EA’s Unwieldy Banhammer: EA Responds

By John Walker on November 17th, 2011 at 11:26 am.

YOU ARE BANNED FOR LOOKING AT THIS IMAGE

For the last week I’ve been sending quite a few emails to various people within EA, trying to get to the bottom of why gamers receiving forum bans are finding they do not have access to their Origin online gaming. My goal has been to get a clear understanding of their current policy on the matter, since the company’s actions don’t appear to match the statements made in 2008, and March this year. On both occasions they have made it clear that forum bans should not affect access to games, and yet it’s quite obvious that’s not the case. So what is going on? We’re getting closer to understanding. While we’ve still no clear idea what their current policy actually is, EA have promised me that they are “planning a policy update which will include more equitable rules”, with a view to having “the time fit the crime.”

A number of people had contacted us to say that their forum bans (both justified and mystifying) were locking them out of their online gaming, and that their attempts to find out why from EA’s customer support were met with silence or nonsense. Ignoring the question of the legality of preventing access to a purchased product (something I’m looking into), the confusion really lay in EA’s previous assurances that they would not be doing this after the “error” in March. Something that really doesn’t seem to line up with the statement given to me today.

John Reseburg, of EA’s Corporate Communications, contacted me overnight with a statement. I’m breaking it in two halves:

“With every game and service EA offers, we take the satisfaction of our customers very seriously. We discourage cheating and strive to maintain a high level of integrity in both our games and our forums. Therefore when someone violates our Terms of Service, we are forced to take actions that can include suspensions and other measures. We do not take those decisions lightly – however the integrity of our services and the satisfaction of our customers requires a clear set of rules.

Obviously this first half obfuscates the issue. This hasn’t ever been about those who cheat within games, and clearly in violating EA’s online gaming rules, such actions will receive the stated consequences to online gaming. This is very much at the core of the issue here: the conflation of incorrect behaviour on forums, and the same in games. Let’s have a quick aside to ensure absolute clarity about why this conflation is quite so inappropriate:

If you play a game of BF3 online, you’re going to hear swearing. Heck, if you play it offline you’re going to hear swearing from the in-game characters. BF3 is a game in which there is swearing, cursing, bad language, however you’d like to put it. The chances are you’re going to hear some strong language as you play, and no one’s getting banned for that, least of all the NPCs of the single-player campaign. However, say “balls” or “e-peen” on the forum, and you’re getting banned, seemingly from the games too, for one person for life. There’s clearly no equivalence. It doesn’t make sense for the two to be treated the same, which, oddly enough, was EA’s own opinion in the past.

But back to that requirement for a clear set of rules. The statement continues:

“We have listened to our customers and are planning a policy update which will include more equitable rules on suspensions – we want to make sure the time fits the crime. As with all technology updates, these changes take some time to implement. Meanwhile, we urge any user with a question about suspensions or our policies to please contact us at (866) 543-5435 so we can address their specific situation.”

This is potentially great news. The ‘time fitting the crime’ aspect is a little concerning. It’s never been about the 72 hour period being too long/short. But perhaps more equitable rules will mean forum suspensions will no longer affect gaming?

But of course the current problem remains: the implicit suggestion that it is their policy to ban from games for forum violations after all. So what was March all about? I’ve responded to all involved at EA asking if we can just get a clear reply explaining what their current policy is. If it is the case, right now, that misbehaving on forums affects your Origin gaming, then we desperately want to be able to warn you about that, not least because we assured you the opposite eight months ago when EA told us that. I think it would be safe to say that were this EA’s current policy, we would strongly advise our readers to go nowhere near EA’s forums for fear of an errant ban directly affecting their ability to play games they have purchased. For now, until I receive clarification, I think we have to assume this is the case.

It’s also worth noting that those forum violations are pretty stringent – if quoting another’s use of “e-peen” is enough to see a ban (and in this guy’s case, a permanent ban!) then they need to make their guidelines a lot clearer. Especially as it currently has such a dramatic effect to be banned. Although more importantly, a proper distinction needs to be drawn between the forums, and Origin.

Reseburg stresses how much he urges those being affected to call the number stated above. Unfortunately it’s a US number, so would be an international call for many involved, and I’ve asked for a European equivalent. (The other issue there is the Get Human page for that number reports the average wait time to be 79 minutes (although skewed by one report of 400 minutes, and probably closer to around 30).)

So that’s where we are at the moment. Still working on it…

__________________

« | »

, , , , .

129 Comments »

  1. Om says:

    This seems suspiciously like proper investigative journalism. Is someone angling for the Pulitzer?

    • John Walker says:

      The lives that will be saved by my sacrificial work can’t even be counted.

    • phlebas says:

      Infinite lives, eh? Did you use a POKE?

    • ReV_VAdAUL says:

      To get a Pulitzer John will have to play up the Dickensian Aspect.

      (lil The Wire season 5 joke for all of you there)

    • Tusque D'Ivoire says:

      You’re reading John Walker, thirteen times future Pulitzer Prize winner!

    • c-Row says:

      It’s either for this or his HANDBALL posting yesterday.

    • BooleanBob says:

      As much as I enjoy John’s articles, reading them thirteen times would be a sight few many, even for me.

    • pupsikaso says:

      I love John’s “investigative journalism”. Especially the ones relating to those game addictions claims etc. I hope he continues to take his work as seriously.

    • Srethron says:

      At this time I formally declare my support of John Walker Investigates in all things.

    • Ruffian says:

      Creezus Christ…. What is wrong with EA anymore?!? Are they retarded or what? How the hell is a game company that makes games about putting bullets in people’s faces aka – MURDER. Killing people! Going to be randomly banning paying customers for saying questionable words in their forums?! I mean that is outrageous with a capital “O”. I just wish that they could see how much they are hurting their own reputations in the eyes of their customers by doing ass backwards stuff like this and that crazy EULA! I’ve got several friends who were once big EA fans, but now won’t touch them with a ten foot pole because of all their crazy new policies. Dumb dumb dumb.

  2. oceanclub says:

    The safest thing to do, if you’re unfortunate enough to have bought an EA game already, is to steer completely clear of their forums, just in case.

    P,

    • Frankie The Patrician[PF] says:

      or make another forum account (with, for example, Burnout Paradise game linked) for non-support stuff…

    • Lewie Procter says:

      Or if you want to use the EA forums to get support for their games, don’t buy them from Origin.

      Edit: and avoid any games which require Origin.

    • n0s says:

      I’ll just stay clear of EA altogether, thank you very much.

      If they can do this without a single apology, then I dread to imagine what other nastiness is lurking in the code of their games.

    • Avenger says:

      Just to be clear; Are you suggesting people should boycott games over this issue?

