EA Origin Bans: Update Edition

By John Walker on December 5th, 2011 at 2:21 pm.

I'd love the day to come when I can stop using this image.

To keep you up to date with the status of our investigation into EA’s dubious banning players from accessing their Origin account games (mostly multiplayer, although we’re hearing exceptions), we have, well, no news.

Unfortunately, despite repeated attempts to receive a statement on EA’s current position on their banning procedure, we have only been met with silence for the last fortnight. After some initial responses, pointing affected customers toward their support lines, we received an ambiguous statement that avoided the current issue and rather said there were plans to “review” whatever the current secret policy might be. And then no responses to our emails since. All the while, we’re hearing of case after case of customers being affected.

I’m building up quite the portfolio of affected gamers, who find after a forum violation they’re unable to access their Origin games. And within this is a more disturbing trend – those who are finding that their forum bans are, without explanation, becoming permanent bans. Permanent bans from accessing their Origin accounts, their Battlelog accounts, and therefore downloading purchased games, and playing online. Something which obviously raises serious questions about consumer rights, which is of course another angle we’re currently investigating.

The pattern tends to go like this:

Person says a naughty word on an EA forum.
Person receives 72 hour ban from forums, which blocks Origin too.
Person contacts EA customer support and is told “tough”.
Person writes to RPS.

With the occasional addition of:

Person finds their ban has become permanent with no warning, and no option to appeal.

Of those people who contact us, we tend to get two types. The first who write invective-speckled fury on the forum, and then to us, and obviously entirely deserve their forum bans. The second are those who have done absolutely nothing wrong on the forums, but are punished erroneously, either for quoting an insult someone else has called them, or doing nothing offensive whatsoever. But neither group, according to EA’s words to us in March, should be being banned from Origin or accessing their games. A statement, however, that EA doesn’t appear willing to repeat nine months on.

So there’s Rob, who was accused of posting a commercial to his support site – a site that EA links to itself in its own support site FAQ – who received a ban. And James, permanently banned (until his account mysteriously popped back to life recently, with no communication from anyone) for saying “e-peen”. We’ve heard from Alex, who put a sweary joke on the forum, not directed at anyone, and found himself locked out of his games. Toma got in touch to say that after previous bans for what sound like entirely unacceptable forum posts, months later he has now found himself banned because of his Gravatar logo – a Reddit troll face. Buh? Pointing out that one of the main devs at EA uses the Me Gusta face got nowhere, and he has been told he’ll learn of his account’s fate in seven days, so certainly longer than the traditional 72 hour ban, potentially permanent.

Most exceptional perhaps is Aaron, who after receiving a 72 hour ban was told by EA support they couldn’t help because “the game developers control this”. Pardon? His crime? Someone else swearing on the forum, with his username in their post. Trying the live chat support instead, he was then informed that his account was permanently banned, and that “all property, items, and characters associated currently are or will soon be deleted.” Followed by, “Is there anything else I can do for you?” Aaron tried again, pointing out that forum bans shouldn’t affect games. And then came this incredible reply:

“Please be informed that your account not only suspended, But it is also Banned, So you will no longer to play the game in single player.”

Aaron chronicles his adventures here.

At this point, with no reply from those within EA who have responded to this matter in the past, we can only suggest that our readers avoid the EA forums. The chances of being banned seem far too risky, when the consequences are the loss of access to products you have paid for. We are aware we’re not the only ones looking into the legality of this matter.

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283 Comments »

  1. bleeters says:

    Why do you have to hurt me so, EA. I liked you once upon a time.

    • spunkmehard says:

      that was a LONG while ago before they butchered C&C series

    • d34thly says:

      Doesn’t surprise me a bit that EA shares the same fascist temperament as its fans (especially BF fans). I remember getting gang-flamed by (literally) hundreds of people on half a dozen sites, including this one, for anything negative I said about Origin or BF3. Many sites even deleted or removed any negative game-play observations I had about EA’s shiny new game. It makes me smile a little knowing that most everyone that flamed me is now most likely perma-banned from the very IP they were so crudely and pointlessly defending.

    • sidhellfire says:

      You know what hurts more? The fact that there are hundreds of cheaters (FIFA12). Everyday new one gets reported on forum, and none gets banned (except one wave of 30 or so players that started to cheat the first week from game release). Yet, if you rant about that to loudly, YOU get banned. I wouldn’t even mind if I had to buy new game and create new origin account just to take with my account a reich of cheaters, but no. They would rather ban only you for mentioning it in public.
      Anyway, they’re mostly pissing on your desperate yells without any word from themselves.
      Conclusion:
      #1 you have to earn very hard to get banned on their forums
      #2 You’ll never achieve success, no matter how hard you try.

    • sqparadox says:

      @spunkmehard (would EA ban me from addressing you by name?) That’s a pretty wide time-frame because we have no idea when you feel EA butchered the C&C series. What was the last good C&C game? I’ve heard vastly differing opinions; Generals was the last good one, C&C 3 was the last decent one, even people who think it’s all been all downhill from Tiberian Sun or even since the original Red Alert. I’ve heard all of those named as C&C’s tuning point. There seems to be a majority consensus that the C&C games have gone to shit, but I’ve never seen wide agreement on when they went to shit. And depending on how you want to count it, that narrows down when you lost faith in EA to sometime during a period of almost 10 years.

      Personally, I lost faith in EA when they killed Origin, the REAL Origin. Who, in my opinion, did more to advance the art of gaming than any other studio in EA, with System Shock, Bioforge, Wing Commander, Crusader, Ultima, etc. (I would also mention Bullfrog, but it’s my opinion that Molyneux’s games started at there peak and have gotten progressively worse… sorry Fable fans). The last thing they did may have been the Wing Commander movie (1999) but they spent the next 5 years working on games that EA successively cancelled until closing the Studio in 2004.

      The use of that name is an abomination and a slap in the face to every great thing Origin Systems ever did.

    • Machinations says:

      @d34thly;

      For clarity, you got flamed for saying things like this:

      “CAMPER N00BS OF THE WORLD REJOICE! YOUR GAME IS FINALLY HERE!!! Now you can all get the hell off of MY game servers and go have a circle jerk together.”

      http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/2011/10/03/using-hacked-bf3-servers-banhammer/

    • ArthurBarnhouse says:

      You certainly don’t make it easy to sympathize with you.

    • Trans says:

      @ Machinations – it is a pretty funny remark, and the imagery it brings to mind is surreal. But worthy of ban/permaban? Dunno… but flamed? I can see how that might happen.

      Though the comment itself did ring true with me, it certainly made me laugh :D

    • spunkmehard says:

      @sqparadox To me, it started going downhill after C&C Red Alert 3. It wasn’t too shabby, but starting with RA3 Uprising, things went down reeeeaaaaalll fast. I liked C&C3. Just had to look at it as a mutant lovechild between god-knows-what and RA2.

      Also, EA just might. They really seem to hate watching people enjoying themselves.

    • Nathan says:

      My opinion of EA was running pretty high after 2008, when they seemed pretty willing to invest significantly in big new IPs (Mirror’s Edge and Dead Space were both released in 2008); so it really hurts to see EA be as daft as this. I really wanted for them to be better.

    • Sweetz says:

      I liked EA for about about a year starting in mid 2008 when they all the sudden started investing in interesting new IPs like Mirror’s Edge and Dead Space and helped to bring Mass Effect to the PC.

