EA’s Reply On Origin “Entitlement” Deletion

By Jim Rossignol on August 4th, 2011 at 12:12 pm.


We’ve had word back from EA regarding their peculiarly-worded terms of service for Origin. Senior director of corporate communications John Reseburg explains: “The Origin terms of service are designed to protect against misuse of the Origin system. No Origin user who has paid entitlements and/or downloaded games will have their account cancelled or games expired due to extended non-use. The term regarding account cancellation for non-use is designed to guard against creation of non-active accounts for inappropriate reasons.”

So that’s good. As long as you weren’t intending to create non-active accounts for inappropriate reasons, anyway.

, .

111 Comments »

  1. FakeAssName says:

    what counts as “inappropriate”?

    • crazydane says:

      Trying to download games that you have paid for? :D

    • FakeAssName says:

      but I thought that everyone had already declared that they would pirate all EA products for infinity.

    • Premium User Badge

      FhnuZoag says:

      From the wording of this response, then, they seem to be worried about spammers or etc farming Origin accounts for free account creation perks. I agree that if this was the intention, the term is poorly phrased and should be changed,

    • Anton says:

      Its basically just a legal stipulation for them to have a way out just in case they need to delete somebody’s account for whatever vague reason. It’s not a rule that is actively implemented for all users.

      But still, if they go personal on you, you got no defense against that, so as a user I feel a bit naked.

    • hosndosn says:

      Oh, how I love this: “We just write in there that we can nuke your account if we want to. BUT DON’T WORRY, WE WON’T DO THAT IF YOU PLAY NICE!”

      The best of TOS.

    • briktal says:

      @hosndosn Are you talking about Steam or Origin?

    • ScubaMonster says:

      Well they’re going to be publishing The Old Republic, so I’m sure gold farmers are one of these people targeted.

    • Premium User Badge

      Thermal Ions says:

      It’s probably a moot point whether it’s in there now or not. There’s likely a clause that lets them change the T&C either at their leisure or with 30 days notice – thus at any point they could in reality decide to nuke people’s inactive free or paid account, and you’d have no recourse regardless of what John Reseburg says today.

      Basically if you’re still concerned enough for it to stop you using Origin*, then you’d have to be questioning quite a lot of other licence terms for games you “own”.

      *Not to infer there aren’t a host of other reasons good enough to stop you using Origin.

  2. Frozen Radiator says:

    If this is true, then someone at EA did an EXTREMELY poor job of wording their TOS.

    • MadTinkerer says:

      Well this could just be the difference between Legal and English. Something written in Legal doesn’t always translate well into English.

      The real reason they make you go to school for years before letting you become a lawyer is so that you can read and write a second language which resembles your own but has a ton of varying vocabulary and grammar. I’m only slightly joking about this.

    • mouton says:

      It was obvious to me from the start that this was simply some lawyer-service clause to cover their backside somehow.

      Still, EA PR people should have reacted earlier to clarify the matter, Steam-4-life crowd and more general EA hatorz have been raging about it for a week or so.

    • Josh04 says:

      @mouton it is to cover their ass, but it handily covers their ass in non-benign cases too. No, I don’t want to sign away the right to take shit I bought off me just because EA are ‘worried about account farming’. As ever, I shall vote with my wallet.

    • meatshit says:

      Are you people actually buying into what this PR guy has to say? Let me remind you what the clause in question actually says:

      “If you have not used your Entitlements or Account for twenty four (24) months or more and your Account has associated Entitlements, your Entitlements will expire and your Account may be cancelled for non-use. Once you have redeemed your Entitlements, that content is not returnable, exchangeable, or refundable for other Entitlements or for cash, or other goods or services.”

      He’s spewing pure, unadulterated bullshit.

    • Rii says:

      “Are you people actually buying into what this guy has to say?”

      He’s saying that the EULA is full of shit. Which isn’t exactly news to anyone.

    • WPUN says:

      Please enlighten me. When has EA ever written a good ToS?

      And said elsewhere: They can still cancel your account after two years if it was made with bad intentions or not.

    • jalf says:

      @mouton it is to cover their ass, but it handily covers their ass in non-benign cases too. No, I don’t want to sign away the right to take shit I bought off me just because EA are ‘worried about account farming’. As ever, I shall vote with my wallet.

      So you don’t buy from Steam either, then? You signed away the right to take shit you bought off you when you created your Steam account.

    • gwathdring says:

      Technically my right to use Steam, Origin, and some parts of Microsoft windows is subject to termination at any time, without reason. Technically I am voiding my rights as a consumer by opening up certain files in Windows to look at the code–both from warranty and TOS stand-points.

