Bizarre: EA Threatens Bans For Unreported SimCity Bugs

By Nathan Grayson on January 22nd, 2013 at 10:00 am.

SimCity‘s upcoming three-day-long closed beta may have all the trappings of a glorified demo, but EA’s pumping at least one aspect of it with unnecessarily aggressive test-osterone. In short, if you stumble across a swarm of bugs (Sim Ants hopefully excluded) and fail to report it, you could be facing a ban. From all of your EA games. Yes, that’s what it says in the SimCity beta’s EULA. Nearly verbatim. I just changed the word “product” to “game,” because “product” sounds, well, about as out-of-touch as this incredibly iron-fisted move on EA’s part.

For reference/education, here’s the fine print, courtesy of Ars Technica:

“It is understood and agreed that, as part of your participation in the Beta Program, it is your responsibility to report all known bugs, abuse of ‘bugs’, ‘undocumented features’ or other defects and problems related to the Game and Beta Software to EA as soon as they are found (‘Bugs’). If you know about a Bug or have heard about a Bug and fail to report the Bug to EA, we reserve the right to treat you no differently from someone who abuses the Bug. You acknowledge that EA reserve the right to lock anyone caught abusing a Bug out of all EA products.”

So basically, guilty until proven innocent. Or until punished for being presumed guilty without any real chance to prove you’re innocent, as it were.

It’s a bizarre move, too – and not just because EA seems to be wielding its banhammer with completely reckless abandon. After all, aside from the aforementioned bug abuse, how will EA even find out if you’ve been withholding valuable information? I mean, maybe if you’re playing with a friend, and they’re like “Ooooooo, I’M TELLING.” But otherwise, isn’t the whole point of bug reporting that you, you know, have to report it first?

So, at the end of the day, it’s kind of a ridiculous clause to include in the first place, but the implications are still fairly unsettling. That punishment absolutely doesn’t fit the crime, and it’s quite a stretch to define it as a crime in the first place. I mean, I guess it sort of seems like a reaction to people who treat real betas like giant demos, but – if so – it’s almost comically backward considering that this beta is totally the latter. And sure, maybe that’s a problem in some cases, but legalese that carries the might of Zeus Himself isn’t the way to solve it.

I suppose the big lesson here, as ever, is that we really need to stop just skipping past EULAs. As EA themselves – among many, many others – have proven on other occasions, it’s possible to hide some real landmines beneath those languid lingual forests. And, regardless of whether these companies ever choose to enforce them, paying attention’s the only surefire way to ensure things don’t get out of hand.

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250 Comments »

  1. Premium User Badge

    ffordesoon says:

    I would say this is surprising, but it’s EA. So.

    • BobbyDylan says:

      What’s interesting is I have a friend who was banned from BF3 Battlelof after reporting a Hack / Bug /Glitch, and instructing EA how to reproduce it.
      So you’re Banned if you, Banned if you don’t.

    • yurusei says:

      Sir! I’ve detected a bug!

      Somehow the game constantly forces me to be online to play. Must be a bug Oh yes, only a cow-turd would design it as such!

  2. Oryon says:

    …and the boat just keeps on sinking.

    • mrmalodor says:

      This boat isn’t even in the water yet and and it’s already not seaworthy.

      • Premium User Badge

        slerbal says:

        EA are becoming a metaphorical version of the Vasa the Swedish ship that infamously sank less than a few hundred metres from her birth. “More cannons!” said the king, “But she will ride too low in the water” said the craftsman, “Less ballast” said the king, “But she’ll be unstable”, “I am the king” said the king… and then she sank.

        Seriously, EA used to make games I loved, but even if they made my ideal game now I am unlikely to buy it because I know it will be laden with a shitty EULA, microtransactions, always-on DRM and will be shut down 2 years after launch. That is what the “EA” brand means to me.

        Sad really.

        • MayhemMike says:

          I stopped buying EA products over a year ago. One of the worst publishers on the market and besides their DLC madness they manage to destroy one good studio after the other. Origin Studios, Westwood, … now Bioware.

        • Dozer says:

          The English have the same story, the ship Mary Rose, from the time of Henry VIII. It left harbour and capsized as it had too many guns, it was top-heavy.

  3. MuscleHorse says:

    ‘Undocumented features’. So if they fail to mention that residents may have dogs in the readme/manual/whatever and I see a citizen with a dog, I should report it?

    I foresee an amusingly large email headed EA’s way.

    • TechnicalBen says:

      Do it. How many lines of code is there in the couple hundred MB or the GB or two for the download? How many documented features are there? About 100 or more features?

      I’d happily risk my Origin account for that one. What’s a good amount of features to list? I’ll start with the EXE name, load times, splash screen, video timing, FPS and pixel scaling of the intro video. Sound sampling and volume on startup, mouse scrolling and window position to name just a few within less than a second of the game. After a full hour, I should have War and Peace for them. I just hope they offer some Peace after the War they’ve caused.

  4. GernauMorat says:

    Wallets and voting people

    • Ninja Foodstuff says:

      I’m throwing my money away from the screen but nothing’s happening!

    • f4Ri says:

      Not enough people do this, regardless of what the cause or target of protest is. Even if it were to be done EA would simply take that as “oh damn, simcity consumers are too critical and independent, better shut down the franchise and focus on console shooters instead”. We’re not dealing with rational people or devs who want to make good games, we’re dealing with corporate lawyers, stockbrokers, result oriented ceos and the like. EA will make its cash, the next company will do the same and people will never, ever learn.

      • SanguineAngel says:

        The problem with “voting with your wallet” is that it doesn’t really work. Usually, even if a significant number of people fail to buy it in protest, the company will not notice because they are not actively taking any money away from that company. It’s just potential money that company won’t receive that they didn’t even know they were getting in the first place.

        If, in the unlikely event that so many people vote negatively with their wallets that there is a noticeable effect and the venture is financially under performing then the company would still not be aware that people were protesting anything in particular. All they would know is that the product/audience was not a financial success and so they would be unlikely to try anything similar again. EVEN if some people were vocal enough in their reasoning for failing to buy, that would be anecdotal evidence at best for the masses of people not buying a product, and without solid proof, a company is not going to try again, they’re going to abandon the idea altogether.

        The only type of wallet voting that will ever work is positive voting. Making something a success by buying it. Every sale would register and the company would have hard numbers to which they can point and say “we should do more of this”.

        That’s why we need to be as vocal as possible about the things we, as consumers, are not happy about. With a financial success on their hands, and vocal outcry at items that need addressing, a company might look at a follow-up venture and those comments and assess how they can improve on that success

        • Vorphalack says:

          ”The problem with “voting with your wallet” is that it doesn’t really work”

          If everyone who chose to boycott a game also emailed the developer / publisher to explain why, then it would work perfectly fine. Arguably it would be even more effective than buying the game and then trying to complain. After all, at that point they already got your money.