      Then they started the trend of limited activation DRM (or at least progressed it – IIRC Bioshock was the first game to have that which caused a stir) and would not sell their games on Steam – they were the last major publisher not to be on Steam at that point. – and I disliked them again.

      Then, completely out of the blue, not only did they start selling their games on Steam, but they amazingly also went to trouble of actually removing SecuRom for the Steam versions – and I liked them again.

      That didn’t last very long. Releasing Mass Effect 2 with retailer specific pre-order and special edition specific *game content* as well as overpriced DLC, and including *on-disc* DLC for games like Dead Space 2 and Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit that they never made available for purchase on PC anyway, pretty much killed any shred of respect I had for them.

    • Whitechip says:

      @d34thly
      “It makes me smile a little knowing that most everyone that flamed me is now most likely perma-banned from the very IP they were so crudely and pointlessly defending.”

      A couple people got banned…. I doubt anyone who flamed you. Oh as expected you were a jerk, how was I not surprised.

    • dnch says:

      lol d34thly got owned

    • NiJoCo says:

      @Machinations, all of that not to mention @d34thly posted his address, openly made threats and talked about “beating some pussy” down because he “talked shit” on COD. This guy obviously has no brain. Responding to him is futile.

  2. johnpeat says:

    What has Battlenet got to do with Origin!?

  3. SlappyBag says:

    Wow, this is incredibly worse than I originally thought =/

  4. Nick Ahlhelm says:

    Can this get any worse?

    I wonder when someone will start the class action suit.

    • sqparadox says:

      That’s my thought, where are the lawyers? That’d be the first place I’d go if I found I no longer had access to games I bought. That has to be a violation of Origin’s EULA (though it’s been awhile since I’ve read it), and I would think this would be blatant contract violation. But I’m sure it’s more complex than that. I’m no lawyer and though I may have a decent understanding of the law, it is still that of a laymen.

    • l1ddl3monkey says:

      The Origin EULA specifically states that by agreeing to the EULA, or by using Origin, you waive your rights to participate in any class action suits. Unless you follow the stated procedure to opt out of this clause, which has to be submitted in writing via the proper channel.

      So far EA haven’t made a game that I want to play so badly that I’d contemplate agreeing to the EULA or installing Origin.

    • Skabooga says:

      Heck, even if EA has these rights as stated in Origin’s EULA, it still seems morally questionable.

    • TsunamiWombat says:

      It’s a nice clause in Theory but it’d never hold up under scrutiny, you can’t waive your constitutional rights in the US and one of them is the right to court proceedings

    • sqparadox says:

      Noticed that clause when I was rereading the EULA, however I highly doubt it is enforceable. This clause not only contradicts other clauses within the EULA, but contradicts itself. The clause states that it covers any dispute arising before, during, and after the agreement including any “claims that are currently the subject of purported class action litigation in which you are not a member of a certified class”. That means if you already are a member of a “certified class” in a class action lawsuit then you are free from this clause, even though according to this clause no such class action lawsuit may exist. It is an inherently contradictory loophole. How can a class action suit exist if all disputes arising before, during, and after the agreement cannot be class action lawsuits? That sounds to me like they know this is unenforceable.

      That’s just one example of contradiction; this clause and the rest of the EULA are riddled with them. Granted, I am not a lawyer, and may be entirely mistaken, but that’s exactly why a lawyer would be the first person I talk to; moreso if I am truly bound into these rules of arbitration. I hold no doubt that this is a violation of EA’s Terms of Service, and probably the Origin EULA as well, but proving it is another issue altogether.

      And by the way, this clause is not only in Origin’s EULA but in EA’s Terms of Service, avoiding Origin is NOT a way to avoid this clause. EA’s TOS “govern your use of any online or mobile product or service to which you have access, any product or service that requires an Internet connection or EA/Origin Account to access, install or play as well as any EA/ Origin Account you use to access online or mobile products or services (“EA Services”) offered by Electronic Arts or any of its subsidiaries and affiliates (collectively, “EA”) for PC, game system or mobile device.” You have to avoid a lot more of EA than just Origin if this clause is what you are avoiding.

    • Targaff says:

      @TsunamiWombat You’re not waiving your right to court proceedings, you’re waiving your right to a particular type of court proceeding, something SCOTUS affirmed as permissible in AT&T Mobility v. Concepcion earlier this year.

    • Targaff says:

      @sqparadox Where’s the contradiction there? It’s not saying a class action can’t exist, it’s saying that you waive your right from that point (i.e. when you “sign” the agreement) onwards to join any future class action, regardless of the date on which the infraction giving rise to that lawsuit occurred. However, the agreement does not apply to any class actions that have already been approved by the court at the time of agreement, so if you had previously been identified as a member of a certified class, then that class can proceed on the basis of the suit before the court.

      (IANAL either, for the record).

    • pacificator says:

      We can sue them in a country where EULAs have no legal value :).

    • daybreakboy says:

      Maybe in your freaky-deaky US courts you can chuck whatever you want in the small print and expect it to stick, but in most commonwealth countries they won’t stand for it. If the fine print contains something that is outrageous you have to draw it to the counterparty’s attention, particularly for boilerplate contracts like an EULA. Even then it doesn’t always work. I can’t remember the authority, but it starts with Thorndon Shoe Lane Parking.

      Long story short, if the fine print said (a) we can take your games away whenever we want, no refunds, no arguments; and (b) we also restrict your access to the courts; then I don’t think that would stick unless you had very informed customers.

  5. GenBanks says:

    I wish we knew who specifically, within EA, thought this policy was a good idea.

    • Ergonomic Cat says:

      Probably the same dude that made online passes expire. It’s a part of the continuing war to become the new Archduke of Evil Game Companies.

    • Kollega says:

      Yeah, i would also like to know that. Perhaps, if the class action lawsuit starts and fails, there will be another, much more legally and morally dubious class action. Get your torches and pitchforks ready, just in case.

    • onehitter says:

      I see nothing wrong with this. You violate policies and you get banned. It’s simple.

      Stay away from the forums, be a good sport when playing online with others, don’t pirate games and you’ve got nothing to worry about.

      EA just wants to create a peaceful corner of the internet where millions of people can go to game in peace without dealing with clowns.

      I personally want nothing to do with them…but if this is how they want to roll, so be it.

    • Llewyn says:

      @onehitter Did you actually read the article at all? People are, allegedly, being banned for such things as including a link to a tech support guide (which is also linked to in the EA support posts on the same forum) and being named in a post in which that post’s author swears.

      The latter is equivalent to me typing “Onehitter is a fucking moron” and them banning you instead of/as well as me.

    • OJ287 says:

      @onehitter Its more like ringing up a BBC radio phone-in and getting taken off air for using a swear word then them revoking your £145 TV license.

    • PaulMorel says:

      There isn’t anyone who thought this, in itself, was a good idea.

      What happened (I’m guessing) is that the Origin database (of usernames, passwords, games-bought … etc) is the same database used by the Origin forums. The user information tables are shared by both systems.

      So when they designed the db, they used one field as an account status. If AccountStatus = false then this user is banned.

      Then this conversation happened:
      DB Admin: “We’re worried that is someone is banned from the forums then they will be prevented from playing their games. Maybe we should add an extra field for this?”
      Dimwitted Executive: “Don’t waste time on that. Just go forward with what we have.”

      And BAM! A year later this happens.

      In my experience that’s how these things generally occur.

    • Commisar says:

      @ onehitter: I wish more people thought like you. I love me some BF3 and I can’t wait for ME3 and whatever the new Bioware game is. However, there is a VERY vocal minority on the internet, as seen on reddit.com and even on RPS (sometimes) Who can’t stop crapping ALL over EA at any opportunity. The guy who got banned VIOLATED THE TOS! Please READ the TOS. They aren’t put in just for fun. Also, what was the guy even doing on EA forums? Oh well, I will probably get flamed for sticking up for a big mean publisher, but hey, at least I can try.

    • pacificator says:

      @Commisar

      Dear Sir,

      I do not mind people getting BANNED from a forum from violating TOS for that forum. The problem is that with the forum ban, comes an account ban that prevents you to play even in SINGLEPLAYER the games that you payed for. (all the games linked to the EA account banned from the forums).
      I don’t expect your neuron to understand what a wrote above, but let me give you this example if I would get banned from a forum, no matter what the reason is, would it be ok to be unable to play other games made by the same company because of that?
      If your tiny reptilian brain cannot comprehend the stupidity and nonsense in this, i am sorry for you mate and i hope that something similar would happen to you.
      Also NOWHERE IN THE TOS does it say that getting banned from the forums would also mean that you CAN’T PLAY ANY GAME FROM EA linked to the banned account. Actually THE SUPPORT GUY SAYS that THIS SHOULD NOT HAPPEN in the recorded conversation. Before expressing opinions and jumping to help poor old EA look at the FACTS first, but for people like you I guess this is an exercise that is to hard…

    • pacificator says:

      @PaulMorel I am absolutely sure that this or something similar has happened in this case. This doesn’t mean however that the problem should not be solved asap and from what i see EA is still oblivious that a problem exists here.
      If I would have the funds I would buy a battlefield 3 and another EA game and just troll the forums to get banned from there and see if my access will be restricted to the second game. If so I highly doubt the legality of this action.In my country EULA has no value in court. Something like this in a court here means that I purchased a good and I am unable to use it for reasons that are not linked to me. It’s as simple as that. I am glad that I don’t live in a country with so many media lobyists that “help” the goverment with laws that are just one sided.

  6. plavski says:

    Wasn’t EA cool again for a while? It was okay to like them?

    Glad things have returned to normal; unknown territory like that scares me.

    • D3xter says:

      I don’t think so, it was just that Activision was (and still is) much worse.

    • Snidesworth says:

      I remember this as well. It was around the time Dead Space was being developed, they were courting new IPs and generally looking like they’d turned over a new leaf. There were naysayers back then but they were easy to ignore. Now it’s clear that the doomsayers were right.

    • Hoaxfish says:

      There was a brief stint in their evilness where they seemed to have softened a bit… but they obviously got over it.

    • d34thly says:

      I can’t remember ANY game company being cool this millennium. Game companies being cool died in the 90′s. The closest I’ve seen to cool are Valve for the free games and SDK+community support for all of their games. and Bethesda for the continued mod support on almost all of their games, (I can have simulated coitus with anyone in Skyrim. J/K :) ).

    • bwion says:

      I’m not actually sure how Activision could be ‘much worse’ at this point. Activision’s crimes, to the extent that I am aware of them, appear to just be that they like money very much, whereas I expect to read any day now that EA has taken to setting its own customers on fire.

    • Hoaxfish says:

      The EA Eula will read

      “If the player burns blue, he’s a pirate it is true.
      If the player burns red, he was legit, but now dead”

      This will allow EA to perfectly stop pirates from playing their games, as well as turning the act of playing EA games into the commonest form of political protest by self-immolation.

    • Gnoupi says:

      Yes, it was indeed around Dead Space. There was Mirror’s edge too at this time.
      It was suddenly “look, we care about the players, Activision are now the Evil ones, not us”. And to be honest, I was believing that.

    • Prime says:

      I was frankly amazed at how many perfectly reasonable and demonstrably intelligent people swallowed this BS piece of marketing.

      EA: “We’re good guys now (compared to Activision)! Don’t hate us!”
      Internet: “Oh, hey, so you are! Welcome back! Let’s hug!”
      Me: *Facepalm*

  7. pkt-zer0 says:

    THIS IS MADNESS

    No, seriously, it is. I mean what the hell.

    • BarerRudeROC says:

      I told ye all!
      But wud ye listen?
      NO!

      Look what ye ave brot on yurself’s!
      Fools!

  8. mondomau says:

    Hmmm, I can’t believe this hasn’t gone full lawsuit yet either. seems like EA would be on very shakey ground, spurious and mercurial EULA notwithstanding.

    • pirusu says:

      I was thinking this myself. What about a class action lawsuit?

  9. persistent_gloom says:

    I’m boycotting Ubisoft games (DRM) and Blizzard games (always online Diablo 3) right now.
    And I consider to start boycotting EA Games, although I wanted to play Mass Effect 3 and other titles.

    I know it means nothing for the publisher, when one person boycotts their games, but it’s my attitude…

    • Ondrej says:

      I’m with you (and have been for a while) on this, by the way, you’re not alone.

    • InternetBatman says:

      I kind of feel the same way. Publishers probably don’t recognize my lost sale, but you can only control your own actions. I wouldn’t even say I’m boycotting them; I’m genuinely unexcited by changes they make and there always seems to be another indie eating up time.

      Also, when their new games aren’t on Steam I generally just forget about them.

    • GenBanks says:

      lol it’s not much of a boycott if a company isn’t making games that you want to play in the first place.
      There haven’t been any ubisoft games I’ve been interested in buying lately so I guess I’m boycotting them too.

    • simoroth says:

      Good on you.

      I’m boycotting Acti for not paying their staff.
      EA for this and treating staff like crap.
      Ubi for their terrabad DRM and treating staff like crap.

      I’m in the lucky position where I occasionally meet execs at conferences and get to tell them how full of crap they are.

    • D3xter says:

      I’m boycotting only Activision Blizzard completely based on their business decisions and wilful contempt for gamers and gaming in general, although I do tend to decide if I want to buy/not buy certain games based on the DRM they sport, for instance haven’t touched Assassin’s Creed 2 or Driver even though there was interest but got HOMM VI and From Dust at some point.

    • Shivoa says:

      Agreed, but I think EA are trying to make ME3 less attractive by making me think I can’t complete ME2 fully without paying a lot more than I’d like. That might just be enough to stay my hand on ME3.

      ME2: £5 in any sale recently, ME2 story/mission DLC (excluding the Cerberus that comes in that £5 buy-new purchase): £24.

      I can see why they wanted to make sure they kept total control and profits from all DLC sales if their plan for single-player was to make gamers feel like they missed out on the narrative option unless they pumped an extra PC-game-launch-price into the product even when the core game itself was reduced to cheap.

      Is it stupid to feel like you’ve missed out just because you didn’t buy the tacked on extra content? Sure, but I don’t think it’s invalid. Hopefully the Steam sales including DLC will be a trend that helps pump money back into games that had otherwise been put down (and lots of people playing your older game = word of mouth sales bump for the main thing too) and companies continue to use GotY bundling to let people jump into a title a year after release and get the DLC as part of the sales package.

    • Melliflue says:

      I am also boycotting Ubisoft and Diablo 3 for their DRM. I’ve avoided buying any game with non-cosmetic pre-order bonuses until there is a complete edition. So I have not been able to play HoMM VI or DX:HR and won’t play Diablo 3 (amongst others).

