back to article EA unplugs Rock Band for iOS

The iOS version of Rock Band will go out of tune forever on May 31. Users have spotted the image below when they try to play the game. Rock Bands iOS death screen EA has confirmed the news in its help forums that the servers underpinning the game will go the riff boneyard on May 31. In case the company does a naughty, we …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    And if you remove the friendly marketing speak:

    "Can I still play ROCK BAND if I've already downloaded it?"

    We've squeezed as much money out of you as we think we can on this one so now we're switching off your access to that thing you thought you owned because we can. Yes, we know we could've built it so it could run without one of our servers but where's the fun in that! Hahaha. Now bend over and give us more money for our latest half-finished bug-riddled product that we might choose to cut you off from at any time.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: And if you remove the friendly marketing speak:

      If you pay for an app which relies on an online server, expecting it to last for eternity is clearly unrealistic.

      1. squilookle

        Re: And if you remove the friendly marketing speak:

        I didn't buy the game so I don't know, but was it made clear to the average, none technical user that the game would not work if the server was not available to support it?

        Serious question, because if not then they have the right to be a little annoyed.

        1. Law

          Re: And if you remove the friendly marketing speak:

          I bought a couple of EA games on android once - it was a small download - which then kicked off a larger installer which downloaded the majority of the game to the SD card (along with some DRM crap I'm sure). I think originally this was required because there was an app size limit imposed in the market place, but Google has since increased that limit - but I bet they EA don't change the method of delivery.

          I'm now left wondering how long before these games that don't actually require any servers to actually play the game stop working because they don't have servers to check in to for updates at the start.

          Needless to say, I'm not buying any more mobile games from EA.

      2. jeremyjh

        Re: And if you remove the friendly marketing speak:

        Be interesting to get some clarity on consumer rights in this situation if this date was not mentioned when people coughed up.

        It's more likely now though that something like this would be set up so that you rented the content via in-app payments and the app itself was a freebie, surely?

      3. AnonymousNow

        Re: And if you remove the friendly marketing speak:

        LOL, well, certainly now it is. Also, you are inaccurately presuming that EA discloses front and center when you purchase the App that it, for no good reason and inexplicably, relies on their network for every use and that they might shut down this network. Good grief, with anti consumerists like you, it is not surprising that corps do this sort of thing more and more nowadays. You are the tool in the ointment. Do you work for Goldman Sachs?

  2. raving angry loony

    Ah yes...

    The old "thanks for your money, now fuck off" trick. Nice if you're big enough you can pull it off.

  3. Keep Refrigerated

    Every time...

    Every time a conent company shuts off a DRM server, a pirate gets their wings.

    I've got a couple EA apps I own^H^H^H rent on my Android tablet... won't be giving them anymore cash.

    1. Eponymous Cowherd
      Thumb Up

      Re: Every time...

      Bang on.

      Perhaps the next time a certain Reg writer complains about "freetards" he might like to consider that this is exactly the kind of thing that convinces people that paying for content is a fruitless exercise.

      While content providers continue to treat their customers as cash-cows they can sodomise with impunity they will never "solve" the freetard issue.

      1. Jeebus

        Re: Every time...

        You really think Orlowski is anything but an idiot?, he completely ignores the facts repeatedly and deletes anyone who disagrees with him, having had 4 comments deleted on his posts for posting opinion with reasoned facts as to why I feel he is incorrect.

        The man is a joke.

        1. asdf Silver badge

          Re: Every time...

          Leave Orlowski alone. As one of the pre-eminent climate scientists in the world his denial articles are especially relevant to El Reg's mission </sarcasm>

  4. tin 2

    I hope everyone who downloaded it demands a refund from Apple. Disgrace.

    1. RAMChYLD

      I don't have the game but if it's anything like Tap Tap Revenge...

      I seriously agree with the idea of demanding a refund. The app is free, fine. But what about the premium songs we paid money for? We bought the song, we have the rights to listen to it forever. Pulling the plug means you "sold" us a CD, then come knocking at our door demanding it back because you no longer want the CD in circulation, and then not giving us any collateral for it. This is unacceptable.

      Maybe to the RIAssA mafia, it is acceptable. But screw them. Demand refunds until EA gives back the amount you paid for all the songs you've bought on the game! If they refuse, rope in the consumer association!

  5. Dave Bell

    Serious question

    What does Rock Band depend on a server for?

    What happens to player data?

  6. Piloti
    Thumb Down

    Smart 'phones..!!

    Have to say, a little confused about this as I am not an Aplle 'anything' owner....

    But, is this story saying that EA had a game which people bought, downloaded to the device and now, somehow, EA feels that they can deny you access to the thing you have purchased ?

    So, it seems that the user was merely renting the game, is that it ?

    Oh, I am so so so glad I do not own any Apple thing.......

    And yes, I am blaming Apple, becuase they have creasted the environment where this parasitical activity can take place......


    1. JDX Gold badge

      Re: Smart 'phones..!!