      I am not saying “don’t”

    • telpscorei says:

      I will be avoiding E.A. games from now on, so I guess I’m saying boycott them. Though it’s less boycott and more I don’t trust them (at the moment). If they can clear all this up, make a sensible (or at least coherent) policy, and I hear nothing about this issue (losing games on Origin) for six months, I may well come cautiously back. But right now, just doesn’t seem a good idea to buy games from a service that likes to take them away from you without an explanation.

      That and I can’t afford the lawyer related costs necessary to take them to court for locking me out of Mass Effect or something because I referred to the balls of feet.

    • Groove says:

      “Are you suggesting people should boycott games over this issue?”

      I would definitely suggest it.

      I know it’s only small scale abuse and theft, but I don’t feel I need to finish this sentence.

    • Skabooga says:

      It’s not so much a boycott in my mind as it is following the principle of caveat emptor. EA is producing goods and services with known defects, so either don’t buy them, or properly inform yourself about the defects and how to avoid them (e.g., don’t buy their games from Origin if you plan on visiting their forums).

  3. AchronTimeless says:

    I think I’ll just continue with my policy of not buying EA games. If they treat paying customers this way, then I’ll not pay cash for the “privilege” of being their punching bag.

    • Frankie The Patrician[PF] says:

      This.

    • Groove says:

      I’m going to be voting with my wallet.

    • Shivoa says:

      Remember with the Mirror’s Edge and the softer, friendlier EA? I miss that EA. I guess a few quarters of low revenue killed that off and now we get the real EA back; every penny you have and they don’t is a missed opportunity to leverage their properties and business knowledge to maximise short term profitability.

    • His Dudeness says:

      Likewise, I have no intention of paying for the privilege of getting a digital cavity search by EA. Therefore anything published by EA will be off the menu. Shame about ME3 but hey-ho, but there’ll be plenty of other great games out there, released by folks not as greedy and ham-fisted as EA.

  4. Was Neurotic says:

    So, do you get any sort of refund on the money you spent on the game/s that you’re banned from? Because if not, then consider my mind well and truly boggled.

    • Frankie The Patrician[PF] says:

      I doubt that…It is the same with Steam – no refund after deactivating your account, but Valve does it for serious offenses mostly (credit card fraud, piracy…), so it is kinda/ish justifiable , but EA´s behaviour? They are acting like big corp morons they are…

    • MichaelPalin says:

      @Frankie The Patrician[PF]: There should not be any justification to leave a customer without the games they bought, not piracy, not credit card fraud nor nothing. I’m kind of fed up with publishers having all the benefits of software as a medium and none of the “inconveninces”. So, software is not material, it’s digital, which means that they can make infinite copies of a product for near-zero cost and, thanks to the internet, distribute it for also near-zero cost, but the customer has to deal with it as if it were material and he/she is forbidden from making any copy of it. Digital distribution + DRM makes software behave like a material good, but DD companies don’t allow you to lend it or resell it as we used to do with boxed copies, which were material goods. We have no rights when software is defective because, well, it’s hard to make bug-free software, but they have the right to cancel access to games because software does allow for that thanks to DRM.

      I’m really sick of getting all the bad features of software as a medium, while publishers get all the good features. Seriously, they, including Steam, can go fuck themselves!

    • bear912 says:

      I don’t know, I’d say credit card fraud does warrant an account disable. If you’re using someone else’s card to illegally purchase games, I don’t really think you should be able to keep those games… That’s what I reckon, at least, though I see how one could disagree, at least partly.

  5. Crimsoneer says:

    Keep it up John, it’s a really interesting issue. I’m still kind of divided on it – I personally think issuing a temporary, or even permanent ban for behaviour on a forum or in a server can be justified, and could actually be a great idea, it needs to be done consistently, and with some sort of appeals procedure. They’re putting policy guidlines together, and that’s great, but in the meantime they should stop bloody doing it until they’re done.

    • John Walker says:

      Just so we’re clear, I have no issue whatsoever with their issuing bans. It’s their castle, and their rules. The point of contention here is their banning people from games for forum violations, which they’ve stated they won’t do.

    • Crimsoneer says:

      Makes sense! See, I think issuing game bans for forum behaviour is sensible enough, as long as it’s done consistently and according to a policy, with an appeals procedure. The problem is it being done erratically and apparently according to how the moderator feels on that morning.

      It’s vaguely remniscent of WoW character hacks. Back when they started, some moderators would happily return all your items ,and some would just tell you there was nothing they could do about it.

      The more gaming becomes a license to a virtual world, the more companies are going to have to police that world – but they need to do it consistently.

    • ReV_VAdAUL says:

      What possible justification could there be to block people from single player games they paid for due to behaviour on a forum?

    • Chorltonwheelie says:

      What your basically saying to EA is “Beat me up and call me Audrey”?

      Just humour me though, how exactly are justifiable bans for game hacking ‘reminiscent’ of bans for mild cussing on unrelated forums?

    • Crimsoneer says:

      Oh, I don’t know. This is why you need a policy – but you know, I have no problem with something the lines of a racist comment or encouraging piracy gets you a 1 week ban, doing it twice gives you a month ban, and do it three times and you get your games taken away from you.

      As long as it’s done relatively transparently and consistently, I actually think it could lead to a better internet.

    • ReV_VAdAUL says:

      Racism and Homophobia are ban worthy on forums because they negatively affect other users of a forum. A racist person playing a single player game does not affect me in any way shape or form.

      Racism and homophobia are crimes in most countries and elected officials have legislated punishments for those crimes. If those punishments are out of step with public opinion new law makers can be elected to alter that legislation.

      EA on the other hand are private company that publish computer games. They have no democratic accountability or hell any mandate at all to punish any kind of infraction beyond those required to maintain a pleasant environment for users. A homophobe playing Mass Effect 2 doesn’t affect anyone and EA has no plausible reason to prevent them playing single player games they’ve paid for. If the homophobe does something worthy of punishment by the law then fair enough they get punished by the legal system with all the checks and balances contained within.

      The flip side to allowing a video games company to punish people in ways that extend beyond maintaining a pleasant environment for other users is the very real potential that EA decides they find certain things worthy of punishment that aren’t so clear cut as racism and homophobia. Perhaps a person who thinks homosexuality is immoral gains a position of authority in EA and starts taking gay people’s games away? Or perhaps people complain about DRM and get banned?

      You talk about a transparent system with an appeals process but this is a system of laws enforced by a body with no democratic elements at all. They can merrily give you an “appeal” and then maintain the ban, how are you going to respond if they don’t adhere to their transparent rules? Heck in the article John points out in both 2008 and March of this year EA lied wholesale about this very topic.

      Why will a “transparent” system in future make a video games publisher prone to lying justified in issuing any punishment beyond acting to maintain user enjoyment?

