EA Clarifies Forum Banning Policy - UPDATED

EA Clarifies Forum Banning Policy - UPDATED

image

Electronic Arts has clarified its policy regarding forum bans and how they affect access to games, and it turns out that things aren't as bad as we thought.

It came out yesterday that a forum post by C&C Community Manager "EA Apoc" claimed EA's new policy regarding banned forum users would extend to their access to games as well. "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."

Even in the light of EA's hard-ass stance on DRM this sounded a bit harsh, so we contacted the company for clarification. In response, Mariam Sughayer, EA's senior manager of corporate communications, dropped us a line to say that for one reason or another, the facts as stated by EA Apoc just ain't so.

"Players who have been banned from EA Forums are not automatically banned from online access to their other EA games. Posting in EA Forums is enabled by an EA Nucleus account - but access to the forums and access to the games are separate," Sughayer wrote. "Players can be banned if they breach the Terms of Service or Code of Conduct in a forum, game or service. Each forum, game and service is managed independently by customer support representatives responsible for that specific forum, game or service."

Straight from the horse's mouth, as they say, and pretty straightforward: EA can restrict your access to your games, but it'll take more than just being a jerk in the forums to make it happen. But it leaves open the question of how the community manager for such a high-profile new release could be so far off the mark about an across-the-board company policy. A simple misunderstanding, or will EA be looking for a new CM soon?

UPDATE: EA Apoc, the C&C Community Manager who launched a thousand angry blog posts, has finally issued a statement in response to the uproar.

"If you didn't notice, your C&C Community Manager, me, had a bit of a run-in with the video game blogging media today in reference to a direct quote I made on our forums here a few days ago in regards to how we handle bans and suspensions on the forums and in-game," he wrote in a message posted on the Red Alert 3 forum.

"The previous statement I made recently (that's being quoted on the blogs) was inaccurate and a mistake on my part," he said. "I had a misunderstanding with regards to our new upcoming forums and website and never meant to infer that if we ban or suspend you on the forums, you would be banned in-game as well. This is not correct, my mistake, my bad."

"I apologize for the misunderstanding," he added, "but I hope everyone is able to see the greater good intent in that we are simply trying to keep the forums and in-game as friendly and fun environments as possible, just know that those two environments are treated seperately by myself, the mods, and especially our Customer Support team. =)"

Fair enough. Sometimes a mistake is just a mistake. EA Apoc's full statement can be read here.

(Thanks to TOGSolid for the heads-up.)

Permalink

Malygris:
But it leaves open the question of how the community manager for such a high-profile new release could be so far off the mark about an across-the-board company policy. A simple misunderstanding, or will EA be looking for a new CM soon?

Exactly what I was thinking. He was way off the mark with his explanation. I can't believe that someone of that position could mess something like that up that badly. Besides, what company is stupid enough to combine their games and forums to have the same access? Wouldn't that just make it easier for the user to get hacked?

I'm guessing the plan the CM put forward was the original plan, EA changed it after he had already put it out there (which probably wasn't planned) and is now putting all the blame on the CM to reduce flak to EA in general.

CM is a thankless job, do it right; people complain, do it wrong; you get disciplined or sacked.

So they aren't doing it, but they can. I feel soooooo much better. Guess I'll get back to the EA boycott line.

Enforced conduct is frustrating but as I've pulled off over 1000 posts here at the escapist w/o getting banned, put on probation... I'm confident it wouldn't effect me.

I'm glad it was just a mistake after all...it did seem very a very extreme measure.

Nevertheless, the fact that EA can ban access to your single player games, even if not a simple process, is extremely unnerving, leaving us apprehensive and feeling insecure.

Who knows what will eventually originate...

Pretty big misunderstanding if you ask me.

Definitely a big oops.

Still, a hardline stance on official forums is harder to enforce than on unofficial forums, because of the whole paying customers bit. I'll be interested to see how they'll be able to handle the forum community.

Only thing I thought when I first heard the original story was "Wait..EA has forums?"

