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.)