    • Crimsoneer says:

      Good points, but I don’t think there’s anything fundamentally wrong with companies policing their own virtual space. Is their a risk of some sort of crazy, totalitarian homophobe gaining control of EA? Yeah, probably. There’s also a risk of Valve suddenly deciding Steam isn’t worth it, and pulling the plug.

      Nonetheless, I still think that the benefits of somebody being able to give out real life punishments for what is usually anonymous behaviour probably outweigh the costs, as long as it’s done right. Think about how terrible 90% of forums on the internet are, and think how much they could be improved if technical support forums were actually used for technical support as opposed to rampant bitching.

      Is this definitely going to work? Who knows. Is this definitely a bad idea? I don’t think so. Done right, I think it could actually make gaming a more pleasant place.

      Done right, this could mean you have less racist people on the internet, less racist people playing BF3, and people actually thinking twice before swearing on forums. It’s not going to affect me, because I don’t go around being racist on forums, but it will mean I don’t get sworn at when I do ask for help, and it does mean there will be fewer racists playing BF3.

      Again, I’m not defending this – it’s badly designed, badly implemented, and in need of a clear policy, and EA should stop banning people until they’re clear about what they’re doing. But it’s a damn interesting experiment, and I’m willing to risk the 2 games on my Origin account for the sake of it.

    • Archonsod says:

      “Racism and Homophobia are ban worthy on forums because they negatively affect other users of a forum. A racist person playing a single player game does not affect me in any way shape or form.”

      Which is moot, since you have to go on the forums to get a ban in the first place. It’s a pretty simple concept; if you’re racist/homophobic/incapable of basic social skills then you don’t go on the EA forums and they don’t take your game off you – everyone is happy. It’s an incredibly effective method to ensure undesirables don’t visit the forum in the first place.

    • Milky1985 says:

      They do have a policy and they made it very clear a few months back what the policy is, that forum bans would not affect your games and that it was an error that caused it

      This has turned out to be in some peoples eyes false and in some other peoples eyes a fraudulent claim, because currently to us consumors it seems that tge policy is the opposite of what they have written down for us.

      [edit] Besides if they started bannign people for homopobia and racism the market for the man shoots they so desperatly want to sell would dry up.

    • Ryn Taylor says:

      You can’t allow people’s rights to be taken away just because they aren’t nice or you don’t like them.

    • telpscorei says:

      @ Ryn Taylor; your response made me think of the line from Demolition Man;

      “You can’t take away people’s rights to be assholes” – Simon Phoenix.

    • Ovno says:

      So you honestly think that just because someone spouts some rubbish on a forum, regardless of what that rubbish may be, just rubbish the company disagrees with, its ok for that person to then be stopped from playing games they have bought?

      My god I am fucking glad I don’t live in a world where this is common place… yet

    • ReV_VAdAUL says:

      @ Ryn Taylor, damn you for making my point better than me in a far shorter space.

      @Archonsod How on earth can it be an effective policy to prevent bad behaviour if not only are users not warned about the fact a forum ban = loss of games and EA have repeatedly denied they do take away your games if you get a forum ban. To quote Dr Stranglove: “How can it be a deterrent if you don’t tell anyone about it?”

      @Crimsoneer

      “policing virtual spaces” sounds nice until you dig down into it. While moderators in an MMO certainly are reasonable it is questionable how taking away people’s single player games is policing a virtual space. Forums are environments where potentially thousands of people interact, maintaining a level of civil discourse is important. Single player games are one person on their own playing a game, their actions in the game by default cannot affect another person. Taking away single player games is not a case of policing a virtual world, it is a case of confiscating goods because of an infraction elsewhere.

      Taking away a single player game where you can’t affect other people is no different from taking away a film or TV show one has legally purchased. The medium itself allows you no means to affect others, so depriving you of the single player game, film or TV show is only a fine levied on actions elsewhere.

      So we come to the other assertion, that a large corporation levying large fines (taking away games collections) will make the internet a better place by encouraging more moral behaviour. A lot of people baulk at democratically elected bodies legislating morality even with a mandate to do so. EA have no mandate to make the internet a less racist or sexist place. Furthermore we have absolutely no guarantee that what EA decides to levy large fines on its’ users for will either be transparent or static. It is very easy to assume that because people who have done bad or questionable things (the e-peen quote does not seem worthy of a permanent loss of games for instance) have lost their games that all people who lose their games have done bad things. This may not be the case and giving EA the power to take away things you’ve bought simply because they dislike what you have to say or want to discourage certain behaviour. Hell it could be for incredibly dumb reasons that don’t require EA to have an agenda at all: http://uk.xbox360.gamespy.com/articles/111/1118987p1.html

      Indeed, we all know miscarriages of justice can occur in the legal system, which far from perfect at least has accountability to the democratic process and the media. EA’s forums on the other hand will either be manned by unpaid volunteers or low paid grunts. Furthermore it will be almost certainly managed by the PR department whose sole focus is to make the game look good, not consider issues of morality or freedom of speech. I would need an exceptionally compelling reason to accept why unpaid or low paid people managed by the advertising department should have the power to take away potentially thousands of pounds worth of purchases on a whim.

      If EA were to implement an open, well organised system managed by people who genuinely cared about civility and freedom of speech online then I would have less worries but this would be very expensive for EA and we have absolutely no indication they’d do that.

      I’m sorry but a large company being able to strong arm me into behaving how they wish with large fines is just unacceptable, regardless of spurious claims it will somehow make the internet a nicer place.

    • Groove says:

      Jacques says:11/17/2011 at 13:36 What rights?

      Consumer rights I imagine.

      Some people seem to be saying that it’s EA’s house and EA’s rules will apply, which is fine……BUT. If gaming is a service, then they need to provide the service that you’ve paid for. They can’t just decide that you’ve stepped over an arbitrary line and revoke the service whenever they feel like it.

    • Deano2099 says:

      We already have laws and stuff to deal with people issuing homophobic abuse and so on. And the EA forums aren’t anonymous, if someone breaks the law, EA can find out who they are and report it to the authorities, where it can be dealt with by a justice system that (in theory) is democratic and has proper checks and balances. It’s not for EA to act as judge, jury and executioner too.

      To take an extreme example, imagine someone posted child pornography on EA’s forum. Is a sensible punishment for that to take his games away? Or to report him to the police and let them handle it? I mean, you could do both but he’s not going to miss his games much in prison is he?

      If what someone is doing on a forum is illegal it should be reported to the authorities. If it isn’t illegal but merely damaging to the community, then ban them from the forum. Yes, there is a gray area between those two: things that aren’t illegal but you think probably should be. You may want to see someone ‘punished’ for that behaviour. But what is in that gray area? Differs from person to person. Are we all to be subject to the morals of one guy at EA?

    • Shadram says:

      “Racism and homophobia are crimes in most countries and elected officials have legislated punishments for those crimes.”