          • SanguineAngel says:

            Yep, that’s the only way I see of it ever working. Still, having everyone boycott the game and then write to EA to explain why is going to be even more unlikely than having everyone boycott the game at all (which so far hasn’t happened).

            Although I am still a little doubtful even then that it would be more effective anyway, as a business’ major motivation is money. If they got a million complaints from customers who hadn’t spent their money, I suspect they would reason that there is no guarantee that they would see a return with another uncertain investment, addressing those concerns. Certainly, we’d have made our point but we wouldn’t be getting our good games any time soon. Only the plus side, they would stop making abominations.

            Whilst giving them money seems counter intuitive at first, (as you say they already have your money), you are signalling the company that as consumers we want this sort of thing. Following that up with customer feedback – that is feedback from those who actually bought the game and are established customers, rather than people who didn’t buy the game and so who’s likelihood of supplying income is uncertain – means that a sensible company would see that feedback (and critical feedback is possibly just as, if not more, important as it is so visible – causing a fuss but ALSO is likely to reach important people which customer feedback may not prior to being filtered.) and adjust the next product to better suit their customers who will then trust the company and want to spend more money! Hurray!

            The company may already have you money for this product but they need repeat custom to survive, and so recognising your sector as a viable source of income, they will then want to maximise that income by giving you what you want and so securing your loyalty for future purchases. Securing that loyalty is a continual process, as we fickle patrons may at any time wonder off if not appeased.

          • scatterbrainless says:

            I think you’re also missing the point Sanguine makes that “not buying” is a negative action, it’s counter-factual, you’re a non-customer just like someone who doesn’t even know the game exists. You’re not part of a pool of consumers from whom they count those who bought and those who didn’t. If you send them an email you’re not someone who “voted with their wallet” not to buy a game, you’re just some douche writing a bitchy email to them (from their perspective, I don’t mean to call you a douche). You’re not a customer, you’re not a stockholder, to them you’re a crank. And I seriously doubt they will get any message from your emails, because they would have to employ someone full-time just to read all the damn things. I would say that critical internet noise has a greater chance of crystallizing a general set of complaints that are picked up by a company than making an attempt to influence them directly.

        • P.Funk says:

          It worked out alright with Silent Hunter 5. They took out all of the DRM and I still haven’t bought it. XD

          • SanguineAngel says:

            So what you’re saying is, even if they do adhere to the demands of those who did NOT purchase does not mean they will then buy it? Then it would be unwise for a company to expend much in the way of resources to appease them surely?

          • TechnicalBen says:

            (To above, not this thread)
            No, it means if they fix it after it’s of no help to consumers. Aim to not mess with the customer base and sell to them, rather than mess them up, and try to fix it later.

        • Oak22 says:

          Voting with your wallet does work perfectly – for you. If “we” are trying to bring down a company we don’t like, “we’re” overstepping our bounds a bit. I don’t want to deal with their crap, so I’m not buying. There – my vote just counted.

          The SimCity series is probably my most favorite game series of all time, but I don’t plan to buy the new SimCity because of EAs nonsense. That’s what EA offers, and I decline. They don’t owe me games, and I don’t owe them money.

          • SanguineAngel says:

            Well, I’d say that “voting with your wallet” implies that a group of people can influence a company’s policies, in relation to their products, purely by buying or not buying.

            The situation you describe is more just not buying things you don’t want.

      • xenoss says:

        That’s ok. I think EA has achieved a state of genuine disinterest. I know it has for me.

        What I mean is I don’t buy EA games, not to make a statement, not to intentionally boycott, not to vote with my wallet… I just genuinely don’t want their products. I am guessing this is happening to more and more people.

        • Premium User Badge

          ffordesoon says:

          This, pretty much. I’m not a principled buyer of games. If the underlying game is one I want, I’ll put up with a whole lot of bullshit. Always-online DRM? Sure. Online pass? Fine. Origin required? That sucks, but whatever.

          Problem is, EA’s making the experience of actually playing even their best games so dreadfully unpleasant and bullshit-ridden that I can’t stand dealing with their crap anymore, and very few of their games are at all of interest to me anyway. I still like Bioware’s games a lot (I even enjoyed DA2 as I was playing it, though not to the extent of their other games – and yes, that includes the Sonic RPG for DS), for all the shit I give them, but the amount of horseshit I have to put up with to get their games to run means I’m going to wait until the reviews come out for DA3 before I grab it. This is a game that would have been an unquestionable day-one purchase for me otherwise.

          Thank God I don’t like sports games.

    • konrad_ha says:

      I can’t say I’ll never buy this, but I’ll definitely wait – quite long if necessary. This has “launch day horror” written all over it.

      • TechnicalBen says:

        How long will you wait, until the turn off the authentication server or until it becomes abandon ware? (Other options are no longer available thanks to “cloudDRM”)

    • DonDrapersAcidTrip says:

      Day 1 Pirating.

      • Lev Astov says:

        I haven’t considered it since leaving college, until now.

      • Shuck says:

        Why publishers love online functionality is that you can’t pirate it. My understanding is that some of the basic functionality is being done remotely in SimCity. At best you can pirate the client and someone may eventually set up a crude emulation of (some of) the functionality. With a game like SimCity that’s doing some serious simulations, there’s a lot that’s likely to be lost in the amateur recreation. You won’t be playing the pirated game, you’ll be playing a sort of fan remake of unknown, but relatively rough, quality.
        And that’s why this sort of online functionality is the future of DRM, unfortunately.

        • Tukuturi says:

          You can pirate it.

          • MrLebanon says:

            You can always pirate it. Publishers know this too. But they also know their average law abiding customer will think that you can’t, and thus be compelled into buying it over pirating it.

            But I bet my left testicle that on Day 1 you can load up your favourite l33t w4r3z site and find some nice high quality downloads of the game.

            I haven’t pirated anything since I finished high school – other than 1 or 2 games here or there to “demo” them (and I did, bought them both when I realized I liked them).

            This will be a straight up pirate though. And I will get a better experience than the paying customer, because I will be able to play offline, and will most likely be able to save and re-load my games with no hitch.

          • TechnicalBen says:

            You may loose your manlyhood by half. Because although sever side can be and is emulated, it takes a little bit more time than other cracking or emulation IRRC. So 1 day may be aiming a bit too low.

          • meatshit says:

            DiabIo III has been out for 10 months and there still isn’t anything close to a working server emulator. Several groups have tried and given up because they’d have to basically recreate most of the game. I’m not saying it can’t be done (WoW has tons of server emulators), just that people shouldn’t take for granted that there will always be a crack.

