EA: Get Banned From Forums, Lose Your Games

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EA: Get Banned From Forums, Lose Your Games

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Electronic Arts apparently has a new policy wherein acting badly in their support forums will get you banned not just from the forums but from all your EA games as well.

I get a little tired of bashing EA, to be quite honest about it, but it's hard not to do when the company appears to have rewritten its mission statement to include alienating and angering everyone and everything it sees. The latest kerfuffle revolves around a post in EA's support forum for Command & Conquer: Red Alert 3, in which C&C Community Manager "EA Apoc" states that changes in EA's forum policy mean users who get banned from the forums will also be unable to access their single player games.

"Your forum account will be directly tied to your Master EA Account, so if we ban you on the forums, you would be banned from the game as well since the login process is the same," he wrote. "And you'd actually be banned from your other EA games as well since it's all tied to your account. So if you have Spore and Red Alert 3 and you get yourself banned on our forums or in-game, well, your Spore account would be banned to. It's all one in the same, so I strongly recommend people play nice and act mature."

"Those banned will stay banned, but like most other internet services, its not that hard to create a new fake e-mail account," he added. "However, its a lot harder to get a new serial key."

As Kotaku points out, neither the Forums Help page nor EA's Terms of Usage say anything about what constitutes a ban-worth offense, although the Forums front page says, "We ask all members of the community to respect each other and each other's opinion. These message boards should be considered 'E' for Everyone and the moderators will close any posts that break the EA Terms of Service. Further violation of the EA Terms of Service will result in a banning of the offending account."

Some forum users are questioning the legality of such a policy, while others seem resigned to the fate to which EULA fine print has them consigned. There's also a possibility that this isn't an EA policy at all, but instead just a forum moderator who's wandered off the ranch a bit. We've contacted EA regarding this policy and are waiting, not particularly hopefully, for a response.

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Knowing full well what moderating an online forum is like I have trouble feeling quite as enraged as I should be at EA. There are some blamtards who really do deserve that drastic measure, if only because it limits their blamtardery in the games that would otherwise affect other paying customers.

Locking them out of single player is too much, though. I suspect that the signal has been somewhat degraded, if it's at all legitimate.

-- Steve

I'm unsure of what to feel about this : / While I'd be the first to promote good behaviour on the internet, I don't want to leave it up to a company to determine where the line is drawn, especially after I've given them my money.

Friends can call each other any number of things humorously, but to an outside viewer it could appear quite hostile, especially when taken out of context (irony is hard on the internet).

It's a bit ironic too considering how incredibly infantile for example Red Alert 3 is. What kind of customer will infantile humor attract? Infantile people! Mixed messages, I say.

I can sort of see what they are aiming for though. SomethingAwful, one of the biggest communities on the internet, has very strict moderation, but it works. If I had a forum I would probably apply similar restrictions. But EA is a company that sells products to people who think saying "LOLOL!" is really funny and meaningful, and if they ban them they've banned most of their customers : )

I wouldn't worry too much about this. For one it would be a serious invitation to have some very losable lawsuits filed against you. Also, this is not the first time a questionable EA forum mod shoots off his/her mouth without all the facts.

Well, I guess EA decided SecuROM wasn't enough, and are truly striving to bankrupt themselves. Yes, the easy solution is stay off the forums, but that's not the issue here. As the paying customer, your right to play the games purchased cannot be restricted by unrelated actions elsewhere on the internet. In-game behavior within an online game, yes, but even then they cannot restrict your right to offline play.

This is why I hate Valve's STEAM system, and EA, and any other company who has an online connectivity requirement to single-player games. On a whim, they can disable your purchase, and what can you honestly do about it? They're located in a different state, often a different country from most users. They have your money, and enough money to make sure you can't sue (or at least, can't win), and the EULA gives them the right to do this shit. When is the government going to step in and regulate how much an EULA covers, and start protecting consumer rights? And how much longer before EA's investors begin firing their CEO and management staff?

Note to self: don't buy EA games.

Seems a bit cruel, But if EA's forums are rampant with misbehaving idiots (I can't tell since I've never been to the forums.), then it seems like a.... reasonable tactic to get the forum behavior under control.

Just one Question, though: Does this include restriction from 360/PS3 games as well as PC, or just PC games?

When will EA stop trying to destory themselves and make a good game?