      I wish. I think you’ll find that homosexuality is illegal in more countries than homophobia is. Well, homophobia isn’t illegal anywhere, of course, but beating people up for being gay is, in some places, more of a crime than just beating people up.

      Sorry for the offtopic picking up on a small statement made without the intent that I chose to read in it.

  6. Sheng-ji says:

    This cannot be legal, maybe, from what I’ve heard, it is in the US, but here in Europe I really feel this is in direct contravention of EU consumer rights law.

    • Medo says:

      IANAL, but I read about this issue a while ago (then concerning Steam in the EU). IIRC, it boiled down to this: It’s probably not legal, but the argument is pretty complicated and there are no court decisions to rely on yet, so anyone who’d actually want to fight having his games blocked better get a really good lawyer, allocate quite some money and time and face a high chance of losing anyway.

      A bit more detail, again IIRC, the point was that they can’t revoke the license you bought from them (due to the exhaustion doctrine), so you are still allowed to play the game. However, the technical ability to play the game is tied to your Steam account, and they *can* cancel that as it’s an ongoing service thing. By the way, you are also entitled to resell your game license, but this is equally useless for the same reason. Whether or not that would hold up in court is uncertain. I think there was also some distinction whether you bought a boxed copy of a game that requires Steam, or bought the game from Steam directly. Apparently, you’d have a greater chance of success to defend your right to play the game you bought in a box.

      Edit: Googling a bit, apparently there has been a decision by the German BGH that this practice of tying the games to subscription accounts is legal, even though it effectively prevents resale. See: http://www.golem.de/1002/73135.html
      It is not completely clear to me that this extends to the “account ban” scenario as well, but it might.

      Disclaimer: This is all just what I gather from some minimal research, so it might be wrong :P

  7. DickSocrates says:

    Too many game companies (any large company) these days work on the assumption the customer is always wrong, is nothing more than a sales unit, and should be treated as such. As long as the sales figures look good, they genuinely don’t seem to give a damn what happens. Which overlooks the fact if they had a good reputation and simply acted fairly and intelligently, their sales would increase as those few who are essentially boycotting them would have no reason to.

    • TillEulenspiegel says:

      I sincerely hope they continue down this line. It’ll only further contribute to the growth of indies, who (mostly) treat customers like humans.

    • Frankie The Patrician[PF] says:

      Before they become too big, so they turn into the same monsters…but that is okay, there are destined to be enough new indie developers to turn to again.

  8. Donkeyfumbler says:

    I appreciate that EA is a large, complex organisation but really – how hard is it to get someone there to give a straight answer to a fairly simple question, namely ‘Is it your policy to suspend or ban Origin accounts based on behaviour in the forums?’

    I’d love to be able to give Origin and EA a miss, but unfortunately I’ve been a BF addict since the demo for 1942. All I can say is that this makes me far less likely to buy any other PC games from EA and I will definitely not be posting on their forums (thus they lose out on creating a forum system like Steam’s that adds a lot to the service).

    • Thermal Ions says:

      I’m guessing their existing policy is:
      (a) so non specific and broad that every support staff member / supervisor and PR person finds themselves interpreting it differently,
      (b) has changed so often there are multiple different copies all across the various intranets used within EA such that no one knows which is the current policy, or
      (c) essentially passed on by word of mouth and not written down anywhere with different people remembering it differently.

      The poor PR people* are probably struggling to calm the situation best they can with little to no internal support or ability to get clear answers themselves and hoping that eventually someone in the company sorts it out and makes their lives easier.

      Of course the only people (senior management) who can sort it out are probably looking at the risk/reward and deciding it’s not worth the effort – it’s only the odd few people affected, sales are strong and the brouha always blows over.

      * Gee never thought I’d ever put those four words together.

  9. faelnor says:

    Ah, the wonderful world of “games as a service, not a product”. What next? It’s all so exciting!

    • Zarunil says:

      “We’re reclaiming your trousers due to a breach of our Terms Of Use!”

      *zip*

      *snatch*

    • InternetBatman says:

      To be fair, a lot of this is because right now Origin is a bad service. League of Legends, Minecraft, and Steam are examples of a games as a service approach done well.

      But yeah, you wouldn’t have had to deal with any of this crap ten years ago.

  10. rocketman71 says:

    “We have listened to our customers and are planning a policy update which will include more equitable rules on suspensions – we want to make sure the time fits the crime.”

    The only policy update needed is this: whatever you do in their forums should NEVER EVER affect the games you bought in their platform. PERIOD.

    Not that I really care about this, since they’ve demonstrated how much they really care about gamers, and I’m not giving them a cent to snoop my hard drive where they shouldn’t (however much they insist that they’re not sending that info they shouldn’t have looked at in the first place anywhere), to impose me completely excessive DRM, and to (perhaps) ban me from my games because I expressed an opinion that some idiot community manager considered over the top (or, in the case of one of the bans, just replying to one such opinion), without even having the means to argue against such a ban (the EULA allows us to do this, so STFU, you “customer”).

    This is sad. This is not EA being a bunch of bastards anymore. This is EA practically telegraphing “we don’t even care that it shows and you know”. Which, again, is why Origin will never see an euro from me.

    On a completely unrelated note: I’d love to see a “preview my comment” button besides the “opinion, away!”. It would avoid a lot of edits.

    • ReV_VAdAUL says:

      This is a very good post too!

    • MiniMatt says:

      Exactly this, perhaps my pessemism is kicking in too early, and perhaps this is merely the holding statement put out before they can get a proper handle on things (the gears of big business grinding slowly etc), but I tend to read this in an extremely concerning light.

      If I spout, I dunno, some holocaust denying nonsense on any forum I expect to get banned from said forum. If, again example, I aimbot, hack and exploit my way to a gazzilion experience points in BF3 I expect to get banned from the server, and likely all ranked servers too. In neither of those scenarios should I be banned from, eg, playing single player Mass Effect.

      Any policy, any policy at all, that they come up with that would allow for that is completely, utterly and totally indefensible.

  11. Deano2099 says:

    There’s something really nasty going on here, and that’s allowing companies to ‘punish’ customers. This does not happen anywhere else in any other industry. Banning players who are cheating from playing online is one thing, as that’s about protecting the experience for legitimate users. Banning people from forums because they’re rude? Again, to protect other users. Temporary Steam bans if Valve suspect fishy activity on your account? Often inconvenient but it’s being done for the good of the user.

    But to remove access to stuff you bought as a punishment? EA are quite clear that that’s what is happening: “time fits the crime”. Companies don’t get to decide on crimes and punishments. That’s why we have a legal system. By taking control of our games with systems like Origin, we effectively give these companies the ability to unilaterally ‘punish’ us with no due process for any reason they like. It’s not so bad right now, but EA want Origin to compete with Steam. Many people have £1000s worth of stuff on Steam. It basically means these companies can just decide to fine us these £1000s for any reason they like. It’s pretty disturbing.