      The fact that Steam and Origin can also terminate services 24 months from now for relatively specific reason really doesn’t bother me. Either EULAs are complete legal nonsense, or I’m screwed from the beginning because they’ve already reserved the right to terminate services at any time even if I don’t violate the ToS. And even that is mostly so that if they get bought out or otherwise lose control for some reason other than filing for bankruptcy, they or whoever is newly in control of Steam isn’t beholden to obligations they may not be able to fulfill. Which really sucks for customers, but that’s what we as a society get for not making more of an effort to consider virtual items more legally similar to physical ones.

    • atticus says:

      As a PC gamer I actually feel quite relaxed when it comes to this kind of stuff, TOS’es and EULA’s and whatnot. Just look at the kind of responses these controversies generate, even before something actually has happened. If someone got their account deleted/game removed for no good reason (“good” being defined by the majority of gamers), and the response from the company responsible was basically “Read the TOS, FU!”, they would soon have a storm on their hands.

      Forums would seethe with rage, manipulated pictures with inappropriate content would circulate, John Walker would write a brilliant article about it – millions worth of negative PR in no time.

      The big companies may write themselves the right to do whatever and make us sign it to play their games, but I feel confident that the gaming community has enough people and rage to keep them from doing anything outright evil.

  3. Corrupt_Tiki says:

    Another case of people overreacting majorly, I mean come on! Surely by now you have all figured out the world is run/ruined by lawyers.

    Steam was and is the same, I’m sorry, that’s the way it is.

    • Frozen Radiator says:

      Yeah, but Valve can do no wrong.

      Right?

    • Nick says:

      Even if Valve were evil overlords who suckled at Satans teat, it wouldn’t make EA any less shite.

    • Blowshock says:

      As in many cases, I think it’s helpful to remind ourselves there is no one group deserving to be blamed/demonized. Lawyers can frustrate with their convoluted protections and manipulations, but isn’t it true that many of them are expected to safeguard against extensive and ludicrous contingencies because of frivolous lawsuits and a hastily litigious society?

    • pepper says:

      That may be so, but they themselves have created those conditions in society.

      Anyway, Valve isnt any better in this case, but that doesnt mean I want another service with the same silly terms. As soon as someone creates this in a sane and normal manner I will switch. Right now it appears that wont be EA(how unexpected).

    • Tony M says:

      I recommend you imagine Blowshocks post being said by a Monty Python peasant as he is beaten by an angry Knight.

    • pepper says:

      Hehe, now you made me chuckle a bit. Delightful!

    • PetiteGreve says:

      Wot Tony M said made me delurk :D (the Ubisoft phallus ballet “Nut Cracker” almost got me last time though)

      (pardon my english, I learned that language on TIE Fighter and X-Wing in 1995)

      I am a law student so I’m entitled to make naive and inaccurate comments on law-related subjects – so I find the EA explanation “too easy”.

      Politics use the same excuse (“Okay okay, it *technically* could be used to screw you over, but since we’re the good guys in the story, we won’t do that, right ?”) to pass laws criminalizing any behaviour/act/thought.
      Then they can pull the mighty card “hey it’s actually illegal, we can sue you for that !” whenever they want, like when someone get arrested/fined for jaywalking or using its horn “inappropriately”.

      We can’t trust EA anyway, why they would have changed overnight ?

    • Bursar says:

      Aye to this. Who can forget the UK anti-terror legislation used to move legitimate protesters along, and used by councils to spy on parents if they suspected they’d lied about which school catchment area they were actively living in.

      If the clause exists then it will get used, regardless of whether a PR mouthpiece says otherwise. If it’s there for the intention of stopping account abuse, then it should be reworded appropriately rather than left in it’s current state.

    • Nallen says:

      Help! I’m being repressed!

    • gwathdring says:

      Hmm. Lawyers created the situation in which legal wrangling is necessary protecting either side of these sorts of issues … ? No I’m not really seeing that. Lawyers are not responsible for a society that respects Rule of Law. That’s the fault of the people who created the legal system in it’s infancy and who helped establish the judicial system in it’s infancy. And Rule of Law is pretty damn old. Lawyers are a part of that system, not it’s architects or progenitors. We can look back to the Abrahamic religions for some of the popularization of such strictly codified society in regions dominated by those cultures, using religious texts as a combination of law book, Morality Guide for Beginners and a historical text recording broad cultural histories more so than specific events and dates. This is not the only source of the tradition by any stretch but it’s certainly a better answer than “Lawyers did it.”

      As soon as we decided to follow laws as they were written down, we required them to be written as precisely as possible. There are benefits to this and there are serious risks. I think most of us can figure out those two sides of the issue. The crux, here, is that complex and finicky legal language is a direct descendant of a clear, strict code of law. Why yes, that IS a bit of revealing paradox you see in there. In order to have clearly defined laws we have to rely on exact language which leads the way to arguments and contentions over the nature and intent of the language used.

