EA v. EA on User Bans, TOS

March 15, 2011 -

While EA is saying that it is not stopping people who might be naughty on its forums (and catch a ban) from playing single player games, it has done just that to a couple of users over the last few days. The company has said that this is all some kind of weird glitch or mistake in its system and promises to rectify the situation soon. In a statement to Rock, Paper, Shotgun, EA Senior Director of Customer Services, Boyd Beasley said the following:

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

While EA is calling it an error in its system, RPS points out that EA is actively enforcing a policy against naughty users on forums that stops them from playing their games. They are doing this willfully and intentionally, according to several users who have been on the business end of EA's ban hammer. This is not the first time this has happened to users who have been banned from an official forum, either; one user claims he was banned last year and couldn't (temporarily at least) play Dragon Age. Further, they point out that EA's Terms of Service specifically mentions the ability of the company to ban users from playing single player games:

"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 associated with your Account or immediately terminate any and all Accounts that you have established. You acknowledge that EA is not required to provide you notice before suspending or terminating your Account or selectively removing, revoking or garnishing Entitlements associated with 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, 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."

The TOS and its employees’ actions in some user bans contradict the company's contention that this is some sort of wacky error. The question is what will it do about it to make things right with players? It also proves that no one ever reads Terms of Service or Code of Conduct documents in games.

Read Rock, Paper, Shogun's excellent analysis of the situation here. My advice to gamers who want to be smart asses in forums? You probably should behave yourselves long enough to finish whatever EA game you are currently playing..

Source: RPS


Comments

Re: EA v. EA on User Bans, TOS

Yet another reason I won't be buying anything EA.

Hunting the shadows of the troubled dreams.

Hunting the shadows of the troubled dreams.

Re: EA v. EA on User Bans, TOS

The inclusion of the TOS as evidence that they are doing this intentionally is weak and entirely circumstancial. At no point does it state specifically that EA will or has an intention of preventing single player game play if you get banned and any attempt to relate the TOS to this behaviour is pure fabrication.

Clearly this is an error, and they will have it fixed soon. If you cannot fathom how such an error would occur, take up development, and try building a complex online account and gameplay system without any bugs, we'll see how well you do. (Hint: The first several tries will probably end in fail).

Re: EA v. EA on User Bans, TOS

"If you cannot fathom how such an error would occur, take up development, and try building a complex online account and gameplay system without any bugs, we'll see how well you do."

It's incredibly frigging easy not to lock people out of your game because of a forum ban.  I've never locked anyone out of a game because of a forum ban.  I've made a couple of games, and I've banned a couple of people from forums, and never the twain have met.

It takes no effort whatsoever to leave games disconnected from forum accounts.  There are literally tens of thousands of video games that will work even if you've been banned from the publisher's forums.  What takes effort is building an authentication scheme that won't allow customers to play their games without a working login to a social site.

It's a truly terrible idea, from the ground up.  This is not a bug in the implementation of a good system, it's the logical result of an incredibly stupid system.  People said this was going to happen when EA first announced it, and lo and behold, they were right.

Meanwhile -- and this absolutely must be repeated -- PIRATES CAN PLAY THE GAME JUST FINE.

Re: EA v. EA on User Bans, TOS

My concern isn't really whether it's intentional or not to be honest, the fact that it is happening in the first place is the problem that needs to be fixed. It's giving out wholly the wrong message for one, for two the fact that a Bioware Moderator was silly enough to claim that it was deliberate and itentional has served only to muddy the waters.

There's been a breakdown of communication between EA and its customers, EA and its staff and EA and its subsidiaries.

Once this has been cleared up, fine, I'll happily buy EA games that interest me, but until that point I'm extremely worried as to what the actual message being presented is, and no-one seems to know the answer. I don't even play multiplayer or post on EA forums, so some may argue that I shouldn't even care, but it's more what this behaviour implies than anything else, that the left hand doesn't know what the right hand is doing.

Re: EA v. EA on User Bans, TOS

You know, I was really starting to enjoy EA's absence from the "huge asshole publisher" list. So much for that

Re: EA v. EA on User Bans, TOS

well, one more reason to pirate :)

---------
There are only 10 types of people in this world, people who know binary and people who don't.

---------
There are only 10 types of people in this world, people who know binary and people who don't.

Re: EA v. EA on User Bans, TOS

Well, I won't be buying any EA games until this mess is sorted out properly and definitively.

As someone put it on another forum, if I bought an album, and then made a comment on the record companies' forum that they decided they didn't like the sound of, would that give them the right to arrange matters so I couldn't listen to that album again until they had deemed that I should be 'allowed' to?

A very worrying trend, one minute we are being told that we are only buying the right to play the single player game when we purchase a disc, now it appears we aren't even being sold that. So what, exactly, am I paying my money for?

Re: EA v. EA on User Bans, TOS

You know.  There is a solution to this.  A solution that will make sure this kind of thing never happens to you:

Don't be a douche.

It's a lesson that it seems not everybody learns but would help them a lot in life.

 

------- Morality has always been in decline. As you get older, you notice it. When you were younger, you enjoyed it.

------- Morality has always been in decline. As you get older, you notice it. When you were younger, you enjoyed it.

Re: EA v. EA on User Bans, TOS

vellocet, are you suggesting that if I criticize EA, they should be able to lock me out of playing a game I purchased?

I don't care HOW big a douche the guy is; a financial transaction occurred.  You don't get to cripple a guy's software AND keep the money he gave you just because he said something mean.

If I say Orson Scott Card is a prick, does he get to burn my copy of Ender's Game?

Re: EA v. EA on User Bans, TOS

I nthis case to Ea "don't bea douche" meant "Do not dare ctiticize us"

Re: EA v. EA on User Bans, TOS

Whilst I agree that being a douche is never productive, I think you are missing the problem.

Who defines what 'being a douche' is? EA? Frankly, I wouldn't really want to leave the decision in their hands with regards to the ability to play a game that I have already given them money for.

If I 'act like a douche' on Multiplayer or a Forum, I can understand a temp ban, or, for repeated or extreme infractions, longer termed or even permanent bans from that environment, but to hold customers hostage over the right to play a game single player, that they already own, that EA have happily taken the money for is, quite frankly, very worrying indeed and suggests an extremely dangerous trend.

Edit: Especially since the Industry made such a big deal that the money was a 'license to play the game' when it suited them.

Re: EA v. EA on User Bans, TOS

Rather scary that EA can make sure you cannot play a single player game... Multi-player if you misbehave on the forums? Sure! I can understand that. I am very reluctant to support EA now (more so now).

Just sucks they own Bioware now. I used to buy Bioware because of hometown pride as well as for the good games :((

 

==============

James Fletcher, member of ECA Canada

 
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