          • Shuck says:

            Since the server-side software isn’t publicly accessible for copying, then no, you can’t pirate it. It’s not physically possible. You can pirate part of the game, but the rest must be created. And if you do that, it isn’t the actual same game that others are playing. MMO “private servers” like the WoW server emulators, for example, tend to have greatly simplified systems compared to the real game.

    • yurusei says:

      Wallet, internet connection, and a torrent client.

    • adammtlx says:

      Wallets and voting people

      You do realize this is EA we’re talking about, right? If they don’t hit their projected sales they will assume the balance was pirated and that will only push them into further DRM paranoia. I’m not saying that we should encourage their insanity but refusing to buy the game won’t do anything. That’s the definition of paranoia.

  5. Mr. Mister says:

    I would at least take back the “heard about a bug” part. That’s just ridiculous.

    But hey, doesn’t that mean that you’re forced to report it even if you can’t confirm it?

    Hey guys, if you hold ↓B you get a bonus chance to catch colds! Undocumented feature right here!

    REPORT!

    • apocraphyn says:

      Psh. I heard that you had to hold ↓ and rapidly alternate between pressing B and A.

    • Shuck says:

      I would think that if players took the language seriously, EA would get a deluge of poorly documented bug reports by people who don’t dare try to figure out what the specific circumstances were that caused the bug. Not just the “I heard there’s a bug X” but “I think there might be a bug with X or maybe Y when you click on something, maybe.”

  6. Kefren says:

    6 August – 30th December 2010 I copied all EULAs for software I installed into a Word doc. I still have it. Over 332,000 words in fewer than five months. Basically reading the EULAs is impossible unless you are mad or have no other commitments. Or if you only install one piece of software a month, maybe. I’m not poo pooing your advice sir, it is good, but the issue of EULAs is that they are overlong, unreadable and unfair.

  7. Premium User Badge

    c-Row says:

    “Hey, we got a beta going. Make sure nobody wants to participate.”

    • Bimble says:

      I would +1 this if I could.

    • Vurogj says:

      “Hey, we’re making a game, let’s make sure no-one wants to buy it.”

    • secuda says:

      EA is doing their thing again ^^.

    • Shooop says:

      Makes sense, it’s not like they ever listen to feedback anyway. Just look how awful the release of Bad Company 2 turned out.

  8. Melliflue says:

    A bit over the top with the wording but I thought the idea was to stop somebody who knows about a bug writing about it on twitter or in a blog without also informing EA.

    Also, it is a beta test, so anyone who is playing should be reporting bugs they find, because that’s the point of a beta test, I thought. I understand that “beta test” is increasingly being used to mean early access or a demo etc but I am not going to get out the pitchforks because EA want to use their beta test to improve their game (and not just use the beta test as early access).

    • Deano2099 says:

      Right but if I’m a beta tester, working for EA to help make their game better, I should be getting paid. You’re right that usually beta tests are just glorified early-access/demos, but that’s because beta testers aren’t being paid for their work. You get what you pay for.

      • Melliflue says:

        Did anyone pay to be a part of the beta though? If you argue that EA cannot expect people in the beta test to report bugs because the people are not paid, then why should people have free early access to the game? It isn’t fair to say EA get what they pay for when the ‘testers’ are getting something for nothing.

        I thought the deal was that people volunteer to help beta test and their ‘payment’ is having access to the game for the duration of the test. I imagine paid test work is not at all fun.

        • HadToLogin says:

          Well, I was a beta-tester. I had early access to game and I still received money, but with money came responsibility – had to re-check if old bugs were fixed and had long list of stuff to check.

          This isn’t a beta-test. Best case, I’d call if play test. Only reason for that text in EULA is to make people think twice about keeping some abuse to themselves. “Look, player <> was a beta-tester, and at 1st day he already have metropolis, and it looks like he did it by building something that gave him cash instead of taking it away”.
          Don’t tell me you wouldn’t want to ban that kind of a cheater…

          • HothMonster says:

            Ban someone for finding an exploit and using it in a single player game? No I wouldn’t want that.

            If I buy the game on day one (or 3 months after) and find a bug they left in their code and use that in my game you still think I should be banned or is only because the user found the exploit during their 3-day beta? If it’s the latter I certainly hope they ship this game 100% bug and exploit free because if people find a way to game the system they are going to and banning people from all EA games for taking advantage of a bug is ridiculous.

            I get the idea that you don’t want people to spend the 3 days looking for game breaking bugs to use to their advantage instead of reporting it but the punishment and wording is overly harsh and authoritarian.

          • SanguineAngel says:

            I think they should ban themselves for failing to remove all the bugs

    • SanguineAngel says:

      I’ve got no problem at all with beta testers being encouraged to report bugs and exploits, it’s only right and proper since that’s largely the purpose of a beta test. And if EA were to somehow find out that they had not been doing so then perhaps booting them out of the beta would be fair enough.

      Locking them out of every EA product they have paid to use, despite their participation in the SimCity Beta test having nothing to do with their use of those games as a consumer is a stupid punishment that not only doesn’t fit the crime but bears no relation to the situation at hand at all.

      • TechnicalBen says:

        I’ve got no problem at all with people being encouraged to get banned from their origin accounts… ah, sorry that’s not what you meant? :D

    • dontnormally says:

      I work in software. We do not pay our beta testers.
      When we release the product we give them a free copy.
      This is how it should work.

  9. Ninja Foodstuff says:

    What an odd company. They really do loathe the people that keep them afloat.

    On the other hand I have to admire that they really don’t care about their public image in the slightest.

  10. Drake Sigar says:

    I don’t read the EULA’s, they all pretty much say the same thing and often breach consumer law a dozen times over. I trust the courts and a crapload of bad press will protect me.

    • SanguineAngel says:

      Yeah, basically. Most EULAs seem to invalidate themselves up the wazoo going by the fuss that gets kicked up every time.

      I do wonder if they are at all enforceable if parts do contravene any actual real laws/consumer rights.

      • misterT0AST says:

        No they are not.

      • Rhuhuhuhu says:

        Pff, EULA legality is based on so many things. In random order:

        * Country of purchase
        * Purchase system (digital, boxed, payed subscription)
        * Civil laws of the country of your residence
        * Copyright laws and interpretations of the country of your residence
        * Consumer protection laws and agencies
        * Personal legal-skill, poker face and bluff
        * The depths of your wallets once court turns out to be the only option

        Short-cut:

        South America: Average
        North America: Bad
        Europe: good
        Africa: Bad
        Azia: Bad
        Oceania: Average

        Personally, I’ll not buy this game. I had no intention too because I’m not much of a Sim City fan, but also because it only presents options to me I despise and because as it now turns out, the boat appears to be sinking before it even left the harbour.

