EA Forum Bans Are STILL Affecting Games

By John Walker on November 14th, 2011 at 11:53 am.

What a bunch of e-peens.

You may remember, back in March this year, a story that threw EA forum user Arno into the limelight. Having violated the rules of the EA forums he was given a 72 hour ban on his forum account. But found that he was also unable to play online with any of his games attached to his EA gaming account, nor activate his single-player Dragon Age II. This led to quite the brouhaha, which eventually resulted in EA’s announcing that the ban had been “a mistake”, and the promise that not only would Arno’s gaming rights be restored, but they would fix the issue to prevent this happening again. They haven’t.

We are receiving information from a number of gamers who have received forum bans for a variety of reasons who are finding they’re unable to play Battlefield 3 (or indeed any other game tied into the EA user account), and worse, when they try to contact EA for help sorting this out, they are either ignored or told it’s tough. So what’s going on?

Three examples we’ve heard of in the last week provide contrasting sympathies for those banned, but always with the same result. The thing to stress at this point is, no matter the reason – nor how valid the reason – someone may have been locked out of their forum accounts, on no circumstances should this affect their ability to play games. There are a whole separate set of rules that might see someone locked out of their EA account (and the legality of these, and EA’s rights to prevent someone from playing a game they’ve paid for without offering a refund, are another matter entirely), and one should not affect the other. As was explained by EA in March. Said EA’s Senior Director of Customer Support, Boyd Beasley to “Arno”:

“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.”

However, four days later on 15th March, we were still hearing about the same happening to other EA gamers, and contacted EA to find out why this was still a problem. It was, they told us, still “an error”. After we’d tried to get in touch with Boyd Beasley directly, we received a reply from someone within EA called Andrew Wong, who told us:

“As noted last week, we have identified an error in our system which can suspend a user’s entire account when our terms of use policy has been violated. We are working to fix this and expect to have the issue resolved by the end of this week. Again, we apologize for the inconvenience – it is not our policy to prevent customers from playing a single-player game. Any registered player who feels they have been banned inappropriately is urged to contact EA Customer Service.”

The problem was intended to be fixed by the end of that week, which was eight months ago. So why is it still happening? And why the mention of single-player games in that context? As if a forum ban is in any way related to playing online gaming, when it isn’t offline gaming.

The first person to get in touch with us about BF3 was Nick. It’s hard to sympathise with Nick, to be frank. He made a stupid thread about “teabagging” on the EA forums, and then seemed to be a bit confused that he should get in trouble for suggesting he dangle his “balls” in dead people’s faces. Common sense would dictate that’s not a subject to be raising on a family-friendly forum. His astonishment expressed to us that this should be an issue isn’t endearing. However, less endearing was EA’s response. Following Wong’s advice above he contacted EA’s Customer Support, via email and live chat, and received a refusal to even discuss the matter each time.

We also heard from Rob. Rob’s encounter with EA’s seemingly arbitrary banning process makes much less sense. His account was suspended for having posted a “commercial”. What he had in fact posted was a link to his non-commercial blog, to a guide to “network troubleshooting”, recently updated for helping gamers get connected to BF3. A link that’s been repeatedly posted to the same forums for a couple of years, and better still, has actually been linked to by EA Support themselves. The link, says Rob, is mentioned on their own corporate support site and FAQ! He too found that the live chat support was absolutely useless, with those replying unable to deviate from a script that endlessly, uselessly loops. This led to his being banned from his gaming account for 72 hours, as well as a permanent “strike” on EA’s “three strikes” system. Something it’s not possible for him to dispute.

Then we heard from James, whose tale is even more extraordinary. He has been permanently banned for using the word “e-peen”. (For those unfamiliar, this is short for “electronic penis”, and tends to be used to suggest someone is egotistically willy-waving.) However, he did not even introduce the word. It was in reply to someone else who’d said it, and responded, “Ah, back to the e-peen talk.” He was originally told this ban would be for 72 hours, but on Saturday received an email informing him that it was now to be a permanent ban from his Origin account, with no further explanation given. It was added that the matter was “now closed”. And, as ever, EA’s live chat and customer support are refusing to help him in any way. He’s also been told that his BF3 characters and levels will be deleted.

Update: James explains he was polite and courteous with the EA Live Chat person, who had pointed him toward the email form to request further help. He filled this in, again politely he says, and the next day received an email in response saying,

“Please note that your account [email] 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.”

And the in field explaining why?

“This action was necessary due to the repeated nature of the offense on the account. We regret having to take this final step, but it is entirely necessary on behalf of protecting the Electronic Arts Online community. The violation has already been discussed above so further communication on this matter won’t be entertained. We thank you for your understanding on all the statutes within the Terms of Service, and they still contractually apply to you as per the original agreement, especially the sections regarding terminated members of the service.”

No such discussion had taken place. No such “repeated” offense had occurred. Which makes the refusal to even discuss this ban somewhat problematic. Since he received this email, James has not been able to access any of his Origin games online.

So what is going on? We contacted EA about this last week, but have not had a response, let alone a statement on the matter. We’ve tried contacting some other people today, and will update if we receive a reply. And let’s not forget the statement that EA gave to Shack back in 2008:

“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.”

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191 Comments »

  1. JackDandy says:

    EA is the master of positive PR!

    • starclaws says:

      EA is the Fox News of the gaming world. Both full of errors and issues too numerous to count. Tune in tomorrow for another pull your hair out or laugh your ass off moment!

    • MadTinkerer says:

      It’s just like they said: “Under my guidance, Britannia will flourish, and all the people shall rejoice and pay homage to their new… Guardian!”

      Ooooh, did I just burn EA with an eighteen-year-old gag? I think I did!

      (Please don’t ban me from the SWTOR beta or delay U7′s release on GoG.com!)

    • JackDandy says:

      Is it true they based the Guardian on EA? Or is it just some joke/rumor?

    • ThirteenthLetter says:

      Oh my God, two comments in, a topic completely and utterly unrelated to anything even remotely politcal, and already we’re at “LOL FOX NEWS.” You people are robots. You’re so politicized you don’t even notice it.

    • Grygus says:

      That FOX gives its viewers wildly inaccurate information on a regular basis is not a political statement.

    • Dominic White says:

      @JackDandy – The ‘holy symbols’ of the church of the Guardian were a cube, a sphere and a pyramid, in that order…
      http://media.giantbomb.com/uploads/0/4527/1970440-1.png

      As an aside, if you ever get angry because someone made fun of Fox News, you’re probably a bad person and need to reassess great swathes of your life.

    • Morlock says:

      Also, two of the villains you are chasing after are twins called Elizabeth and Abraham…EA.

  2. greg_ritter says:

    Oh man, now I’ll never post anything on EA forums in fear of losing my Origin games. Still, I think, it’s for the best.

    • Kal says:

      I simply won’t use Origin because I don’t trust EA. I’m sad to be missing out on BF3, but there are plenty of other games. I’m just not willing to give them my money when they’ve shown themselves to be so completely untrustworthy or incompetent, either way it’s just not worth the risk to me.

    • Lobotomist says:

      I also decided not to buy BF3 (:( ) because of Origin intrusive HD scanning/reporting.

      So I dont fear the forum ban … lol

      But man,
      They really want to destroy themselves

    • kickme22 says:

      I am SO happy I bought BF3 on amazon, a 20 min phone call to amazon support got me a full refund.

    • Whitechip says:

      @Lobotomist

      I’m guessing you don’t know how computers work to say something that dumb.

    • Kadayi says:

      @Whitechip

      Agreed. I’d of thought that the ‘EA can read my emails’ BS would of died down now, but there’s apparently still people out there who firmly believe Origin is somehow the devil. Tragic really.

  3. Kaira- says:

    You may remember, back in March this year, a story that threw EA forum user Arno into the limelight. Having violated the rules of the EA forums he was given a 72 hour ban on his forum account. But found that he was also unable to play any of his games attached to his EA gaming account

    Um, even according to your own story that you linked the ban affected him trying to activate DAII online as well as loading any saves which required DLC (which require online-activation/verification). There’s no mention of being unable to play any games attached to his EA gaming account.
    [E] That’s fixed now.

    Critizing for real mistakes is all fine, but this kind of… dare I say, ‘smear campaigning’, is not.

    [E] Also for this I find it a tad harder to believe this story.

    • John Walker says:

      I have clarified the statement, but the point remains. Games that are attached to his account – as in required access to his account to play – could not be accessed. Calling that slight ambiguity a “smear campaign” is ridiculous.