COR 2000:
Seems a bit cruel, But if EA's forums are rampant with misbehaving idiots (I can't tell since I've never been to the forums.), then it seems like a.... reasonable tactic to get the forum behavior under control.

Just one Question, though: Does this include restriction from 360/PS3 games as well as PC, or just PC games?

Just PC. They have absolutely no hold over your Live/Home account because EA games only probably make up a certain percentage of what you play.

This is why I hate Valve's STEAM system, and EA, and any other company who has an online connectivity requirement to single-player games. On a whim, they can disable your purchase, and what can you honestly do about it? They're located in a different state, often a different country from most users. They have your money, and enough money to make sure you can't sue (or at least, can't win), and the EULA gives them the right to do this shit.

You are misinformed. Especially about Steam, which is moderated fairly and only sure-fine hackers get banned. Besides, people agree to signing up to these terms when installing these games, so they can whine all they want but they're still in a contract with the publisher.

All I can say to this is Fifteen men on a dead man's chest, Yo Ho Ho and a bottle of rum! Arrr, matey!

EDIT: As a side note, who's running EA? The guys from The Producers or the Indians owner from Major League?

Just one Question, though: Does this include restriction from 360/PS3 games as well as PC, or just PC games?

Do you register your console games with an EA-centred account? I wasn't aware that you do, personally. I think consoles are safe.

I'm glad to see EA is continuing its trend of pointing people in the direction of piracy and saying "If you want to play our games hassle free, that's where you want to be."

WE PAY FOR THE GAMES, SO THEY HAVE NO RIGHT TO BAN US

Edit:

Khell_Sennet:
Well, I guess EA decided SecuROM wasn't enough, and are truly striving to bankrupt themselves. Yes, the easy solution is stay off the forums, but that's not the issue here. As the paying customer, your right to play the games purchased cannot be restricted by unrelated actions elsewhere on the internet. In-game behavior within an online game, yes, but even then they cannot restrict your right to offline play.

This is why I hate Valve's STEAM system, and EA, and any other company who has an online connectivity requirement to single-player games. On a whim, they can disable your purchase, and what can you honestly do about it? They're located in a different state, often a different country from most users. They have your money, and enough money to make sure you can't sue (or at least, can't win), and the EULA gives them the right to do this shit. When is the government going to step in and regulate how much an EULA covers, and start protecting consumer rights? And how much longer before EA's investors begin firing their CEO and management staff?

You do originally need to get steam online but you never have to go online to play your games, you can log in offline.

Haven't bought an EA game since BF2142. Looks less and less likely I ever will again at this rate.

Meh, this is exactly the reason I have yet to register with EA's service, I dont play sports games, and I could care less about playing co-op on Mercs 2...

Why stick your nose in those forums if you're under such a risk anyway. For example, Dattebayo gives bans to people who piss them off in the slightest, so why even get near that big pit with tigers in it. Tho I guess the only people that actually do go complain in the forums of the company itself are total idiots, so what I said before doesn't count for normal people. To me it seems like EA is setting up a huge neon glowing mouse trap with an even bigger sign of danger next to it. Most mice will avoid it, while the other lot will react "hey look CHEESE!".

Although I can understand the rationale someone had in devising this, it just seems to be symptomatic of the whole DRM and treating gamers with hostility approach which companies currently have adopted.

Additinally, how effective is this going to really be? Sure there will be a lot of people on the EA forums whom aren't as polite as is the average on a forum such as this, but really it just seems that the people who just sign on to be trolls from their first post onwards will be banned. I don't think this will be effective in dealing with bad behaviour of people who frequent the forums as by their very nature they probably wouldn't be stupid enough to say something so offensive because otherwise they would be shunned from the boards already.

Effective or not, this is a really horrible move on EA's (or any company's) part and if it weren't real you'd think it were something someone made up in a joking post which was too extreme or stupid to ever be real.

Tim Curry is just awesome though! That smile and glint in his Soviet eye is just screaming 'I've got fishnets and heels on under this desk' - the soviets should be able to use the cloning vats to make an army of Rockys!

I have always been of the opinion that people who can't be bothered to type full sentences or use a spell checker should be banned from all aspects of everything, be it gaming, the internet, and any activity in the public domain, to say nothing of racists, homophobes and zealots. A faceless forum moderator at EA wielding an indiscriminate banhammer the size of Titans' Tower, however, is worrying even to me because it seems like they don't have to fully explain themselves on the subject, and whether you get flattened by said hammer could actually be down to a mod taking an active dislike to you whether you've commited an offence or not.

