EA Sued For Shutting Down Online Games Too Quickly

from the shall-we-play-a-game? dept

Electronics Arts continues to suffer from a case of fans-hate-us-itis. Wonderfully hilarious mishaps like the SimCity debacle, calling their critics homophobes, and simply shutting down social media games without refunding the money for in-app purchases culminated in the game publisher obtaining the coveted Worst Company In America award...again. With all that having happened in the last year or so, executives at EA are probably thinking the same thing I think when I wake up on the bathroom floor at 4am on a Sunday with the dog looking at me like she's trying to figure out if I'm dead or not: surely this is rock bottom and it can only get better from here.

Well, no it can't. Not for me and not for EA either, now that a federal class action suit has been filed against the company for falsely suggesting in the marketing for their EA Sports titles that online play would last a lot longer than it actually does.
Justin Bassett claims he bought several sports-themed games for Xbox 360 for about $59.99 each, relying on Electronic Arts' representation that the games were enabled for unlimited, online play. But the games were available for only a limited time, he says.

"Had plaintiff known at the time that he would not be able to play the products online for a certain amount of time, he would not have purchased the products or paid the price he paid for the products," Bassett claims.
Now, I don't know if it counts as a conflict of interest that I play a ton of sports games and also find it massively annoying when I can't beat 14 year old Russian children anymore because EA shut down the servers, but I figured I'd disclose that anyway. The fact is that marketing material for these games at the very least gives no indication for how long EA will allow online play and at worst vaguely insinuates that there is no predetermined time limit. Certainly most owners of sports titles don't purchase them every single year, so a time limit of a calendar year seems ridiculous sans a strong indicator that that's the plan. As such, the suit alleges a host of wrong-doings.
"Consumers frequently rely on labels in making purchase decisions. Here, plaintiff and the other class members reasonably relied to their detriment on defendant's misleading representations and omissions. Defendant's misleading affirmative statements about the capability of online play for the products obscured the material fact that defendant failed to disclose about the limited nature of its online support for the products."

Bennett seeks compensatory, statutory and punitive damages for consumer law violations, false advertising, unfair competition, and breach of warranty.
Nobody is suggesting that EA has to keep their online play servers going indefinitely, but reasonable should mean reasonable. There may be some folks out there that buy Madden every year, but most do not. They update their rosters, either on their own or with help, and keep playing that title for 2-4 years. Is a 3 year online play window really unreasonable? And if they weren't going to support online play for that long, shouldn't EA disclose that in their advertising and/or packaging?


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 2nd, 2013 @ 4:03pm

    MOAR MUNNY

    Of course 1 year is reasonable - when the idea is to force people to pay for it again every year.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 2nd, 2013 @ 4:49pm

    I bought Quake 17 years ago, and there's still plenty of online servers to play on.

    http://www.quakeservers.net/quakeworld/servers/so=8/

    It was a different world back then though. Making games in the old'en days used to be about "having fun" and "giving the customers what they want".

    Now all we have is companies like EA that, "maximize profits", "buy all 5 DLC packs to unlock the complete game", and "we reserve the right to shut-down servers with 30 days notice".

    It's pretty much why I quit playing video games. Pretty much all the reasons above, plus the gameplay sucks in newer games compared to the originals.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      identicon
      Forest_GS, Aug 3rd, 2013 @ 6:41am

      Re:

      I recommend Warframe, open beta, free to play, the gun physics are good, so many ways to modify the weapons, and it's the kind of good that you want to put at least a little of your money into a free-to-play game.

      Did I mention all the paid items that effect gameplay are obtainable by regular playing? And it even says on the purchase page that all spent platinum credits will be refunded if there is a reset going out of beta!

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      identicon
      b0, Aug 4th, 2013 @ 9:24am

      Re:

      You are comparing EA and ID... which is sacrilege and shouldn't be done since they are apples and oranges when it comes to the gaming world anyway.

      That said, ID is probably the most open source friendly developer when it comes to games. Game servers? Here, run your own... Here, take the source code if you want to run the server on Linux. Oh, we're releasing a new game engine, so we're open sourcing our previous game engine.