      You still have the app, but they turned off the server. It is entirely normal that old games lose online/multiplayer functionality... I doubt that many PS2 titles still get great support.

      1. Danny 14 Silver badge

        Re: Smart 'phones..!!

        Old games yes I can agree with you. Rock band IOS is not even 3 years old yet. That is like shutting "modern warfare 2" down completely (released a month afterwards). I can imagine shutting a 10 year old game down but really, this is taking the piss.

  7. Anonymous Coward


    to cloud computing.

    When we're bored, we'll f'off.

    Welcome to the new world, where we are king and you are the serfs.

  8. fattybacon


    I like the phrase "suspend support" so much nicer than "end" or "stop" or "fuck off"

  9. DrXym Silver badge

    The lesson here

    Don't buy EA games. If they don't respect paying customers, don't become one in the first place.

    1. RAMChYLD

      Re: The lesson here

      Yes, but unfortunately, unless each of us cough up a few hundred so we'll have enough money to liberate PopCap from their clutches, we're doomed for :(

  10. Dotter

    Looks like EA can't make its mind up.

    1. jubtastic1


      EA: "Rock Band for iOS will remain live - the in-app message users received yesterday was sent in error. We apologize for the confusion this caused. We're working to clarify the issue that caused the error and will share additional information as soon as possible."

      Behind closed doors: "Oh shit, we've been rumbled, blame it on a rogue engineer and we'll have another go in 6 months"

  11. Joe Montana

    Paid for content...

    It was not Apple who created this environment, there is a lot of windows software not just games which depends on the presence of a server to authorise, and which will become useless if the server is ever shut off. Blame where it's due.

    And for whoever said its "entirely normal" that old games lose multiplayer support... Tell that to all the people who play Doom (released in 1993) or quake etc online. There is no reason for not releasing the server counterpart with games, allowing gamers to run their own servers long after the original publisher has lost interest.

    Even better if they open source the engine of older games, there are ports of doom/quake for all kinds of systems now so despite the age of the game there is no need to use an emulator to run it. Many people are much more inclined to hand over cash to companies that don't treat their paying customers with contempt.

    1. Edwin

      Re: Paid for content...

      Ah yes, but you see - Apple controls the content in the app store and takes a nice cut of the profits, so I think Apple is fair game in this exercise. All the more so since they claim part of the reason for the walled garden is protecting the customer experience.

      The Windows analogy doesn't hold up because, you see, Steve Ballmer doesn't decide what I run on my Windows boxen.

      (note that I don't play games, nor do I own Apple products, so no bias from my side)

  12. Matthew Forbes

    No Surprise

    EA have been doing this with the online content of games on Xbox/PS3 for years, particularly with the sports ones. every couple of years they kill the servers for the older games to encourage people to buy the new version.

    They did the same with Mirror's Edge, only thing is that you can still buy it from Microsoft as well as in physical form, but can't get the online content due to the server having been switched off.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    who cares?

    not been nasty, but truly who gives a fig?

    1. LoopyChew

      Re: Hey

      Consider the precedent this sets, and you'll understand why people care. People forked over anywhere from $5-$10--genuine currency--for the game, plus extra money if they wanted more songs. This is a game with--aside from the ability to purchase more songs--no need for a centralized server, and with multiplayer options restricted to local play (via Bluetooth).

      By pulling something like this, they're telling us that we don't OWN any of our iOS purchases, we simply LEASE them, and they get to decide when to pull the plug. Furthermore, even after the app declared an expiry date of one month, the app was still available for sale with no caveat emptor from EA. Now if that isn't an assy move, nothing is an assy move.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    EA have done this before...

    I believe the Mercenaries 2 servers have been switched off due to lack of interest.

    EAs behaviour is disgusting.

  15. CD001


    ... and the Mass Effect 3 servers (presumably multiplayer authentication servers since the actual "play" part is P2P) we down for all of yesterday...

    ... oh, hang on, that was just BioWare/EA screwing up and breaking them ;)

  16. Tony Paulazzo

    >I hope everyone who downloaded it demands a refund from Apple. Disgrace.<

    Read their terms and conditions, pretty sure you cannot demand a refund from Apple once you've bought an app. You can ask them nicely if an app doesn't do what it's supposed to do - I went thru the rigmarole once which consisted of back and forth emails to three different departments at Apple over the course of just under a month before getting a refund (it ended up turning into a game for me just to see if I could win).

    Never again. I still buy apps, but either, ensure I really want it, or wait til it drops to 69p.

  17. Seb123

    There has been an update to this... EA have now announced that this message was an error and they are investigating how it sneaked in. The app will continue to work apparently.

    Perhaps the real error was the response from the user base/community?

  18. Dan Paul

    SIMPLE, Do not buy any app or program that requires a server to work

    The answer is very simple, if an app or program requires a connection to a server to allow it to operate, then do not buy it. One Time Authorization is okay but permanently connections are another.

    Vote with your wallet!

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