      Please feel free to believe what you want. Ideally somewhere else.

    • Kaira- says:

      I used that for the lack of better word, though I’ve been smelling some kind of general negativity towards EA in the posts. But true, smear campaign is too strong word.

    • propjoe says:

      Considering the way they’ve been treating PC gamers (and journalists) lately, I’m not sure EA deserves a lot of positivity from us. Don’t get me wrong, a lot of the games are still great, but as a publisher and distributor they leave a a lot to be desired.

    • johnpeat says:

      @Kaira Even if you THINK someone has a bias for or against something – just taking the opposing view thinkiing that it’s somehow ‘balance’ is actually [gee, way to ruin your point - Ed]

    • Kaira- says:

      @johnpeat

      Taking the opposing view… where? I didn’t excactly go and say that what EA is doing is good and holy, did I?

      @propjoe

      Well, that is true also, though personally I haven’t really been following games published by EA (and what kind of hassle there might been surrounding them, except this whole Origin-debate) since… ME1, I guess? But you’re right, EA does have a certain type of history.

    • John Walker says:

      I don’t have any feelings either way toward EA. They’re a vast corporation made up of thousands of individuals. I like it when they do good things. I dislike it when they do bad things. I may as well have feelings about the role of frogs.

      When that corporation does something seemingly wrong, as in the case of these bans, then I report saying that is happening. Because it is happening.

      Do not conflate one’s own biases with the stories here. Only an hour previously I was excited to be able to give away beta codes to The Old Republic, this story having been written before that one.

    • Kaira- says:

      Fair enough, I doth apogolize.

    • John Walker says:

      Much appreciated : )

    • aircool says:

      @JW – Oh, you’ve got something against the French now, eh? EH?

    • Jacques says:

      Being French, I can understand why he would.

    • Milky1985 says:

      You also cannot really say they are biased against them when there is a gaint BF3 advert on the front page of the site, all around the news stories themselves :p

    • ordteapot says:

      One of the things I like about RPS is that arguments often actually deescalate amicably or are resolved, instead of exploding into name-calling e-peen battles.

      Am I going to be banned from playing the Rock Paper Shotgun unity game now?

    • MadTinkerer says:

      “I used that for the lack of better word, though I’ve been smelling some kind of general negativity towards EA in the posts.”

      Well some of us are still bitter that they killed Origin systems and are using it’s skin as a puppet for their game client. Oh, and also how they treated Bullfrog. Oh, and how EA murdered their way through dozens of studios before they finally learned how to stop doing that, and Maxis only barely survived because they turned out to be a complete cash cow with The Sims.

      True, as of 2010-ish, EA aren’t nearly as bad as they were, but frankly I think some bitterness is understandable.

    • Commisar says:

      sigh, here comes our ONE voice of reason on RPS, soon to be drowned out by “LOL EA SUX” posts. What a shame, I am going to play some more BF3, unlike a bunch of butthurt EA haters on RPS :)

  4. ReV_VAdAUL says:

    Thankyou RPS for continuing to do this sort of extremely important but often ignored type of games journalism. Your consumer advocacy is top notch!

    On a personal note it is a real shame to me I’ll never get to see how the Mass Effect trilogy ends or to play Mirror’s Edge 2 but I simply will not have origin on my machine due to the arbitrary banning EA does and due to the worrying level of snooping it does. Its not that I’m trying to make a stand in hopes EA will reverse course, it is simply due to the fact buying games on Origin is both unattractive and a very risky investment, who knows when those games (and all the other games that require an EA login) will be taken from me?

    • shadowbadger says:

      This^^
      Gutted about ME3 but, other than that, I can take or leave EA, feel really sorry for the poor blighters who have been waiting for some of those games for ages and then get banned for incredibly dodgy reason (Nick, I’m not as sympathetic for – he sounds like a bit of douche but he still didnt deserve that)

    • Jacques says:

      You could always, you know, not be a dick on their forums, thereby ensuring you don’t get banned.

      The punishment does seem disproportionate to the crime, but I’d love to hear EA’s reasoning behind those decisions.

    • ReV_VAdAUL says:

      I have not used nor have any intention to use the EA forums. The issue is given EA is willing to block access to all your games because of something you wrote on a forum there is a real worry for me they might start blocking access to games for other reasons. Sure that is a slippery slope argument and may be unfounded but I am not willing to take that risk especially in combination with other unsavoury elements of Origin.

    • Typhuseth says:

      Disproportinate isn’t the half of it, it’s like the police giving you a caution for swaering in public then coming to your house and taking your cooker or some other unrelated item. Being a dick on a forum deserves a forum ban, no doubt, it doesn’t mean EA can steal from you (taking property you paid for is theft).

    • Jacques says:

      Revoking your license for a service isn’t theft.

      Either way, I agree with you guys, but it’s clear that something does need to be done about people that think it’s fine to be dicks online.

    • Typhuseth says:

      This whole nonesense that they can claim it’s a service needs to end to, it’s a term companies are using to justify all sorts of legally dubious behaviour, but thats a nother topic.

    • propjoe says:

      @Typhuseth, that’s not even the awful thing about it. The way EA sees the situation, their users never bought anything, and thus don’t own anything. They simply rented or leased or what have you.

      EDIT: Jacques beat me to it.

    • Jacques says:

      It’s not as if EA are the only ones that do this, do you think Valve really think you own all those games on Steam?

    • Kaira- says:

      @propjoe

      Isn’t that the case with pretty much every DD-service?
      [E]Beaten by Jacques.

    • kimadactyl says:

      I guess this will have to see it’s day in court. Which will probably never happen as EA/big companies will always settle out of court. Heh.

    • Jacques says:

      @kimadactyl : With a nice big NDA as a term to the settlement.

    • noxxit says:

      You still own the license. And if you’re contract with EA does not state that they can revoke the license due to forum activities then you may consider suing for breach of contract. If it’s in the contract… well, know what you are signing.
      I have not been buying EA games because I do not agree with their customer policies for a while know – and with each new report about EA I become happier with this decision.

    • kimadactyl says:

      @noxit – actually it does. Just been through their license, and it seems incredibly sketchy. The game license says you must obey the EULA, which they can change when they want, and it’s on you to check it. They count the forums as part of the service they provide.

      I’m almost positive this isn’t legal, especially as it’s super vague what is covered and the grievance process is a joke , but as already noted this will never go to court anyway.

      http://tos.ea.com/legalapp/WEBTERMS/US/en/PC/#section11

    • Saul says:

      @Jacques: Wow, so I guess piracy can’t be theft, either? Glad that’s cleared up.

    • Lord Custard Smingleigh says:

      Coming soon: We banned you from Origin for what you said on another site. Hyperbole? I just don’t know any more.

    • Beebop says:

      Actually, piracy isn’t theft, that’s why it has a different term. It’s still illegal, but it’s a different crime. You can equate it to theft if you like though.

      Also please note that it’s nothing to do with DD, you’ve never owned a game you bought, DD services just allow the publishers greater control over your use of the product.

    • Jacques says:

      @Saul, see Beebop’s reply.

    • Big Murray says:

      On another note, is it even confirmed that Origin will be required for Mass Effect 3 to run?

    • Wisq says:

      Technically, the whole “you do not own the game” thing is actually waaaay older than DD services like Steam.

      As far back as I remember, pretty much all software, games included, were distributed on the basis that “you do not own this software, you own a physical device (CD, DVD, etc.) that contains some proprietary code (not legally usable by default), and a license (revokable, don’t piss us off, etc.) that allows you to use it”.

      Predictably, almost nobody complained at the time, because there were no online activation checks etc. in the beginning — i.e. no way for the company to revoke your license. Then we had multiplayer games with central servers (e.g. Half-Life’s WON), but almost nobody complained because people only got banned for doing blatantly illegal stuff (if even that). Then we had online activation (WinXP, SecureROM, etc.), but not many people complained about that because it was just What You Do to get your software going and then you forget about it after (plus most people got their WinXP pre-activated). Then we had DD services that could revoke your license at any time, but Steam tended to be pretty sparse with the bans, and other DD services tend to just throw you some zipped up game packages and leave you alone after that, with no revocation possible.

      Now, finally, we have a DD services that can revoke your license at any time, and that hands out those revocations rather freely. And only now are people realising that maaaaybe we’ve let things slide a little too far in the “consumer rights” department.

      (And yet, I can almost guarantee you that outside of RPS, the general public response will be “so don’t be a dick on the forums”.)