    • Jupiah says:

      The vast majority of EULAs are invalid regardless of what they say, simply by virtue of the fact that they don’t show them to you until after they’ve taken your money. It’s very much illegal to require someone to read a contract before they use the product but also not show them the contract until after they’ve payed for the product.

  11. Desmolas says:

    This just goes to show that you have absolutely no power or ownership over ‘your’ games on Origin, Steam Uplay or what have you. They can revoke all access at the drop of a hat. Its a truly scary thing.

    I hope EA never go bankrupt, because I need their authentication servers up and running to play my games. I am at their mercy.

    • f1x says:

      Makes you think that saving a collection of isos by trustable chaps like Sir Skidrow or Mr Reloaded is not a bad idea

    • Premium User Badge

      VelvetFistIronGlove says:

      Which is why I love GOG, and they’re always my first port of call when I’m buying a game digitally. I know that I get an installer that I can back up and use at any point in the future without any account, or registration, or activation or anything like that.

      And because they are consistent about selling all their games DRM-free, I don’t even have to read any fine print or forum discussions to know this (as I do with other digital retailers who only sell some of their games without DRM).

  12. Premium User Badge

    Llewyn says:

    I have to be grateful to EA really. Every time I start to feel my stance on Origin softening, leading to the realistic prospect of buying something which depends on it, they pull something like this. They’re saving me from spending yet more money on games that I really don’t need.

  13. Runty McTall says:

    The bit where this really falls down for me is that they assume that you can tell what is a bug and what isn’t. I really can foresee very many examples where this may not be the case. If I find some tactic that is dull and repetitious but almost guarantees victory, is that a bug or a poor design choice?

    Some bugs are obvious glitches but very many of the more subtle ones, especially in games with complex interplay between lots of systems and subsystems, are really hard to be clear on. If you had a large collection of legit EA games it seems you’d be considerably better off pirating this one just to stay out of the heavy shadow cast by this EULA.

  14. abandonhope says:

    The FDA requires drug manufacturers to follow a certain time-consuming protocol when they are made aware of medication errors concerning their products, no matter how they come by the information, even if the reports are nonsensical. That’s because medication errors are important. EA simply sounds as if they’re on drugs. And not the kind that make you more sociable.

  15. DickSocrates says:

    That there’s a Beta at all is making some EA executive grind his teeth. “YOU MEAN THEY’RE PLAYING IT FOR FREE?!?!!? WHO CARES IF IT DOESN’T WORK PROPERLY?!?”

    • 1Life0Continues says:

      “Record all the bugs, divide them up into, oh say 12 parts, then sell the patches as DLC. Bitches love DLC, right?”

  16. Hoaxfish says:

    Imagine how many children would be banned from Nintendo if they really did catch a mewtwo behind the truck at the beginning

  17. FurryLippedSquid says:

  18. Optimaximal says:

    My interpretation – it’s a badly bit of Orwellian wording.

    My guess is the intention of the paragraph is to say ‘if you beta test this and find a bug then proceed to exploit the bug, you will be banned’.

    How, based on the current wording, would they know you had found a bug if you didn’t report it? Installing a developer in every house? Mandatory brainwave scans?

    • Premium User Badge

      c-Row says:

      Origin.

    • Premium User Badge

      Llewyn says:

      It’s simple: if there’s a bug in the beta and you’ve been playing, EA can safely assume that you’ve encountered the bug.

      Sadly that might actually be what they have in mind.

      • Premium User Badge

        Gap Gen says:

        Well, with a complex, non-linear game, it’s fairly likely that some bugs will be fairly difficult to trigger. It’s not like Call of Duty where everyone goes through the same levels in the same order, and even then, someone might not trigger a particularly obscure bug (e.g. if you climb this random tower and do a little jig on the spot, you fall out of the level, say).

    • abandonhope says:

      Haven’t I seen reports of EA trolling forums and banning people from Origin for various infringements in the past? Maybe that wasn’t EA, but it sounds like EA. Oh, it was EA: http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/2011/12/05/ea-origin-bans-update-edition/

      You’d have to go around blabbing on their forums, but still. They have their ways.

    • LionsPhil says:

      It looks like the usual cover-your-arse-and-then-some lawyering approach of claiming thrice what is reasonable so that you have a hefty buffer zone after being beaten back to still getting what you really wanted. Grab it all, every excuse, every right, just in case. They’re not paid to later go “ooh, we really could have done with a clause to let us ban that one guy who’s being a jerk”.

      I mean, this bluster is ridiculous, and you shouldn’t agree to it, but it’s not far off standard unfortunately.

    • Premium User Badge

      darkChozo says:

      This, most likely. It’s probably targeted at individuals and communities that seek out bugs and try to exploit them. After all, a good way to prove that someone knew about a bug is if they post about it on a forum somewhere. The extra stuff lets you ban people who, say, post about the bug but don’t really say that they ever used it, which technically wouldn’t fall under exploiting.

      The wording is definitely overreaching, but that’s the nature of EULAs; because there’s basically no punishment for stating something that’s unenforceable, you just throw a bunch of crap in there and see what sticks.

  19. Premium User Badge

    Hodge says:

    Looking forward to the inevitable backpedaling.

    • Zanchito says:

      I’m looking forward to no backpedaling, but “we know it might seem unreasonable, but really, we’re a benevolent giant, you shouldn’t worry. Still, we’re keeping it there.”

  20. uNapalm says:

    One day you will be sleeping soundly in your bed, having played an hour or two of the Sim City beta before resting your head. Then – SMASH – 6 armed EA bulletmen charge into your house, pepper spray you, handcuff you and then drag you off to a secret prison. There you shall join legions of others that are forced to ride bicycles for 18 hours a day, with little food or water, in order to generate the electric power that the behemoth EA game servers require. In months hence, exhausted, broken, on the point of starvation you shall look at your captives and pitifully ask “Why?”. The response: “You showed your friend our Sim City demo, he informed us that you noticed a bug related to incorrect textures being applied to buildings but failed to notify EA”.

    EA games will soon be nothing more than a smokescreen to allow the legal and indefinite incarceration of gamers as use for slave labour. Fight the power before you and your family are taken! Uninstall brothers!

  21. Premium User Badge

    jrodman says:

    Well how will I possibly avoid this risk? Oh I know, by never buying any EA crap ever. As if I hadn’t already made that decision.