    • ReV_VAdAUL says:

      Exceptionally well put.

    • Thermal Ions says:

      I thought corporal punishment was on the nose these days – EA obviously doesn’t think so.

    • TheApologist says:

      Agreed. This would be a disturbing trend even if the policy made it clear that basis on which users were to be disciplined, they are still being disciplined by the company. Personally, clear and ‘fair’ or arbitrary and unexpected, doesn’t matter, I will consider very carefully buying EA games that require Origin in future.

      On a side note, there might be one or two other examples of this outside gaming – football clubs punishing fans springs to mind.

    • InternetBatman says:

      It’s a really clear example of you don’t own what you paid for philosophy that predominates most publishers. It makes games worse as a whole.

    • Archonsod says:

      “There’s something really nasty going on here, and that’s allowing companies to ‘punish’ customers. This does not happen anywhere else in any other industry.”

      Come into my local and cause trouble and the bouncer will kick you out, violently if necessary. Pick up the phone to customer support for anything and if you’re rude, the rep will hang up. Refuse to co-operate with reasonable requests from your ISP, fuel, telephone or any other service company and they’ll remove your ability to use that service.
      I fail to see how it’s punishment rather than simply the exercise of a company’s right to refuse service. You have no *right* to any service (bar clean water, at least in the UK), you can agree with private companies to supply said services, and if your behaviour is found wanting by said company they have a right to refuse to provide you with service, just as a bar or store has a right to refuse to serve you or indeed eject you from the premises if your behaviour is found wanting.

      “By taking control of our games with systems like Origin, we effectively give these companies the ability to unilaterally ‘punish’ us with no due process for any reason they like.”

      Yes. Something you agreed to when you handed over money for an ongoing service provided by said company. If you dislike it you can of course simply not buy games dependent on said services.

    • blind_boy_grunt says:

      i just can agree. But you also pinpointed for me why i think this whole issue is so “infuriating”, because it’s a judgement without a process, without the accused getting an anwer on who judged on what grounds, what evidence was used, because it is basically kafka’s the trial. A little better communication would be nice.

    • rocketman71 says:

      @Archonsod: “Come into my local and cause trouble and the bouncer will kick you out, violently if necessary. Pick up the phone to customer support for anything and if you’re rude, the rep will hang up. Refuse to co-operate with reasonable requests from your ISP, fuel, telephone or any other service company and they’ll remove your ability to use that service.”

      Reasonable requests?. If I tell to one of my friends in your local that he has a small e-peen, will you kick me out of your bar?. If I say that I think your local is shitty, will you tell me “if you don’t like it, go find another” or will you kick me forever?.

      This is not causing trouble, this is expressing opinions. Besides, we’re not talking kicking someone out of your local here, we’re talking kicking someone out of your local AND out of THEIR home.

      Yeah, metaphores can get stupider with each cycle.

      “Yes. Something you agreed to when you handed over money for an ongoing service provided by said company. If you dislike it you can of course simply not buy games dependent on said services.”

      Well, agreed, agreed, not really. As long as we can’t return many games once bought, you HAVE TO accept the EULA to install them, and the EULA is full of illegal shit that a judge would tear down should you ever have the time and the money to seek it doesn’t mean that we’re “agreeing” with the EULA. We’re just saying “yeah, yeah, whatever, install my game”.

      But I agree with you completely. Nobody should hand over money to a service like Origin.

    • n0s says:

      @Rocketman71

      “If I tell to one of my friends in your local that he has a small e-peen, will you kick me out of your bar?”

      Actually, the equivalent would be:
      “If I tell to one of my friends in your local that he has a small e-peen, will you have me kicked out of every bar in this entire town?”

    • TheApologist says:

      @archonsod

      Your examples are good and bad. Ok – yes there are examples of services where unreasonable behaviour resulting in a withdrawal of service. But the point here is that a large company is assuming a wider disciplinary role, and engaging in extraordinary levels of behaviour management – as @rocketman71 points out. The point is also that the reasons they have for doing that cannot logically be traced to an intention to protect their provision of those services. This can be said for two reasons: 1) They are withdrawing multiple of their services (from the perspective of the user) at once i.e. a problem on a forum results in the withdrawal of access to the forum and to single-player gaming, and to mutiplayer gaming and to making game purchases and downloads. So, for the user, the analogy is precisely not getting kicked out of a pub for behaving badly, but something more like not being able to buy a bottle of wine in an off-licence because they had been kicked out of the pub nearby 2) That the user has no ability to predict when the company will withdraw its service.

      Further, a pub cannot take off you the right to buy the same drink in another pub, or take away the drinks you bought last week, but EA can stop you ever playing BF3 again. And because of the financial investments made by players in gaming, where they buy a license for the future, and the degree of behaviour tracking that they engage in, together it gives companies real powers of control, to govern what you say and where you go on the internet, and how you spend your free time, and the worth of the money you spent on games for your leisure in the past.

    • Zephro says:

      You do know some pubs brew their own beers, so if they ban you then you can’t get that product anywhere else…
      It’s also not like the pub and off license metaphor as they’d have to both be owned by the same company

      Anyway most of this counter metaphor stuff is missing the point. You enter into agreements/contracts with companies all the time and there is nothing in principle wrong with EA removing your access to their products even if you have paid for it already. It’s common enough. So arguing over high principle or legal issues is not getting anywhere, no matter the strained metaphor used.

      The issue here is with EA’s shocking and arrogant implementation. No recourse for appeal, no clear policy warning you that this was even possible, bad communication over what is going on etc. etc. Which is poor customer service, but not really violating your rights. The way to deal with poor customer service is to stop being that companies customer.

    • Groove says:

      @Archonsod

      I think the key thing here is that in every other situation where this can happen, it’s because you’re buying a recurring service. You mentioned a bar (buying drinks over a night) and service providers (providing a rolling month-month service). They may cut you off in the middle of your current drink or month, but the main thing that’s stopping is your ability to buy MORE of the that service.

      A bar cannot order your stomach pumped to reclaim the drinks you bought earlier, and abusing your isp won’t lead to your electricity being cut off.

      If I buy a television and swear at the customer support team, they can’t send bailifs round to collect the television, or remotely deactivate it.

    • TheApologist says:

      @zephro

      I did consider the ownership issue when considering the pub / off-license metaphor, and the reason I think it is ok is that I don’t think users really care what company is owned by who or owns what digital platform. Nor do they enter contracts in much of a meaningful sense – EULAs are written expressly to be unreadable; I don’t know what I am signing up to, and therefore I don’t really enter into a contract except minimally, in the sense of a common understanding of transaction – I give you money and you let me acquire game code and use it to play that game. And no one knows EULAs legal status as far as I can tell. And, moreover, this whole argument occurs partly because no-one can tell if EA are acting in line with their policies, license agreeements and what not.

