back to article EA blocks user from game after alleged forum outburst

An unfortunate gamer was left unable to install a copy of Dragon Age II after being booted off developer BioWare's community forums. According to user 'vware', the temporary ban was imposed after (s)he questioned whether BioWare had "sold their souls to the EA devil". The 72-hour expulsion locked him out of the Bioware Social …

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  1. David Lucke

    The title is required, and must contain letters and/or digits

    Well, I guess his question was answered, then. That would be a 'yes'.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    At least

    At least they answered the question and the answer is "Yes"

  3. DavCrav Silver badge

    Vice versa

    "Woo added "Because the BioWare community now operates under the same umbrella as all EA Communities… members here have all explicitly agreed to abide by and be governed by both sets of rules. Consider it an added incentive to follow the rules you say you're going to follow.""

    Yes. And consider the Unfair Terms in Consumer Contracts regulations an "added incentive" to follow the rules that you said you were going to follow when you sold goods and services in the UK?

    1. sT0rNG b4R3 duRiD
      Thumb Down

      Yea EA sucks...

      This has been known to happen on warhammer forums too.

  4. Danny 5
    Thumb Down

    hmmmm

    game didn't tickle me anyway, but this pretty much has me deciding not to even try it at all.

    i'll make sure not to buy EA games in general, GOD i hate them.

    EA, we own everything.

    1. Tigra 07 Silver badge
      Thumb Down

      Screw yEA

      Agreed, they also created too much expensive DLC for the first game and i'm still boycotting EA anyway so won't buy new games from them.

      Screw you EA, you're selfish and i'm buying Fallout New Vegas instead of DA!

  5. Spartacus
    WTF?

    Purchase

    So purchase is now an agreement to follow forum rules also ?

    Good luck with making that stand up in court..

    It's getting really silly now that you have to 'agree' to 32 contracts just to play a game you already paid for..

    Down with this sort of thing!

    1. The Fuzzy Wotnot
      Happy

      "Down with this sort of thing!"

      "Careful now!"

  6. MinionZero
    Big Brother

    Corporate censorship

    @"ban was imposed after (s)he questioned whether BioWare had "sold their souls to the EA devil"

    Corporate censorship should be made illegal. Freedom of speech cannot exist if people are punished for stating an opinion.

    Being critical of a company isn't sufficient grounds to punish people - in any way what so ever.

    A number of companies are increasingly not listening to their customers and instead are increasingly seeking to dictate to their customers. This has to be stopped and the only way we can do that is speak out against them. So corporate censorship is making it even worse. :(

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Corporate censorship

      "Freedom of speech cannot exist if people are punished for stating an opinion."

      Why do you think that freedom of speech exists on a private forum? Just because someone kicks you out of their housr 'cause you said something they didn't like doesn't mean they're censoring you.

      Not that I agree with EA preventing the user from playing the games that he bought, unless they were willing to give him a refund (plus interest).

      1. MinionZero
        Big Brother

        Freedom of speech has to be defended

        @Anonymous Coward: "Why do you think that freedom of speech exists on a private forum"

        I don't “think” freedom of speech exists. Freedom of speech exists by law, as in Universal Declaration of Human Rights (Since 1948). (Freedom of speech is consider so important, its expressly stated in the preamble of the act as one of the overriding principles the Human Rights act seeks to achieve). Its just its not being protected the way it once was. We need to fight against censorship. The "private forum" argument is bullshit. They still do not have a legal right to violate freedom of speech. Also any clauses in end user agreements of any kind are not legal if they violate human rights. Just because they have the power to push people around as they choose, still doesn't give them the moral or legal right to push people around.

        Here's a very good quote that sums the core problem up very well … "All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing" - which is exactly the kind of world we are sliding into. We cannot allow censorship to grow and it is growing and more people need to defend it (unlike you AC who seems happy to accept its destruction and you expect us to bend to the will of the corporations).

        Censorship and control is being brought back into our lives via the arrogance of ever more corporations seeking to control what we can do. Their arrogance needs to be fought against, as they are influencing ever more of our lives and its getting ever worse the more technology is used to affect and becomes part of our lives. This censorship and control is a growing problem and freedom of speech has to be defended in every situation to allow us to even begin to fight against the growing control.