    I wonder if i could tell my old self who gobbled up EA games in the c64 era, that EA would turn into this horror show, if I could have somehow sent out the signal and averted the disaster before it ever was. It could be like the plot to Terminator, only without the terrible actor who becomes a terrible politician.

  22. el_murph says:

    Dear EA,

    We have found a bug with your game:

    Game appears not to work without an internet connection.

    Kindest regards,

    Beta testers

    • mrmalodor says:

      Dear el_murph,

      We have detected that you have attempted to access the product without an internet connection. As per our EULA, any abuse of existing or non-existing undocumented features is forbidden.

      You are now permanently banned from all EA products.

      Kindest regards,
      EA

    • The Random One says:

      Further bugs found with the game:

      - Terraforming tools are missing.
      - Only city size available is what I assume is the smallest (2×2 km).
      - Utilities like water and power spread through the road network even though that makes no sense whatsoever.
      - Railways can be connected at a 90° angle.
      - After further analysis it appears the game is not SimCity at all, but a strange Tropico spinoff without any of that series’ endearing qualities.

  23. iucounu says:

    Why is it a problem for EA if someone exploits a bug, either during the beta or otherwise? I don’t understand.

    • Premium User Badge

      phlebas says:

      It’s a multiplayer game. That means if you exploit a bug you’re not just spoiling the game for yourself.

      • iucounu says:

        Ah, OK.

      • abandonhope says:

        Multiplayer, and also a partially player-driven economy that kind of drives the whole game. I can see why they’d want to be absolutely sure there are no exploits, even if the EULA is absurd.

    • LionsPhil says:

      The same reason cheats in singleplayer are becoming rare: the curse of online stats, cheevos, and blurring singleplayer into multiplayer (and, worse yet, persistent-state multiplayer with unlocks—nobody cared if you want to co-op Duke Nukem 3D all in god mode, damnit).

      • iucounu says:

        So irritating, all that stuff.

      • Premium User Badge

        Gap Gen says:

        Yes, it seems kind of sad that in a single player game you can’t do whatever the hell you like. Plus, as someone pointed out, there are plenty of games where the mechanics themselves allow for exploits, even if they aren’t bugs. I found the only way to win Imperium Galactica 2 was to trick the AI into using its giant death fleet to recapture the same tiny planet over and over while your main fleet conquered its empire planet by planet.

      • Hoaxfish says:

        cheats and modding

  24. NathanH says:

    In passing, this shows the insidious side of the always-online integrated-multiplayer philosophy. That always-online requires you to be always online is very annoying but quite obvious. But the integrated-multiplayer has the sneaky side-effect of bringing with it the MMO-like restrictions on taking advantage of bugs and exploits. This is borderline-tolerable for real MMOs that are specifically targetted at MMO players, because they all should be aware and buy into the idea that the integrity of the “economy” is important and must be maintained. But people playing these clearly-single-player games liie SimCity with always-on multiplayer are not going to buy in to this philosophy. When reading about the always-on multiplayer, they might superficially think “oh, my internet is always on, and I can ignore the multiplayer component if I please”.

    These sorts of always-multiplayer modes are sold to us on the basis of “you can just ignore it if you want, as long as your internet is reliable you’ll be fine” but of course there are sneaky things in the background that mean that you must never really forget you’re playing an MMO.

    • Tei says:

      Yea. We are very quickly going to a world without mods, where cheating result in removing ownership of the game or something ridiculous, like crime penalties.

      I am looking forward for EULA’s to include a “You can’t sue us” clause.

      • Xocrates says:

        “I am looking forward for EULA’s to include a “You can’t sue us” clause.”

        They already do.

    • aepervius says:

      Actually they might run afoul of in EU in some country of some recent decision (germany/photoshop license ?) considering perpetual license as being the same as being given an item, and thus as far as I can see withdrawing the usage would not be legal.

  25. mrmalodor says:

    Good job, EA. Already hard at work making me glad that I decided not to buy Sim City. And it’s not even released yet :)

  26. caddyB says:

    I’m so glad I won’t have to spend money on one of my favorite series of one of my favorite genres. Sigh.

    • f1x says:

      Yeah, it feels miserable
      I love Sim City, so they made a new Sim City, but then made it in every possible way to kill my desire to play it

      Thank you Machiavelli, I mean EA

  27. smeghamr says:

    PSA

    Can you all just stop buying EA products. If you just ignore them, they’ll go away.

    • PedroBraz says:

      I´ve not bought any EA stuff for 5 years, and yet they are still here.

      • smeghamr says:

        Cos’ other people still are =[ We need some Kony style negative publicity campaign to make people more aware I think.

  28. Hmm-Hmm. says:

    No, Nathan, we don’t need to stop skipping past EULAs. EULAs and the companies which (ab)use them are the problem.

  29. SanguineAngel says:

    Does anyone remember the days when games were about having fun? Gosh, I sure loved to just play my games without fear of legal/civil reprisals

  30. mackemforever says:

    So what about people who come across a bug, don’t realise it’s a bug, don’t report it as a result of that, and get banned?

    I’ve taken part in multiple closed betas before, and each time I’ve played it quite happily and have thought it was pretty much bug free, only to later look through the list of reported bugs and having seen that I have actually noticed most of them but just hadn’t realised that they were bugs.

    I just don’t get what EA are trying to achieve here, all I can see happening is that they are going to scare people away from taking part in future betas.

    • MaXimillion says:

      That’s why they also mention undocumented features. If you come across anything whatsoever that the game didn’t tell you should be there, report it.

      • TechnicalBen says:

        Loading screen: Not documented/Feature/Bug?
        Mouse cursor: Not documented/Feature/Bug?
        Intro video: Not documented/Feature/Bug?
        Sponsors video: Not documented/Feature/Bug?
        FPS of intro and sponsors video, no V-sync, framerate 1500: Not documented/Feature/Bug?
        Time of intro videos 5 mins: Not documented/Feature/Bug?
        Duration of sponsors videos 7 mins: Not documented/Feature/Bug?
        Second loading screen: Not documented/Feature/Bug?
        Menu screen animations: Not documented/Feature/Bug?
        Menu screen focus of mouse cursor on start button: Not documented/Feature/Bug?
        Menu screen sound effects: Not documented/Feature/Bug?
        Menu screen music: Not documented/Feature/Bug?
        (and on and on and on. I might actually give this a go, where do I sign up for the beta?)