      So, I’d say that the law is not the basis of judging what is good and reasonable behaviour from a company. It is what they do and the effects of what they do.

      That is to say, this is absolutely about ethics and not the law. And their ethics mean I probably won’t be buying their games any time soon. So it looks like we largely agree on that point even if we get there different ways :)

    • MiniMatt says:

      The football club analagy partially holds up. If you were to spout offensive nonsense at a football match, aside from any criminal implications, you’d likely find yourself banned from the stadium, and quite potentially banned from all football stadiums. Essentially you’re banned from the multiplayer aspect of foot-that-ball watching.

      But should the FA be able to prevent you also from watching TV coverage of football matches (the “singleplayer football spectator”)?

    • gwathdring says:

      @Groove: While I agree that there are problems inherent in the idea, it is quite clear to me that Origin is selling access to games, not physical products. I personally feel that virtual products should be, in many cases, analogous to physical products as opposed to services … but it is naive to pretend EA is intentionally selling you a tangible product over Origin. They, right or wrong, are selling you access to their games and no more via Origin.

      Since they are selling a service and not a product, they are more like a restaurant then a TV company. And they aren’t making you spit up what you’ve already chewed, they’re just kicking you out before the plate is clean.

      This said, their reasons for giving you the boot are unclear, probably unfair, and there are remaining unresolved issues regarding games as a service/license.

    • Zephro says:

      Yeah I basically agree that the “principle” of having bought a product doesn’t really apply here. The analogy with a pub still holds good, they don’t pump your stomach but you don’t get to finish the product you’ve paid for.

      The trick is that there is a well understood social convention when I go to a pub or restaurant about what does and doesn’t constitute bad behaviour. EA on the other hand….. god only knows.

      They’re more like a bar that would throw you out because they didn’t like your style of dancing suddenly. So there’s no principle at stake but they are acting like arseholes.

    • TheApologist says:

      @zephro – yeah, point taken about their arbitrariness. Not buying from a company whose behaviour looks less like consistent decision making and more like random button pressing and to hell with the consequences is just good sense

    • Groove says:

      @gwathdring
      “@Groove: While I agree that there are problems inherent in the idea, it is quite clear to me that Origin is selling access to games, not physical products. I personally feel that virtual products should be, in many cases, analogous to physical products as opposed to services … but it is naive to pretend EA is intentionally selling you a tangible product over Origin. They, right or wrong, are selling you access to their games and no more via Origin.”

      I understand your point, and it is at least mostly true. I think the problem is when you talk about a tangible product. Because they very clearly ARE selling a tangible product. I may not be able to touch the product they sell me, but they aren’t selling an idea, they’re selling something that is set in stone.

      They will go to vast lengths to advertise their product. I can watch videos of their product, see screenshots, read reviews of and stories about their game. When I buy a game from them I may be buying access to support for that game in the future, but the key part of the purchase is buying the game in the state that it is in at the time of purchase.

      This tangible product will never decay or age. It won’t need to be bought again if I leave it alone. I’m under no pressure to use it immeadiately once I buy it. I would own it forever and could use it for my entire life without ever paying more. This causes comparisons to break down somewhat since this isn’t the case for any actual service.

      I realise I’m not debating anything terribly relevant any more, but I think this point is important. They shouldn’t just be able to state that it’s a service then remove access when they feel like.

      @Zephro
      “They’re more like a bar that would throw you out because they didn’t like your style of dancing suddenly. So there’s no principle at stake but they are acting like arseholes.”

      That’s hitting the analogy on the head.

    • gwathdring says:

      Oh I completely agree. Well said. :) I was trying to remain on topic, but I’m glad you said that. I voiced similar opinions further down the page.

    • Deano2099 says:

      The bouncer analogy is good actually. If you are causing trouble, you will be asked to leave. It’s the bar’s place, they can have who they want there. And they are removing you for the good of the other customers.

      However, note that (in reputable places) a bouncer will always ask you to leave before using physical force. They’re not allowed to use unnecessary violence. It’s a great analogy because, if someone is being a dick in the pub, do you want him gone? Yes. Do you want him taken outside and then have the shit kicked out of him by the bouncers as ‘punishment’ ? I’d hope not.

      Football analogy is also interesting, if you get banned, can you get a season ticket refund? Guessing not. But again, it’s for the protection of the majority, not as a punishment. A punishment would be say, banning your Sky Sports sub too. No you can’t be racially abusive at a football ground, but you can watching the same game at home on TV. A ban from a ground does act as a punishment, but it’s indirect. It’s not why the ban is happening. That’s a major difference. Intent.

      That’s why I don’t object to say, a temporary Steam ban because I’ve just spent $400 on a new credit card from an IP in India. I mean, I might be legit, but I’m being banned because Steam want to protect both me and them from any fraud.

      The wider point, the legal point as to if they can get away this? I reckon they probably can. But consumer laws are out of date. There are no consumer laws out there that deal with this sort of hybrid product/service system. There is some contract law for B2B transactions, but B2C has always been treated differently in law. Right now people are trying to apply the contract law as is. Which is all that can be done.

      But what I can say, at least in terms of UK law, is that all of this flies directly in the face of the SPIRIT of UK consumer protection law. Sales of Goods Act doesn’t apply? Maybe not. But read it and it’s obvious that if it were being drafted today, it would cover and explicitly ban this sort of behaviour. We need new consumer laws for this sort of thing, and I imagine we’ll get them. Hopefully the lobbys on the consumer side will be solid enough to stop the big corps running over them.

  12. nirs says:

    tbh, if i had the chance now to return the game i would. Too much absurd.

  13. princec says:

    I’d like to say “Then take your money elsewhere” but of course that’s not much use if they’ve already got your money. Maybe “Take the rest of your money elsewhere”.

    Cas :)

    • n0s says:

      Corporations don’t like noise. You can also make sure all your gaming friends know about your experience and try to convince them that the system will ensure the same thing will happen to them eventually, and not give money to evil corporations that dont give a toss about its customers. That will eventually force them to adopt more user-friendly policies as the marketplace shuts them out as customer hostile.

      Unfortunately, that takes years, and it only works for smaller corporations. Too many lemmings uncritically buy anything no matter how much EA d*ck they get shoved up their backside.

  14. AMonkey says:

    Yep, BF3 is still the only game I’ll buy on Origin no matter how many more EA games are Origin exclusive, I’ll just aquire them another way.

  15. AbyssUK says:

    Can you be perma-banned from your Itunes/amazon music/netflicks account for anything ? How are they policed ?

    Is it time for online ‘services’ to be independently policed ? If so how would this be paid for ? Should it be a world wide thing or by countries ? Who would do it ?