      My fear is that (assuming enough people do boycott to make the publishers notice) the publishers will simply decide that some games don’t sell as well as expected and stop funding the development of anything of games like HoMM VI, instead of concluding that they should remove the DRM.

    • LintMan says:

      I’m making me think twice about buying ME3 also, but their eager willingness to deny you the games you purchased really yoinks me off.

      @Shivoa – I worry a bit sometimes about missing some of the story content of some DLC’s in an ongoing series, also. Usually not enough to make me pay for it, though. Sometimes, you can find a synopsis online, or even a youtube playthrough. The last ME2 DLC has a playthrough I watched, and I was very glad I didn’t spend the money on it.

    • PaulMorel says:

      I’m with you on boycotting EA games. It’s rather easy since I own thousands of dollars of games on Steam and I don’t want a new platform on my PC.

      I can boycott everything by Ubi except asscreed games … they’re just too damn good.

      Does Blizzard even make videogames any more? I thought they just released pretty marketing pictures and maintained the WoW servers?

    • pacificator says:

      I don’t really mind diablo 3 drm thing, if this also helps with the cheating i would be super OK with it. I am also ok with sc2 semi-always-on-drm. There I said it, these are two games that are 90% made of multiplayer (dare I say SC2 is 100% multiplayer but whatever…). The idiocy is when someone (let’s say UBISOFT) forces DRM up your a** for SINGLEPLAYER only games.

    • InternetBatman says:

      @Pacificator I had maybe every Blizzard game made since Warcraft II. The only one I played online for any significant amount of time was WoW. Some people just don’t like multiplayer games.

    • Ajh says:

      They’ll just insist you’re a dirty pirate and the reason they have such a system…

    • faelnor says:

      They just want to weed out PC gamers that aren’t MMO or MP players. Nothing wrong with that!

      Also I don’t remember buying an Activision Blizzard or EA game since 2009. Someone gifted me ME2, I played it once and removed Origin right after. Wouldn’t be surprised if I found my account banned for that ;) So uh, yeah, I’m uh… boycotting them!

  10. Maltose says:

    EA forums are a cesspool anyway.

  11. Jabberwocky says:

    “we have only been met with silence for the last fortnight.”

    For those North American readers who have no idea what a fortnight is, it means John has been huddled in a tree fort for the entire evening, anxiously awaiting the return of his wayward EA carrier pigeon.

    There’s really just no explaining the English.

  12. noclip says:

    And they think they’re going to take on Steam? You’ve gotta be kidding.

    • BAshment says:

      But but steam is “Evil”

    • Kaira- says:

      Well, Steam is evil, if only the lesser evil (but not least evil).

    • wssw4000 says:

      Steam is like America. Underneath they are bastards but the good they also do balances it out for those they haven’t wronged yet. Origin/EA are like the USSR. They are bastards, don’t bring much to the table and deal with people in a very crude heavyhanded way.

    • Mehbah says:

      @wssw4000

      Do I really need to explain why what you just said is extremely stupid? Considering it sounds like something that could have been in Team America, I certainly hope you were being ironic.

    • affenkopf says:

      So GOG are who? Canada? The Netherlands? Switzerland? One of the Nordic countries?

    • TsunamiWombat says:

      GOG are probably Canada or The Netherlands. Impulse, having been bought out by Gamespy, is like Switzerland with their Nazi gold.

    • EOT says:

      GoG have Nazi gold?

    • wssw4000 says:

      I really don’t get you internet people…

    • SuperNashwan says:

      Steam isn’t nearly as evil because it’s privately owned by the Valve chaps, so they’re still allowed to care about delivering service to customers over the shareholders they don’t have.

    • Agnol117 says:

      Realistically, if Steam isn’t selling EA games, then Origin and Steam aren’t really competing.

  13. 0WaxMan0 says:

    very very glad I have decided not to buy a thing from ea after finding no steam, having lost access to my copy of BF2142 from previously using EA’s online services.
    The shame is as soon as this gets any where to do any thing legally that would actually have an impact on EA they will be off spending £ and sweeping it all under the rug, this needs to get wider press attention out side of gaming sites.
    Not only the loss of access to purchased products but the removal of their product from competitors services to promote their own service.

  14. Llewyn says:

    What I don’t understand, assuming these stories are presented accurately, is why RPS is trying to get anywhere directly with EA on this issue. Good though the site is, it’s very much a minority PC gaming site. Aaron’s story at least should make a good basis for kicking up a shitstorm in more mainstream media – it’s the sort of thing the BBC news site loves.

    • John Walker says:

      I think we may be a slightly bigger site than you realise.

    • Tams80 says:

      Considering some of interviews RPS gets and the game code it’s writers get sent; I’d say RPS is pretty big. In the PC game journalism world it is, along with PC Gamer at the top (though RPS is of course better).

      If this continues, I’d like to see Panorama cover this. They just went after the supermarkets (again), so EA seem like a prime target for investigation. Why not get Watchdog and Short Changed (if only it still existed) on it as well!

    • InternetBatman says:

      I think RPS has a bigger footprint than site traffic (which is still hundreds of thousands of unique viewers a day) seems to indicate. Their articles are widely linked/ used as sources by other game news sites. Steam frequently puts their articles in the news feeds for games. Also, since RPS is one of two or three major sites that focus solely on PC games, their articles disseminate pretty quickly through the relatively close knit PC gamer community.

      I don’t have any hard evidence for this, just my observations from other sites.

    • MiniMatt says:

      I think we may be a slightly bigger site than you realise

      Mayan prophecy fortells that on 17th December 2012 the RPS hive mind will become self aware. Four days later the human race and all it has achieved will be erased. Including your save games.

      Actually I did note that Mr Walker did get some substantial quoting on BBC coverage of something a little while back (apologies as I can’t recall for the life of me what it was). A bit of googlage suggests that the vast bulk of press coverage (yes, presently mostly gaming press) is listing RPS as the source and that’s something to be proud of.

      Anway, whilst it’s been said in most threads it bears repeating, thanks to RPS for approaching this in a persistent but calm, rational and persuasive manner.

    • Llewyn says:

      Sorry John, but you’re not. Yes, you’re undoubtedly the premier PC gaming site and you’re probably one of the more influential sites for gaming as a whole, but mainstream media you are not. The majority of EA’s target market (or their parents where applicable) aren’t reading this article, or any other gaming website. What will get their attention, and therefore EA’s, is reports outside the gaming media of EA staff permanently removing access to games for trivial or even non-existent violations.

    • Milky1985 says:

      RPS are award winning (literally they have won awards before) and had a readership of 1 million at the time of that award win, which i think was a year ago now so may or may not have risen. Articles posted here are linked around a lot by industry professionals (as they are highly respected, makes sense as they are industry professionals as well).

      They have a bit of clout behind em, anyway as EA are a PLC all that is needed is a small wobble, if the investors get worried by a rock coming towards then hey will bail out the way and EA will get worried as well.

    • TsunamiWombat says:

      The problem with these statements is the PC gaming bits: every big megacorp know only fps’ on the consoles makes money, why should they care what PC gamers think?

    • InternetBatman says:

      But the target market for Origin is significantly different than EA’s target market. Origin wants to be Steam, probably more than that but the big target is Steam. Since RPS has 300k-500K daily unique visitors (this is what I could find online, which probably has some problems) and Steam’s peak was about 4.5 million yesterday, that’s between 6% to 11% of daily Steam users.