  31. Beernut says:

    I hope, their servers drown in bugs and cave to the load, just to show them how unacceptable their business manners are and what a horrendous idea this “online-persistent-single-player”-stuff really is.
    And I was so looking forward to a new Sim City, until they mentioned all the strings attached! :(

  32. D3xter says:

    In other news, after a lot of customer complaints, the Miner Wars 2081 devs finally decided to introduce an “Offline Mode”, or rather to remove the requirement for a Online connection/Login to be able to play their game: http://www.cinemablend.com/games/Miner-Wars-2081-Always-DRM-Completely-Removed-Gamers-Rejoice-51649.html

    As such I’m inclined to buy their game now, I don’t expect the same kind of foresight from Activision Blizzard or EA, as such they won’t be getting any of my money.

    • TechnicalBen says:

      Interesting. I thought it was an MMO. Guess it has singleplayer modes too?

  33. Premium User Badge

    deadfolk says:

    I expect that this is motivated by the prospect of the game (potentially – I don’t know if is has) having a sims-like cash shop. They are frightened that people will somehow be able to (in the “finished” game) cheat their way into getting items which cost real money.

    As a result, they’ve added this ridiculous over-reaching clause to decrease the chances that exploits will go unreported, by scaring the bejesus out of the people paying them.

    • SanguineAngel says:

      I suspect scaring people is not the motive since it’s buried in the EULA rather than prominently visible. Even EA, blind as they appear to be, must realise that people rarely read those. It seems likely that they are designed with the intent of being too much trouble to read in the first place.

      • Premium User Badge

        deadfolk says:

        Valid point – I forgot that it was buried deep in the EULA.

  34. zeroskill says:

    EA is like the stand up comedian of the games industry.

  35. plugmonkey says:

    What a ridiculous article. It doesn’t say you’ll get banned if you see a bug and don’t report it.

    It says you’ll get banned if you exploit a bug, or if you know about people exploiting bugs and don’t report it.

    • SanguineAngel says:

      Well, that’s just incorrect. “If you know about a Bug or have heard about a Bug and fail to report the Bug to EA”

    • sinister agent says:

      If you know about a Bug or have heard about a Bug and fail to report the Bug to EA, we reserve the right to treat you no differently from someone who abuses the Bug.

      Words are fun! You can even read them and write them in the same day.

      • plugmonkey says:

        Wow! Neato! And if you have time, you can even try engaging your brain in between reading and writing, instead of skipping straight to being sarcastically cool! Try it! It’s fun!

        we reserve the right to treat you no differently from someone who abuses the Bug.

        no differently from someone who abuses the Bug.

        someone who abuses the Bug.

        abuses the Bug.

        abuses the Bug.

        abuses the Bug.

        So, if you see a harmless bug. Y’know, a graphics glitch. Something that can’t be abused. And you don’t report it. Then you’ll get banned, right? Because EA are evil, right?

        Right?

        Sure! Because the EULA says you could get treated the same as someone who abuses the…oh…no…wait.

        Yes.

        No.

        Hang on!

        Keep thinking!

        Nearly there!

        I know it hurts! Stay with it!

        *ding*

        There! See?

        Even then, they only reserve the right to. Gee, you’re right! Words are fun! Especially when you actually examine them for context and meaning rather than just assuming they conform to a pre-conceived prejudice!

        • SanguineAngel says:

          Your sarcasm is not really warranted. In your original post, you claimed that the EULA clause states that only people who abuse a bug may be punished.

          The EULA statement that you yourself are highlighting clearly states that those who know of but fail to report a bug, regardless of whether they exploit it or not, may be punished.

          your constant repeating of “abuses the bug” is meaningless, given that it is directly preceded by “we reserve the right to treat you no differently from someone who” thereby clearly distinguishing between the subsection of people who the clause refers to and those OTHER people who abuse the bug.

          In fact, the clear terms for that punishment re also stated, so you don’t even have to jump to conclusions: “If you know about a Bug or have heard about a Bug and fail to report the Bug”.

          So, you are right in that you may get punished for exploiting a bug and for knowing about a bug. You are wrong in that “know about people exploiting bugs” will not result in punishment, although knowing the bug being used and failing to report it may indeed result in punishment.

          In addition, you are wrong when you state “It doesn’t say you’ll get banned if you see a bug and don’t report it.” because finding a bug yourself, not exploiting it but still failing to report may ALSO result in punishment, as per “If you know about a Bug” – in that finding a bug yourself, whether you exploit it or not, gives you knowledge of that bug.

          Well, you are partly right because a pedant might pick up on the whole “it doesn’t say you’ll get banned” referring to them reserving the right to punish you. Which is true; they are saying they may punish you in all of those situations.

          • plugmonkey says:

            Your sarcasm is not really warranted

            It never is. But then, I didn’t start it.

            Look at what is said in the EULA. Not just one line picked out of context, but the whole thing. They ban people who use exploits, and reserve the right to ban people who are ‘accessories’ to people using exploits.

            That is all. A slightly badly worded EULA.

          • SanguineAngel says:

            well, two wrongs don’t make a right I suppose.

            Anyway, the story here as about sneaky clauses in EULA’s really. I haven’t seen anyone here claiming the will ban you, aside from as a cynical “typical EA” type of comment. That they are supposedly getting you to agree that they have the right to ban you from access to all the games you paid for, for an unrelated and relatively (relative to the punishment) minor infringement.

            The wording also would indicate that they are only reserving the right to ban people who exploit bugs too. So the two sets of people are treated in exactly the same manner in the terms of the agreement.

          • plugmonkey says:

            Yes, I know. I’m weak. And it was lunchtime, and I was bored. And I really hate that type of smart alec who posts something utterly devoid of content, but supposedly clever.

            Anyway, EA reserve the right to ban you if you know about bugs that are being abused, and don’t report them. They don’t say they will, but they reserve the right to. And only bugs that are being abused. That was the point of what I was repeating. If you will share the fate of whoever is abusing the bug, you can’t get burned for a bug people can’t abuse.

            Why shouldn’t they reserve the right to ban people who are aiding and abetting cheaters? How would you like this to be worded instead? They’ve put in something that gives them as broad a power as they could ever need, but the context makes it clear that the point here is eliminating cheats and cheaters, not getting you to work for them for free and then deleting all your games because you weren’t quite working hard enough! Bwa-ha-ha-ha-ha!

            I think what we have here is just a very American angle, where I believe having knowledge of a crime makes you an accessory to it. And so it is here, EA will ban cheaters and reserve the right to ban accessories to cheating.

          • Kadayi says:

            The proof is in the pudding as ever. Plain truth of the matter is I doubt EA are actively going to ban anyone on the basis that they know about a bug but don’t exploit it.The case is more that a bug is known, but parties elect to keep it to themselves for personal gain at launch thus essentially giving themselves an advantage over other players. In other words when some numbnuts on twitter goes ‘Hey do this to earn X million (whatevers)’ day one…do not follow their lead if you value your account.