The list of banworthy offences should be made extremely clear, and an objective appeal process put in place, perhaps with a probationary period.

Although most online forums are full of arrogant dickheads (at best) banning them from single player games is like killing a fly with a grenade.

This is completely insane.

Though it makes perfect sense to uphold rigid rules in order to enforce a good conduct in the forums, I think two very distinct elements are being inadequately mixed.

Were it not enough for EA to start using the very inconvenient and user-unfriendly DRM methods, now they're alleging they are in the position to BAN YOUR RENTALS.

It doesn't make sense to stop people from playing their paid-for single player games, which are a totally different issue. I might have thought twice about banning multiplayer accounts, but single player games is exaggeratedly offensive, especially given the fact there is no communication between users/gamers.

If only they followed CD Projekt's example.

Definitely an overreaction. They're shooting themselves in the foot here. Temporary bans from online play are acceptable, but being unable to play a single-player game you paid for is pushing it too far. They're going to piss off a lot of people if they do this.

donbueck:
I wouldn't worry too much about this. For one it would be a serious invitation to have some very losable lawsuits filed against you. Also, this is not the first time a questionable EA forum mod shoots off his/her mouth without all the facts.

As someone who saw many, many lawsuits in the post dot-com era as companies imploded and the related actors fought over the scraps:

EA has over a billion dollars. What person is going to take them to small claims court over their $60 game and then put up tens of thousands of dollars - maybe even hundreds of thousands - to try and stand up against the EA legal armada? That kind of money is peanuts to them.

And there is always the chance that your lawyers will bungle it, or their lawyers will outsmart you, or the jurors will be drooling morons who've never played a videogame in their life, and you'll end up will legal precedent that supports EA.

Being in the right is not enough to guarantee victory. You also need lots and lots of free time and huge piles of cash.

That is why this has gone on as long as it has, and gotten this bad, to where EA can take away ALL your legally purchased games, at any time, without giving you a refund or giving you the chance to appeal.

Shamus Young:

donbueck:
I wouldn't worry too much about this. For one it would be a serious invitation to have some very losable lawsuits filed against you. Also, this is not the first time a questionable EA forum mod shoots off his/her mouth without all the facts.

As someone who saw many, many lawsuits in the post dot-com era as companies imploded and the related actors fought over the scraps:

EA has over a billion dollars. What person is going to take them to small claims court over their $60 game and then put up tens of thousands of dollars - maybe even hundreds of thousands - to try and stand up against the EA legal armada? That kind of money is peanuts to them.

And there is always the chance that your lawyers will bungle it, or their lawyers will outsmart you, or the jurors will be drooling morons who've never played a videogame in their life, and you'll end up will legal precedent that supports EA.

Being in the right is not enough to guarantee victory. You also need lots and lots of free time and huge piles of cash.

That is why this has gone on as long as it has, and gotten this bad, to where EA can take away ALL your legally purchased games, at any time, without giving you a refund or giving you the chance to appeal.

If enough people sue them, or if even ONE wins, then their legal costs start piling up faster than shit at a chronic diarrhea sufferer's convention. The $60 is indeed nothing to them; but the legal fees run at about 100 times that much, so they'd rather settle. If even one person wins a suit, then hundreds of thousands more will be encouraged to sue, and they go broke overnight unless they stem it somehow.

This happens a lot with people suing big companies; some lawyers will work for free unless you win or get a settlement (this happens all the time with car incidents). So unless it is clear that the suit will NEVER win, people will keep trying, and sooner or later the company will either have to change or go broke, and will settle a lot of cases out of court in the meantime.

I believe the problem stems entirely from the fact that you can get banned from EA forums now for even discussing DRM or SecuROM. So now if you complain about DRM, get ready to effectively lose your games.

matrix3509:
I believe the problem stems entirely from the fact that you can get banned from EA forums now for even discussing DRM or SecuROM. So now if you complain about DRM, get ready to effectively lose your games.

Oh, wow.

See, this is why everyone's hate of EA is totally justified. Now, I don't support bad behavior on forums in any way, but this is just too far for moderation. It is like EA WANTS every single gamer in the entire world to hate them so much that they stop buying their games. I can't think of a single game company so bent on their own destruction.

