EA Brings Back its Harsh Beta EULA

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EA Brings Back its Harsh Beta EULA

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According to the Sim City beta's EULA, failing to report a bug could get you banned from all EA games.

There was a time, believe it or not, when being a beta tester was considered a job. An awful job, the kind of job that survivors discuss in traumatized whispers, but a job nonetheless. Now, thanks to the profound effects of hype and brand loyalty, developers have effectively tricked the great unhosed into doing that job for them. Even better, they've convinced us it's a privilege to do so. And what's a testing job without a terrifying amount of red tape?

The tape, in this case, is the Sim City beta's rather oddly worded EULA, which states that coming across a bug and failing to report it to EA is the same as abusing that bug, which could net you a ban from ALL EA games.

"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')."

Okay "undocumented features" made me laugh, but then things get a little sinister.

"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."

You might remember that the same clause turned up in the EULA for the Battlefield 3 beta, and there were no reports of bans for simply failing to report a bug, no matter how nightmarish the beta became. In fact, there's no real way for EA to track bug encounters. From the wording, my guess is it's meant to dissuade testers from trying to deliberately sabotage the final game, keep an advantageous glitch in the game or publicly disclose the bugs.

Still, this is a stark reminder of the kind of heavy-handed terms you're agreeing to when you click that "I accept" button.

Source: Ars Technica

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That's nothing, I hear that in the future version of the EULA, EA reserves to right to track you down and murder your family if you don't playtest at least 10 hours a day.

So.. you want me to do your work for you at zero pay and if I happen upon a bug that I forget to report you are going to take all the games I've legally purchased from you away? Wonder how long till they start banning people who volunteer to be testers but don't playtest enough to meet their expectations of how much free work you should be doing. Or better yet, making compulsory playtesting part of the EULA whenever you buy any EA product and failure to test, even to test games you have zero interest in, will result in banning. Just more reasons to stay far, far away from EA branded products.

You know when they launch buggy, broken games cause people don't want to test out of very justified fear they'll blame poor sales on piracy instead of them putting out unfinished product.

Well, that's a surefire way to keep testers away from EA products if ever there was one. They alienate gamers, hamstring their own products and now ensure that only the stupid will want to beta test their products, quite likely leading to buggier products in the future.

But can they actually lock people out of single player? Or just multi? With people getting locked out of their games for posting on their forums, it's not really surprising they'd do this. "Want to keep accessing what you've paid us for? Toe the line".

Just another brick in the wall, or in this case to pull the plug.

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Oh EA, you never ceases to amuse me.

Is is even legal to ban you from all your PAID games for that??? If I were testing SimCity (for free, remember), I'd just disinstall and find something better to do with my time. In fact every one of them should quit until the EULA is modified.....now try to beta test your product on your own, idiots.

While this is a bit extreme I can understand where this is coming from. The non-reporting and keeping secret of bugs and exploits during Betas EA and their developers not having the knowledge and info needed to fix several annoying exploits before the launch of several games, Battlefield 3 and Crysis 2 included.

Well... it is possible that they could look into accounts/IPs that haven't submitted any bug reports and then ban them, isn't it?

Of course, that would just be plain idiotic. There are people who just don't run into bugs, due to any number of reasons, so banning them for that reason, and from all games no less, would be a terribly bad idea on EA's part. It is EA though, and if there is one thing I have learned, its that EA isn't above getting into pissing contests with other bad publisher/devs about how horrible they are towards their respective player bases.

Paragon Fury:
While this is a bit extreme I can understand where this is coming from. The non-reporting and keeping secret of bugs and exploits during Betas EA and their developers not having the knowledge and info needed to fix several annoying exploits before the launch of several games, Battlefield 3 and Crysis 2 included.

That's assuming that there is no such thing as the developer not caring about bugs/exploits within the game? Or the probability of other players stumbling on said exploits/bugs?

Because that happens. The publishers get the big say on whether or not a game releases, and thus ultimately on the condition of the game at release. Knights of The Old Republic 2 was thrown out the door because of Publisher interest, while Obsidian wanted to continue working on the game. Others have actually made sweeping cuts to chunks of gameplay or maps, just because the publishers demanded it as a way of avoiding certain bugs that popped up during play testing.