        1. Rob Moir

          I'm sorry but you're wrong

          One of the ways that freedom of speech needs to be defended is by stopping people trying to stretch the definition of it to crazy extremes, which are easily defeated and thus erode the basic principle of freedom of speech itself.

          If I own a forum and I tell you that you can't discuss a certain subject or use certain language on that forum I am *not* denying you your freedom of speech, I am simply refusing to publish it for you, which is my right. You still have the right to set up your own forum and publish whatever you like.

          That's not to defend EA's actions here. Clearly they are assholes at all kinds of levels to even attempt this sort of thing... but lets not confuse and weaken the issue by dragging in irrelevant things.

  7. This post has been deleted by a moderator

    1. Joefish
      FAIL

      What they did

      is deny a paying customer the right to play the game they'd just bought.

      That's unacceptable, regardless of the circumstances.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Joke

        I've hit the "Report post" button

        And hopefully you will be banned from The register for 3 days because of your comment

        ;-)

    2. Chad H.
      FAIL

      Go read the article

      1) we do know what he said. He asked if Bioware sold its soul to the devil.

      2) The issue isn't that he was booted from the forum. The issue is he was prevented from playing a single player game he paid for because of his forum behavior. Surely this is excessive?

      Selecting Fail without reading the articl.... Double Fail.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Stop

      I don't think...

      ...the problem is that the user got booted off the forum, it is that membership of the forum is required in order to play a game that the punter payed darn good money for ... and a single play game at that, where there is no one in-game that can be affected by any trickery.

      Personally, I'm appalled at this kind of development. If you buy a car, the manufacturer doesn't care if you drive it straight or rip it to bits and wrap it around a lamp post. What kind of authority does Sony, EA, Apple and all the rest of them, have to dictate how people use equipment and games that they've shelled out a slice of wedge for.

      1. CD001

        *sighs*

        ----

        the problem is that the user got booted off the forum, it is that membership of the forum is required in order to play a game

        ----

        That isn't exactly how it works. The 'forum' is part of the BioWare community portal; getting banned from that portal means that you can't access your BioWare account.

        Not being able to access your BioWare account means you can't install the game as it ties into that account as part of their (somewhat dubious) DRM system.

        However, once the game is installed you don't need an Internet connection let alone a connection to your BioWare account. You can just run the game as normal, all that happens is that the achievements you unlock are not recorded on your BioWare account.

        If you're going to blow a fuse and have a rant about shonky DRM, feel free - at least it's not an Ubisoft title.

    4. Thomas 4

      Interesting theory yoy have there

      So, if I happened to take exception to what you had written, hit the "Report" button under your post and got you banned for 72 hours, you'd be alright with that...?

    5. John Bailey
      WTF?

      Doesn't matter.

      If someone is being a git on the forum, booth them.. Fine. It happens. But that is all that should be done.

      But.. The person in question bought a game they were then unable to use because of a forum ban. Effectively, EA accepted money for a non functional item. That has got to break some consumer protection law or another.

  8. Field Commander A9

    Yet another reason to...

    Just download a pirated copy of a game if you only want to play the single player part!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Megaphone

      You may not agree...

      But the more draconian the process for playing a game becomes, the more attractive hooky copies become to certain punters.

      What also annoys me is the limited activations per game, what? Something that EA seem to be very fond of lately - I'll stick with not buying EA games for the foreseeable future.

    2. BristolBachelor Gold badge

      There is an xkcd for everything :)

      http://xkcd.com/488/

      1. sT0rNG b4R3 duRiD
        Thumb Up

        http://xkcd.com/488/

        LOL.

        I'm going to have to remember this xkcd.

    3. irish donkey
      Megaphone

      First they came for the Pirates....

      But I didn't care because I wasn't one of those.

      Then I couldn't play a game because I had a virtual DVDRom installed

      They I couldn't play a game because my WinXP build wasn't too their liking

      Then they made me authenticate every time I played

      Then they came for lippy customers....

      It has ended for me now. I just don't buy EA Games. Simples

    4. Anonymous Coward
      WTF?

      anon for obvious reasons

      I had to move to smartsteam the past two weeks because of shoddy support from steam.

      I dont particularly want to pirate a game but when they make it near impossible to play any of my games then yes i will pirate and i have done (only used it to launch games i owned).

      your probably thinking your account got banned for a reason yes it was paypal DD didnt go through.