      I certainly find it preferable to laws that are understood to be vague and flexible–then the arguments start before you’ve even entered the court-room. There’s a reason those sorts of systems tend to have powerful authoritarian figures. To have imprecise rules, you need a leader to make decisions when there are disagreements of law. Just as to have precise rules, you need third party to adjudicate disagreements of legal procedure.

    • gwathdring says:

      P.S.

      I do think something has to be done about blank-check type laws and these ridiculous EULAs, a less serious legal vagary of vague familial resemblance to those more dangerous laws seen most prominently in Anti-Terrorism legislation. Citizens who have no intention of violating the laws of society should not have to fear legal repercussions for their religious, political and cultural affiliations. I shouldn’t end up on a watchlist because I speak out against unjust laws in a peaceful manner, while people who spew hatred from the opposite side of the political spectrum barely get a raised eyebrow. If I made their comments from where I stand politically, I wouldn’t last an instant. Socially, there is little to be done for that. We can only wait and teach and hope. But when it comes time to write the laws of our nations, there is no excuse for such prejudices.

      In western democracies, we the people constitute our own governance. Unfortunately we are too infrequently and insubstantially educated to take proper responsibility for that governance. And when we are called upon to stand up for ourselves when our failures and the risks they pose us are laid bare … we prefer, as a body, indifference. We prefer, as a body, mistrust of one-another or the ephemeral shadowy beast we call the Government.

      I guess it’s sort of trading freedom from injustice for freedom from responsibility. And I’m glad, here at least, there are people educated enough to understand those trade-offs well and be wary of, or angered by them.

  4. Nick says:

    Just like they won’t ban game access for forum abuse.

    • mouton says:

      Yes, repeat infinitely one occurrence that was quickly rectified and, very likely, a honest if stupid mistake until it becomes “an obvious truth”.

      A lot of people had their Steam accounts banned for stupid or random reasons, just to be re-enabled in a week or two later. Not to mention the fact that Valve states in their SSA that if you “negatively affect the enjoyment of Steam by other Subscribers” – troll the forums perhaps? – they can banzor your account as they like. So please.

    • Premium User Badge

      Malibu Stacey says:

      Steam accounts are not linked to Steam forum accounts. I have never had a Steam forum account & have no intention of ever creating one but I’ve had a Steam account since it’s release when it replaced WON & was mandatory to play mutiplayer HL1 mods.

    • Pointless Puppies says:

      @mouton:

      And Steam comes into this conversation…how?

      This is such a strange pattern. People criticize Origin for whatever reason and some strange niche of people always march in and start bellowing in parallel at Valve/Steam. If you want to defend Origin, do so by pointing out its merits, not by dragging in a competing service into the conversation for no reason and trying to squeeze out some wrongdoing that THAT service does instead.

    • Kaira- says:

      Wasn’t that more of a case of BioWare screwing things up by forcing online-connection for DLC, which happens to be tied to your forum account or something like that?

    • gwathdring says:

      @Pointless Puppies

      It’s not that difficult to figure out. They are similarly restrictive download services, operated by game-developing companies and selling both first and third party games. They have a lot of similarities, except that Valve seems to have a better sense of corporate responsibility and has worked very hard to establish good-will with customers and as such doesn’t make people very upset about its even more arbitrary rights to revoke customer account services while EA, with less devastating language, manages to create an enormous amount of distrust and uproar.

      The reaction people have to Origin is understandable, because the companies treat their customers so differently. But anyone who takes a stronger stance towards EULAs is going to be frustrated by how willing gamers are to vote with their purchases for similar language used by other digital distributer, regardless of how friendly those companies are for the time being. It’s perfectly fair to claim EA is more likely to make use of such language. It’s perfectly fair to be upset with EA’s terms of service. I certainly prefer other download options and don’t plan on using Origin often if at all. But for my time I’d sooner have a discussion about ToS and EULAs in general as one about Origin and only Origin.

      But as this is a comment forum and not a structured debate tournament, mentioning Valve’s similar ToS and such issues is perfectly reasonable and note that funny a pattern at all. It’s relevant. It’s analogous. It’s fair game.

  5. Magnetude says:

    If you scroll down so only a small section of the picture can be seen, the circles right under the ‘O’ logo make a sad face.

  6. oxymelum says:

    They can say whatever they want, if it says it like that in the TOS they can cancel your account after two years if it was made with bad intentions or not.

    • Johnny Lizard says:

      Even if that wasn’t in the terms of service, in reality you wouldn’t have any more redress if they deleted your account anyway.

