changed her BW email to a dummy account she uses for spam.

    ANYWAY. It doesn’t surprise me at all that this happened, and that the BioWare staff and moderators have no idea how to handle the situation. I’d have been pleasantly surprised if it had been handled with any grace at all.

  9. Burlypenguin says:

    I am wondering when game publishers will realize it is not good business to penalize your paying customers. So here we have someone “troll” a message board. So they get banned from the board, but as an extra helping of contempt for their paying customers, you are also banned from our products because you gave us money. Smooth. I suspect this would be fixed right after customers exert their right not to buy a product. I can only hope that would happen though. Look if you really want to get back at EA, fax them a copy of a cancelled preorder or even better, fax them a copy of a purchased used game. Saying that you are only going to pirate the game is justification for DRM.

  10. Deano2099 says:

    Whether it was a legit mistake or not is utterly irrelevant.

    The fact that the mechanisms exist to ban someone like that at all is the problem. It’s a power that EA/Bioware would never have any legitimate reason to use. Ever. That they spent time and money on developing that function is hugely unsettling.

    It doesn’t matter what the guy did. If he threatens to kill Bioware’s CEO on the forum, report him to the cops. If he pirated the game, prosecute him. If he used a stolen credit card, again, report him to the police.

    The systems needed to deal with any possible circumstances already exist. There is no need for a kill-switch ever. None. End of.

    • Offspring says:

      Deano2099, you’re correct. That’s the reason why I personally tested that the kill-switch didn’t exist, and somehow it became reactivated. It was a bug, a very serious bug. This should have never been the behavior in the first place, but unfortunately before I joined the company it was the decision that was made. This should have never happened, but unfortunately it did.

      Call it a bug, a glitch, a mistake, whatever you want, but it shouldn’t have happened and while the guy in question was unbanned (he only had a short ban anyway), he helped in finding the bug and we’re in the process of fixing said bug.

  11. v_ware says:

    http://social.bioware.com/forum/1/topic/141/index/6503413/1

    It has happened again.

    Inappropriate behaviour on forum, banned from accesing game.

    • bascule42 says:

      But not from the forum it seems. You have to wonder if they are making a few more “mistakes” just to prove the point that “mistakes” do happen. Either way, Bioware is in the red when it comes to Kudos at the mo. The hlaycon days of Bioware are gone. They are without a doubt fully paid up members of the Evil empire of EA, and nothing will change that. Your hear that EA, I said EVIL. EVIL I tell’s yer. Ban me? What’s that you don’t know my EA acocunt name? Hah! Evil I said, and Evil I meant.

      I wonder if this blatent demigogueism will prevail on the ToR forums, or indeed in game, (when ever it come out), if someone states, for example, “The Sith are big bunch of muppets”, or “Jedi’s hang on thier mothers aprons – and it’s all Bioware’s fault”.

      Even pre-release, the last remnants of The Old Republic have been swept away. “But how will EA/Bioware keep the fan base in line”? Stanly Woo now has direct power over the fans. Fear will keep them in line. Fear of permenant EA account bans.

  12. Nimic says:

    Edit: Wrong article!

  13. RegisteredUser says:

    It should boggle anyone’s mind that they COULD however legally and ad infinitum ban you from using the very product you paid for in full, essentially making your purchase an unwilling “donation” to them that way. Say, just for what you write/post in a moment of raaaaaaaaaaage.

    It should also cause everyone who has ever bought a game to kneel down and thank the cracking/scene gods, as they would then be the only ones that enable the paying customer to continue using his legally purchased and paid for product..

  14. ObstetricMalachi says:

    Looks like now EA is issuing perma-bans from Origin, cutting off any access to games at all, using their content filter on BF3’s battlelog forums….

    …even if you quoted someone, or if someone quotes you and curses in their post.

    http://www.escapistmagazine.com/forums/read/9.328868-EA-now-issuing-permanant-Origin-bans-through-content-filter

    This quote is GOLD:

    “Angad: Please note that your account has been permanently terminated from the Electronic Arts Online service for violating the terms of services. The account will no longer be accessible in any way, and all property, items, and characters associated currently are or will soon be deleted.
    Angad: Is there anything else I can do for you?”

  15. ObstetricMalachi says:

    http://www.escapistmagazine.com/forums/read/9.328868-EA-now-issuing-permanant-Origin-bans-through-content-filter?page=2

    update, looks like if you get a BF3 suspension, you’re suspended from Bad Company 2 as well! Smooth.

  16. gayylalgli says:

    seo service
    Last I checked their DRM isn’t even good enough to keep their stuff from getting pirated within the first week of it getting released. One would think that they would want to avoid promoting piracy of their product as opposed to doing the opposite by doing idiotic stuff like this. Yea instead of posting it on EA forums just come here and post it. If your post violates SimHQ standards of civilized behavior then you’ll get a warning from 20mm. I’m sure that EA games has their booth at E3 and while some may not agree with some of their practices they are a big part of the gaming community.