    • Llewyn says:

      @Jacques: Indeed. It’s people doing dickish things like posting troubleshooting guides that ruined the internet.

      Of course, given the permanent ban apparently handed out for using “e-peen” the chances are that telling people not to be dicks might have been enough to get you banned.

    • bill says:

      I not that EA is happy to trumpet the “sales” of their games, and the software alliance keeps talking about the “sales” lost to piracy.

    • Jacques says:

      Llewyn, clearly, the moderator wasn’t having his/her best day when they made that decision, and people are more likely to cry out when a bad decision is made. Ea’s moderators appear to have made mistakes, and it’s a shame that they haven’t got a system in place to effectively deal with the situation.

      It’d be interesting if John could dig up more examples like the first, where clearly the guy’s being a bit of a knob.

    • Llewyn says:

      Of course it’s a mistake, Jacques. But as long as mistakes like this appear to be occurring – and specifically can have such profound consequences – your advice of not being a dick is utterly worthless. The only valid advice is to not post at all. Or to not purchase anything on that platform.

    • Springy says:

      @ Big Murray: I don’t think they’ve announced anything concerning Origin and ME3 specifically, but didn’t EA say that all their PC games will need the service from now on? Even if not, I wouldn’t bet against it.

    • Milky1985 says:

      “@noxit – actually it does. Just been through their license, and it seems incredibly sketchy. The game license says you must obey the EULA, which they can change when they want, and it’s on you to check it. They count the forums as part of the service they provide. ”

      Am not a lawyer but this stinks of something that would be thrown out in court under an unfair contract term, thus invalidating most of hte contract.

      UK law basically has protections against contracts taking away basic rigths given to you by law, reguardless of what is written in therem and they have to be considered reasonable

      What EA are doing may not be considered reasonable.

      Unfortantly it will never become a big enoug issue (unless they ban a big name player whos on tv for it), not enough peopel will hear to hit ea where it hurts most, the wallet.

    • Shooop says:

      Razor1911 have had a patch for BF3 that rips out Origin for people who bought the game for a few weeks.

      Still can’t bypass BattleLog though.

    • Whitechip says:

      @ReV_VAdAUL
      “due to the worrying level of snooping it does”

      Where has it been reported that they snoop?

    • Shooop says:

      @Whitechip:

    • HothMonster says:

      @shooop, wow that is disgusting

    • Azerel says:

      Long time lurker, first time poster here,

      Also, it’s 3 in the morning here where I am and, besides not being native English speaker, I am drunk, so…

      As I am somewhat educated at law matters, most, if not all Terms of Services would be (in continental/roman civil law practice) called, in lack of my knowledge of proper term, eligible-to-nullify contracts. That means that, there cannot be lawful contract without : 1. Clear and stated intents of two eligible wills and 2. subject of contractual relationship. As we can read from most of Terms of service, there is no clear subject of contract (subject of contract being defined as doing, not doing or refraining to do) apart from allowing you to use item/object/abstract (previously agreed on, by making digital payment) right that you are already entitled to by buying physical medium/making online payment (matterio est substantio in Latin, matter is substance).

      Therefore, if maker/owner of matter, in this case matter being stream of bytes either delivered online or as various depth dents on layer of reflective substance (various optical mediums) agrees to give it to you, getting real material compensation in return, once the transaction is done, he forfeits all rights he had to that specific materialization of his work. There can be no denying of your rights to use it as you please ever after unless such terms were made before transaction.

      Calling material goods service, and vice verse, unless agreed upon before transaction, and with full and conscious agreement of both sides (for record, marketing games as games, and consensus being that they are your property, later addendum making them service would be considered fraud or dishonesty on part of seller, pay attention to consensus part) would make any contract eligible for nullification (substitutio in mattera est substitutio in obligatio).

      As I said, I am drunk, and my Latin is quite rusty, but my point is that most of consider games to be goods, and most of game makers fill them as such in their tax reports, so, if they are goods, we buy them, forever or until they expire from wear and tear.

      I still don’t think I got my thoughts across, but nice try for first time poster, don’t ya think?

    • StarkeRealm says:

      @Beebop, Piracy actually is theft, at least in the States. Most Theft/Larceny statutes allow for you to “steal” a service, without actually depriving others of it. You’re not depriving others of the product, but you are appropriating it for your own use without authorization, which is a larceny charge.

    • jrodman says:

      Piracy is not and will never be theft.

      Theft of sevice is a concept whereby when you make use of a service — without permission — you deny those resources to their legitimate goals, depriving the owner of their resources. This is considered a form of theft.

      For example, if I were to somehow confuse your lawn-mowing servicement into mowing my lawn for free, I haven’t stolen any objects, but I’ve taken time from your business resources away from actually producing income.

      This is *not* like copyright infringement which takes away no time or resources. It has other downsides, but it is a different situation.

  5. Ed123 says:

    How long before being banned from the forums prevents us from wearing official RPS merchandise?

  6. wiper says:

    Oh my! I guess that EA really want to encourage people to never, ever use their forums. I suppose that would save them some bandwidth.

    Really though, this is absurd. Would this not be the point where people might want to be getting in contact with consumer rights groups, amongst other things? Though you’d hope that if there’s enough of a furore in the media that EA might actually finally get around to, you know, disassociating their forum accounts from their gaming accounts. And to having moderators who aren’t quite so keen to to ban people for daft reasons and/or a system of appeals that actually works.

    What a shambles.

  7. Hoaxfish says:

    As if I wasn’t already not buying their stuff because of their approach to DRM, this just makes their stuff even less appealling.

    Also… how do you run a forum as “family friendly” when it’s for a game that’s roughly 15+ rated, with swearing and killing if I remember correctly. I wouldn’t exactly condone it, but stuff like “teabagging”, “e-peen”, “gay” and even “rape” get used in the gaming-world in a context that is almost completely removed from their meaning in the rest of society.

    • johnpeat says:

      There is no amount of ‘removed context’ which permits people to use terms like ‘rape’ or ‘gay’ in any acceptable way and frankly, those who do I’d like banned not only from games but from society as-a-whole…

    • PitfireX says:

      I completely agree…. lets not forget that IN the game the soldiers will say things like “I’m getting f***ed in the a** here!!” and “I’m f***ing pinned down here!”

      Speaking of forum rules im totally gunna get banned from rps now huh lol.

    • kimadactyl says:

      No, they’re not “removed from reality” for a large amount of gamers. 17 year old white straight boys aren’t all gamers.

    • John Walker says:

      You can say whatever swears you like here, so long as they’re not derogatory attacks on others.

      Also, it doesn’t matter that the game contains bad language – EA has very clear rules that it’s not accepted on their forums.

    • PitfireX says:

      well now-a-days people purchase an Xbox and all of a sudden they’re a gamer. 20 years ago being a gamer ment you were a nerd or a geek….now it means you play Wii for an hour a day. So no every 17 yearold white boy is NOT a gamer…but they are all “Gamers” lol

    • aircool says:

      I actually find all the bad language in BF3 multiplayer a little on the offensive side. First of all, there’s just way too much of it; it’s constant. Secondly, from my experience in Iraq and Afghanistan, and in this case, with members of the US Armed Forces, all that shouting and swearing is far removed from the reality.

    • Hoaxfish says:

      No, they’re not “removed from reality” for a large amount of gamers. 17 year old white straight boys aren’t all gamers.

      I didn’t say “all” gamers, nor did I say “completely removed” (that “almost …” was intentional).

      Most of them who use e.g. “rape” are not admitting to a crime which would get them locked up, and severely traumatises the victim… and probably wouldn’t even call themselves “rapists” (as it would logically imply)

      Everyone else… probably doesn’t use the offending words at all for gaming. Vocal minority and all that.

      Basically, if anything, EA need to reinforce that their forums for BF3 are just as strict and “family friendly” as their forums for “fluffy bunny’s huggle extravaganza”, especially when that’s counter-intuitive given the game content.

    • aircool says:

      Rape has other definitions attached to it besides forced sexual intercourse. As for gay, well, that’s had several different meanings over the years, and is now a popular word for ‘rubbish, useless, stupid etc…’

      I think the only gaming term I’ve used over a headset that got me funny looks from my gf was when I suggested some team mates ‘spawn on me’. She looked at me and said, ‘that sounds gay’. She was right, we were having a very merry time.

    • StingingVelvet says:

      @ johnpeat

      Rape means things other than “hey I want to rape a woman.” Similar to retarded, people have taken a word with real English meaning and tried to turn it into a slur. I take offense to such manipulations.