All that would happen if the original post was true is everyone would just stop going to the boards. The chances of being taken out by a moderator who felt like ban bombing the boards just for laughs is just too damn great.

Khell_Sennet:
So they aren't doing it, but they can. I feel soooooo much better. Guess I'll get back to the EA boycott line.

Wait for me!

smallharmlesskitten:

Khell_Sennet:
So they aren't doing it, but they can. I feel soooooo much better. Guess I'll get back to the EA boycott line.

Wait for me!

I'm coming too!

Too little too late.

They have lost my business and I am considering pulling off all EA titles off of my shelves.

EA is not to be trusted.

Wait a minute, their community manager MISUNDERSTOOD something so completely that they said something that was COMPLETELY untrue!? How does that make sense!? Also, I find it unfortunate that a lot of my favorite games are being bought up by EA, and thus being ruined. Maybe they should change their motto from "It's in the game" to "Who's your daddy?" or "SAY MY NAME!"

Khell_Sennet:
So they aren't doing it, but they can.

When I exchange my money for something like a video game, I expect to own the product. Yes, I bought a license to use the product, but just because the developer/publisher still has rights over the software, doesn't mean I should be at the mercy of the developer/publisher. Whatever happened to consumer rights?

Wait up Khell, I think I'll join that line...

Well if we're all gonna be on a picket line, might as well make it a CONGA-picketline.

EA EA Sucks, HEY! EA EA Sucks HEY!
EA EA Sucks, HEY! EA EA Sucks HEY!

Wait a minute, their community manager MISUNDERSTOOD something so completely that they said something that was COMPLETELY untrue!?

Probably because they're lying to you. My guess? He didn't misunderstand a thing. They were quite sincere with their original intentions. The humongous community backlash must have caused a higher up to reconsider it and now they're backtracking with this excuse of "misunderstanding" it.

Conga Conga Con-GA!..

This is fun..

Actually... should we start an open letter to EA. Get the mods to remove comments that are total ass-hattery but actually try and do something

smallharmlesskitten:
Conga Conga Con-GA!..

This is fun..

Actually... should we start an open letter to EA. Get the mods to remove comments that are total ass-hattery but actually try and do something

That'll be the day

Ah, an official statement ended with a smiley face. Surely this person is an asset to the company!

Here's a conspiracy theory.
EA always planned to implement this policy. For all their ass-hatery they aren't complete imbeciles. So they would never announce their intentions. They would just start killing master accounts. The news got around and the above Community Manager realized what this would mean for both his job and gaming in general. So he decided to leak it in the most direct way possible without, assumedly, getting fired.
The subsequent back-peddling was a small price compared to dealing with people who would have been locked out of their accounts.
"Of course that's just my opinion. I could be wrong."

Everyone together now

"EA SUCKS! GO VALVE!"

Thank you.

I've been boycotting EA since I heard about the DRM on Mass Effect for PC. I harass and harangue all my friends too. It seems to have little effect though, they still go out and buy the games. So at the end of the day will the average game consumer give a damn?

I think not - and this is what depresses me the most - us game enthusiasts follow this stuff and pay attention and know our rights are slowly being eroded, but the rest of the public don't know and if they did probably wouldn't give a damn!

Why the hell would anyone join those forums anyway? Truly, it is a den of evil.

stompy:

When I exchange my money for something like a video game, I expect to own the product. Yes, I bought a license to use the product, but just because the developer/publisher still has rights over the software, doesn't mean I should be at the mercy of the developer/publisher. Whatever happened to consumer rights?

personally this is what i think happened

EA Exec - hey i got a great idea
EA Exec2 - oh really what is it?
EA Exec - well when we ban ppl from the forum let's ban them from the game they payed money for too
EA Exec2 - by george that's a great idea, then they have to go buy a new game and we make more money
EA Exec3 - hey guys you know what that means?
ALL EA Execs - MONEY FIGHT!!!!!
EA Exec - ok it's done
EA Exec4 - hey shouldn't we clear this with legal first?
EA Legal - ummm sorry you can't do that, we'll be sued and possibly lose millions and get a bigger black eye
ALL EA Execs - awww crap there goes that idea

the names have been changed to protect the innocent but there's a good chance it happened that way or at least how i imagine it

tho the picture of JK Simmons made me laugh, i still see him as Schillinger on OZ