    • oxymelum says:

      I was once shown a rental contract for an apartment that said that the owner could at any time make me pay a random sum. I asked them about this and they said, oh that won’t be a problem, it’s just so we can charge the renters when something in the hallway or so gets broken. They found it very strange that I refused to sign this contract.
      It pains me that some people would just say “Oh, that’s okay then, let me just sign this right here.”.

  7. hjarg says:

    So, creation of inappropriate non-active accounts? With bad intentions?
    Basically who in a world would create evil not really active accounts and add some game entitlements or whatever that was called to it? Evul accounts don’t come with games!

    • Dawngreeter says:

      It’s probably one of those things where periodically accounts will receive free stuff for their birthday or some such. So you can create a hundred and a couple years later sell each for like 10 United Statesian Money Units.

      Or, y’know. Not.

  8. Tei says:

    If the representative disagree with the TOS. Can the TOS be updated to reflex the new politic, please?

    • MiniMatt says:

      Precisely this – the statement above is not compatible with the TOS. Now in the grand scheme of things this isn’t of earth shattering importance, it’s not like the contract says “EA have rights to your first born” and then a rep saying “oh no, we’d never actually do that”. But, accepting the vast exageration, the point is the same – you’re requested to “sign” a contract in accepting that EULA and that means you agree to abide by and be held to the terms within that contract – not what some rep might say down the line.

      The contract states “If there is any conflict between the Terms of Service and any other rules or instructions posted on an EA Service, EA shall resolve the conflict in its sole discretion.” – I’d suggest that the above quote from the Director would constitute conflicting instructions, and the line allows them to resolve that at their sole discretion – ie. ignore the Director’s quote (who may well be long gone by the time they want to enforce this) and refer to the wording of the terms which constitute (according to said terms) a “legally binding contract between you and EA”.

      Now like I say, in practice it’s almost certain that this course of action won’t happen or will happen to a couple of people who get it sorted within a week or two after The Internet makes a fuss. And there are certainly similarly draconic terms in many other contracts (including Steam). I’m merely making the point that when someone says “sign this, it’s legally binding, but don’t worry we don’t actually mean to do that” then ignore entirely what the multi-gazzilion dollar mega corp says and concentrate on what is written in the legally binding contract.

    • Simon Hawthorne says:

      The problem is that this clause shouldn’t be judged on how much you trust EA. It should be judged on how much you trust an unknown company who, in five years time, buys out EA and looks to reduce costs by terminating accounts.

      Even both of the people who trust EA should be wary about what happens when EA gets bought out by a less scrupulous company.

    • Tony M says:

      I think Tie should write all terms of service. Hes easier to understand than a lawyer.

  9. Milky1985 says:

    “The term regarding account cancellation for non-use is designed to guard against creation of non-active accounts for inappropriate reasons.”

    Really , is this the real reason? I mean i’m not a lawyer but the terms below seem to give you that right WITHOUT THE NEED FOR ANOTHER CLAUSE

    “9. Termination of EA Services, Accounts and Entitlements

    EA may terminate access to any PC or mobile products and/or EA Services at any time by giving you notice of such termination within the time period specified when you joined the particular EA Service, or if no time period for notice of termination was specified, then within thirty (30) days of the date such notice is posted on the applicable product or EA Service or on http://www.ea.com/2/service-updates.

    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. ”

    Basically if its being used for an inapproiate reason , it will be against your TOS anyway and so can be kuicked out via this.

    So since that argument has been shoved to the wayside and shown to be BS.

    Why do you really want this extra clause in your contract ?

    • Simon Hawthorne says:

      Good point – They’ve included this because their power in the clause you mention relies on the term ‘inappropriate’. If they cancelled your account, you could argue that your behaviour wasn’t inappropriate, even if EA believe that it was. The additional clause is more clear cut.

      The problem with the additional clause is that it relies on an account being dormant for two years. I would assume that inappropriate use of an account wouldn’t normally include leaving an account dormant for two years (but then what do I know?).

    • PopeJamal says:

      Who knows, I’m pretty sure that they would consider you not buying anything from them in two years “dormant”, “inactive”, “inappropriate”, and any number of other things.

      I learned a long time ago that the ONLY thing that matters is what’s written on the paper. And even that can be overcome with lots of lawyers and money. I’m not a rich man, so I can’t afford “justice”. I just try to keep my head down and avoid bad contracts like this one.

  10. Jumwa says:

    I always create accounts with evil intentions to let them lay fallow for two years. I’m a long term internet griefer. /sarcasm

  11. Lemming says:

    I assume he means they’ll ban people using hacks in multiplayer and such and take their account of them. I just don’t think he’s done a very good job of saying it.

  12. sebmojo says:

    I have a piece of paper indicating that I am a lawyer, and that statement from EA is what I would call ‘bullshit’.