      No warning of missed payment just one day disabled account. two weeks to resolve after payment was resent !!!!!

      This makes me extra sad that i am actually going to be providing EA with more money when BF3 comes out. but other games i will most likley pirate.

      What came first DRM or the Pirate.

      1. LaeMing Silver badge
        Big Brother

        Not sure what you described is "piracy"

        Since you have a licence to the games in question.

        What you are more likely guilty of is "bypassing DRM on software you hold licence to" - a far more serious offence!

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It's EA! What do you expect?

    Oh well, every now and then EA provides me with a fresh reason to not buy their stuff.

  10. Joefish
    WTF?

    I wasn't aware that EA ever had anything that could be described as a 'soul'..?

    I'm apalled that they would contrive the authentication system such that you were forced into signing up to a forum's Ts&Cs before being able to play an off-line game you've bought in a shop, but since it's EA I'm not at all surprised.

    Personally after they tried to brick my Wii by constantly hammering the drive in COD4 I wouldn't trust them one bit.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    WTF?

    Can't wait for Apple to follow

    Hi,

    I expect Apple to follow... bricking your iPhone for 3 days if you vent out that after 2 years they still haven't grasped the concept of daylight saving time...

    On a serious note, this is incredible, you buy something, you are unhappy, you criticize, you are punished.... 1984 any one?

    1. F111F
      Stop

      More like...

      You buy something, you are unhappy, you go to their forums and insult the entire company with what could easily be taken (and was) as hate speech, and somehow you expect no repercussion. It's not 1984, it's lunacy.

      1. David Neil
        WTF?

        Hate speech

        Overreaction surely, or have you only just wandered onto the internets

      2. Lionel Baden
        Stop

        What !!

        Hate speech ????

        "Sold their souls to the EA devil."

        This hardly constitutes hate speech especially on the internet.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        RE: More like

        "It's not 1984, it's lunacy."

        Luncay you say? Sounds like hate speech to me.

  12. Jedit
    Flame

    Preparing for customer support

    After all, they don't want another incident like the one where Dragon Age patch 1.03 caused the game to randomly crash for tens of thousands of PC users, but Bioware ignored the hundreds of complaints on the forums for three months before even admitting there was a problem. With this new policy, they can simply get rid of the complaints and not have to worry about the patch.

  13. Aristotles slow and dimwitted horse Silver badge
    Stop

    He probably didn't actually "agree" to the terms and conditions...

    Because he didn't actually read them. He simply entered his name, proposed forum user ID, email address and DOB and hit the enter key.

    Like most people, he probably considered the 3 previous pages of legalese Ts&Cs jargon too much to be bothered with.

    1. sT0rNG b4R3 duRiD
      FAIL

      Bioware/Mythic...

      ...ignored countless posts about the direction the warhammer MMO was (and is) going. Not just ignored. Censored and censured - no doubt some posts were ludicruous but a lot weren't.

      Guess what... They still do.

      Anyone remember the recurrent billing errors ? And how they treated people.

      They barely update the title homepage for this, their only real MMORPG - at least till SW:TOR comes out.

      Don't play EA games, unless you are really prepared to put up with no customer support.

      SW:TOR - caveat emptor - I'm NOT going to buy it after all the crap I've been through.

      (Not trying to take sides here but I've played some korean F2P MMOs as well as WoW and have *never* had such bad service as that from EA/Bioware/Mythic).

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Installing Dragon Age II already a Sysephean ordeal

    Installing Dragon Age II is already annoying. I actually purchased it online via direct2drive to save waiting for it in the mail, but for some reason I was prompted no less than FOUR TIMES for the game product code, and I had to create logins for bioware community forums, EA online, and all sorts of other online "social" accounts so I could show other players what achievements I've unlocked in game, god knows why anyone else would even care what the hell I'm doing in my own non-multiplayer game...

    Having said that, the game is enjoyable, but linking online authentication to play a single player game is never a good idea - Even Steam finally got the point by installing an "offline" mode with their games..

    1. CD001

      Steam

      Steam has always had an offline mode (well, for as long as I can remember and I've been using it pretty much since it was launched) but quite often you need to be online *when you install the game* - it's part of the DRM mechanism.