          • SkittleDiddler says:

            plugmonkey, welcome to the RPS forums, a place where everyone but you is allowed to be an occasional asshole.

        • Cloudiest Nights says:

          If you know about a Bug or have heard about a Bug and fail to report the Bug to EA, we reserve the right to treat you no differently from someone who abuses the Bug.

          If you know about a Bug or have heard about a Bug and fail to report the Bug to EA, we reserve the right to treat you no differently from someone who abuses the Bug.

          If you know about a Bug or have heard about a Bug and fail to report the Bug to EA, we reserve the right to treat you no differently from someone who abuses the Bug.

  36. sinister agent says:

    Not content with the now industry standard of using cutomers as unpaid beta testers, EA are now making the job mandatory. How utterly disconnected with the lives of humans.

    I guess the rationale is “prevent exploits/script kiddies” etc. but at my most generous, I can only imagine this came about as a result of one of those meetings where someone in charge insists SOMETHING be done, and the only things that would actually work are all shot down because they’d take time and/or cost money, so instead someone came up with this, and everyone else just wanted to go home so pretended it was a good idea.

    Alternatively, everyone involved is an evil fucking moron.

  37. Berstarke says:

    Psh. Just you wait until BF4′s eula. In one word: Telescreens

    • mrmalodor says:

      I don’t condone spying, but I wouldn’t mind some new anti-cheating measures that actually work.

  38. Milky1985 says:

    While we should all be reading EULA’s, at the same time they are about as useful as a piece of used toilet paper in a court of law (if its a full purchased game and not a FTP game ). It’s an after sales contracts, or “worthless” as its also known, the only issue is having enough money to actually fight back.

    We need a famous person with a lot of money to fall foul of one of these clauses, then to take them to court to see what happens when people with money stand up to it :/

    Still a massive dick move from them however, as reading it kinda makes it sound like it applies to anyone who knows about bugs, not just beta testers, has anyone checked if they have updated any other EULA’s?

    [EDIT] Reading online that people have come up with a very simple solution, report absolutely everything no matter how minor every single time it happens, just in case. Childish, very very much so but also what they asked for, if people don’t want things banned.

    Once there bug report servers get overloaded with thousands of instances of “I moved the mouse what would normally mean a 20 pixel movement of the pointer, but it only moved 19″ they might have a word with the lawyer who added that clause

  39. Milky1985 says:

    I just thought,are they giving away beta access from some places as pre-order bonuses?

    What happens if you pre-order then fall foul of this and have all your games removed from your account?

  40. Giuseppe says:

    More and more, these days I feel this strange desire to see major game companies like EA or Blizzard go the way of the dinosaurs.

    • Blackcompany says:

      I think it will happen. EA has a terrible profit margin. They tried to out spend & outshine the competition by making every game a Michael Bay production. It failed.

      Now they are struggling to make a profit due to overhead. All we need is more people voting with their wallet & EA is dead in the water.

      • Giuseppe says:

        I hope you’re right. I think the gaming world needs more of these giants the crumble to dust. Make way for people who actually care about making fun, original games, not playing-it safe cash grabbers with bloated development budgets and even more bloated marketing campaigns.

    • Kadayi says:

      How dare the masses buy their products.

  41. TheEn4cer says:

    EA = mc2 (Eletronic Arts = Mega Crap 2) lets all report EA as a BUG to see if they get Banned.

  42. theaborted says:

    Get on Steam, buy Sim City 4.

    There is absolutely no hope IN HELL of me buying Sim City 5.

    What’s all this crap talk about ‘vote with wallets, buy the game and then give feedback’, that’s corporate stooge horsesh*t!!!

    I’m buyiing the game as I would like it – it’s called SIM CITY 4, and it’s on Steam (Not ORIGIN).

    • Emeraude says:

      “Get on Steam, buy Sim City 4.”

      Avoid Charybdis, get Scylla.

      • Narzhul says:

        Why? SC4 is fine, other than some few UI-related quirks.

        • Emeraude says:

          Was more commenting on the Steam vs Origin bit.

          • TechnicalBen says:

            Depending on the games DRM, it might just be an EXE and securirom check. No idea as I have the disc version that asks for a disk. So you might be surprised that the Sim4 from Steam might be able to run WITHOUT STEAM. Some games just use Steam as the delivery option and have their own DRM. But I’ve not checked this specific game yet.

          • Emeraude says:

            Not surprised, I know of this.

            But then Steamworks.

            I see little significant long term difference between supporting the infrastructure that delivers this and supporting Origin.

    • The Random One says:

      I’ll stick to Cities XL, thanks.

  43. mxxcon says:

    After all, aside from the aforementioned bug abuse, how will EA even find out if you’ve been withholding valuable information?

    Most likely their embedded spyware will phone home every possible metric about the game and your computer, and they would look it up in their logs.

    So let me get this right:
    I use MY TIME and put in MY EFFORT to make sure that they make more money and they are THREATENING ME to LOCK ME OUT OF MY OWN GAMES?!

    I acknowledge that EA reserve the right to go fuck itself, fuck its board of directors, fuck PR reps, fuck lawyers and fuck everybody else who was involved in writing this policy.
    Additionally, I acknowledge that EA does not deserve and will not get a single penny of my money. Neither EA nor developers or nor any involved parties deserve to get my money. I acknowledge that if those developers do want to get paid, knowing the track record of EA, those developers should not have been employed by EA.

    • plugmonkey says:

      Oh, for christ’s sake. Look at what is said in the EULA. Not just one line picked out of context, but the whole thing. They ban people who use exploits, and reserve the right to ban people who are ‘accessories’ to people using exploits.

      That is all. A slightly badly worded EULA.

      Now all of a sudden they are installing spyware on your PC, and then combing through your logs for evidence of the thoughtcrime of knowing about any sort of bug without immediately reporting it, so that they can lock you out of all your games.

      EA are trying to sell you games. I suspect the amount of resources they invest in concocting sham trials in order to delete all your games are limited.

      At worst, a few rogue cells of Templars. Or possibly an AI that became self aware on the net back in the 80s. Or some other conspiracy theory that is at least vaguely believable.

      • Kadayi says:

        Careful there Plug, you’re talking like a level headed human being with a firm grip on reality. You’re totally ruining the AIM mood. There’s still got to be at least another eight pages of ever more zealous chest thumping declarations of boycotts, piracy and a general desire for every EA employee to be fed feet first through a wood chipper (whilst conscious naturally) before this article is deemed an RPS ‘ success’.