    They’re just saying they won’t do it unless they do it.

    If they want to prohibit a specific kind of behaviour then they should do that, anything else is lazy, mendacious drafting.

    • gwathdring says:

      But also fairly common lazy, mendacious drafting and it is unfair to pin its origins on EA–which, I recognize, you are not doing in your post.

      This is industry-wide practice. People read the EA EULA more carefully because more people distrust the company. The terms of service are not any less kind to customers than the Valve terms of service and even the EULAs for games that have no DRM methods with which to enforce them read in similarly ridiculous ways. Attack the practice all you want. It is lazy and dishonest. But EA is just one out of many.

  13. cgsinistro says:

    I still dont trust EA.

  14. Joe Duck says:

    Not with my money.

  15. mzlapq says:

    Now, after this has been cleared to everyone’s satisfaction, can you get an explanation from EA to their pricing and availability?
    Specifically:
    On Steam, the prices are in USD for me. The price for Dead Space is 50% higher than the price in the US. I don’t think any other publisher sets different prices for my region. The Crysis games are more expensive as wull.
    Also, DA:O and DA:O-A are both available for me on Steam. DA:OU is not, and both cost as much as DA:OU in the US.
    On Origin, EA wants me to pay in Euro, despite not being in Europe. Okay, but why DA2 costs 50 EUR, but $30 in the US store?
    On BF3 order page, the price is 40 GBP (more that $60). When I try to preorder, the price rises to 50 EUR.
    Lastly, I have heard about sales on Origin, but never saw it on the store (when I enable scripts).

    • zipdrive says:

      I feel for you. These guys are loco.

    • Jimmeh says:

      I live in the UK and at least the Origin store displays the prices in pounds. However I just bought Crysis 2 from play.com for £14.99 with free delivery (physical copy + reseller). The equivalent digital version on Origin is £34.99 (digital copy + direct from publisher).

      How do they expect to win a share of the market when they charge almost double? I don’t even want the box, I have nowhere to put it. I would have paid £20 to not have to deal with the physical copy but for the money I’ve saved I picked up two indie games and the humble indie pack.

  16. Advanced Assault Hippo says:

    Origin not really being any worse than Steam is an uncomfortable truth it seems – especially when you consider all the Valve ToS issues and dodgy instances over the years.

    But no, let’s brush all that under the rug. Man the pitchforks! We have a new non-Steam distribution platform to slay!

    • zipdrive says:

      So, are saying that EA’s just fine, because there was no such moaning about Steam? Really?

      Why don’t you just moan louder about Steam, so people will take note?

    • Premium User Badge

      Daiv says:

      Strangely, I see an existing service as a standard a new contender should aim to beat… Not a bar to make sure to come under.

    • Pointless Puppies says:

      I totally agree with this line of logic. Any time we’re talking about Origin, simply run in and change the subject to Steam’s “wrongdoings” instead.

      Nobody’s sweeping anything under the rug. We’re talking about Origin here, so coming in and bitching at Steam instead does nothing to prove your point.

    • gwathdring says:

      Yes, but that doesn’t explain why so many people despise EA uniquely. Not much of that is exhibited in this specific thread, but it’s definitely pretty strong in the RPS commenter population. I also get the impression (perhaps wrongly) that a lot of people in this thread and on RPS in general use Steam for at least some of their digital purchases. I don’t know how many of those people have made specific attacks on EA and Origin, but I get the impression there’s a reasonably strong correlation between the anti-EA crowd and the pro-Valve crowd. I admit I may be misjudging the community. It is difficult to remember all of the names of everyone who posts and what companies they do and don’t like.

      For me, it’s not so much that I think people trust Valve too much–I think a number of people here who use steam probably thought about it seriously, and figured the risk was worth the amount of money saved. It’s a personal choice that doesn’t necessarily imply ignorance of the issues with these frighteningly commonplace EULAs and ToSs that show nothing but disdain for customers. My issue is more than I don’t understand what EA did to deserve so much more ire. Why is the community so eager to jump on the anti-EA bandwagon?

    • Joe Duck says:

      Many of us have EA games in our Steam account too.
      Gosh, am I an EA whore or a Valve fanboy?

    • gwathdring says:

      Clearly you are both, and a scallawag! I bite my thumb, generally, make what you will of it.

  17. Enikuo says:

    That makes no sense.

  18. johnpeat says:

    Oh please don’t start ANOTHER thread full of whiny over-entitled children picking their way through a legal document they have no hope of understanding and imaginging ever-wilder scenarios whereby they might be every-so-slightly inconveniced over something breathtakingly trivial.