    This is a minefield legally with no good answer, some clever people need to sit down and figure something out.

    edit: Also while they are at it can we update the patent system too :)

    • nogav says:

      Not sure about those, but you can be banned from the Zune marketplace.

    • gwathdring says:

      I’m going to begin a letter writing campaign to my state’s representatives and senators regarding digital goods and services and the need to provide customers and companies with clearer guidelines for what is and is not within the scope of digital service agreements. It is not clear what is and is not illegal with respect to digital goods and services and thus it is impossible to gauge the scope and legitimacy of EULAs. Furthermore, we need to require companies explicitly and clearly delineate their uses of personally identifying information.

      Finally, we need legislation to make it clear to companies that digital products are not inherently in flux. With proper back-up procedures, products I have acquired digitally are every bit as permanent and personal as products I acquire otherwise; pretending that digital media should never be considered personal property in an increasingly digital world threatens our economy and our rights as citizens to control and protect digital media we have produced–let alone data we have purchased. If nothing else, we need to enshrine in law a separate category for digital products, hybridizing the ways we treat services and property; if handled properly, such legislation could allow both for the sale of digital licenses and the ownership of digital media depending on the specifics of the transaction. I respect that a digital world has far more services and far less tangible property, but as a life-long computer user I am also daily faced with the reality of possessing and controlling digital media in a way that is as tangible to me as my possession of the computer on which I peruse it. We need a better solution, or at the very least, an explicit solution.

  16. Andrigaar says:

    Clearly EA hates customers, hates moderating forums, but loves money.

    So in order to deal with that seething hatred, they’re making any use of the forums a terrifying experience that might punch you in the wallet and force you to re-buy anything you still enjoy. Obviously the only path here leads to never posting on their forums about anything ever, which will eventually allow them to shut those down, fire all the mods, and save the money spent on running servers.

    Clever.

  17. Hoaxfish says:

    The ‘time fitting the crime’ aspect is a little concerning. It’s never been about the 72 hour period being too long/short.

    Perhaps they meant “time and space fitting the crime”, which is why they always seem bigger on the inside than from outside.

  18. Lord Custard Smingleigh says:

    I nodded my head sagely at this post. My manservant will deliver a bottle of brandy with my compliments presently.

  19. cloudkiller says:

    If you give your money to a crook, why are you surprised when the crook acts like one, regardless of what he/she has said in the past? For that reason I will never, ever buy anything from Orgin. If Activision opened their own store, I would avoid it for the same reasons.

  20. malkav11 says:

    I swear that that doesn’t sound like an actual response to you at all but rather a generic form e-mail generated based on some keyword tripped in a system somewhere. But it’d be nice to be wrong.

  21. nogav says:

    Sounds like they’re trying to take the Microsoft/Xbox route, where their website is meant to be suitable for all ages.

    Of course, when I got banned from Live for having s*** (yes, with the asterisks) in my profile, I could still play offline. Perhaps EA needs to put thought into a multiplayer/singleplayer split, and only banning people from multiplayer? Let them grief their singleplayer campaigns.

  22. Shooop says:

    In short:

    “Whoops, we forgot to tell you about our intent to be your virtual parents before we implemented the system. Our mistake, but hey you deserved it.”

    A forum offensive is a forum offense, just as an in-game offense is in-game. Trying to conjoin the two is stupid and wrong.

  23. Johnny Lizard says:

    This is the first time I have ever heard the term “e-peen.”

    General question: do forum admins do anything else apart from create massive PR headaches for publishers, because that’s literally all we ever hear about them doing. Are they more trouble than they’re worth?

  24. BenMS says:

    Even if you get a “proper” explanation out of EA at this point in time, will anyone believe it? Does anyone have any faith whatsoever left in this company?

    Did anyone have any faith in this company to begin with?

  25. Random Guy says:

    If you take a gander at the majority of posts in the BF3 Battle Log forums, and if EA was enforcing this type of ban, the game would lost 50% of its player base in a day.

  26. thebluemonkey81 says:

    EA are an awesome, awesome compnay….. and I am in no way a sarcastic bastard :)

  27. Dobleclick says:

    Thanks RPS for keeping the spotlight on this! It’s a good way to force EA into the correct direction,maybe the only one considering that legal actions of one or several consumers against EA is pretty much a lost cause.

  28. The Tupper says:

    I was sworn at by the driver of a Ford motor car yesterday. I think Ford therefore has a duty to take that man’s car away from him to prevent the possibility of drivers such as myself (or, even more worryingly child drivers) being abused in such a manner again.

  29. aircool says:

    From now on you will be known as John ‘The Talk’ Walker.

  30. Bobby Oxygen says:

    John is such a decent fellow. He keeps approaching this like it’s some kind of misunderstanding that will get rectified any minute now. It’s like the very idea of EA assuming control over their customers and lying through their teeth never occurred to him.

  31. doublethink says:

    This is exactly why Valve has kept separation from forums and VAC bans on Steam.

    It also had the bonus of saving their asses with that breach recently.

    It has its negatives like 2 usernames, and passwords and I always found that annoying, but after reading this horror show and the breach, it makes more sense now.

  32. Twirrim says:

    So essentially what you’re saying is there is absolutely no change from the situation before the update.
    It’s just empty words, typical business double-talk to seem like they’re actually saying something when they’re not.

    They’ve not addressed the actual problem you contacted them about at all.

    • gwathdring says:

      When asking clear, specific questions, I expect clear and specific answers–even if those answers amount to “we don’t know how to fix your problem.” I’m quite used to low quality customer service from large companies, but the amount of trouble I have with EA’s customer service, EA’s account system, and EA’s ability to honestly describe their customer policies reaches a new low.

      It-tunes gets the honor of giving me my second worst customer service experience. I am currently unable to purchase products from them despite trying to get through to customer service that my bank knows rather a lot more about my billing address than I-Tunes does (my solution to this was quite simply to stop buying songs from Itunes permanently and not bother fixing the issue).

      I do not understand why a company would design customer service policy to force representatives to provide bad service. The number of times I have explicitly asked to be given steps beyond troubleshooting and explicitly described the exact procedures I have already undertaken … only to be given redundant instructions regarding the most basic techniques for a whole batch of back-and-forth e-mails … for the second time on the same support ticket … is completely and utterly appalling. They may as well stop paying these people if their policy is going to be written to be so fundamentally unhelpful or the employees are going to receive so little information and training that they cannot actually provide service.

  33. Bhazor says:

    Sooooooo how about a write up on the Steam hack?

  34. MichaelPalin says:

    How many standard and void statements do you need from EA to leave this go, John? Don’t you understand there is no place for professional journalism in video games? Forget it John, it’s video-town!!