      On this site alone, if it turns daily readers off Origin and they would have gotten one $20 game off Origin otherwise that’s $80000 for percent of daily readers. And again, the sources I used were not the most accurate, so there could be significantly more or less readers. That’s just on this site alone, and other gaming sites probably will link to this article.

    • Hoaxfish says:

      This seems a silly argument. Are we asking that nobody but The Sun does any form of investigative journalism? Rupert Murdoch was obviously too busy at the time to personally investigate EA?

      You have sites like Kotaku or Destructoid linking to, making rebuttals to RPS articles… they’re certainly big. Other socials sites generally hold RPS in high regard. Valve/Steam links to RPS in a side-column on their news section.

      “Gaming” is not a big pond, nobody is going to rank it up their with global warming, or which celebrity had sex with that guy in that film… but it is big enough that “populist/nerd bait” journalism can exist separately from “analytical/investigative” journalism. Things like Edge, Game Politics, Gamasutra, are there for a reason… to keep the industry from permanently fermenting in its own hype.

    • telpscorei says:

      And then there’s the fact that most of the readers here would be considered Alpha Consumers by most marketing folk (to quote an Aaron Sorkin line “they’re the first to know, the first to try, the first to buy”). Meaning that the influence here is far more than the pure by the numbers of people reading would reflect.

      After all, how many readers of RPS have friends / family asking them about games? The advice given influences the other buyers, and right now that advice is gonna read “Stay the hell away from E.A.”.

    • Phantoon says:

      John, if you don’t feed the trolls, they’ll starve!

      And there’s nothing wrong with that.

      I did laugh, though, when I read “a minority PC gaming site”.

      If this is the minority, then it’s good to be small- the only larger sites I can think of offhand have absolutely terrible communities (especially you, Gawker Media. You are the News of the World of the internet. For shame.)

  15. Loopy says:

    At this point, with no reply from those within EA who have responded to this matter in the past, we can only suggest that our readers avoid the EA forums

    How about I just avoid EA altogether? ;-)

    • mmalove says:

      This is my preferred approach to the matter. Though to be fair, I avoid the steam forums like the plague too, for similar reasons. I don’t want to get trolled into saying something I shouldn’t, and suddenly find it’s adversely affected my access to that platform. They might not do it, but all the same there’s nothing on the forums that exciting to post about anyways.

  16. Verity says:

    EA using such tactics and DRM are just asking to be pirated. Mass Effect 3 with Origin which may be banned for no reason or a pirated ME3? Not advocating piracy but this is what will happen if they go like this. Apart from that, I’d like to know more about the legality of this issue, because it smells like at least EU’s (NOT EA’s) customer protection can do something about it.

    • Unaco says:

      They’re not, you know. Really, they are not asking to be Pirated. Asking to be ignored/boycotted, yes. But I fail to see how Piracy is justified.

    • saregos says:

      @Unaco

      Actually, in this case, I’d say piracy is entirely justified. Especially for those who find themselves locked out of their legitimately acquired games.

      EA is, again, failing to realize that Pirates are offering a superior version of their own product.

    • Unaco says:

      For those locked out, perhaps, maybe. Yes… I can see that. If you buy a game then they go locking you out of it for something spurious like this, then cracking it would be justified in my view I reckon.

      But not in general, no. I don’t think this justifies taking the game without paying. Ignore the game, sure. But you don’t have a right to play it, unless you hand over the shekels.

    • Agnol117 says:

      @Unaco

      While I’m sure plenty of people will object to this generalization, the unfortunate truth is that for too many people, when they say they’re boycotting a publisher, what they really mean is that they’re pirating that publisher’s games.

  17. Jajusha says:

    You just can’t buy this kind of publicity.

  18. Advanced Assault Hippo says:

    I was one of the ones bigging up Origin, I think it’s generally pretty good and potentially a nice alternative to Steam’s digital monopoly – but EA are providing one of the greatest ‘shooting selves in foot’ demonstrations I’ve ever seen in the gaming sphere.

    They’re throwing away all the good work they’ve done (plus a lot of future goodwill for their digital platform) with poor customer service & highly questionable account management practises.

    They’re failing really hard here and merrily carving away at their already damaged reputation. Bizarre.

    • skorpeyon says:

      I agree completely. It’d be fine to have an alternative to Steam, but they’re doing an amazing job of proving that they can’t handle it. I recently discovered that I’ve spent over $1,000 on my Steam account since I created it. Frankly, if I thought for a second that I’d get banned because “oops you said a bad word on the forums!” I’d never have spent that kind of money to begin with. Now that EA has shown me that, in my opinion, they cannot be trusted? I absolutely will not buy anything through their service.

    • Maldomel says:

      @Skorpeyon: I was wondering a few days ago, what happens if you are rude, or you are trolling on the Steam forums? Do you get ban at some point? If so, I suppose you still get to play your games through Steam, not like with EA’s policy?

    • Innovacious says:

      Steam forum accounts are separate accounts from the ones with your games and nothing you do in one will affect the other. I know people who have gone through several forum accounts. Mostly because the steam forums are a cesspit of angry people and mostly run by volunteer moderators who Valve just leaves to do whatever the hell they want. There have been (and probably still are) a few notable volunteer mods who were even angrier and heavily opinionated than the average user, but valve never seemed to care.

    • LintMan says:

      EA has proved they absolutely cannot handle this responsibility and power. They’ve already had one kerfuffle over this very same issue, claimed it was not their policy and was a mistake that would be fixed, and apologized. Now, the issue is back worse than before, and they refuse to discuss it the matter.

      This just proves that EA has no respect for its customers and is eager to exercise its power.

  19. gganate says:

    No Mass Effect 3 for me, I guess. I believe Crysis 2 was the only EA game I purchased this year, but stories like this aren’t going to get me to install Origin on my computer.

  20. Mavvvy says:

    It’s sounds as if policy is being set/interpreted wrong by inept individuals, and no one in mid management wants to grab the reins.

    Bizarre.

    • noclip says:

      Either that or the BF3, Origin and forum user databases were integrated in the name of “synergy” and now they’re technologically incapable of issuing limited-scope bans.

      Or maybe they really are as clueless as this makes them look.

    • Mavvvy says:

      I get what you are saying noclip. But I would say its people who are suppose to be in control of the system……unless origin had gone skynet!!!!!!

    • LintMan says:

      @Mavvvy – Except that EA put out a press release from some big shot, which supposedly “addressed” the issue (but actually ignored it). I find it hard to believe they could have missed the point that badly, and their stony silence on follow-up questions is quite telling.

      @noclip – Even if this was a screw up from them not thinking through combining forum and Origin accounts, they already encountered this issue 6 months ago and said it was a mistake and would be fixed. Now, suddenly, it’s worse than ever and they’re saying it is policy and ignoring their earlier claim. If this really was a screwup, and they’ve already apologized for the screwup once, it’s not like they’d save face by disavowing it now, because all that does is make them look like inept liars.

  21. transresistor says:

    I think EA would really rather than you just stay out of its forums entirely. In fact, they probably would rather not have to pay a staff to manage them. EA is too big to care about community, except as a resource to be used for spreading its PR and marketing messages. I’m not saying “and thus are evil!”, I think they are just utterly uninterested in the part of the business that smaller developers are usually enmeshed in out of necessity/love.

