EA's Origin Service Wants To Exchange Games For Your Personal Data [Updated]

from the plus-full-retail-price,-if-possible dept

Just when you thought no one would be able to top the various levels of DRM insanity plied by Ubisoft in its quixotic quest to end piracy as we know it, something else comes along that’s bigger and badder than the nuisances that preceded it.

Electronic Arts’ new game service, Origin, has hidden some rather disturbing language inside its EULA. Rock, Paper, Shotgun notes that in order to play Battlefield 3, or any other game that requires Origin to run, you’re going to have to let EA root around inside your computer. Here’s the gory details, straight from Origin’s EULA:

2. Consent to Collection and Use of Data.
You agree that EA may collect, use, store and transmit technical and related information that identifies your computer (including the Internet Protocol Address), operating system, Application usage (including but not limited to successful installation and/or removal), software, software usage and peripheral hardware, that may be gathered periodically to facilitate the provision of software updates, dynamically served content, product support and other services to you, including online services. EA may also use this information combined with personal information for marketing purposes and to improve our products and services. We may also share that data with our third party service providers in a form that does not personally identify you. IF YOU DO NOT WANT EA TO COLLECT, USE, STORE, TRANSMIT OR DISPLAY THE DATA DESCRIBED IN THIS SECTION, PLEASE DO NOT INSTALL OR USE THE APPLICATION. This and all other data provided to EA and/or collected by EA in connection with your installation and use of this Application is collected, used, stored and transmitted in accordance with EA’s Privacy Policy located at www.ea.com. To the extent that anything in this section conflicts with the terms of EA’s Privacy Policy, the terms of the Privacy Policy shall control.

Now, as RPS notes, some of this wording is not that unusual. Many software companies collect system data and several will even tell you that they plan on distributing this to third parties. This includes Steam, whose EULA states that it will:

… store information on a user’s hard drive that is used in conjunction with online play of Valve products. This includes a unique authorization key or CD-Key that is either entered by the user or downloaded automatically during product registration. This authorization key is used to identify a user as valid and allow access to Valve’s products. Information regarding Steam billing, your Steam account, your Internet connection and the Valve software installed on your computer are uploaded to the server in connection with your use of Steam and Valve software.

But, as RPS points out, there’s a big difference between Valve’s policy and EA’s policy:

Valve’s policy is self-restricted to anything on your PC directly relating to its own products. EA’s is so broad that it gives the publisher permission to scan your entire hard drive, and report back absolutely anything you may have installed, and indeed when you may use it, and then pass that information on the third parties.

Now, this data collection may be used in a neutral fashion, heading directly back to EA for dissection and analysis. But there are two aspects that are particularly troublesome: A.) the wording in the EULA is very unspecific and B.) you have to “AGREE” to the terms in order to install your purchased software. In other words, before you can even start playing, EA wants to start digging.

It gets better:

And then even more creepily, they say they intend to take such information, combine it with personal information about you, and use it to advertise directly to you. However, when selling on this free-for-all on your computer’s contents, they’ll at least remove personally identifying information. Gosh, thanks.

Perhaps you’re thinking to yourself: screw this online delivery system and its unseemly urge to dig into my hard drive and operating system. I’ll just buy one off the shelf, thank you very much. Not. So. Fast.

It strikes us as beyond acceptable. And so much more serious now that EA has made its intentions clear to make so many of their games exclusively delivered through Origin. Were there a choice about what you’d use to play Battlefield 3, Mass Effect 3, etc, then gamers could opt out of allowing Origin on their systems while such a policy is in place. But instead it’s a case of agree to such remarkable terms, or don’t play their games at all.

So, it comes down to this: EA wants what’s in your hard drive and any other info it can pick up from your usage habits. Sure, EA has probably always wanted this information but now it’s deciding that you, the customer, will only play its games if you give up your information. Apparently, $50+ for a game just isn’t payment enough anymore.

Update: Looks like all this attention has gotten EA to back down a little. Not fully, mind you. They now say they can still collect the data. Just not give it to marketing partners.

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Comments on “EA's Origin Service Wants To Exchange Games For Your Personal Data [Updated]”

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141 Comments
freak (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 I have no issues with it

Man, I remember back in the early days, when you had 12 & 15 year olds hacking into the binary itself and changing pointers.

Changing this data collection is as simple as changing the IP address it tries to connect to back to 192.168.0.1 and setting up a second program that gives the right return data. Now, if teenagers were doing this back in the 80’s . . .

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: punkbuster

No, it sounds like that version of Securom EA was sued over in 6 (later 5) class action lawsuits in 2008 or -9. Early on Securom would scan your comp and often interfered with drivers and “blacklisted” programs, either disabling them or preventing a legit game from starting until YOU disabled them. It also sought an open internet connection to send who knows what back to EA Securom servers.

I guess EA thinks they’re covered if they tell you up front now, which they did not when they inflicted Securom on their paying customers. But they only tell you after you’ve purchased.

EA is incapable of learning. Caveat emptor.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: punkbuster

I have it from a reliable source (but of course “I am authorized to comment” ) that EA learned a lot of things from the Spore fiasco and SecuROM.

As for the main article I am confident it is not maliciousness. I think it is the corporate lawyer arm being overly cautious and inclusive because they misinterpreted some of the requests from the Origin Development arm’s request to allow telemetry tracking data around the Origin application and the games it runs. Plus to allow the requirements around apps like punkbuster and Metafortress. There is some marketing data collected but that is more around what Origin games you own so they can promote deals (like paid extra content).