      • gamma says:

        While your point is somewhat valid in the sense that the wording is passed without proper context, and the real motivation being as you put it… to “reserve the right to ban people who are ‘accessories’ to people using exploits.”

        you are dismissing the broader context under which EA has proved itself ill intended in dealing with its paying customers, several times over, along all sorts of angles.

        you are dismissing the fact that a contract serves the purpose of clarifying a business relation between the parties not the other way around, while at the same time pushing more muddy watters and grey areas which only favour EA at the detriment its costumers but also consumers as a whole

        you are dismissing the even broader context lead by the giants of this industry which have lately tried to enforce an utterly negative vision towards this markets real paying consumers.

        you are dismissing pretty recent events in this industry which reflect a trend of hands-down criminal activity (ie. WarZ)

        you are allowing yourself to pass the consumers cepticism and negative reaction in face of the whole context as conspiracy theories, when these ceased to be “mere theories” in many instances now

        you have earned “gullible person of the day” award, gz!

        • Premium User Badge

          darkChozo says:

          The issue with that line of reasoning is that it often paints companies like EA as “evil” instead of as mostly rational entities with the goal of making money. EA/Activision/whoever don’t do things that are bad for consumers or for the industry because they’re mustache-twirling villains out for us poor gamers, they do them because they think it will make them money, even if it’s only in the short term. (which is a whole other discussion regarding misaligned incentives for corporate decision makers, but I digress…)

          For example, take DRM. Big publishers don’t include DRM in their games because they want to hurt gamers, they do it because they want to mitigate a very scary financial risk and because it’s an issue that really doesn’t bother a huge portion of their userbase. Or take yearly releases and rushed deadlines; they don’t do it because they hate the creative process and the furthering of the medium, they do it because of financial pressures and short term performance incentives.

          For something like this, there’s not really any reason to suspect that EA is doing this because they want to go banning accounts willy-nilly. The only rational reason I could think of why they would do that is as a pretense to punish detractors, but that seems a bit farfetched.

          Note that the above only applies to the multitude of “FUCK EA”-type comments in the thread. There is a rather serious issue here, but it’s about EULAs in general and is definitely not limited to the EA/Activision-type companies. Singling them out for what is general industry practice is rather disingenuous.

          Finally, nitpicking, but why bring War Z into this? That’s like pointing to the fact that a gas station convenience store shortcharged you as evidence that BP is corrupt.

          • gamma says:

            Worthy to keep that in mind definitely. They whishfully think it will safeguard their bottom-line, but howcome they don’t? Even short term. But they also do know it better than i do, they are invested in it. Which brings me to think they are just collecting as much spoils they can, to hopefully divert in time to other pastures… no matter the manure they leave behind.

            These companies, big or small, single themselves out in the process, gamers are not the ones to raise issues upon issues in this here sense. It is like they are trying to step on the status quo in gamers’ back, and make a surprised look when they’re caught, and that may be succesful to all those unfamiliar to the status quo, yet facing against those upholding certain standards.

            The problem as i see it is that the pan will not hold the full pressure increasingly being exerted in the industry, ultimately bringing its demise. The RoI requirements are having increasing difficulties meeting the available market. This, in the best case, is being offset by never seen before proportions of product marketing vs actual development in the hope of enlarging the demographic, and in the worse case, agressive extortion of the costumer base. With all the in-between mix ups one imagines.

            Industry is risking its gigantic market value as whole in the way it is being pushed to evolve. No wonder several alternative business models are cropping up, with increasing chunks of the common market welcoming it.

            Regarding WarZ, it is indeed quite another story, small time criminals playing the market, yet serves well to test “gullibility” as a customer trait. I am sure a lot has been learned about the market with that simple balloon. The sheer disrespect for the buying party the deviousness with which they expect to piss on gamers

            BTW: “The clause in the EA Beta Agreement for the SimCity beta was intended to prohibit players from using known exploits to their advantage. However, the language as included is too broad. EA has never taken away access to a player’s games for failing to report a bug. We are now updating the Beta Agreement to remove this point.”” in ArsTechnica article update

  44. Blackcompany says:

    Read the deadspace 3 article first. EA, saving me money again. Thanks EA for being so awful I never have to even browse origin at all. Leaves more money for kickstarter & indies.

  45. thebluemonkey81 says:

    EA doing dick moves isn’t that surprising, it ranks up there with “bear shits in woods” type of news.

    I don’t entirely get why people still buy their products.

  46. Sparkasaurusmex says:

    In the US EULAs are still not legally binding

  47. Cooper says:

    Re: “EULAs are not legally binding” / “wouldn;t stand up in court”

    I hear these arguments a lot. It doesn’t matter

    EA banning you from Origin is never gonna get to court. It’s between you and them as ‘service provider’. A service you have no inalienable right to. A service they can withdraw whenever they want, for whatever reason, written down in a EULA or not.

    I hope you’ve backed up your Steam games?

    • Milky1985 says:

      Would fall under the remit of sales of goods act for physical purchased games and maybe distance selling but not sure for online purchased games.

      Rights that cannot be signed away in any agreement.

      It doesn’t matter that its a service as has been said BY THE COURTS in recent cases, they cannot use that as an excuse, its still a product.

    • TechnicalBen says:

      Yes. My Steam games are backed up. Or to the extent I play them (I’ve not got all the CDs I ever purchased either, I can live with that).
      The backup option for Origin failed and gave me no option to retry. Steam does give that option (for all except MMOs, because, well, they are MMOs).

      So I don’t purchase through Origin.

    • Premium User Badge

      darkChozo says:

      Services don’t work in some mythical world where laws don’t exist. Plumbing is a service, but if a plumber takes my money in order to fix my sink, he can’t give up halfway through and take my money just because I don’t have an inalienable right to plumbing. Or, more directly, an ISP can’t offer a contract, shut off service, and continue to demand payment.

      You could certainly take EA to court over their banning your account. It would likely be a small claims court, and you’d be facing all the risks involved with suing anyone, but there’s no way a judge would look at the case and say “oh, they’re a service provider, we can’t touch them”.

      (the above is from an American point of view from someone who is very much Not A Lawyer)

      • Emeraude says:

        The thing that gets me with that pretension to being a service industry the video game industry is having right now, is that, the same way content providers are effectively getting the benefits of patents, copyright, AND trade secrets, ALL on the exact same product, and without ANY of the trade-offs that those benefits are supposed to be granted in exchange for, they’re trying to walk a thin line between service and product to rip the legal benefits of both while bothering with none of the duties.

  48. Iskariot says:

    I’ll just avoid this like the plague.

  49. Kuraudo says:

    None of this will matter; people will buy the game no matter what horrible things EA puts into it. After all, hasn’t EA been doing this for years and remained profitable?

  50. ShineyBlueShoes says:

    But if they can see what’s going on in my game well enough to know I didn’t report a bug then why do they need me to report it in the first place?…