    The lesson here seems to be: stay off the EA forums. They are tone-deaf to their customers (as most large companies are) and clearly willing to completely screw small numbers of them for larger efficiency. I’d suggest people stop buying their stuff, but I think we all know that is not a real option for most gamers.

    Battlelog alone should tell you that EA have absolutely no interest in their customers as people.

  22. Max.I.Candy says:

    this is totally insane, i didnt know this was the sort of thing ppl were getting bans for.
    the fact they are not responding or fixing this or anything is beyond amateur and shows them to be very un-professional and untrustworthy.

  23. Kollega says:

    I think that EA shows us all why exactly digital distribution is not all sunshine and roses. With stringent rules and moderators banning people willy-nilly according to them, we can see the dark side of buying our games digitally. And it’s a very important lesson, i think.

    It’s a good thing Valve’s leadership is more concentrated, so there’s less of a chance of someone in it trying funny things like that. I seriously hope they never ever seriously enter the field of “who can disrespect their customers most”.

  24. S.T.A.L.K.E.R. says:

    This sounds like something Bobby Kotick would do…

  25. Cooper says:

    Question of the day. Does a Terms of Service which allows for a company to be a total prick to you for any reason they so damn wish mean that people who used EA forums and were banned, for whatever reason, justified or not, should just suck it up, because they signed up to a ToS?
    (A ToS that is so long and full of jargon that no one has ever rewad it before accepting it…)

    For the record:
    EA Terms of Service, sections 9 & 10:
    http://tos.ea.com/legalapp/WEBTERMS/US/en/PC/#section9

    (See section 10 where violations are listed and then an “anything else we haven’t thought of and put in that list” clause is added…

    EA may also terminate access to EA Services for violation of this Terms of Service (in its sole discretion) … You may lose your user name and persona as a result of termination. If you have more than one (1) Account, EA may terminate all of your Accounts and all related Entitlements. In response to a violation of these Terms of Service or any other agreement applicable to EA Services accessed by you, EA may issue you a warning, suspend your Account, selectively remove, revoke or garnish Entitlements at an Account and/or device level , immediately terminate any and all Accounts that you have established and/or temporarily or permanently ban your device and/or machine from accessing all EA Services or certain EA Services. You acknowledge that in such an instance EA is not required to provide you notice before taking action to suspend or terminate your Account, temporarily or permanently banning your device from some or all EA Services or selectively removing, revoking or garnishing Entitlements associated with your Account. If EA terminates your Account, you may not participate in an EA Service again without EA’s express permission. EA reserves the right to refuse to keep Accounts for, and provide EA Services to, any individual. You may not allow individuals whose Accounts have been terminated by EA to use your Account.

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

    • noclip says:

      And here it is translated from legalese to English:

      “You agree that fuck you.”

    • AbyssUK says:

      Didn’t a recent European court ruling just throw out long winded EULA’s because “nobody reads them” ???

    • aircool says:

      Pretty much every EULA has a similar clause. It’s kind of a bastard really; you can only install this software by biting the pillow.

      So yes, they can screw you over for no reason, but that doesn’t mean that they should.

    • MiniMatt says:

      Question of the day. Does a Terms of Service which allows for a company to be a total prick to you for any reason they so damn wish mean that people who used EA forums and were banned, for whatever reason, justified or not, should just suck it up, because they signed up to a ToS?

      I am a mere armchair internet lawyer and in no way a real, let alone qualified lawyer. However, I *think* I’m on safe ground saying that a TOS is not law. A TOS forms a civil contract, aspects of which may or may not be actually enforceable under the law (before we even get into the murkier waters of “which country’s law is relevant”). In case of contradiction between what the law says is fair and what the TOS wants to do, well the law wins. Any sections found to be unenforceable under the law will almost certainly leave the rest of the terms intact and enforceable. Of course “found to be enforceable under the law” is something that is unlikely to be defined anywhere other than in a court with expensive qualified and real lawyer types – until that point it’s largely a case of put up, shut up or pay (the solicitors/court costs) up.

      So, whilst I’m in no way a real lawyer I’ve managed to give a completely lawyer sounding answer of “it depends”, “maybe”, and “it’s a grey area”. I think I shall grant myself an honourary law degree.

    • InternetBatman says:

      Do people hack installs so you don’t have to agree to EULA’s? Is anyone working towards something like that?

    • johnpeat says:

      No-one needs to – EULAs are legally untested (in the UK/EU at least), that means that there is no case law which describes how they should be interpretted or applied – they may as well not exist until that happens.

      Consumer Law IS legally tested and it requires that goods you buy are available to you and work properly – so them denying you access to your goods IS against the law and they would almost certainly lose such a court case if it was to take place.

      No-one really wants to get involved in this shit if they can help it tho – because the only people who benefit are scumbag lawyers who will drag it out until they have 2 more Ferraris at least.

      The only thing you can take from this is that it’s unwise to use their forums full-stop.

      You aren’t going to win a war of words with a massive company – I’m not even sure why you’d engage them as it’s like trying to debate climate change with dolphins…

    • LuNatic says:

      But you haven’t bought goods, you’ve paid for a license. This muddies the waters enough that a pricey law firm will probably screw us all over if these matters ever get to court.

    • kdh says:

      Fortunately it seems that the EU Parliament is working on making digital goods a less shady area of regular consumer protection:
      http://www.osnews.com/story/24500/Software_Industry_Lobbies_Against_EU_Consumer_Rights_Laws

      From that article:
      “There’s a new proposal for a directive on consumer rights in the EU, and in it, digital goods – software, online services, and so on – are explicitly defined as goods that are no different than any other good – like bread, watches, or cars. In other words, you would suddenly own the copies of software you buy, effectively declaring the EULA as a worthless piece of paper.”

    • MellowKrogoth says:

      That update to EU legislation would be great new, I hope the US (and thereby Canada :P) follows suite. Right now software and media companies want their product to be considered like a physical good with respect to punishing you (the ridiculous “you wouldn’t steal a car” ads come to mind). However when it’s time to enforce YOUR consumer rights, it’s just a license to something with a concrete existence thin enough, that they can pop it out of reality if they feel like it.

  26. SquareWheel says:

    I don’t understand why people are still on the EA forum. Or why people continue to buy EA games, for that matter.

    • D3xter says:

      Because they have DICE, and Bioware, and Visceral Games? And even more recently PopCap, also companies like Valve, CryTek and Funcom via their partnership program, and they’re stringing every single one of them very high up on the sails of their horrible skull-shaped imperial frigate.

      If there’s something to be said about Electronic Arts, it’s that they usually have the right idea about which companies to buy and hold for ransom till they’ve managed to destroy them (like Origin, Bullfrog, Westwood and Maxis – and Pandemic was just collateral damage of the Bioware deal over Star Wars: The Old Republic).

  27. noclip says:

    Question for John:

    How can RPS continually ignore the opportunity to run a headline like “Origin-al sin”

    • ArthurBarnhouse says:

      They’re saving it for an Origin release of Run, Jesus, Run.

  28. somnolentsurfer says:

    Wow. Some friends were planning on playing SWTOR. I won’t be joining them immediately anyway, as my computer’s broken. But unless this is sorted there’s no way I’d consider playing even once it’s replaced. Same goes for Mass Effect 3, too, which would make me very sad indeed.

    • aircool says:

      SWTOR doesn’t need Origin in any shape or form.