      Gay is a word that also means something other than “homosexual.” On top of that it was also an extremely common term in the 90′s and beyond that people my age (30 or so) are never going to stop saying, and that doesn’t make us homophobes or bigots or whatever else.

      To be frank you and the rest of the political correctness brigade need to stop assuming a word means you can instantly make assumptions and judgements on people. Context is key.

    • Wisq says:

      Oh good grief, not this again.

      The use of “gay” to mean “rubbish” etc. is still a slur. Think about it: Why did people start using “gay” as an insult in the first place? Was it because they thought their opponent / victim was excessively happy and they needed to point this out? No, it was because they were implying their opponent was homosexual, and thus equating “homosexual” with “rubbish” etc. In that context, how is the continued use of “gay” to mean “rubbish” not an insult to homosexuals?

      The use of “rape” does not necessarily mean sexual violence against women — men can be raped, too — but it is used in gaming as a reference or metaphor for “nonconsensual sex”, in that the attacker is given pleasure and dominance and the victim is given pain and humiliation. Perhaps we’ve traded “pain” for “frustration” in the virtual gaming world, but it’s still not a particularly nice term. I avoid using it for that reason, even if I probably won’t call someone else out for using it.

      Really, I’m sick and tired of people trying to say that “gay” and “rape” and “faggot” and all that have “other meanings”. Yes, they do. That doesn’t change the fact that modern usage of these words is derived from the offensive versions and that they continue to be offensive even in their new, adapted form. (If they weren’t meant to offend, why would people start using them as insults?)

    • alundra says:

      This conversation is totally gay now, how is it related to the topic at hand??

      It’s sad how some people don’t have a life and feel the need to rape every RPS article with political correctedness nonsense.

    • StingingVelvet says:

      @ Wisq

      It’s funny… you say you understand the words have other meanings, yet your rant and descriptions show you aren’t aware of them. When someone says “I raped that sniper who was camping” it is not, in fact, a reference to sexual intercourse. Here is the definition people are using in that circumstance, which has been used for centuries:

      “an act of plunder, violent seizure, or abuse; despoliation; violation, the rape of the countryside.”

      Similarly gay, as we all know, originally meant happy, light-heated, ignorantly joyful. When people say “that’s gay” they might be making a homosexual reference, or they might simply be saying the thing is a little off, a little silly, a little too happy or bright or joyous. For example, I think the Burger King mascot is kind of gay, because he looks silly and prances around too happily.

      Gay went to homosexuals, homosexuals did not go to gay, if you get my meaning.

      Fag is different, that’s pretty much a slur. That said people 30 and above are so used to saying the word (and saying it in a way that isn’t really about how much they hate gay people at all) that it’s going to be around for a while and more importantly does not instantly identify someone as homophobic or hateful. It’s like my grandfather saying nigger all the time, despite voting for Obama and raising me to be accepting of all races. It was common when he was young, he doesn’t even think about it. I’m not saying you SHOULD say nigger by the way, just that you have to examine the reasons and context when you start judging people for words.

      Which is the whole point. Context is key. Actions speak louder than words. There is no magic racism litmus test you can perform based on someone saying a single word, any word. I knew people in college afraid to say nigger in a research context of educational discussion because people like you seem to think just saying the word makes you racist. It’s silly.

    • Wisq says:

      Yeah, because when people talk about raping other people, they’re really talking about plundering countryside. (Never mind that ALL those definitions you gave are offensive when used on people.)

      And when something goes wrong or is distasteful and someone says “that’s gay”, they really mean it’s happy and they’re just masking their enthusiasm for it.

      Please stop trying to retroactively come up with excuses for the poor taste of today’s gamers.

      It’s interesting that you bring up the notion that we should excuse older people from saying “nigger” because that’s just how it was when they grew up. Words like “nigger” and “niggardly” were offensive words that we, as a society, decided to stop using around the same time that it became socially unacceptable to be racist.

      Today, I see a generation of kids that (for the most part) strongly reject racism, yet they continue to perpetuate homophobia every day (and no, I don’t just mean by saying “gay” a lot). My hope is that someday we’ll be saying “please excuse my grandfather, that’s just the word they used for homosexual people in his generation”.

    • 1R0N_W00K13 says:

      If I’m perfectly honest, I’m 17 and I do say “gay” to mean “rubbish”, whether I like it or not really. In my mind when saying it I’m not equating the term to homosexual at all, and I think it’s the same for a lot of people. You can see my argument here as self-justification if you like, but in all honesty I believe intent is vital in this argument. I don’t agree that you can make a blanket statement like “how is the continued use of “gay” to mean “rubbish” not an insult to homosexuals?” and completely ignore intent. Language itself is a primitive form of communication really; as a previous commenter mentioned the word gay originally had no link to homosexuality at all, instead that definition evolved from it. If someone is using “gay” or “fag” as a vicious pejorative in reference to a person’s sexuality then yeah, it’s unacceptable. But you can’t stop a shift in the use of language and, for better or worse, the term is now commonplace in the lexis of all teenagers, and I get the impression that Wisq especially is almost proclaiming it’s use as a sign that the user is homophobic.

      I admittedly use it and yet I am of a left-wing standpoint on most matters. I am in full support of homosexual relationships and marriage in their entirety. Call me naive then but I see a distinct detachment between the two meanings – it’s not a term I would use in polite company (but then again I probably wouldn’t use any slang in polite company) but I fail to see a correlation in modern language.

    • Dorchadas says:

      “But you can’t stop a shift in the use of language and, for better or worse, the term is now commonplace in the lexis of all teenager”

      That’s not true at all. It is true that there’s no foolproof way to stop it, but you can certainly indicate something is more or less acceptable to be used by people who aren’t bigots. And there are a lot of terms for other races, religions, etc. that used to be quite commonplace that are no longer used because people worked to show that they were unacceptable. That something is common just means it’s common, not that it’s right.

      “I get the impression that Wisq especially is almost proclaiming it’s use as a sign that the user is homophobic.”

      Not that the user is, but its usage certainly is.

      As I said, that something is widespread doesn’t mean it’s true. Using “gay” is a synonym for “bad” is homophobic, just like saying that you jewed someone down is antisemitic. I mean, replace “gay” with “black.” Is that acceptable?

      “I fail to see a correlation in modern language.”

      Go look at the suicide rate for gay teenagers. They’re two to three times more likely to attempt suicide. Using gay as a synonym for stupid doesn’t cause this, certainly, but it’s a symptom of societal attitudes that lead to it.

    • Hoaxfish says:

      I’d like to apologise for even mentioning something which has apparently brought this same subject up again.

    • iucounu says:

      @1R0N_W00K1E

      I admittedly use it and yet I am of a left-wing standpoint on most matters. I am in full support of homosexual relationships and marriage in their entirety.

      Is it a word you would use to mean ‘rubbish’ in conversation with a gay man or woman? I think it’s unlikely unless you were very sure they’d be fine with it. You say intent is important; it is, but only if the person you are addressing is able to perceive your intent. Sometimes that means knowing you pretty well. It always means that the onus is on you to make your intention clear, at least if you care about what they think of you in the least.

      You wouldn’t, if you were on a table full of female strangers at your cousin’s wedding, say ‘Yeah, at Globocorp we’re totally raping the competition this year.’ You wouldn’t run a national ad campaign saying “John Lewis? You’d have to be retarded to shop anywhere else!” I wouldn’t advise that you do, anyway. If you don’t know precisely who you’re talking to, and how they’re likely to react, you don’t do that sort of thing.

      We all behave like that in real life, to a greater or lesser degree – it’s just politeness, of course, which is a lot of what so-called ‘political correctness’ is. (PC is just institutionalised politeness.) But somehow people still manage to argue that they can call something ‘gay’ in a completely non-confrontational, utterly consequence-free manner. I know people talk about semantic drift, and how words have multiple meanings, but it seems to me there’s a basic problem with that argument.

      Words do have multiple meanings, yes, but we’re all aware of all of them all the time.. Currently ‘gay’ has two meanings in common currency: ‘homosexual’ and ‘crap’. Leaving aside the probable way that evolution has happened – casual homophobia – it’s demonstrably untrue that people aren’t well aware of the possibility of confusion. Remember people complaining about that lovely old word ‘gay’ being ‘taken away’ from decent folk? The essence of that complaint is that they couldn’t say ‘I feel so gay’ any more without possibly being misconstrued. If you say something is ‘gay’ at this particular point in history, you know that a total stranger who hears you can construe it at least three ways, and one of them is pretty homophobic.