KingsGambit:
Well, that's a surefire way to keep testers away from EA products if ever there was one. They alienate gamers, hamstring their own products and now ensure that only the stupid will want to beta test their products, quite likely leading to buggier products in the future.

But can they actually lock people out of single player? Or just multi? With people getting locked out of their games for posting on their forums, it's not really surprising they'd do this. "Want to keep accessing what you've paid us for? Toe the line".

It depends on the game. Kingdoms of Amalur (unless you bought it on Steam), Battlefield 3 and Mass Effect 3 can all be completely killed with an Origin ban. Most games they've made in the past few years can be semi-killed if the authentication server doesn't query back for your installed DLC, though I don't know if that actually locks you out of single player, or just locks your save games. And yes it will lock you out of your DLCs. Which in turn will effectively lock you out of your saves. "You have Zaeed because you bought new on the PC where you didn't have a choice otherwise? You're saves are ours now." And so on.

Also, any single player games cannot be reinstalled, because they'll die at the authentication step during install. Something we saw with the guy who got banned from DAO and DA2 because of a forum infraction.

Paragon Fury:
While this is a bit extreme I can understand where this is coming from. The non-reporting and keeping secret of bugs and exploits during Betas EA and their developers not having the knowledge and info needed to fix several annoying exploits before the launch of several games, Battlefield 3 and Crysis 2 included.

Yeah, this seems reasonable enough in context, if a little harsh. It's the risk you take when you pretty much agree to do what is actually an important part of the game development process without a proper legal contract because you technically aren't employed by EA. I'd say it's a deterrent, and they won't actually use this (although if they do start using it then that would be a different story altogether)

That is a sure "don't have any contact with EA" sign. Just too bad that fanboys are blind.

Ugh... and people still wonder why EA are the laughing stock of the gaming industry!

I've been reading most articles here in the Escapist for a pretty long while, but this article made me register. Is EA's PR team legitimately masochistic? Seriously, they had no provocation to or benefit from doing this, I feel like somewhere inside EA's head there is a man who really, really hates what he has done with his life and is currently trying to blow it all sky-high for shits and giggles. My opinions of EA(along with pretty much everyone else's I'd say) is so bad at this point that when I read that recent article on Marvel Heroes costing 200 bucks for all of the initial goods in the game I automatically assumed it had something to do with EA (it doesn't). EA is slowly committing suicide.

sid:
EA is slowly committing suicide.

I sure hope it eventually pays off. This kind of bullshit is the sole proof we need to establish that EA has no business being alive in this industry.

That's just what I'm saying though. A company so large and overseeing so many studios in the gaming industry SHOULD be a company in paradise, but they're deliberately sucking when they could make themselves into a wonderful company with very little effort. Hell, the gaming industry is the one place in the world where poking your ear out the window and listening to what the crowds want actually works, but they insist on alienating everyone and blatantly sucking money off of people without any apparent intention of getting a smile out of them.

Okay, so... the best case scenario here is that EVERY beta tester reports EVERY bug they encounter.

Imagine that, if every single beta tester reported on every single bug they encountered, each and every one of them. How many duplicate bug reports would that be? Imagine if you're the poor soul working EA's Q&A department and your inbox looks like a constant stream of misspelled, hard to decipher walls of text explaining in intricate detail each and every issue those beta testers encountered, including false negatives.

And you have to read and respond to every one.

Congratulations, EA, in your effort to save costs you have just incurred MORE costs in manhours AND (once again) decimated your PR. And you wonder why you have to sell 3 million copies of Dead Space 3 to just break even on the game.

Now... imagine a Bethesda game EULA having this clause...

EA's new slogan... "EA: Are you pirating us yet?"

Seriously, I don't see why people willingly pay them money when they do nothing but demonstrate they shouldn't exist as a gaming company.

oooooh and just when people were starting to forget how much EA sucks.
Aaah well, they held for a while at least.

Its just Sim City, who cares if you cheat. It probably has built in cheat codes too.

This's just weird, it's like the lawyer who wrote it knew he was about to be let go and decided to mess with everyone through the EULA while everyone else in the EULA process thought it would be fun to allow it through.