    No, seriously, this isn’t achieving a damn thing. If you don’t like the idea, don’t use the service – no-one is twisting your arms…

    • Nalano says:

      Who pissed in your Cheerios this morning?

    • Gundrea says:

      Citizen johnpeat is correct. The secret police are fine. If you don’t like being arrested then don’t question the government.

    • Nalano says:

      Can’t it go both ways, though?

      Like, “if you don’t like the direction of the discussion, you don’t have to read it?”

    • johnpeat says:

      In your Big Brother scenario, you’re questioning things which haven’t affected ANYONE yet – it’s some sort of reverse scenario where you’ve complaining BEFORE the totalitarian regime even exists…

      I really need to know what it is about computer games which makes people (apparently) keen on them spend so much of their time not actually playing them but moaning about POTENTIALLY not being able to play them – often before they’ve even bought them…

    • Wilson says:

      @johnpeat – I know the ‘can delete your games at any time’/secret police analogy isn’t perfect in the first place, but I would much rather people complained about a totalitarian system before it happened, otherwise it will probably be a bit too late. Similar thing does apply here, and it is worth discussing.

    • johnpeat says:

      What’s the point about complaining/protesting something which hasn’t happened???

      If you think about this whole ‘non-story’ logically, there were only 2 possible outcomes

      1 – they’d reassure you that they’d no intention of doing what you imagined they were going to do
      2 – they’d change the terms to be a bit more vague – like Steam’s

      Either way, this ‘fantasy scenario’ could still happen – you’ve achieved nothing…

      If someone not “into” games were to read this stuff, they’d assume we were deranged I suspect…

      Example 1 – I have a fridge/freezer downstairs – it cost £400, is just-over 2 years old and it’s almost useless thanks to poor design/materials – Hotpoint have already told me to ‘do one’ and I really don’t have any option but to write-it-off (and ensure no-one with sense every buys a Hotpoint – hint hint)

      Example 2 – I read a story today of someone with a £16K car (4 months old) which decides, at random, not to bother engaging gears (VW DSG for the curious). Dealer and manufacturer are saying “they all do that” – his only realistic option for a fix is (expensive) legal action…

      Yet, in the scale of things, those examples are utterly trivial – but compared to this, they’re world-shaking events!!

      Move on people…

    • Nalano says:

      @ johnpeat

      “What’s the point about complaining/protesting something which hasn’t happened???”

      So it doesn’t happen.

    • gwathdring says:

      I don’t see why the “preventative debate” concept is so difficult for you to understand, even if you have no desire to join in and don’t personally find it important.

  19. Premium User Badge

    TheApologist says:

    Yet again in a story about EAs Terms of Service, people immediately start criticising Steam/Valve as if the two companies are the same.

    Can those doing so please explain why? If it is only the inclusion of a catch-all clause, then why are you only making an equivalence between EA and Steam, and not EA and all of the d/l services and on-line games that have such catch-all clauses allowing a publisher or service provider to withdraw that service at will?

    • Nalano says:

      Because Steam is the largest and most successful of the download services, with a majority, not just a plurality, of sales. Because Steam requires installation of itself to use said games. Because Steam includes its own brand of DRM.

      And Steam and Valve are used interchangeably because Steam is run by Valve.

    • Premium User Badge

      TheApologist says:

      Yeah, I see that, but while it is true that Steam is the most important company in the marketplace, that doesn’t really answer the question for two reasons.

      1. Steam being the biggest isn’t a logical reason to lump it in with EA when the discussion is of a specific Term of Service that Steam doesn’t have, and EA’s historical behaviour (shutting off servers after a small number of years and banning users for forum behaviour) is different from Valve’s.

      2. It isn’t a logical to separate Steam from other companies if this type of term of service is widely used by a range of download services and publishers of games with online components, albeit with notable exceptions like GoG.

      Oh, and I realise that Valve run Steam – it’s just that some criticise Steam specifically, others Valve more generally. Sorry if I was being confusing :)

    • Nalano says:

      Well, if we’re to say that Origin reflects EA’s business policies and practices, Steam reflect’s Valve’s business policies and practices.

      While I agree with you that the two companies have differing track records, the heart of the comparison lies in the fact that Valve’s TOS still gives it the “we have the right to stop this service (and all your games with it) at any time” exit route that every contract basically makes you sign off on. So, it’s mostly that Valve could do something similar to this, though in my opinion it’s unlikely that they would.

      If you ask me, a more salient comparison could be made over the differing philosophies of these two companies based on the fact that Valve is a private company and EA is a publicly-traded one.

    • gwathdring says:

      Yes, I have to agree that Steam most certainly DOES have similar terms in it’s ToS. Not this specific 24 month thing as far as I recall, but far more general service discontinuation allowances.