      If you’re in an online game, voice chatting, say, and you throw around terms like ‘gay’ as an insult or ‘rape’ as a verb, and you’re intending that your numberless, faceless audience can discern your underlying goodwill, you’re actually being hostile. You’re telling gamers who come into your space to forget all the negative connotations of those words, which may in fact represent actual painful memories of teasing or worse; and if they still feel somehow unwelcome it’s their fault. It’s passive-aggressive bullshit.

    • psyk says:

      Fag = cigarette

    • iucounu says:

      My uncle left London some decades ago to study creative writing at the University of Maine. He had a class once where he was reading out a passage he’d written in which he described ‘sucking on a fag butt’. It was a good object lesson in knowing your audience.

    • 1R0N_W00K13 says:

      I agree I tend to definitely be choicey when using the term anyway – I don’t tend to use slang to anyone unless I’m comfortable around them. I couldn’t see myself using it in conversation with anyone I wasn’t totally comfortable around, but once more my point arises that there are hundreds of words I wouldn’t necessarily use unless around a friend. Whether it’s excusable in either situation, I’m not entirely sure. Pretty much everyone in my year/collective passes the term “gay” around like it’s commonplace – it’s almost hard NOT to use it, it’s ingrained into my subconscious such. Possibly a poor excuse but, certainly among people my age, it’d be a rarity not to hear it in conversation; and in fact, I probably use it less than most people my age. There are even some homosexual guys in my classes which I’ve heard use it, whether you can see it as a sign of immaturity I don’t know.

    • HothMonster says:

      @Wisq

      Niggardly (and niggling) has no connection with the word nigger. They are separate words. with separate origins, that derived from two very different languages. The only reason you think that niggardly has any type of racist connotation is because ignorant uptight people, with their panties in a twist, who are actually twisted-dark-evil-fucks on the inside and therefore assume everyone else is too, decided that people who used a non-racist term correctly were racist. Uptight politically correct fucks are always reverse taking-it-back.

    • jrodman says:

      The reason this keeps getting rehashed is because gaming culture is rife with misogynistic and homophobic language. And that’s a problem. Maybe it’s not *useful* that it keeps coming up here, but the *reason* is that it is a presence, and so many people are in denial about it. Such as right here in this thread.

      If you find it tiresome, you’d do better to stop denying it, as it only triggers the response that you seemingly dislike

  8. PitfireX says:

    I wish the gaming community was stronger and that we could do something about companies like this. EA and activision are getting totally out of control with there lack of customer service. It seems like their opinion is “well as long as casuals buy it and over 80% doesnt have problems we dont need to care” which is insane. I have had countless problems with BF3 and not a single issue has been addressed by tech support. but i digress, i wish as a community we could get together and agree to not be treated like this and boycott EA, Activision, Tony hawk series and Tomb Raiders.

    • shadowbadger says:

      Lets raise a Peoples army and seize control of the State!

      ‘Young Ones’ quotes aside, I agree, they have far too much power and absolute power corrupts absolutely…

    • PitfireX says:

      lol i just want a reason for game developers to have a standard… i mean there is so much dribble out these days and modern “gamers” just eat it all up. I have 3 friends personally that purchase every game released. 12 years ago that kind of industry support would have been amazing! but now its only supporting games like CoD. I dont mean to start a CoD war (i like CoD) but they pump out one a year…. doesnt anyone see the wrong in that?

    • Jerion says:

      Nitpick, PitfireX:

      I’m not sure where you’re getting the boycotting Tomb Raiders from in with the rest of that. Over at Eidos we run our forums with integrity, and the Tomb Raider community is great. Hell, We’ve got senior dev team members actively engaging with the forum users. Think what you will of the franchise, but as far as community quality goes I don’t think there’s a single thing to complain about. Also we have absolutely nothing to do with EA or Activision. :D

    • 1R0N_W00K13 says:

      Why the Square and Eidos/Crystal bashing? I pretty much see them as bastions of justice in a world of Activision-Blizzard and EA.

    • PitfireX says:

      Oh no i never ment to bash or say anything about the companies…. but tony hawk and tomb raider are the types of games where i tell people one is about to be released and all i ever hear is “really? they decided to make another one!?” lol

      I think it just seems that most large devs are scared to produce unique games. Why make Mirrors edge and possibly sell low numbers when we can just tack another number onto our well known series. I mean im the BIGGEST GTA fan ever…. but come on rockstar do you really have to just recreate the cities from gta1 over and over and over. At least recreate London again lol

  9. Sheng-ji says:

    If EA take steps to ensure that anyone banned cannot ever have an Origin account ever again AND this is all in their terms and conditions, then they MAY be allowed to get away with this kind of behaviour.

    However if they allow banned customers to easily get a new account and buy games again, then what they are doing could leave them significantly at risk. Given the time a class action would take to get through and thus the extended time gamers do not have access to the service, they could wind up paying out multiple thousands to everyone they ban.

    • Milky1985 says:

      “Given the time a class action would take to get through and thus the extended time gamers do not have access to the service, they could wind up paying out multiple thousands to everyone they ban.”

      Unless they pulled a sony and put into the contract that you cannot bring a class action suit against them without there express permission.

      This is apparently all legal in the US due to some california judging saying its ok.

    • Sheng-ji says:

      Thats wierd because if even 1% of complainants sue a company as an individual action, it costs the company much much more – when Marlboro won – note that they fought hard to win this as well – the right to combine many of the suits against them into a class action, it is estimated they saved more than one trillion dollars.

    • zontax says:

      Oh America, you’re so crazy.

    • Llewyn says:

      @Sheng-ji: It’s slightly different in the Sony case because they stipulate binding (non-independent) arbitration for dispute resolution, rather than individual lawsuits.* However, even without the expense of lawyers, my first thought when the news broke was, “Wow, a million arbitration processes would get pretty costly!” And then I realised that they’re counting on us all being too apathetic to actually do anything other than complain on gaming sites without an opportunist lawyer with an eye for the big profit to organise us. I think they’re probably gambling wisely.

      *I’m pretty sure this only applies to the US and Canada though; I went through what it asked me to agree to with a fine-tooth comb and there was no mention of arbitration or class suits.

    • HothMonster says:

      @Liewyn, dont forget you have to read all the agreements for your EA account, origin itself, and whatever games you have

      http://tos.ea.com/legalapp/WEBTERMS/US/en/PC/#section11

      Section 20 is all about the binding arbitration agreement you “sign” when you register an account with them. So even if you think its illegal you would have to first sue yourself out of the arbitration agreement and then sue them again for how they took all your shit away and put trojans on your computer. There is no way it would not just be cheaper and easier to buy a new copy of a game, or all your games, and set up a new account. Also if somehow it did look like you might win and they would owe you your games back and a measly sum of money that doesn’t even come close to covering your legal fees they would settle and offer you a couple million just so they never have this judgement against them.

      Not that I don’t hope some millionaire with a hard-on for the rights of the consumer or some young lawyer trying to prove himself takes this on, I just don’t think they will and therefore don’t think EA will ever pay legally for their actions. They will pander to the crowd and promise to make some changes, do nothing, and they will go on not caring what the informed minority think while millions of people buy ME3.

    • Llewyn says:

      @HothMonster: Note the word “Sony” in my comment. Also note the absence of “EA” from my comment.

  10. Jorum says:

    They appear to be withdrawing a paid for service (which is implicit in the purchase of game itself) and/or rendering a sold product unusable, with no formal procedures, arbitration or refund,
    I would imagine there should be room for legal recourse as a breach of contract or something similar.

    This is the reason I hate the “appleisation” of technology in past few years and the products-as-service model. At this rate in a decade or two it will be impossible to own any media product, only rent it.
    Ownership will be limited to those still using obsolete formats such as CDs, DVDs and books. And I can imagine a world where DRM crusaders have managed to have such formats made illegal.

    • Sheng-ji says:

      There will always be people who write software designed to capture music, film and games and put it on a cd or DVD. It’s not even illegal as long as the rental has no expiry date.

  11. ikh says:

    Man, EA and Acti-Blizz are really going at it trying to claim the throne of the Most Evil Company in Gaming Entertainment. At one point it was certainly EA’s rightful place, until recently Activision-Blizzard, now I’m not so sure anymore!