    • The V Man says:

      aircool – this page would disagree: http://www.swtor.com/info/faq#170974

      It’s been long stated that TOR will require an Origin account. Now – this same FAQ also says if your Origin account is disabled, you can still play TOR, but after seeing all this happen I don’t believe that for a second (regardless of the fact that EA is hurting their subscription rates, because they’re already doing that).

    • mpk says:

      Creating an account for SWTOR changed my EA Master ID password*. I’m pretty sure that creating a new SWToR account also sets up a new EA account; this is basically tying you to the origin system, as all roads lead to Rome in this case.

      *Only set up because I needed to for Mirror’s Edge on the old EA Downloader iirc, and then I had to set up a seperate Bioware one to access Mass Effect and Dragon Age DLC, both of which have now been amalgamated into the EA Master/Origin account.

    • Milky1985 says:

      The accounts are all linked, during the TOR beta they mentioned they were adding a new password security system, and that chaning the password there would change the password for all of my EA accounts (which btw are now on a much LESS secure password since the password change stopped me using my secure one)

  29. markcocjin says:

    Guys, EA and Origin is just demonstrating to the public what happens when Valve turns into an evil corporation.

    Relax you people! This is just a simulation.

    • noclip says:

      Valve already bans people from all VAC-enabled games if they’re caught cheating in any one of them, but I think you’d agree that’s a tad more defensible than this.

    • D3xter says:

      They also regularly suspend or ban entire accounts for any of these reasons: https://support.steampowered.com/kb_article.php?ref=5406-WFZC-5519

      Piracy or Hacking
      This includes using an unauthorized (“hacked”) Steam client to access Steam, attempting to register fake CD Keys or attempting to register a CD Key which has been published on the internet.

      Payment Fraud
      Any fraudulent credit card use, credit card chargebacks, or Paypal chargebacks (regardless of when the transaction occurred).

      Redeeming Fraudulent Gifts
      Never accept a gift from an unknown user. Any accounts tied to a redeemed gift from a fraudulent source may be suspended.

      Hijacking or Sharing Accounts
      Do not use Steam accounts which you did not create.

      Account “Phishing” and Deliberately Deceptive Activity
      This includes contacting other users outside of Steam or over the Friends network under a misleading screen name or e-mail address (i.e. “Steam Admin”, “VAC Administrator”, “You Won Free Game Gift”) and requesting password or account information.

      Buying, Selling, or Trading Accounts
      Accounts which have been bought, sold or traded will be suspended. This includes any other accounts in your possession at the time of the sale or trade, regardless of whether those accounts were also sold or not.

      Violating Steam’s Subscriber Agreement or Rules of Online Conduct
      Please see the Steam Subscriber Agreement and Online Code of Conduct if you have any questions about the policies which govern Steam account use and account termination.

      For instance I also remember a guy posting a similar story to what some of the guys are saying about Steam on the PC Gamer forums like a year ago: http://www.pcgamer.com/forum/showthread.php?t=1965 , unfortunately they’re usually smaller anomalies or people that (arguably) got banned deservedly and people love their Steam, so we won’t see any “big coverage” on any of that, but there’s dozens of cases out of very different reasons if you are willing to search on the net.

    • Stellar Duck says:

      @noclip:

      I’m fairly sure that VAC bans by engine. As in, if I aim bot in CSS I don’t get banned from MW3 or… I don’t know, Brink (can’t remember but I seem to think Brink is a VAC game) but only from my various Source games.

      Edit: I’d like to add that I in fact have not aim botted in anything. I’ve no idea how to go about it and I’ve poured too insane an amount of money into my Steam account to do anything to endanger it.
      The reason I knew about the way it works is that I sometimes hang out in the VAC thread on the Steam forums laughing at the people complaining over unfair bans.
      I suspect that makes me a rather bad person.

    • bwion says:

      Yes, absolutely, Valve banning people for credit card fraud is exactly like EA banning people for being sworn at on their forums.

    • Telekinesis says:

      @bwion

      “…or Sharing Accounts
      Do not use Steam accounts which you did not create.

      Apparently to Valve little Timmy having a friend over and playing games together like kids have done since the inception of gaming is now cause to steal your whole account even if it is worth several thousand dollars, hell, even games you paid for but haven’t even “taken out of the box yet” (downloaded), valve will steal. EA via Origin will do the exact same thing of course, so they are equal Barbarian Nazi’s in that respect.

    • Nogo says:

      Don’t be ridiculous. You, me and everyone else in the world knows what you just described isn’t what they mean.

    • pmh says:

      @Stellar Duck: I’m 99% sure VAC bans are by account (the possible exception being games that use the original/now-defunct VAC rather than VAC2). You can see your VAC standing in your Steam settings page.

    • stupid_mcgee says:

      @ noclip: No, that is incorrect. As Stellar Duck says, VAC bans by engine. If you are banned from MW2, you will NOT be banned from TF2, Shogun2, Brink, etc. It is a bit more stringent fro Valve games, but even then there’s some leeway.

      Cheating in a Source Engine game that was released prior to Left 4 Dead will result in a VAC ban from Counter-Strike: Source, Half-Life 2: Deathmatch, Day of Defeat: Source, and Team Fortress 2.

      Cheating in a Gold Source engine game will result in a VAC ban from Counter-Strike, Condition Zero, Ricochet, Day of Defeat, Team Fortress Classic, Half-Life: Deathmatch, and Deathmatch Classic

      https://support.steampowered.com/kb_article.php?ref=7849-Radz-6869

    • Stellar Duck says:

      @stupid_mcgee

      Thanks for digging that up. Was starting to wonder if I had told a lie and was about to head for the Google Cave to figure it out. Seems you saved me the trouble.

    • Shooop says:

      I get the feeling a few people are a tad confused on what a VAC ban is.

      It locks you out of all VAC-enabled servers for that game alone from what I’ve read. You can still even play the game on non-VAC servers.

  30. sneetch says:

    I think I shall continue to avoid EA’s forums.

    That said, given what has happened to Aaron I wonder if someone swearing in a post where they’ve included my Origin accountname/ID (as in “OMG that sneetch is a haxing bastard!”) would be enough to get me banned regardless of whether or not I’ve been posting these.

    • Drake Sigar says:

      Exactly. It sounds like it no longer matters whether you use them or not. Hell, I wouldn’t be surprised if someone were tempted to sign up and get several hundred users unjustly banned. Luckily there aren’t many assholes on the Internet.

    • telpscorei says:

      I wouldn’t test that theory Drake…

  31. Cooper says:

    I would also be interested if anyone who bought something on Origin and got banned, would have any luck wiuth the Visa chargeback scheme (works for Visa debit cards too).

    You should be able to log a dispute with your bank. Explain to them that the goods you bought were rendered unusable by EA’s actions and they are unwilling / unable to resolve this, and you may see money back…

    • InternetBatman says:

      What’s the time limit on that though?

    • diamondmx says:

      It’s either 30 or 90 days. Not a long time for some of these games. I suspect the BF3 fanbase will still be playing a year from now if EA doesn’t completely screw it up.

  32. aircool says:

    Could it be that EA don’t even know how people are getting banned?

    In the mean time, I suggest making up profanities. Viz comic is always a good place to start, but there are others. ‘Pempslider’ is one of my favourites; from A Bit of Fry and Laurie many years ago.

    Still, I don’t like what I’m hearing. I’ve stopped petitioning for a colourblind mode in BF3 just in case I get banned.

  33. Hoaxfish says:

    a Reddit troll face

    So, who wants to start a silly argument over which site that really originated from?

