By Nathan Grayson on January 23rd, 2013 at 8:00 am.
Left hand, meet right hand. Yesterday, EA armed SimCity with a ticking time bomb of a perma-ban EULA, but today, it decided to vehemently disagree with, er, itself. In short, the not-so-fine print would’ve seen players agreeing to report any and all bugs they encountered in SimCity’s closed beta or risk being locked out of all EA products. Yes, all. That’s what it said. But oh, what a difference a day – and probably a few additional pairs of eyes – makes.
In a statement to Kotaku, an EA rep seemed almost incredulous at the idea that this EULA could even exist. Here’s what they said:
“We have never taken away access to a player’s games for not reporting a bug, and quite simply it’s not something we would ever do… 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.We are now updating the Beta Agreement to remove this point.”
Admittedly, the rep didn’t specify exactly how the offending passage is being changed, but I don’t really think it could get any worse than it is now.
Still though, it’s kind of an insane situation, right? I mean, either EA had some nefarious plot to – I don’t know – keep its games all to itself inside some island volcano lair, or EULAs have grown so complicated and unwieldy that even the companies that write them can’t be arsed to look them over. This needs to change, because seriously, who does it even serve at this point? Consumers end up with no idea of what they’re getting themselves into, and companies come away with egg on their face – if not a fresh pair of devilish red horns on their head.
I mean, I’m no lawyer, but a lot of these EULA points strike me as fluff. At worst, they can be super deceptive, but in most cases – like this one – they just end up ballooning into these infernal labyrinths no one actually has the time to navigate. Ugh, the world’s gotten too complicated. I say we just go back to trading pigs, crops, and diseases. No contracts or agreements. Just handshakes and horrifically backward social norms. Ah, wouldn’t that be nice?