    • TNG says:

      Honourable Mention: Ubisoft

    • ZyloMarkIII says:

      I can see it now. EA as the aging king not ready to relinquish its throne of dastardly deeds. Activision-Blizzard as the impetuous prince ready to usurp the throne. Ubisoft as the scheming vizier backstabbing PC gaming officials with daggers of DRM and delay. An entertaining, if painful, tale to watch unfold.

  12. aircool says:

    What message are EA trying to put across? By all means, ban users for breaking the forum rules, as long as they receive a warning beforehand. But preventing them from playing games? I know fine well that we don’t ‘own’ games, just a license to play them, but FFS EA!?!

    What are we supposed to do? Never post in the forums in case EA take a dislike to our comments? How are we supposed to share advice or, for want of a better phrase, ragequit when things aren’t going the way we like?

    I’m currently one of the people who are trying to get EA/DICE to implement a simple fix for team/enemy colours in BF3. But now, with the fear of a BAN ON EVERYTHING, I guess they can rely on us to STFU instead of listening to legitimate concerns.

    Yes, many of us have fanned a few flames on the forums, right or wrong, but what EA is doing is, is.. I dunno, just awful.

    If anyone needs a good teabagging and their e-peens cut short, it’s the people who make and enforce this sort of policy at EA.

  13. Vanderdecken says:

    Wow. No matter how pretty it is, I’m glad I didn’t buy Battlefield 3. All the information I’ve seen since the start of BF3′s development process seems to show that during it, EA metamorphosed into a giant pile of dicks. Their public relations since the release has been an unmitigated disaster, showing a string of staggering incompetence and consistent failure to have a clue about what they’re doing.

    Did their entire upper management get replaced recently? With a bunch of soulless executives from finance or corporate business that have no idea how to run a games company or treat customers? Their live chat support service seems like a subversive attempt at humour that’s missed the mark and gone on too long, and the number of screenshots on Reddit showing reps flat out refusing to listen to customers is jawdropping.

    • alundra says:

      “Their live chat support service seems like a subversive attempt at humour that’s missed the mark and gone on too long, and the number of screenshots on Reddit showing reps flat out refusing to listen to customers is jawdropping.”

      A class action lawsuit is hard to pull off, that could be a pretty decent way to fight back, if enough people start recording their experiences and posting them to the web it will damage EA in the long run.

      Boycotting a game publisher is not the end of the world, it’s been years since I touched a game that has been tainted by EA in any kind of way, I don’t even download them from other places, and I can’t say I have not had an absolutely great time with everything else, ranging from indie games to AA(A) titles from other big publishers.

      All it takes is a little will and the desire to stop taking it in the rear while yelling thank you!

    • Harkkum says:

      @Aluendra (and the rest with these law suits)

      I am not entirely sure whether there actually are any merits to such a case. However, I find it surprising that no one has tried it. After all, by forum shopping and choosing a country where the costs of litigation the costs can be minimised. If the case would be brought before a court or a tribunal within EU you could already at first instance insist on necessity to get a preliminary ruling from CJEU, e.g., basing the case on various directives regulating electronic trade.

      There you would get a decision that would apply to all of Europe, and, hence, to everyone as otherwise people would just circumvent any and all imaginary borders created. As there is no de minimis rule on CJEU even a single plaintiff could get his or her case before it. And moreover, as in the ruling of ECHR from last year, e.g. the British system where costs of civil litigation were arbitrarily pushed higher by various clauses was deemed violating right to fair trail as enshrined in the sixth article of the ECtHR. This would apply to all the proceedings before CJEU as well (outside UK and Poland — and maybe to them as well through “general principles” interpretation).

      Overall, if there are so many people who are infuriated by this, I wonder why no one has found the will to bring such a case within the ambit of CJEU jurisdiction. There is nothing that would force you to settle the case beforehands and the withdrawal of the clause by EA would not provide relief to any damages from the day of violation to the day of withdrawal.

    • HothMonster says:

      @alundra

      so you didn’t play portal 2? poor guy :(

  14. Njordsk says:

    This is such a shame. It’s like they don’t even care.

    And I can understand their problem with support, I had the same. I spent a total of 5 hours split in 3 days to get something working. Because of their inability to read my basic english, because of system problem on their side, because of whatever. I felt like talking to bots and such behavior is hard to swallow.

    I’m glad I’m not going on BF3 forum anymore, I might have risked a ban for what I think of it.

    Shame EA, shame !

  15. Tridae says:

    I’m very glad I managed to buy Crysis 2 before all this Origin crap started. Seems there’ll be a lot of EA pirating in my future if all this keeps going on. Its funny when cracking a game is simpler, easier (and in Origin’s case – safer) than getting your paid legal version to work.

  16. jellydonut says:

    Thanks for making me even more convinced that my decision to not buy Origin-infected BF3 was the right one. Don’t change, EA. Never change. But I would prefer it if you stayed the fuck away from my favorite franchises.

  17. kyrieee says:

    Please let ME3 be on Steam =[
    It’s the only EA game I care about

  18. Xanadu says:

    Frustrating. The only rational response is to work out how much this devalues the game and buy it when and if it it reaches that reduced price. For me that is probably under a tenner in a sale 12 months after launch of the GOTY edition, and I’ll buy the old republic once it goes free to play…. This compares poorly for EA with the full price purchases I made of DA and ME2 but it’s their loss.
    Creating seperate Origin accounts for each game purchased would also make sense if there is a credible threat of bans. Which further devalues features of Origin like friends lists etc.
    None of these of course will stop “features” like this from plaguing current and future games unless EA believe it to hit their profits, and it’s unlikely that the bulk of AAA game purchasers are likely to care as much as myself or other RPS forum posters.

  19. Metonymy says:

    Setting aside the notion of gamer lingo like “rape,” a lot of times there is simply a publishing conflict between intelligent or passionate posters, and dullards in charge of moderation. (not here, not yet anyway) [me think you insult me bad - Ed]

    My point is not fairness of an individual’s experience. If I get banned somewhere, I probably deserve what I personally get. My point is that moderators are humans as well, and they will make decisions that do not accurately recognize the potential of each poster to contribute. The most clever person on earth is probably going to be pretty arrogant or hateful. Is it really wise to censure this person in any way? If anything, they should be loved and encouraged, because they are able to say things that no one else can say.

    The very word “moderate” suggests the destruction of exceptional elements. The notion that the words of an individual can lead to anything except an inability to speak to those particular philistines ever again is reprehensible. You brits have already given up a lot of your free speech. I understand you are not allowed to crticize the monarchy? I apologize if this is incorrect. Let’s not allow companies any power to “moderate” us at all! If they overstep their fence, then take their money away, by giving them nothing.

    • aircool says:

      On the contrary, we can criticise the Royal Family to are hearts content. In fact, it’s a tradition of ours :))

    • kyrieee says:

      Adding editor’s comments in your own post makes you look a bit schizo

    • Milky1985 says:

      We can critize anything that we want, its said that a lot of the nastier regimes around the world would never happen here because us brits would just rip the mick of them so much they would end up seeming not scary at all and so ineffective.

      You jsut can’t say anything critical against anyone with money, or say anything critical about someone with money on a private facebook post (as recent ruling say that they are considered public becuase one of your friends might make it public, you could almost heere the orgasm cries from the facebook and google offices when the idiot judge came up with that one), or say anything critical about a public figure.

      Basically you can say critical things about people but you have to make damn sure they are poorer than you are, all of this thanks to the bunch of useless idiots in “charge” of the country, complete with the pet they bring out whenever they have bad news to give so they can shield themselves like the cowards they are.

      Why do I here helicopters overhead?Whats that noi…..

    • Llewyn says:

      @Milky1985: It’s your tinfoil hat, rustling in the wind. Let us know how you get on with your imaginary helicopters.

  20. Bluerps says:

    Huh. At first I though it could be a misunderstanding – the banned person contacts support because he cannot play his games, but support thinks the banned person just wants the ban removed for no reason and therefore anwers “ban is ban, go away”.

    But the bit in which one of the banned guy’s BF3 characters are deleted rules that scenario out…

  21. Furtled says:

    If this is simply a system error caused by the linked accounts you’d think EA would have learned from the Sony debacle and separated the forum and game logins by now, for security reasons if nothing else; especially considering the Bioware forum hack a few months back.

    Support is also notoriously bad, not just that reps can be (and often are) wholly unhelpful, but also that the responses vary depending which rep you end up with. There doesn’t appear to be any overall quality control, training/knowledgebase access or oversight for the reps – it’s shambolic and it shows every time you contact them.

