Someone on the Bioware message board had their account suspended for 72 hours for posting criticism of EA and the game. Apparently the ban isn't just from posting, as the person can no longer activate the game they purchased. A Bioware employee posted a response saying that it's intentional, and that it's due to the person violating the TOS for the website. Just giving everyone a head's up. Here's a link to the (locked) thread:
I wonder if the TOS clearly states that getting banned from the forums will also prevent Customers from playing the game that they paid for ? Or is that stated in the game EULA ? Or does it take a combination of the TOS and EULA to deduce ?
In every which way, it is clearly not about Customer service; it is all about Customer restriction.
"I wonder if the TOS clearly states that getting banned from the forums will also prevent Customers from playing the game that they paid for?"
According to the mod who replied to that thread posted by Michael Dobbs, it does.
This perfectly underscores the issue I raised in my reply to SqueakMachine's review. Your $60 does not make you an owner of this game. It makes you a renter. Today, your rental of this game is cut off because someone doesn't like your comment on a message board. What will it be tomorrow? How about a keylogger that catches you posting an unfavorable review on Amazon?
There's no TOS for owned items. Once a purchased item crosses my door step, I am free to do with it as I please (limited by law). Whether it's books, movies, CDs, paintings or any other art/entertainment form, nobody has any say in how I use them once I buy them. This is not to criticize the existence of TOS or its provisions, but to point out that an item that includes TOS that can be remotely enforced is not sold; it's merely rented. I have no problems with renting such a product (and abiding by the TOS as a result), but the price must be right. For this particular game, given my interest and reviews I've read, I'd rent it for about $5, not for nearly $60.
I love the snide reply from the Bioware employee at the end of this thread. Companies like EA need to stop treating their customers like they are already guilty of piracy. The customer is the one who is gambling $60+ on a new game, not knowing whether it is even good or if it will run on their PC without a ton of bugs (EA games have had a poor track record with these two issues lately). DRM and pointless DLC are plaguing the gaming industry. These two facts, along with lackluster releases like DA2, are making me lose interest in gaming in general.
You as a regular consumer have, more than likely, never "bought" software. Even back in the old Nintendo and Sega days with cartidges and what-not. You've always been purchasing a liscense to use the software. If you actually owned the game you bought you could legally make copies and sell it, etc. What you've paid for is the home use version of the software and a liscense to use it. You have never owned a game, unless you made it yourself. So the idea of you "renting games from companies" isn't a new thing. It's the same way with movies, books, CDs, etc.
Apparently they say they have the right to take away your ability to play the game you bought your $60 liscense for if you snark off to them, which IS wrong. Legal? Probably not, but morally it's just not even close to right.
Basically, selling a liscense as opposed to the game, that's fine. They own it, you don't. Sorry.
Taking away your right to use the liscense for petty BS, wrong. Not a gray area. That's simply evil. Especially since it takes away your ability to play any EA game tied to that account. That's potentially hundreds of dollars they could just take from you.
Now, me? I simply won't go on EA websites logged into my game account and bad mouth them. There's PLENTY of places on the internet to voice your opinion without getting your EA account banned. Make a new EA account with a fake email address if you want. Or hell, make your OWN website. Not saying that makes them stealing your money right, just saying it's not exactly a super dangerous pitfall for anyone with any common sense.
It seems like a lot of you guys just want to be mad at EA, and I can't really blame you. But really, this doesn't effect your life as much as you'd think by the way the internet is going crazy. Just stop buying EA games. Then, when EA starts REALLY screwing over their customers you can feel all smug and superior because it's the main-stream sheeple getting screwed and not us intelligent self-thinking gamers. Every wins!
@Ian N. Cobb Online activation means letting others control your games and it paves the way for a lot of abuse. Submitting to it is like asking for more and, as we already see, some publishers are happy to oblige. They will deliver as much punishment as gamers are willing to take, I have no doubt about that. EA banned this guy from playing the game he payed for, they will ban all players from playing a game when they decide it reached end of life.
It's immoral and disgusting. I didn't take a second look at DA2 once the online DRM was announced, and I'll pass on ME3 if it has more than a disc check as DRM. Like Jozef Purdes stated above, I don't have anything against game rental services like EA's or Steam, as long as the price is right (about $10). However, I find it insulting to be asked to pay full retail price for something that a distributor can turn on or off at their leisure, or when a forum poster says something that they don't agree with.
As to the issue of ownership that Ian N. Cobb mentions above, it is true that most software is licensed to users and the actual content and ideas are owned by the creator. However, there are definitely different ways of owning your copy of the content, depending on how generous the creator/distributor decides to be. For example, I purchased Mass Effect 2 last year, which only requires a disc check. I actually own this copy of the game in ways that I could never own a Steam game or DA2. ME2 is not dependent upon anyone's online server and does not require me to periodically seek anyone's permission to play. No one is going to come to my house (or through my router) and supervise what I do with the game. If that's not true ownership, then I don't know what is. The online authentication that DA2 requires--as well as Steam and others--seeks to destroy that kind of ownership of a game license. And I simply will not patronize companies that do this.
That sucks for that dude, maybe if he was smart he woulda came here and flamed with no threat of ban. I cant see that link from work, but I'm assuming there's something that had to do with their ToS that caused the ban, not his opinion of the game.
@Red I agree completely. That's why I said just don't buy it. Many, MANY people still will, and they'll get screwed over by overly punishing online activation non-sense, but you won't. It comes down to wether or not you're willing to put up with it to enjoy their games. I don't really care, because it's never effected me beyond having to log out and back in to get DLC to authorize before I could load a game. If I get burned, I'll walk away.
Case in point, I didn't buy Ubisoft games for the longest time because of Splinter Cell: Pandora Tomorrow on PC. Their copy protection idea was to have the game just plain old not work if you had a DVD burner, which made it so I couldn't play the game at all. And since I couldn't get a refund, they basically stole my money there. That suituation was a bojillion times worse in my opinion. I probably feel that way because I lost money, though. And forever, not just for three days.
Long story short, this was an abuse. There is no question. The guy paid for his game, and they took it away from his for a few days. If that was me, I'd never buy an EA game again. If he keeps giving them money after this, that's his problem and it can stay the hell off my internets.
According to what I read on the threads, he got banned for calling EA the "devil". After the media picked up the story, he was quickly reinstated and everything turned out to be, well, 'just another mistake.'
Having learned their lesson well, instead of criticizing EA/Bioware on the official forums and risk getting banned, Gamers are now praising Bioware's DA2 director Mike Laidlaw instead. Frankly, it is much more entertaining than simply insulting EA. Here, let me share the laugh: