Thoughts on EA & Origin…

So I got up, one nice morning a few days back and got welcomed to this story in my RSS Feed.  Suffice it to say, the words “WTF” came out rather quickly.  Later on, my RSS app got this update to the story.  The tl;dr of these articles?  If your banned on EA’s forums, that means that you are banned from using any Origin-enabled game.  Yup, you get banned from using a game that you paid good, hard cash for, even for single-player modes.  Sometimes you got banned for posts that made absolutely no sense of getting banned over.  I mean, wow. >:( That really got me angry.  Especially, since this was a “bug” in their account system first reported back in March of 2011.

Its bad enough that we have to go to Origin just to play EA’s games.  Its bad enough that EA is forcing us to go to Origin because its “better” for you.  Its worse when stories about things like EA’s Origin service scanning your entire hardrive for information.  And now we have this stuff coming in.  EA is really fighting for our rights as consumers, I can really feel it.  (Ok, sarcasm off).

So what’s this about EA’s scanning your hardrive.  It seems that without your expressed consent, that Origin will scan your computer hardrive content.  Several threads exist on the subject and it seems that Origin will just happily scan whatever it feels like and send it back to the server.  People in Germany found just some of the information it was looking into.  From browsing history, to tax information this breach was so bad that German stores allowed customers to return games like Battlefield 3.  For whatever reason, not many others got all that fussed about it.  Kinda sad that we’re just “fine” to it…  Oh sure, we certainly raised a fuss about it but it never went as mainstream as it did over there for whatever reason.

Steam does a similar survey of your computer, but they are up front about it and give you the option to opt-out.  I was asked not but a month ago and refused.  Steam didn’t put up a fuss about it and the little message went away.  EA won’t give you this option, its all in the EULA that they can and probably will scan your computer for information. Sorry, but I just won’t let that stand.  You don’t need to scan my computer whenever you feel like.  All your job, EA, is to provide me with the games that I paid $$ for.  Your need to extract more $$/information out of me through shady ways is intolerable.  And inexcusable.

I cannot just stand by and buy a product from a company that shows this much lack of respect for its consumers.  I cannot abide by a service scanning my hardrives whenever it feels like.  I don’t care if you have a “justified” reason.  All you, the videogame developer, needs to worry about is making a good game and we the consumer base will happily buy your games.  There is no justifiable reason that comes to my mind that any companies need to scan my hardrive for information, much less a videogame company.  Indie devs sure as heck don’t scan my drive, so why should the big boys need to?  Hmm?  Answer me that EA.  Answer me that.

I think ultimately what has me so angered, is the shadiness of it all.  I realize that companies aren’t saints, but EA’s handling of these incidents which affect their customers has been…well, frankly terrible.  Their attitude has been unapologetic and the fact that this story was first reported 8 months ago and that this “bug” is still not fixed speaks louder than words.  I shouldn’t need to worry about whether my access to games will be removed  because I posted the wrong on a forum.  (Which doesn’t happen often, but its the principle of it all).  That’s not to mention that the forum policy is not very clear on what exactly gets you banned from your account either!  Its one thing to lose access to multiplayer games because I was harassing, cheating or hacking the game, but simply because I posted on the forum?  Wow…..yeah…

Suffice it to say, what trust I had in EA has been shattered over this.  I don’t even know if they apologized I could ever even remotely trust them to do the right thing.  Which is a tragedy, because I really enjoy videogames and to exclude an entire company from my favorite hobby is disappointing.  But EA brought this upon themselves and I choose to vote with my wallet.  I’m just glad I didn’t buy any Origin games before it was too late to take back the info they got on me.  Yeah, sure, unfortunately I know that people will just suck it up and buy their games, but I’ve never been one to follow the norm, have I.

So, I guess to just wrap this all up, I am blacklisting Origin-required games.  Your game touches Origin on iOS or PC and I will ignore it and will not buy it.  Not until EA apologizes to those that got their accounts and game access unfairly banned for months.  Not until EA sets out in clearly just how much information they are scanning on your computer and especially not until we are given an option to opt-out of such a scan.  Regardless if that’s a few years or never, I plan on sticking to that.  Whether you join me or not is up to you.  Its your decision to decide whether you care about your right to privacy and whether you think EA’s doing the best job that you believe they can.

My computer is part of my house, my sanctuary and I take that very seriously when my privacy is threatened.

So until next time, keep your swords sharp.  (And yes, that picture is the armor I wear in real life.  :P)

-King Isaac Linksr

P.S. Leave a comment and let me know what you think, disagree or agree I’ll listen.  I would love to be proven wrong about EA’s intentions but….yeah.

3 Comments:

  1. A lot of people see Steam with the same eyes, due to you not being able to resell games you’ve bought on Steam. But I do agree that Steam is the lesser evil in these things.

  2. Pingback: Musings: I will not be buying Mass Effect 3 « A Paladin Without A Crusade…

  3. Amen, bro.

    Don’t forget the matters of
    -Paying for a product you don’t actually own! I’m not begging for a licence, I’m buying a game!!

    -EA being able to ban at will anyone they please out of their Origin games

    -Planning the obsolescence of their games at will (They don’t support most of their own 2008 and older games, what makes you think they will support your 60$ games in a couple of years?)

    -Giving the words “Customer Support” a ridiculously ineffectual connotation: they are basically laughing at your face pretending ignorance

    -Preferring to pay corporate trolls that hype their product than giving real solutions to their problems

    I had no problems with Maxis, EA, even Origin at the start. Then for once I needed them and they properly told me to FMyself.

    Good. So Steam it is.

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