Simmons? I'd have sworn that was George Bush with his head shaved and his face stretched out like one of Barbra Streisand's weekly Tug'n'Tucks.

cleverlymadeup:

stompy:

When I exchange my money for something like a video game, I expect to own the product. Yes, I bought a license to use the product, but just because the developer/publisher still has rights over the software, doesn't mean I should be at the mercy of the developer/publisher. Whatever happened to consumer rights?

personally this is what i think happened

EA Exec - hey i got a great idea
EA Exec2 - oh really what is it?
EA Exec - well when we ban ppl from the forum let's ban them from the game they payed money for too
EA Exec2 - by george that's a great idea, then they have to go buy a new game and we make more money
EA Exec3 - hey guys you know what that means?
ALL EA Execs - MONEY FIGHT!!!!!
EA Exec - ok it's done
EA Exec4 - hey shouldn't we clear this with legal first?
EA Legal - ummm sorry you can't do that, we'll be sued and possibly lose millions and get a bigger black eye
ALL EA Execs - awww crap there goes that idea

the names have been changed to protect the innocent but there's a good chance it happened that way or at least how i imagine it

tho the picture of JK Simmons made me laugh, i still see him as Schillinger on OZ

I see him as the head of Tobacco Studies from Thank You For Smoking. Which is SOOO fitting for an EA story...

cleverlymadeup:
Post

No has challenged the EULAs yet, right? So, no one actually knows if this is legal or not...

stompy:

cleverlymadeup:
Post

No has challenged the EULAs yet, right? So, no one actually knows if this is legal or not...

exactly but most lawyers will tell you if what you're trying will stand up in court or not

cleverlymadeup:
exactly but most lawyers will tell you if what you're trying will stand up in court or not

However, most law is set up on precedent... which this case will not have to fall back on. The first case to challenge the EULA will be a landmark case (that's the right term, right?) for gamers, developers and publishers.

TsunamiWombat:

cleverlymadeup:

stompy:

When I exchange my money for something like a video game, I expect to own the product. Yes, I bought a license to use the product, but just because the developer/publisher still has rights over the software, doesn't mean I should be at the mercy of the developer/publisher. Whatever happened to consumer rights?

personally this is what i think happened

EA Exec - hey i got a great idea
EA Exec2 - oh really what is it?
EA Exec - well when we ban ppl from the forum let's ban them from the game they payed money for too
EA Exec2 - by george that's a great idea, then they have to go buy a new game and we make more money
EA Exec3 - hey guys you know what that means?
ALL EA Execs - MONEY FIGHT!!!!!
EA Exec - ok it's done
EA Exec4 - hey shouldn't we clear this with legal first?
EA Legal - ummm sorry you can't do that, we'll be sued and possibly lose millions and get a bigger black eye
ALL EA Execs - awww crap there goes that idea

the names have been changed to protect the innocent but there's a good chance it happened that way or at least how i imagine it

tho the picture of JK Simmons made me laugh, i still see him as Schillinger on OZ

I see him as the head of Tobacco Studies from Thank You For Smoking. Which is SOOO fitting for an EA story...

That film rocks. Just sayin'. I'm gonna go watch it right now actually.

"...and especially our Customer Support team. =)"

Is it just me or should someone with such an important job as community manager never use emoticons in offical statements?

Can anyone say Oligopoly. The scary part (coming from a programmer) is how easy for them to ban a DRM game, it already has coding in it that every time it's run, it sends a ping to the publisher/developer/etc... and they can log it to a database and go from there. Nested SSH/databases are not hard to build, and I would be very surprised if EA hasn't got something like this in the works.

My bet (on the conspiracy theory point) is that EA and Apple are going to join together in a GIANT DRM/m4aP fusterCluck and take over the world.

 

Reply to Thread

Your account does not have posting rights. If you feel this is in error, please contact an administrator. (ID# 40657)