  35. Asuron says:

    So does anyone know a law firm that will challenge this stuff in court?
    This is getting ridiculous, someone needs to challenge this type of behaviour in the courts and it has to be done by a firm with enough money so that even if EA protracts it, it wont matter.

    TOS might not be legal if challenged, but which one of us has the money to challenge it and remove this type of crap? I certainly don’t and I doubt all of us writing here can either, along with the millions of gamers affected by these terms.

    So for all intents and purposes these terms are legal. Its come to the point about where legal representation is needed, because we are all being bent over the barrel here.

  36. Tuor says:

    So, what, EA’s position is:

    You don’t own our games, you merely license them. And, as part of that licensing agreement, we reserve the right to revoke that license under certain circumstances. One of those circumstances is if you say something we Do Not Like on our forums. So it has nothing to do with ownership, as you don’t actually own any of our games. Thank you, and have a nice day.

    That seems to be the long and short of it — to me, anyway.

  37. SiHy_ says:

    I miss buying a game off a shelf in a store and installing it. You know, back before the internet. Things were so much simpler. Well, apart from getting the damn things working in the first place. Not enough allocated memory my arse!

  38. gwathdring says:

    What the heck is an e-peen?

  39. der jester says:

    On the one hand, I’m against Origin and will not buy anything that requires Origin due to the EULA and these forum bans preventing access to games. I will never purchase anything that requires Origin. I cancelled my BF3 preorder and will not play until it’s separate from Origin. I had my finger on the button to cancel my SW:TOR preorder until Bioware stated that Origin is not needed.
    On the other, any sort of behavioral policy is incredibly difficult to be fair on. When I was in support for an MMO we had an incredibly vague harassment policy that resulted in support staff interpreting it in different ways, to the point that even if bad language wasn’t used to harass, it was being actioned. This culminated in a humongous shit storm due to someone changing a guild name that they thought fell into our harassment policy, followed by the idiotic support management decision to support this level 1 decision instead of apologizing and overturning it.
    It’s difficult to say what people should and shouldn’t say. Some people are offended by the word crap, or if someone named their character an obscure pornstars name. How could you be offended by the name unless you already knew the name? How can you action someone for an offensive name if it was just a random coincidence?

    • Llewyn says:

      I know this wasn’t the main point of your comment, but how do you know that the TOR downloader/launcher is fundamentally any different in behaviour from Origin? Which is more likely, that they wrote a second content delivery system, or that the TOR launcher is a renamed and re-skinned version of Origin?

  40. Beelzebud says:

    Not surprised at all. In the past they’ve also revoked games for no reason whatsoever, besides to rip people off.

    I bought BF2142 from the EA Downloader service, before they renamed it. I was able to play that game for 2 weeks, before the DRM locked me out saying I had an invalid CD-key. I never could get them to give me back access to the game I paid 40.00 for. The only time I got to play that game was when Dice released that final patch that removed the DRM. By that time I didn’t give a shit.

    I’ll never trust EA with my money again. They whine about pirates, as they steal from their own customers! Screw them!

  41. Deano2099 says:

    Given that the anti-games lobby can get an early-day motion debated on banning MW3, you’d think UKIE and Which between them could get some sort of digital gaming rights thing talked about.

  42. Lukasz says:

    What about DLC for bioware games?

    I have retail DAO ultimate which has all DLC and Awakening. I added it to origin.
    I also have ME2 steam key which I added to origin and i bought from bioware three DLCs. and I got one DLC from DAO.

    Will the ban from Origin result in me not having access to DLC? Cause i believe i had to activate them online during installation.

  43. Pointless Puppies says:

    If there was any justice in the world EA would’ve already been fined millions of dollars for not only essentially stealing from the consumer, but also outright lying and dodging questions about the elusive policy that no one seems to have an answer for but is still happily being enforced in all its inconsistent glory.

    This truly disgusts me. EA has done some pretty assholeish things in the past like deliberately shut down servers to “encourage” people to buy another iteration of their horribly recycled products, but this completely takes the cake. I implore that John continue to follow this issue and continue to give them bad publicity, because only bad PR can ever make a difference with these assholes. Us peasant peon consumers are never listened to anyway.

  44. remoteDefecator says:

    I respect the journalistic objectivity here, but honestly, EA is not going to change course without some rabble-rousing from the community. I would really like to see a scathing indictment of this vague “policy,” and what better organization to issue it than RPS, the most respected pure-PC gaming site on the web? I realize you are giving them time to respond, but in my opinion, the fact that this policy is not clearly spelled out is inexcusable, and should be called out as such.

    Blizzard doesn’t pull this crap. I’ve been suspended from the WoW forums for trolling (Q: your favorite mount? A: your mom), and it didn’t affect my ability to play the game.

  45. PinkysBrain says:

    Looking at the complete clusterfuck of the current SWTOR password reset business I wouldn’t be surprised if this is about technical incompetence more than intentional evil.

    AFAICS EA.com/Origin/SWTOR and other EA games logins are all slightly but not completely interlinked, they seem to have multiple interconnected databases with race conditions and complete failures to synchronize … on top of making it completely opaque to users that changing logins on one site will affect other sites. I think EA’s IT department is completely unable to supply EA with a forum only ban …

  46. Daish says:

    http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/233/easupportwarning2facebo.jpg/

    i got warned for something i never typed. i contacted EA Support 5 times and was never helped they kept saying it was a valid warning and i said that text.

    then i was banned a few days latter for saying “the minimap is s**t” something very minor i lost access to the game for 72 hours………. EA are really frustrating me.

    here is the topic i posted about my issue http://battlelog.battlefield.com/bf3/forum/threadview/2832654624751890661/

  47. Furtled says:

    Just a heads up on this: If this post turns out to be true EA is also issuing automatic perma-bans and cutting off players from their games for having their user name mentioned in a bannable post.

  48. ObstetricMalachi says:

    Daish come to http://www.escapistmagazine.com/forums/read/9.328868-EA-now-issuing-permanent-Origin-bans-through-content-filter and share your story, I caught a perma ban from all EA services because of a post that wasn’t mine. It wasn’t even one that I quoted, just someone who used my username as part of the post, in a thread I was in.

  49. Deadly Habit says:

    A Reddit troll face
    RPS is trolling us all

  50. kuffs says:

    I received a permanent ban because EA double charged my paypal account for the Back to Karkand map pack. When I called about a refund the EA rep told me I would have to file a dispute through paypal to get refunded, which I did for the second charge.
    The next day I found out my Origin account had been a permanent ban on it for filing the dispute. I called EA and the rep advised that she could not do anything about it but felt that it was wrong and they should correct it. The rep stated that she would open a case and send it up the ladder for review. This was days ago and I still have not heard back from them!!! I have owned and played EA games for several years and have never had to deal with anything like this, Someone over there at EA is on a big power trip!!!

Comment on this story

XHTML: Allowed code: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>