      EA had a good run of money grabbing. After Simcity, I'm sure as hell staying away from anything EA. As for ID, I've got 5 copies of Quake 3, and 1 of each of every other game they've released since I started earning my own cash... and will continue to support their efforts.

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 2nd, 2013 @ 4:51pm

    It's not half as bad as browser games from China & Korea that launch shutdown 3 months later redo the graphics a little and launch again.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    BulmaRO, Aug 2nd, 2013 @ 4:53pm

    or try alternate methods

    they as well, and this is my humble opinion, should lets say support the servers for around 4 years sound good and at the end of that cycle release a patch of sort so players can play on servers of theyr own like other decentralized games, 4 years is a pretty good game life window and players wonth feel hurt when they try to play again out of nostalgia or just becouse they can't let the game go.

    maybe im asking too much but well that is kind of fan service too. :)

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    tanj, Aug 2nd, 2013 @ 4:58pm

    EA should keep those servers up for limited times.

    That is to say either 95 years or 70 years after I die.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      icon
      Ninja (profile), Aug 5th, 2013 @ 4:01am

      Re:

      That comment is priceless. Maybe it should be mandatory to support the online aspect of games for as long as they keep the copyrights on the franchises/games? That would make them think twice before screwing the customers. Or not..

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    avideogameplayer, Aug 2nd, 2013 @ 5:24pm

    INB4Prendaobjectstothelawsuit...

    Just saying, they need money for all those lawyers fees and sanctions...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 2nd, 2013 @ 5:53pm

    Let EA lose, let them regret the day they were born, let them be destroyed and forgotten, let the fires burn all they have become.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    icon
    dave blevins (profile), Aug 2nd, 2013 @ 6:09pm

    They should keep the servers up as long as they have an active copyright on the game.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    icon
    Reality Check (profile), Aug 2nd, 2013 @ 6:27pm

    Credit where credit is due.

    "Now, I don't know if it counts as a conflict of interest that I play a ton of sports games and also find it massively annoying when I can't beat 14 year old Russian children anymore because EA shut down the servers, but I figured I'd disclose that anyway. "

    Damn, I can't beat those 14 year old Russian children, you must be pretty good.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 2nd, 2013 @ 7:09pm


    Nobody is suggesting that EA has to keep their online play servers going indefinitely


    Really? I would certainly suggest that, and unless the marketing materials made it clear that online play was limited-time, that ought to be the law if it isn't already.

    $59.99 is a lot of money; I don't think it's at all unreasonable to expect the servers to stay up indefinitely unless there's a clear (not buried in the EULA) indication otherwise.

    (It'd be fine I suppose if years later when there are few players anymore, the company shut the servers down but released the server source code so people could keep playing.)

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      icon
      McCrea (profile), Aug 2nd, 2013 @ 7:22pm

      Re:

      Minimum of 5 years, but I would rather have it worded "indefinitely or until 5 years notice is given."

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      •  
        identicon
        Anonymous Coward, Aug 3rd, 2013 @ 12:56am

        Re: Re:

        I would be perfectly fine with "Minimum of 5 years and then until drm is stripped and server software is released to players or copyright for the title in question expires."

         

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    icon
    McCrea (profile), Aug 2nd, 2013 @ 7:16pm

    Electronics Arts continues to suffer from a case of fans-hate-us-itis.

    Almost sounds like the problem originates from the fans, which is, of course, false.

    The problem is that EA continues to follow general business policies akin to son-of-a-bitch'ery.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    MrPendent, Aug 2nd, 2013 @ 8:30pm

    To be fair--the game is title "_______ 2013". You already owned "______ 2012" and "_______ 2011". I don't see how the claim that "_____2014" was coming out holds any kind of gravitas.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    cunt, Aug 2nd, 2013 @ 8:41pm

    cunt

    Cunts they are.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 2nd, 2013 @ 9:59pm

    "They should keep the servers up as long as they have an active copyright on the game."