EA is just begging gamers to hate them. There is just no plausible explanation as to why they shoot themselves in the foot time and time again with stuff like this.

Melaisis:
You are misinformed. Especially about Steam, which is moderated fairly and only sure-fine hackers get banned. Besides, people agree to signing up to these terms when installing these games, so they can whine all they want but they're still in a contract with the publisher.

My point was that they CAN do such things with Steam, not that they do. Today only hackers get banned, tomorrow who knows. Maybe tomorrow is the same as today, but the ability for them to do what EA is doing will always be there. And what's the next step? If they can turn off your game access for forum behavior, it's not a stretch to think EA may disable a game after a year's worth of use, forcing you to buy it again and again.

As to the contract... Have you ever read a full EULA? Yes, everyone clicks the I Agree, but it's much like a forced confession. There are parts in the user agreement to protect developers from any responsibility whatsoever, they even usually state that if the game doesn't work, too fucking bad, no refunds. So what can we do, not click "I Agree"? We would not have any games left to play, because they're ALL covered with EULAs, and ALL those EULAs demand you agree to things beyond what is reasonable. That's why I said, the government needs to step in, because the user agreements to software exceed what is reasonable or legal to ask a customer.

I think people are overreacting. I highly doubt EA will ban people for mention DRM and such... or even exclaiming that you are the first to respond to a thread. I think you'll find the moderators will be even more lax than the ones here at The Escapist.

EA is merely bringing the idea of consequence to a normally consequence-free environment. Good for them. I don't agree with the single player games being locked out (that's lazy on their part), but I do respect them for attempting to tackle a problem that plagues the internet.

Then again, everybody knows that only losers hang out on the EA forums. ;-P

I think it's crazy that some people are empathising with EA and see this as a "reasonable" way to keep the forums under control! I think that if people behave badly on the forums, no matter how badly, the most it can warrent is a ban on the FORUMS, but to actually lock you permanently out of the games you've purchased is just wrong. You've paid for those. If you lock someone out of the games they've paid for, I think you'll get some pretty angry people who'll have nothing better to do than to try their best to wreck even more havok on the forums or wherever. Isn't threatening you to behave well on the forums, in order to not get the games you've paid for locked down, somewhere near blackmail? Locking you out of all your EA games and not just one is even worse!

I'm sure that nowhere in the EULA does it say that you will get locked out of your games if you break the forum rules. The internets would of been up in fury long ago if that were the case.

James Raynor:

matrix3509:
I believe the problem stems entirely from the fact that you can get banned from EA forums now for even discussing DRM or SecuROM. So now if you complain about DRM, get ready to effectively lose your games.

Oh, wow.

shit, really? can you link to that? that's insane. who the fuck runs EA???

James Raynor:

matrix3509:
I believe the problem stems entirely from the fact that you can get banned from EA forums now for even discussing DRM or SecuROM. So now if you complain about DRM, get ready to effectively lose your games.

Oh, wow.

Seriously, wow. I've always hated EA (because they make crap games,) but now I can hate them as a company, too. Maybe after they've lost a few million customers they'll rethink their fascist policies. I firmly believe in a person's right to own what they payed for, but apparently a lot of modern game companies don't agree.

Khell_Sennet:

Melaisis:
You are misinformed. Especially about Steam, which is moderated fairly and only sure-fine hackers get banned. Besides, people agree to signing up to these terms when installing these games, so they can whine all they want but they're still in a contract with the publisher.

My point was that they CAN do such things with Steam, not that they do. Today only hackers get banned, tomorrow who knows. Maybe tomorrow is the same as today, but the ability for them to do what EA is doing will always be there. And what's the next step? If they can turn off your game access for forum behavior, it's not a stretch to think EA may disable a game after a year's worth of use, forcing you to buy it again and again.

a case of absolute power corrupts absolutely

Damn it EA, why'd you have to go all crazy when Red Alert 3's almost out. either one buys it and feels guilty for adding fuel to EA's DRM policy fire or one doesn't and feels like they are missing out.

Silly ol' EA... when will they learn?

Well to answer my own question, I suppose it would be when everyone stops buying their games.

I also have to say, Tim Curry is awesome.

Good luck. All my EA games were made before 2006.

Hm...I'm getting Mirror's edge, but staying away from EA after that.

I guess I'll just have to uh, not post on their forums some more?

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