    Anyway… Are there any examples of people receiving bans which do not affect them in this way? Because I’m wondering which is the exception to the unknown rule here.

  34. The V Man says:

    Having seen this unfold, I’ve stayed the hell away from the EA/Origin forums to avoid being banned (for any of the seemingly hundreds of reasons) – but getting banned because someone used your username in the same post as a ban-able word is outrageous (not that any of the rest of this isn’t). Can you imagine the account-banning griefing that’s probably taking place, or soon will?

    EA needs to sort this or it’s going to cost them more than a few customers. All of this has seriously made me reconsider my TOR pre-order and regret even playing BF3 regardless of how much I’ve enjoyed it. If things don’t change, those will be the only two games I pay EA for in the future, which is sad because there’s a lot of good companies under their umbrella.

    Of course, watch EA start crawling the net and guessing usernames of it’s detractors to ban next…

  35. Lobotomist says:

    Lets just clear one thing up. Because i see lot of apologizing for reasons people were banned for forums (Like quoting word e-peen)

    Nobody should be banned from playing games he purchased , because of anything he wrote on game forums.

    No mater what he wrote.

    Full stop.

    • InternetBatman says:

      Absolutely. Even the most hateful terrible person should be able to play the game they paid for in single-player.

  36. Discopanda says:

    Just a horrible story. The worst part is that EA won’t admit anything, and why the hell not? Just make it clear that your terms of use allow it, so we can feel angry rather than sad and terrified!

  37. Hatsworth says:

    Clearly the message here is that we should not be buying EA games.

  38. akeso says:

    Man, playing an MMO with this guys is going to be a hoot.

    I already have my popcorn ready for that fiasco.

    • Neurook says:

      Can you imagine the shitstorm coming down the pipe once they discover furries and “roleplaying”?

  39. wisnoskij says:

    So is there any evidence to suggest that these suspensions turn into perma bans when the customers complained about unfair treatment/goes to RPS?
    Is this a intelligently conceived and executed plot to gain total control over there games post selling or are they just being a stupid company with no direct oversight over this particulate aspect and therefore no one with any authority to correct these anomalies ever gets to see them?

    And instead of staying away from the forums, I think a better tactic is simply to not buy any of there games.

    • TillEulenspiegel says:

      If we’re talking about specific cases, it looks like bottom-up malice combined with lack of oversight, rather than anything top-down.

      Still, it steals your single player game. That’s deliberate and fucked up. Nobody should have the power to do that, least of all a bottom-rung outsourced customer service person who wants to ruin your day.

    • bwion says:

      “Never ascribe to malice what can be ascribed to incompetence” is a principle that has yet to steer me wrong. I can’t think of any actual reason why it makes business sense for EA to be doing this deliberately. “But they already have your money!” But they want your money for their next ten games, too. No sane business deliberately sets out to alienate its customers.

  40. dsch says:

    These articles should be plastered all over the EA forums themselves.

  41. nadrewod says:

    When I see all these Origin horror stories, I think to myself “Well, guess I am only getting PC games from Steam or console games from Gamestop (which has two non-evil branches within driving distance of my house). EA, hope this dictatorship you are pursuing is worth losing your entire customer base you gained from that short moment in time where you weren’t evil.”

  42. AbyssUK says:

    Dear hackers/anonymous/script kiddies,

    how about this, aim at EA forums, somehow make everybody sign up and say a naughty word… everybody gets banned from there games. Mass confusion/ anarchy achieved..

    possibility ??

    or perhaps all the net citizens of RPS could all join the EA forums… say a rude word and/or advertise a webpage of some sort.. mass banning comes in.. legal action taken.. monies for Xmas 2012 ??

  43. lamzor says:

    this is OUTRAGE. i cant believe this.
    first, they force Origin down our throats and now this? sadly, we cant do anything about it. it seems that EA cant do anything about it as well. really sad :/
    i hope RPS will get any reply from EA. really looking forward.

  44. Savyg says:

    I do hope the legit people that got banned get their accounts back, but with some of the trolling that goes on on the net I’m glad someone is acting on it. Personally it makes me more likely to even bother going to the EA forums knowing there’ll be less jerks around.

    • Pointless Puppies says:

      Yes, take away people’s property just because you want people to play nice on internet forums.

      Your priorities are clearly well placed.

    • Savyg says:

      Yeah, because Valve has never taken away peoples property either. Oh wait, they have.

  45. Jim9137 says:

    Awesome. They are churning out the DLCs for this like crazy, and all free!

  46. ZillaRacing says:

    Stay with it EA. I love it. If you’re a dick, you’re banned. Wish they were all like that.

    • FCA says:

      I you’d write this on the EA forums, you’d be permabanned for this…
      And in the game.

    • Pointless Puppies says:

      Permabans are fine. Permabans involving a company swiping your property is not.

      Do you support police states by any chance? Would you support police coming to your house and taking your bed away because you got into a fight at a pub?

    • Blizz says:

      You apparently didn’t actually READ THE ARTICLE? Someone got banned from all their crap for someone having their username in someone else’s message with a swearword. This ain’t being banned for being a dick, it’s being banned from ALL OF YOUR GAMES for absolutely no reason.

  47. JackDandy says:

    Jesus Christ. What the hell are they thinking? I gotta spread the word about this.

  48. wccrawford says:

    When Origin first came out, I decided to avoid it due to the ridiculous things it does to me, the consumer. Pirates are much better off, and there’s no way I’m paying to be abused.

    Now I see things like this and things are much, much worse than I imagined. I can’t tell you how glad I am that I decided to avoid this craziness.

  49. zeroskill says:

    [Someone else swearing on the forum, with his username in their post. Trying the live chat support instead, he was then informed that his account was permanently banned, and that “all property, items, and characters associated currently are or will soon be deleted.” Followed by, “Is there anything else I can do for you?” Aaron tried again, pointing out that forum bans shouldn’t affect games. And then came this incredible reply:

    “Please be informed that your account not only suspended, But it is also Banned, So you will no longer to play the game in single player.”]

    This is just too much. Unbelievable. Is this even legal?

    • plumbob says:

      Yes, it is perfectly legal. You play by their rules, and don’t even actually own the game. Most EULAs define the game as a “Service” not a physical product. As such the right to use the service is revocable at the whims of the service provider (EA).

      That part of an EULA isn’t unusual, what is unusual is the fact that EA wields it like “The Penetrator”

    • telpscorei says:

      The legality of the whole thing is dubious, as noted elsewhere on this commentary. The concensus seems to be that it hasn’t been tested yet. There’s a lot of talk of licenses and illegal policies, but to find out where everything really stands when the house of cards comes tumbling down, a law battle must be fought.

      I also plan to release “Law Battle: Fight for your Rights” for PC on Steam and GoG. It will be an 18, and yes, there will be full frontal male nudity (ladies).

    • qrter says:

      As far as I know, EULA’s don’t mean all that much, legally.

  50. Dakia says:

    I told myself that I wouldn’t be using Origin for anything more than BF3 and this, along with other things, pretty much solidifies that stance. Ubi’s DRM has forced me to do the same thing with them.

    There are enough games out there and enough game companies that I really haven’t found myself missing anything that Ubi has put out. I’ll be buying SWTOR, but that luckily doesn’t use Origin at all.

    After I’m done with BF3, Origin gets deleted and never loaded up again. I think that will be pretty easy.