      BioWare community and EA online are basically the same thing now (since EA bought BioWare) - it's their take on Steam's online authentication and content delivery system ... only it's worse as it seems that there's no 'common currency' across the platform.

      You want to buy games or DLC on Steam, you log into Steam and pay with a credit card - simple. And you can purchase content from any publisher in the same way - or lots of different publishers at the same time.

      You want DLC for Dragon Age you have to log into you BioWare account, buy BioWare credits with your credit card and then use those credits to buy the DLC. As far as I'm aware, those BioWare points aren't transferable so and you can only buy them in blocks (400, 800, 1600 or something) so you may have a couple of hundred credits kicking about that you may never spend.

      I suspect the EA system is like it is because it has to be 'kiddy-friendly' for the console crowd - mum and dad buy the credits so little Johnny doesn't max out their cards. Whereas people with real systems are trusted with cards (Steam isn't on consoles - although Portal 2 looks like it'll link Steam and your PSN account somehow).

  15. Pypes

    Console gaming

    Insert disk, play game

    No authcodes, no mandatory internet connection, no "you must create an account on yet another proprietary game network", no 3 installation limit, no cloud based saves.

    For an industry that is constantly bemoaning the 'death' of PC gaming they sure seem to be doing their level best to kill it.

  16. Remy Redert

    Crime and Punishment

    While EA and Bioware can enforce whatever rules they want on their forums, if they're going to ban people from playing (singleplayer) games for forum infractions, I do want to see them dragged to the courts to defend their T&Cs and DRM.

    Claim physical damages equal to the cost of the game and emotional/mental damages as ridiculously high as you can go.

  17. Global_S

    If you ever needed a reason to torrent

    Then this is it.

    1. King Dave
      Unhappy

      Console gaming

      I got the XBox 360 signature edition, and to redeem the bonus content I got given a code. To redeem this code I had to create an account with Bioware on my PC, and punch in the code on their website for the content to unlock on my console, which had conveniently linked itself to the account I'd created with Bioware. Why I couldn't have been issued a standard marketplace code is utterly beyond me.

    2. lpopman
      WTF?

      titular thingy

      And what is wrong with cloud saves?

      I use steam, and recently had a hard disk die on me. One new drive and re-install later, and my saves were there waiting for me. SteamCloud FTW :)

  18. Vladimir Plouzhnikov

    A good lesson

    To all those who say, "They'll never use that kill button on the computer game/fondlefone/BD player! If you've got nothing to hide - you've got nothing to fear!"

    Of course, they will. If one has power to do something, he will do it sooner or later.

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Unhappy

    EA - ShmeeA

    Let me explain how I think EA's product cycle works.

    Step 1 - Announce a new game to be released next year.

    Step 2 - HYPE HYPE HYPE HYPE (gaming magazines & on-line magazines with their fingers in EA's pockets, i.e. all gaming magazines)

    Step 3 - Start taking pre-orders.

    Step 4 - HYPE HYPE HYPE HYPE (gaming magazines & on-line magazines with their fingers in EA's pockets, i.e. all gaming magazines)

    Step 5 - Release buggy, incopmplete, DRM riddled game that doesn't live up to the hype.

    Step 6 - Rake in profits from pre-orders and spotty teenagers who can't get to the shop fast enough.

    Step 7 - Allow "the press" to start releasing glowing reviews.

    Step 6 - Pretend issues with the game aren't worth dealing with, maybe release a patch later that doesn't deal with any of the major game issues.

    Step 7 - Goto step 1

  20. a cynic writes...

    Funnily enough, by Friday night...

    EA had changed their tune, said the whole thing was a terrible cockup and reversed the ban (on the game if not the forums).

  21. Jaap stoel
    Pirate

    Yarrr

    Again the pirates win.

  22. Tim Greenwood

    Consequences ?

    Whilst it does seem an incredibly over the top reaction it does serve as an interesting reminder that there are always consequences to your actions. Even when the actions are apparently virtual/online. Not always the consequences you intend or want either.

  23. morphoyle

    I guess...

    I guess I won't have to spend money on this game now. Thanks for making my mind up EA.

  24. Doug Glass
    Go

    So ...

    ... stop buying the products if you're so irritated with the outfit. Either that or, well .... stfu.