      I also have to concur that Steam is of particular relevance here because steam does not allow you to use the games you buy without the service. Direct2Drive, for example, allows the download of an installer that requires no other resources. You can save these to a hard-drive and reuse them as long as any third-party DRM they contain allows you to. I believe Impulse and Gamersgate are somewhere between the two, not as restrictive as Steam and Origin, but not entirely without authentication measures and restrictions.

      It’s true that ALL download services can restrict you if you fail to download and backup your games, or lose the backups due to corrupted and stolen hard-drives. All of the services maintain the right to stop distribution, even the ones that would not prevent you from playing the game if something like that occurred.

    • Premium User Badge

      TheApologist says:

      Thanks for responding. I still think the inclusion of a specific 24 month clause with regards Origin in combination with EA’s prior treatment of its customers means it is a distinct case from Steam.

      However, I do accept the point that, precisely because all such d/l services seem to have catch-all withdrawal of service clause in the ToS there is an important distinction therefore to be drawn between those services that require the service to run the game, and those that require the service only to download the game. That’s helped clarify an important point for me – thanks!

      What that means is not that Valve are not trustworthy, but that I should know that I effectively subscribe to a games service in Steam that might not always be there. I no longer collect games in quite the way I did when I was younger. But I still think this debate (useful though it is) is slightly different to the one others were having which was more about trust, and not trusting EA because of a particular 24 month ToS, and immediately then talking about not trusting Valve.

  20. jti says:

    Dang, there goes my inappropriate account. I was so looking forward having one of those.

  21. Xiyng says:

    No good unless they change their TOS to reflect this. As long as they legally have the right to do it, I won’t trust them not to.

    • johnpeat says:

      Steam’s TOS says they can delete you, your games and everything else – anytime they like – for any reason they like.

      Would you like that changed first?

      It’s about as likely – meanwhile, in the real world, more important things are going on.

    • Sleepymatt says:

      If Valve decided to delete me, I have to say that would be pretty damned important to me and my loved ones.

      Digital publisher in assassination shocker!!! Read all about it!!!

  22. gusone says:

    Join the Steam ‘EA Boycott Origin’ Group. Fight the power and bring BF3 / Dragon Age 2 / Crysis 3 / Mass Effect 3 and every other new EA game back to Steam. We are small but with your help we can grow. We also boycott Tom Francis as well if that helps.

  23. StingingVelvet says:

    How did people not realize this was lawyer speak in the ToS that would not really effect you? How do people ignore this lawyer speak in the Steam ToS and other services?

    I don’t mind it being pointed out. I wish the nasty parts of the Steam ToS were pointed out more often. I just don’t like the double standard.

    • Vinraith says:

      Indeed, most of the reaction to these EA stories bespeaks a frightening level of ignorance on the part of the user base for these services. An article on TOS terms across all the major digital distribution platforms would be worthwhile, far more balanced, and would bring some attention to an important element of the entire digital distribution model that’s been largely ignored.

    • PopeJamal says:

      If you’re so concerned about the evil, draconian clauses found in the Steam ToS, why don’t you write an article detailing them. Then we can all yell “Boo!” at Valve and chastise them for eating babies and pushing old ladies into the mud.

      Until such time, I don’t see the need to talk about Steam in a discussion about the Origin ToS. They’re two completely separate subjects. Hell, it’s not even like you have to choose one of them. You can choose to use or not use either of them in any combination you like.

    • gwathdring says:

      Because he’s not an official RPS editor and doesn’t get to write the articles?

  24. DougallDogg says:

    Inappropriate reasons? That a big ol’ kettle of fish there. I wish they’d clarify exactly what constitues ‘inappropriate reasons’. Bogus account used in pirated games? Account set up to troll/bully someone or grooming young children.

    It seams like EA’s PR department just recently consists of people who like to talk in riddles. First mysterious missing games next misuse of Origin and inappropriate reasons. They should get the Scooby Doo gang on the case.

  25. Pointless Puppies says:

    Quite strange this discussion on Origin. Can’t go two steps without some yahoo going “YEAH WELL STEAM ONCE CHANGED PRICES IN THE MIDDLE OF A SALE AND YOU DON’T SEE ANYONE TALKING BAD ABOUT THEM HUHUHUHUH?”

    Since when did changing the subject for no reason become a valid debate tactic?

  26. Moonracer says:

    So we have a legal document that states pretty clearly they can and will delete your account after it hasn’t been used for two years. Then we have a PR guy say it’s only when they feel they should.

    Something tells me that the words of a PR spokesperson will never take precedence over a legal document, yet I feel I see this kind of thing a lot.

  27. vash47 says:

    Too bad the damage has been done already.