    For the win.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Rekrul, Aug 3rd, 2013 @ 12:17am

    Today it's online play that stops working after a year. A few years from now, the entire game will stop working after a year and you'll have to buy an "upgrade". What did you think the online activation and the always on DRM were for?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 3rd, 2013 @ 2:01am

    the real problem here is the gamers themselves. had they not allowed this 'online play' crap to start in the first place, refusing to go down the road the game supplier/maker/whatever wanted whereby you had to have an internet connection, you had to download most of the content because what came on the disk was a miniscule amount, you had to constantly update over the net etc, etc, etc. when you buy a game, you should get the whole damn thing on a disk! if you need updates, that's different. all the 'on-line' stuff is for the benefit of the companies, not the people. all games should be totally playable off line, single player. if you want to multi play, that should be an 'extra', not a reason to have everything from 'the net'! just because the maker wants to close servers shouldn't mean that the game cant be played any more. that's is removing an option that should be with the game when you buy it. some people like to store stuff and play whenever. that shouldn't be restricted. on-line only options do that!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 3rd, 2013 @ 4:55am

    EA customers DESERVE all the pain they get

    Anyone doing any kind of business with EA should know that they're lying assholes and will cheerfully screw their best customers over without a second thought. It's insanely stupid to expect any other outcome.

    Given that this has been proven over and over and OVER again by EA's own actions, I don't blame them: they're just who they are. I blame the idiots who keep giving EA money and expecting different results.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      icon
      squall_seawave (profile), Aug 3rd, 2013 @ 6:55am

      Re: EA customers DESERVE all the pain they get

      yeah but the problem is when they buy and gut great franshises like plant vs zombies dragon age simcity for the casual they dont check if those are released by EA

      even discounting that EA has a monopoly in sport games
      want to play with oficial players too bad you need to go with EA i have seen some good soccer games but the names god the names ruined the experience

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Shon Gale, Aug 3rd, 2013 @ 5:07am

    I used to buy EA all the time I personally own all of the Command and Conquer's plus Roller Coaster Tycoon. But I will never buy another game from EA. I will just keep playing the ones I own with no restrictions on them. So bite me EA, I will never be a customer again, ever!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    icon
    assemblerhead (profile), Aug 3rd, 2013 @ 6:09am

    Never Used the Origin Service!

    I made the mistake of registering two EA tittles before the Origin service started.

    That registration was converted to an Origin Account without my permission. I have never logged on or into it.

    Because of what EA has done with requirements for OnLine DRM, I no longer ( Play / Buy ) EA's newer tittles.

    Will play the older ( OffLine / Single Player ) games on occasion.

    Now I am getting e-mails from the Origin service demanding that I update the contact info! No thanks, they can keep their spam.

    Kill the Servers?

    If they want to kill the servers, they need to release a "standalone" version of the game, or a ( Public / LAN Party ) type server program to the community. Or make the "standalone" version able to function as a replacement for EA's servers.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    icon
    Mega1987 (profile), Aug 3rd, 2013 @ 8:40am

    Is there's a Darwin's award for companies?

    I think EA's going for business suicide in the worst possible way ever....

    Killed by massive consumer backlash...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    icon
    Uriel-238 (profile), Aug 3rd, 2013 @ 11:37am

    I, too, refuse to use Origin

    Even though I really enjoyed prior Star Wars titles and am sad that future titles under the franchise will be hidden behind Origin.

    Won't go there. Origin = Spyware.

    EA needs to burn for the betterment of the industry.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    icon
    Uriel-238 (profile), Aug 3rd, 2013 @ 11:42am

    If EA wants to force everyone to use their servers...

    Then nothing short of eight years is reasonable, and EA should go 12 years just to be sure.

    One year for a $60 game is odious, unless it's paid at $5 a month.

    EA is really having a bad year. I can't say I feel anything but pure seething schadenfreude for it.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 3rd, 2013 @ 1:36pm

    Pay up ya greedy bastids!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    shawn808, Aug 3rd, 2013 @ 3:25pm

    If EA wants to shut down the servers why don't they just release a windows based server people could run on their own.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    icon
    Uriel-238 (profile), Aug 3rd, 2013 @ 5:01pm

    That's the way it was before AAA got greedy.