Grey Carter:

In fact, there's no real way for EA to track bug encounters.

You know those "would you like to send Microsoft a bug report?" popups that Windows shows you when something happens that shocks it, like a game crashing or vista doing a regular boot up after a driver update? Imagine if Origin had that but if you say cancel it sends a blank one anyway to EA which because it's sent through Origin and connected to that user account, they'd enough for what EULA says they'll do.

I'd say that's too bullshit even for them but negative PR never seems to be something they're overly concerned about.

Nurb:
EA's new slogan... "EA: Are you pirating us yet?"

Seriously, I don't see why people willingly pay them money when they do nothing but demonstrate they shouldn't exist as a gaming company.

EA are a troll company

So this is what evil looks like. EA, it's like you're not even trying to hide it anymore.

Grey Carter:
"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')."

Okay "undocumented features" made me laugh, but then things get a little sinister.

I somewhat imagine they have in mind things like SimCopter's "kissing men" easter egg. It wasn't a bug, but they sure hadn't known about it when they brought it to market.

There was a time, believe it or not, when being a beta tester was considered a job. An awful job, the kind of job that survivors discuss in traumatized whispers, but a job nonetheless. Now, thanks to the profound effects of hype and brand loyalty, developers have effectively tricked the great unhosed into doing that job for them. Even better, they've convinced us it's a privilege to do so. And what's a testing job without a terrifying amount of red tape?

Beta Tester: So what kind of pay to I receive for this job?

EA: Oh, the standard- two to five harsh beatings a day...

What they're TRYING to do is instill the point that not reporting bugs for purposes of abuse is bad and will get you banned. A harsh but understandable objective.

Their method of doing so is pure comedy gold, though.

GoldenShadow:
Its just Sim City, who cares if you cheat. It probably has built in cheat codes too.

I have to agree. I know the game is online and all, but really, the idea of being banned for 'exploiting' in Sim City is just so hilarious to my mind. Seriously, if hacking COD and LOL is the murder one of gaming, exploiting a Sim City bug is goddamn jaywalking.

Valok:
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Oh EA, you never ceases to amuse me.

haha I like that XD

say...anyone remember a bugs life? no one seems too

Locking someone out of ALL EA products does seem extreme, but other than that it sounds fair.

Why should they let you play their game for free before it's released if you aren't going to help them make it better? That's what beta testing is for, testing bugs and reporting them so they can be fixed.

Evil Smurf:

Nurb:
EA's new slogan... "EA: Are you pirating us yet?"

Seriously, I don't see why people willingly pay them money when they do nothing but demonstrate they shouldn't exist as a gaming company.

EA are a troll company

And as science has proven, trolls ruin everything :P

Vault101:

Valok:
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Oh EA, you never ceases to amuse me.

haha I like that XD

say...anyone remember a bugs life? no one seems to

You know I didn't actually read what that metal until you quoted it *d'oh*
I remember Bugs Life, but what about El Dorado? Worgen doesn't post that much anymore :(

Tar Palantir:
Is is even legal to ban you from all your PAID games for that??? If I were testing SimCity (for free, remember), I'd just disinstall and find something better to do with my time. In fact every one of them should quit until the EULA is modified.....now try to beta test your product on your own, idiots.

No it isn't in most countries, which is why as noted the phrase has been in the BF3 beta. but was never used. The law wouldn't accept theft as legal.

GoldenShadow:
Its just Sim City, who cares if you cheat. It probably has built in cheat codes too.

EA in its infinite wisdom decided to go the route of extensive multiplayer intergration with it hence why they are probably going nuts with the EULA

sid:
Is EA's PR team legitimately masochistic?

That would have come out of legal, not PR. I'm sure PR is slowly deciding how best to cut themselves as we speak.

im always amazed how they keep them selfs alive. why dont they change their slogan to
"€A: do you hate us already?"

Metalrocks:
im always amazed how they keep them selfs alive. why dont they change their slogan to
"€A: do you hate us already?"

I thought that's what "EA GAMES; Challenge everything" mend!

OT: It's getting really really hard to take anything EA does seriously at this point.
I mean, they must know how people feel about them, right?

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