  28. Ultra-Humanite says:

    Forgive me if I continue to mistrust a corporation that has given me zero reason to ever trust anything they say as being the absolute truth.

  29. psyk says:

    I see steam fanboys.

    EDIT

    Just some picks from the ssa

    “C. NO GUARANTEES.
    VALVE DOES NOT GUARANTEE CONTINUOUS, ERROR-FREE, VIRUS-FREE OR SECURE OPERATION AND ACCESS TO STEAM, THE SOFTWARE, YOUR ACCOUNT AND/OR YOUR SUBSCRIPTIONS(S).”

    “7. USER GENERATED INFORMATION
    “User Generated Information” means any information made available to other users through your use of multi-user features of Steam or to Valve through your use of the Software. User Generated Information may include, but is not limited to, chat, forum posts, screen names, game selections, player performances, usage data, suggestions about Valve products or services, and error notifications. Subject to the Valve privacy policy referenced in Section 1 above, as applicable, you expressly grant Valve the complete and irrevocable right to use, reproduce, modify, create derivative works from, distribute, transmit, broadcast, and otherwise communicate, and publicly display and perform the User Generated Information and derivative works thereof in any form, anywhere, with or without attribution to you, and without any notice or compensation to you of any kind.”

    “Valve hereby grants, and you accept, a limited, terminable, non-exclusive license and right to use the Software for your personal use in accordance with this Agreement and the Subscription Terms. The Software is licensed, not sold. Your license confers no title or ownership in the Software.”

    “C. Termination by Valve.
    1. In the case of a recurring payment Subscription (e.g., a monthly subscription), in the event that Valve terminates or cancels your Account or a particular Subscription for convenience, Valve may, but is not obligated to, provide a prorated refund of any prepaid Subscription fees paid to Valve.
    2. In the case of a one-time purchase of a product license (e.g., purchase of a single game) from Valve, Valve may choose to terminate or cancel your Subscription in its entirety or may terminate or cancel only a portion of the Subscription (e.g., access to the software via Steam) and Valve may, but is not obligated to, provide access (for a limited period of time) to the download of a stand-alone version of the software and content associated with such one-time purchase.”

    A service with no sign in, no client and Lots of ways to pay would be great.

    • Sleepymatt says:

      That would be a “shop”. I hear they are going to be the next big thing when buying games.

    • psyk says:

      Would you like to give a link to this “shop” that will give me the option to download the game.

      distribution platforms based on a client and user accounts are not the way.

  30. Text_Fish says:

    I LOVE signing vague contracts. It just makes me feel so comfortable in my investments.

  31. Kaira- says:

    The 2-year-guarantee is a bit better than pretty much any other service out there, but then again, it being a “hard limit”, so to say, does worry me.

  32. My2CENTS says:

    Well its good to see Origin copying Steam in every way, even their TOS/Policy. Nevertheless Steam doesn’t take 2 min to show my games on my machine, while Origin does.

    • gwathdring says:

      Yeah, it’s a lot clunkier, isn’t it? I have no real reason to switch. Their ToS isn’t any better than Steam’s, I play more Valve games than EA games, and the service itself doesn’t run as smoothly. Also they work pretty hard to hide their sales, and Valve boasts quite loudly about theirs. :P

  33. Torgen says:

    If you have not used your Entitlements or Account for twenty four (24) months or more and your Account has associated Entitlements, your Entitlements will expire and your Account may be cancelled for non-use.”

    So, if I get some sort of pre-order gubbin for Sims Medieval (for example) and then don’t play Sims Medieval for two years, they can delete said gubbin, even if I’ve otherwise maintained an active account.

    Don’t go all “oh, but they said it didn’t really mean that” and “oh, but it really means…,” this is what it says in black and white. So why are people in here defending EA and trying to deflect the argument to Steam? Valve didn’t write this clause, EA did.

    “OMG BUT STEAM IS WORZE!”

    That’s not the subject of this article. The above verbatim transcription of the Origin terms of service are.

    • Dominic White says:

      What really needs to be highlighted is that they don’t say that after 24 months your entitlements may possibly become invalid, they state quite clearly that they WILL be deleted. The account deletion may or may not happen, but they WILL nuke your games if you’re not playing them.

    • gwathdring says:

      That’s a good point. It does sound a lot more final, even if it is more specific than a lot of similar clauses in other download service TOS.

      Although, I would like to at @OP, that there’s a difference between bringing up other similar ToS documents as relevant to discussing ToS in general, and “trying to deflect arguments” about origin with them.

  34. RvLeshrac says:

    Remember when EA and Bioware said that they’d “never use” the policy that allowed them to terminate your EA Account for violations on the Bioware forums, and that the policy was “only in place to prevent abuse”?

    Remember when that turned out to be complete horseshit?