    If EA wants to shut down the servers why don't they just release a windows based server people could run on their own.

    This was the standard for a while, either to allow someone to launch a listen server while they played, or an independent dedicated server. Then, thanks to the MMO revolution we got a number of AAA companies that decided to force multiplayer to rely on company servers (or even later, singleplayer), and so they'd refuse to include end-user server support at all.

    This is the first time we've seen in court a case that acknowledges that publishers have a responsibility to their end-users, especially when charging a not-insignificant amount for their games.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    james, Aug 3rd, 2013 @ 5:13pm

    fuck EA

    hope EA lose like the sacks of shit that they are
    give them hell!!!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    icon
    Laroquod (profile), Aug 4th, 2013 @ 3:13am

    This article would be a lot better if it actually stated what is the length of time that EA currently keeps their servers alive before shutting them down. Seeing as the alleged shortness of that window is the entire reason I am supposed to read this and get angry, it would be good to have been given that information in the actual article, instead of by a random (and possibly mistaken) commenter.

    I don't perceive Techdirt as a soap opera, so I don't expect understanding each article to depend on having kept up and read the articles before. That's not what I want in a news site; I doubt that's what anybody wants in a news site.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Aug 5th, 2013 @ 8:37am

      Re:

      Trust me, it is definitly little time.

      If there is one thing you can trust about EA is that you can't trust them. They will screw as soon as the opportunity arrives (And if it doesn't arrive at the time they like to, they will make one).

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    buxle, Aug 19th, 2013 @ 8:52am

    Is that why when I got to EA online games page anything does not play.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 31st, 2013 @ 11:12pm

    The limitation to gaming isn't supposed to be when the new game comes out, it's when the hardware can no longer support it.. I have pc games nearly 20 years old that are still operational through windows life support methods, if it's a console based game then it should be when the adoption rate of the new console is more than the previous. When more XBone's are being sold a quarter than 360's, sure shut down servers to the 360 games. When it's a PC game.. the only reason to pull the plug is there isn't enough activity to justify it. Even now, with an average of like 500 people on a day.. Dawn of War 2 is still available because Steam has no reason to shut it down. There are people playing the game they bought so we'll keep it open. How many ceo's and internal whistle blowing will EA have to go through before they come to realize that gaming nerds will fight back when they cross the line.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      identicon
      u r a nerd, Nov 30th, 2013 @ 7:20pm

      Response to: Anonymous Coward on Oct 31st, 2013 @ 11:12pm

      Nerdy ass ass whipe peice of shit go to hell nigga smell santas ballsack beacuase u want a ballsack bitch suck my dick

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    bryan, Nov 30th, 2013 @ 7:06pm

    ea sucks

    Ea is shit bye bye ea hello 2k

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    ming sue ho, Nov 30th, 2013 @ 7:09pm

    ea sucks and im horny

    Ea will fuck Miley Cyrus for life ea sucks dick im a verry violent Asian dude fffffffffffffuuuuuuuuuuuuucccccccccccckkkkkkkkkkmkkkkk eeeeee aaaaa

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    joe, Nov 30th, 2013 @ 7:12pm

    calm down ming sue ching chong ho

    Calm the bleep down Asian guy but I agree

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    icon
    newfrivgames (profile), Jan 4th, 2014 @ 10:15am

    Games

    It is really bad news for the people who loves to play games online. When they face such problems then it is difficult for them to get interest back.

    Thanks for sharing..
    Free Online Games

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here
Get Techdirt’s Daily Email
Save me a cookie
  • Note: A CRLF will be replaced by a break tag (<br>), all other allowable HTML will remain intact
  • Allowed HTML Tags: <b> <i> <a> <em> <br> <strong> <blockquote> <hr> <tt>
Follow Techdirt
A word from our sponsors...
Essential Reading
Techdirt Reading List
Techdirt Insider Chat
A word from our sponsors...
Recent Stories
A word from our sponsors...

Close

Email This