  25. This post has been deleted by its author

  26. The Original Ash

    Go Go Gadget Armchair Revolutionaries!

    "I'm Boycotting EA!" "Should be brought to justice!" "Accepting money for a non working product!" "Unfair Terms in Consumer Contract Regulations!"

    Stop.

    1) Open a new tab / browser window.

    2) Visit this link and read what it has to say http://www.consumerdirect.gov.uk/after_you_buy/making-complaint/

    3) File a complaint with the Office of Fair Trading if you fail to receive a satisfactory resolution to your issue.

    Whining on forums solves precisely *dick all*. Go do it properly.

    Alternatively, write to EA for every game they release which you don't buy. Note, that's a *LETTER* not an email. Customer Services will send you an automated reply; Take the time to find the Head of Marketing or somesuch.

    Oh, hey! 5 minutes with Google got me contact details for the board of investors.

    http://investors.ea.com/contactBoard.cfm

    One letter will be binned. hundreds will be forwarded up the food chain.

    1. Jedit
      FAIL

      One letter will be binned. Hundreds will be ...

      ... binned, one at a time.

  27. Matt Bryant Silver badge
    Pirate

    RE: Go Go Gadget Armchair Revolutionaries!

    Whilst I applaud the idea of also going to the consumerdirect webbie, I think you'll find "whning" in forums is very effective. Most of the people posting here are exactly the gamers that EA want to have buying not just DA2 but any number of other and future EA group products. Why else do you think EA have reversed their action and let vware play again inside the 3-day period, because there is zero chance of them having acted that fast to just a consumerdirect complaint?

  28. Messer

    Buisness as usual then!

    3 day ban. Lightweight ! I got myself banned for LIFE way back by ea, only from the forums. Oh yes, for slagging off that vile excrement riddled piece of pox MoH pacific assault. God that was bad, the game not the ban. Wait a minute I did a bit more than slag it off, oh yeah that was it, but i said I'd box his head in for charity! Oh and spamming the boards never goes down well! Glad I'd never registered any games I had at the time with them. If your going to do something like have a go at "corprat" gangsters like ea use your head and cover your self.Set up another account and don't register your games with them. I never register my games because the perks are basically hot air and we all know ea never does anything for free thats worhtwhile. Anyway,pity Crytek turned to the darkside though. Still laugh about it now and again,thats probably the funniest thing that ever happened to me on the net.

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Bogbrush

    Funny stuff guys!

  30. JWS
    FAIL

    Pirate Copy?

    Only serves to make people look to get pirated copies of games if this is the sort of hassle they have to endure to play an expensive game. Granted it's not as easy to play pirated games on consoles, but it's still quite possible and with high bandwidth internet connections you can get a full game while you are at work and quite often before it's even in the shops!

    Also, EA are by far the worst games company in existence at the moment by some margin

  31. Bram
    FAIL

    Taking the mick

    I didn't even know that you had to part of a forum in order to play a game why? takes the mick I don't have the time to play the game then talk about playing the game and make friends. WTF I have friends in the real world.

    Fair enough ban the guy for talking smack about the guys who are running the forum I wouldnt expect any less from a big corp. but to stop him/her playing a game which they bought takes the p!ss

  32. Ben Rosenthal
    Coat

    Dear Bioware

    thank you for many good years of gaming, but I'm afraid we've just grown apart and I think it's time to make a clean break.......it's not me, it's you :(

  33. This post has been deleted by its author

  34. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    (untitled)

    As some said, there are always consequences for you actions. For example I may walk peacefully down the road minding my own business and as a consequence run into a gang of psychopaths out to beat the heck out of me. Of course it doesn't mean it's right for them to do so, nor is it my fault for having left my house.

    I see this sort of control as abuse of power; which seems to be de rigueur these days for all powerful groups: commercial companies, local authorities, national governments, etc. etc. etc.. Oh yes, one can dismiss that presently experienced as being nothing up to what some have to endure, but the fact is no abuse should be tolerated or it just gets worse. If it's wrong, shout: or find something more effective if possible.

  35. cs94njw
    Go

    If you start reporting to ConsumerDirect...

    ... then the issue becomes bigger. EA would have to face the law, and then perhaps you'd get proper compensation, and a law brought in to stop them being gits to everyone else.

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