    @Jacques
    Not everyone in that report was being an idiot on the forums, what about the guy posting a link to something helpful? EA have clearly screwed up here and haven’t fixed this ‘error’ despite being told about it some time back.

  22. MrCheese says:

    It sure is going to sting to not get to play Mass Effect 3, but this is just too much BS for me…

  23. jonobarel says:

    Not sure what the laws are in the US, but surely a small-claims court would compensate someone for having their games revoked?

  24. alundra says:

    I commend RPS for not being afraid to make people aware of this kind of stuff, you won’t find news like this in harlot-like gaming news sites.

  25. TheApologist says:

    Well, this is clearly pretty bad behaviour.

    For me, I can accept that I buy a service that might be withdrawn*. But there are services I trust, and those I don’t. EA’s behaviour so far means I will limit as far as possible my interactions with it. So, a) I will never use EA’s forums, and b) only use Origin where there is no other option AND for games I very particularly want to play.

    So, I really want to play ME3, and this won’t stop me. But, something like Mirror’s Edge on sale? Nope. DA2? Nope. The Sims? Nope.

    *This does devalue the game to me somewhat, but in the specific instance of Steam has some considerable benefits too – multiplayer, friends lists, reliable digital delivery, organisation of the library, patches, etc.

    • Commisar says:

      that is my plan too. I only use Origin for games that I have no other option on. namely BF3 and ME3. But I will NEVER let any blind Valve fanboi or butthurt “hardcore” PC gamer get in the way of my enjoyment of games published/made by EA :)

  26. therighttoarmbears says:

    This may be a naive question, but why don’t they just lawyer up? Seems like they’d at least have enough of a case to make it a pain in the posterior for EA (if the TOS don’t say they can ban you from games you have licensed for posting crude things on their forums, then they can’t – and the burden of proof is on them to prove you have one way or the other). It’d have the added affect of making life better for everybody, as well as ye olde “stick it to the man” sentiment that we all know and love.

    • TillEulenspiegel says:

      Lawyers cost more than $60.

      and the burden of proof is on them to prove you have one way or the other

      No. This isn’t a criminal case. And the Origin TOS says they can ban you for pretty much any reason.

      However, I really would like to see the EFF get involved in stuff like this.

    • zontax says:

      It also depend in which country they live, I think they would have a pretty good case here in europe but I don’t think you would stand a chance in america.

  27. AMonkey says:

    This is why the only game I’ll ever buy on Origin is Battlefield 3 since its a multiplayer game. If ME3 is Origin only I’ll pirate it, simple as that.

    • Commisar says:

      DO NOT USE THAT STUPID FU**ING excuse to PIRATE A DAMN GOOD GAME. PEOPLE LIKE YOU give paying customers worse and worse DRM.

    • Shooop says:

      @Commisar:

      No, people like you who are putting up with it and shrugging it off are making them think their piss-poor DRM is a-OK to keep using.

      AND LOOK I CAN USE CAPSLOCK TOO I MUST BE SO COOL

    • Imbecile says:

      Actually the correct response to not liking a product is to not buy it. Stealing it isnt usually the preferred option.

  28. Bobby Oxygen says:

    Looks like EA feels they’ve done all they could with the “faceless mega-corp” shtick, and are now taking their first baby steps into the realm of cartoonish super-villainy.

    If you don’t agree with their business practices, the solution is really quite simple; Don’t buy their games. Don’t fucking buy any of them. Don’t pirate them either, just ignore them completely.
    The reason why publishers never take threats of boycotts seriously, is that they know how weak-willed the majority of gamers are. Gamers will bitch and bitch and bitch, while continuing to spend their money on the very same products they are bitching about. Companies like EA don’t give a shit about your online petition, facebook group, or 2000-word forum post, but they’ll be forced to care if their quarterly figures drop as a result of their draconian behaviour. So if you don’t like EA’s new groove, feel free to punish them by not buying their games. Or, you can keep complaining about the problem, while you youself perpetuate it by purchasing their products.

    EA will not change unless they are forced to, this much should be clear to everyone by now.

  29. gman says:

    Here is another example of a person losing access to their games after being banned on the EA UK forums:

    http://forums.electronicarts.co.uk/battlefield-3/1449225-banned-forum-crazycanuck-now-i-cant-play-bf3-2.html

  30. Lukasz says:

    that is such a nonsense I just cant believe. I am still gonna get ME3 on first sale but there is no way I am going to use their product ever or buy their games.
    when that happened in march i said: shit happens, they made a mistake, new system…
    it is still happening now tough? that’s not right. And no word from EA?

    they can f— themselves.

  31. k37chup says:

    Thanks to good people who make possible to play origin games without origin.

  32. Deano2099 says:

    One for Lewie surely?

    Any EA / Origin game free for a month. Buy from shop, play for up to thirty days, be rude on forum, get account banned, return to shop as it’s ‘unfit for purpose’. Possibly UK only.

    You can probably get away with more thank 30 days, but if it’s within that period most retailers will eventually cave if you stand your ground (as they’re legally obliged to do). EA can bleat on all they want about them providing you a service, as they are, and they can (arguably) do what they want to that service.

    But the shop sold you a product. If it doesn’t work, take it back. How the retailer reacts to EA if people starting returning games en-masse like this is between the two of them.

    • Milky1985 says:

      Not sure how that would work, if you are going down the sales of goods act route then the item has be fit for purpose and error free at the time of purchase, if you got yourself banned from a forum then the fact that you activated the product shows that the item was fit for purpose.

      Unsure what other consumor regulation you could try to claim but again not a lawyer (just a former shop assitant who had to deal with this sort of crap day in day out :/ )

      The only reason digging in your heals might get a refund here is if the manager just wants to get rid of you.

    • Deano2099 says:

      “Fit for purpose” is generally taken to mean more than “works for a week”. That wouldn’t wash with a TV, for example: “oh, it stopped working after a week, you must have broken it”. You’re not agreeing to be bound by any other terms at the point of purchase.

      If the store did dig their heals in, then they would still have to go to EA to get proof that the user got banned, rather than there being any other error with it. Hence the point still stands: enough people doing it makes it inconvenient enough it disrupts the retailer/distributor relationship.

      Yes, it’s playing fast and loose with the law to an extent, it’s a gray area, but so are EA in one when they ban you in the first place. Of course, we, as individuals, can’t afford to fight EA and legally we shouldn’t have to, as we can fall back on the purchase from the retailer, and let them fight the fight.

    • nemryn says:

      IANAL, and especially NAUKL, but if you’re doing that deliberately and knowingly, with the express intent of getting free gameplay time, it seems like it might count as fraud.

    • Milky1985 says:

      ““Fit for purpose” is generally taken to mean more than “works for a week”. That wouldn’t wash with a TV, for example: “oh, it stopped working after a week, you must have broken it”. ”

      Theres a reason why most stores swap stuff if it goes wrong i the first month but get it fixed if it goes wrong later.

      If the item goes wrong in teh first month its safe to assume it was broken at pruchase due to a manufacturing fault, after that tho its just normal warrenty due to somethign that fails over time.

      Fit for purpose may be taken as “works for longer than a week”, but thats not what it actually is.

      Beside all ea would need to do is set up a retailer site that checks the cd key, retailers go to it, type in the key, it can say registered, unregistered or banned with quick reason. There you go , done. Minimal cost and only 10 mins extra in the shops and it stops people taking the mick.

  33. Deano2099 says:

    Take it back to the shop. You got two weeks of free Battlefield. Gratz.

    • diamondmx says:

      Perhaps you haven’t heard – consumer’s rights (like the right to return a useless, broken product) don’t apply to PC gamers.

    • Thermal Ions says:

      Consumer rights still apply, it’s just that the industry has decided that store policy notices will dissuade most people from standing up for their rights – which is exactly what happens. Approach it in the right way with evidence and you can make headway. It might mean going higher than the local store staff who have zero authority to go against signed store policy and/or raising the issue with gov’t consumer protection bodies. Unfortunately it might take up more of your time than the game itself is worth – hence most people don’t bother.

  34. dr.castle says:

    Well I’m sure never buying direct from EA again. Too bad I bought a couple games on sale from the EA store before they introduced Origin (which I can now only access through Origin, ugh), otherwise I’d uninstall it entirely.

  35. thomashanauer says:

    My account on Origin was deleted without any warning. One day I booted up my computer and the account was gone. I had Mirror’s Edge and Battlefield 3 Open Beta vinculated with my account. And one day, out of nowhere, everything’s goone without any word.

    I tried contacting the EA Support, but never got a answer.

    Never again they’ll have my money, a company so big yet so stupid with the only ones they should care about.

  36. Goosetipher says:

    As a brief note, why not simply challenge this banning process through EA’s own policies? Granted, I’m only a law student, but their binding arbitration clause seems perfectly reasonable. As far as I know, every jurisdiction has some sort of common law process guarantees, often applied fairly creatively. I think most arbitrators would be open to that line of argument. There are plenty of legal theories to challenge under. I mean, it would be a ton of work for little payoff, but if they did it to me, I’d do it out of sheer pique.

  37. PedroBraz says:

    Its worth mentioning here, that EA, like so many times before LIED big and fat about this right from the beginning. “Just a mistake” again turns out to in fact be standard procedure. God damn I´m tired of hearing that thrase.

  38. Beelzebud says:

    I’ll say it now. I’ll NEVER use a game that requires Origin. I don’t care what it is.

  39. Milky1985 says:

    Oh, this might be a wierd thing for a PC gaming blog to ask, but it might wind EA up a bit and stir the pot of a bad smelling brown liquid, so might be worth asking just for that.

    What happens if a console player who is battlelog enabled gets banned on a EA forum? Are their active soldiers also deleted (thereby invalidating the online pass)?

  40. EA-Anonymod says:

    Edit: If it’s going to show my avatar (I didn’t tell it to, DIAF wordpress.) I’ll go ahead and hide what I said.

    RPS peoples can email me.

    • Malibu Stacey says:

      Gravatar not WordPress. Don’t use an e-mail address which you have a Gravatar set up for to register with & it won’t show your avatar if you’re that bothered about “Anonymity”.

    • EA-Anonymod says:

      I’m “that concerned with anonymity” because I had just given information that would turn the table of the entire article and situation.

    • Shooop says:

      “I’m “that concerned with anonymity” because I had just given information that would turn the table of the entire article and situation.”

      Translation: “I’m another EA lacky who’s full of shit and knows EA is wrong but I’ll post here saying RPS is wrong instead and hope no one notices.”

  41. stupid_mcgee says:

    The problem was intended to be fixed by the end of that week, which was eight months ago.

    Way to go Origin! Y’know, if this was Steam they’d be working on it lickety split. And that’s one of the reasons why I’m so wary of this Origin rebranding scheme. EA says, “hey, we’re gonna make this totally awesome service to rival Steam!” They use their crumbled, half-assed old service, slap some paint on it and call it brand new.

    I started using Steam when I bought a non-Steamwork title, Bioshock , in October 2008. I started using EA’s service 8 months later when I bought Sims3 using EADM. If I thought EA did, could or would provide a good service, or at least be comparable to Steam’s, then I would have stuck with EADM. There’s a real and legitimate reason why that didn’t happen.

    If anyone thinks that EA is going to be anywhere near as dedicated with Origin as Valve is with Steam, they’re delusional. I don’t hate Origin, but EA’s current tactics for promoting it are shiesty. People have stuck with Steam because it is a great service (best out there, IMO) with tons of useful features, is easily customized (you can turn off popups and change tons of taskbar properties easily), and also has great sales (I’ve saved over 60% on my entire library of 240+ games). If Origin truly is a great service, then it should be able to compete on its own merits and without the world’s largest publisher forcing people’s hands.

    To me, this is highly indicative of how “dedicated” EA is to Origin and to ironing out its kinks.

    • Commisar says:

      just keep on sucking steam’s cock. Remember that Steam was a POS when it first came out.

    • HothMonster says:

      yeah but its not a POS anymore and it has never installed trojans or forced anyone to have sex with it in the shower. Really this isn’t just a matter of Origin being a bad system, its a matter of them have really shady contracts, using the shadiness of said contracts to do shady thing and completely ignoring and refusing to talk to customers it disciplines and enacting unfair punishment on those users after expressly saying in a public statement that it wouldn’t do any of those things.

  42. MichaelPalin says:

    People who mistrust DRM are such whiners!

  43. CelticPixel says:

    I bleedin’ knew it! I knew EA’s service couldn’t be trusted, and would put customers second. It’s how I’d feel if Ubisoft launched their own digital service. Always cutting off their nose to spite their face, so the shareholders don’t get upset.

    • EA-Anonymod says:

      Getting rid of customers who harm the community by hacking and being threatening towards others (for examples) IS putting the customer first.

    • Shooop says:

      @EA-Anonymod:

      And taking away goods that a customer paid for by mistake and never returning them is called criminal activity.

      Take your propaganda elsewhere, this is an intelligent community.

    • iainl says:

      Do your employers know you’re in here making public comments about the private details of people they’re in legal dispute with, EA Anonymod? That’s probably unwise, even in the unlikely event your claims aren’t libellous in and of themselves.

    • EA-Anonymod says:

      I’m not making comments about anyone’s private details. I’m commenting on policy that is very clearly still in place, whether purposeful or not, and the intentions of this policy.

      I come from the Warhammer Online forums and the only reason Mark Jacobs allowed the creation of forums for the game was a policy that allows us to ban in-game accounts for the most heinous offenders.

      I cannot speak for Origin or the rest of the BioWare Social Network, but this policy has never been retracted in my area of moderation. I’ve seen my boss send in the request for an in-game ban once in 2009, and it was a player spamming animal porn.

      This policy, in our case, doesn’t hurt anyone, it helps.

    • Llewyn says:

      @Anonymod: It’s really not clear what you’re trying to achieve here. Your message appears to be, “Hey, not all of EA is that bad because we don’t have any co-ordinated company-wide policy. Oh, and some of our customers are shits.” Leave the PR attempts to the PR people, because you don’t appear to be well-equipped for them.

      @iainl: You seem intent on disproving Shooop’s final assertion.

    • iainl says:

      I read the Anonymod’s comments, first the one where s/he claims these cases are not what the article states, then that people are banned for hacking and threatening people, I.e. criminal acts, as suggesting that these individuals have done so. A pretty serious accusation. If that’s a misinterpretation, as the follow up post suggests, and it’s just that Anonymod is defending EA without knowing what happened here, they’re merely rather foolish.

    • Shooop says:

      My assertion is with the people banned for the wrong reasons – there are people who were hit with bans but weren’t guilty of what EA accused them of. And since they’re in the wrong, withholding a product or service from them that they already paid for is in fact illegal.

      And even if they are, profanity on the forums means they can take away games you bought? They basically want to be your parents now.

    • Milky1985 says:

      “Getting rid of customers who harm the community by hacking and being threatening towards others (for examples) IS putting the customer first.”

      I agree with that but how excatly is banning a person who has a link to a page for fixing network issues, a link that EA THEMSELVES POSTED ON THE SITE at one point or another putting the customer first? You could claim forum rules breach but the site was non commerical so didn’t even break that.

  44. iainl says:

    EA is currently giving away Burnout Paradise for free through Origin right now. Even that’s not enough to make me install the client; it’s not worth the risk.

  45. Shooop says:

    Somehow, I’m not surprised in the least.

    And I have zero sympathy for anyone stupid enough to have legitimately bought this game. If you didn’t know EA doesn’t care about customer service after all the horror stories all over the internet you deserve to be taken for a ride.

  46. M0N0 says:

    I’m glad to see I was not the only one to pass on BF3 because of origin.

    I remember when steam first came out I was reluctant to use it because I feared them just deciding on a whim to take away games I paid for for any number of reasons. But over the years the sales and general niceness of the service won me over to the point I don’t ever buy games on anything but steam now. EA has a sketchy reputation and I refused to sign up for origin for that reason and because I didn’t want to have multiple clients running on my machine for the same purpose just because of publisher animosity. It’s a good thing I didn’t because this alone is evidence enough that EA is not capable of being the steward of my gaming library. I will not risk losing hundreds of dollars of games for any reason. Now lets hope this is enough to torpedo origin for good.

  47. ResonanceCascade says:

    Good thing I just bought PS3, in case the bizarre urge to play an EA strikes me — which seems unlikely, unless they release Mirror’s Edge 2 soon.

  48. Nick Ahlhelm says:

    There’s a class action suit against them in the future here. Charging for a game and then blocking someone from playing it ALONE is the kind of thing that will get you in trouble. TOS or not, it’s going to be hard to convince a judge that when someone picks this game up at Gamespot or online isn’t them purchasing the right to play the game.

  49. Aufero says:

    So apparently the takeaway lesson here is that posting on EA’s forums for any reason (even in an attempt to help people) is a bad idea.

    Got it.

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