In a lot of ways it is the same thing as what Google+, Facebook, Android Market place, Amazon, Costco and any supermarket cards do. They look at what you have and buy so they market to you to get you to buy more. (I am not saying it is always done in a fair balanced way).

With EA you have a company that is trying to change from being a “Sell boxes with disks’ to a digital company. And it is not trying to do it by litigating to keep old business models afloat.
But at the same time it is a creative company that is willing to make mistakes and learn from them. I think their lawyers ‘learned’ from past lawsuits against EA. Once again the lawyers win.

A Monkey with Atitude (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: punkbuster

I will allow what you say is true and/or factual, but doesn’t change that i have already cancelled a pre-ordered sale because of this horse-shit from the Lawyer Arm…
So until someone over at EA pulls its head from the lawyers ass, i will not have anything at all to do with them…. PERIOD..

YOUR LAWYERS ARE COSTING YOU MONEY!! FIGURE IT OUT…

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: punkbuster

I wish I could believe that. Seriously! I’ve enjoyed several EA titles a great deal over many years. But there’s a line EA crossed and I’ve yet to see a genuine…can’t think of the right word, remorse?, from them over that. I considered it a gross abuse of the customer base back then (their reaction to complaints about Securom was horrific – I saw it happening in real time: you’re all crazy/misinformed/hysterics/liars/oh wait…you’re actually right…but we’ll keep using it anyway).

It’s been a while, but last I thought to look, they were still selling older games with Securom DRM, and that was a year or two after those lawsuits. To me it seems they obviously haven’t learned much if they put these overbroad terms in their Origin EULA, off-the-leash lawyers be damned.

I would love to be able to trust them again, but to this day they keep giving me reasons not to do that.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:3 punkbuster

Ha, I just recalled that it was the Securom fiasco that led me to TechDirt.

I wish I’d had presence of mind to screenshot at the time, since it was deleted not long after (something that was done quite a bit in those couple of months) but early on in the Securom blowup, there was a post on an official EA website from an EA employee that stated (paraphrasing): “We cannot tell you anything more about Securom as it would violate the US DMCA anti-circumvention clause.”

Swear to gawd.

Never heard of the DMCA and thought the whole thing stank, so I started googling, followed a link in a comment at ShackNews and wound up at TechDirt. Been lurking here ever since. ๐Ÿ™‚

Josh in CharlotteNC (profile) says:

Re: punkbuster

I was just playing Battlefield:BC2 the other night, and if punkbuster actually worked, it might be worth it. Unfortunately, it doesn’t, and there’s plenty of players using cheats.

I’m really looking forward to Battlefield 3. I didn’t care about having to install Origin until I read that article. I don’t care if I need Steam + a bunch of other online distribution systems installed (you can easily stop them from running when you don’t want them on). But the deliberately unspecific and overly broad language really bugs me. This could stop me from buying BF3 – just like I won’t buy Ubisoft games and didn’t bother with Spore.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: punkbuster

My buddy pays $30 a month for the hacks and cheats for BF2142/BF2/BF3 or whatever the EA Battlefield shooter is these days. He has a windows7 machine and they even have a bootloader that loads before the win7 bootloader and he has to boot that way every time he plays the game with the cheats. Punkbuster doesn’t detect the cheats, only admins who watch him play do.

I used to play BF2142 before he started using the cheats and he was pretty good.. the cheats just level the playing field, since it is/was apparent that most of the players later on in the games lifespan were using cheats and hacks.

I wouldn’t buy an EA game to save my life (except Dragon Age which was a gift) and this makes me more leery. I wish game companies would understand that DRM is not a value add, like the some of the music industry has, but since DRM has been around since early days of gaming (hello? Looking at page 5 in the manual for the first word on the page? codewheels? WTF?) it probably isn’t going to go away, unfortunately ๐Ÿ™

Pirates don’t have to enter CD keys, or keep copies of their game CD’s in perfect condition, or worry about their internet connection, or keep their game manuals close by, or worry if their codewheel got eaten by the dog.

Nevaar says:

Re: punkbuster

And how exactly is that supposed to work? EA can’t enable punkbuster anymore unless they scan my dox?

the FQDNs for their harvester servers should be easy enough to spoof without affecting account functionality or gameplay. Alternately, watch for whats being scanned, and when, and by what process. Change shit up on your gaming rig so they receive polluted ‘data’. For scheduled “scan and deliver” methods, simply drop your nic during that time – collect all they want, but if they can’t deliver it what good will it do them? drop a linux box on your network and do some man in the middle stuiff, rewriting the data on the fly…

Too many easy ways to screw with them.

Jay (profile) says:

It gets even better!

Link

According to a disclaimer on EA?s website, users who purchase any game from EA Origins may only download or access the game for a limit of one year before they might need to repurchase the title again to keep?.unlike Steam?s system where the game stays on your account for good without the need of a repurchase.

Like the new Madden? Guess what, you can now repurchase it next year at no additional value to you? Want to trade it in? Well, it’s going to disappear anyway… Tough shit dude.

Meanwhile, on Valve, you can now trade gift games. Honestly, is there ANY reason to use Origin? Why put yourself through such torture?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: It gets even better!

That quote is a bit misleading… From the EA Origin Store TOS:http://tos.ea.com/legalapp/termsofsale/US/enl/PC/

“The products and services that we make available on the Websites may be downloaded or accessed for at least one year after you have completed your purchase.”

Years ago EA had a download limit and ‘insurance’ for download availablitly later. But that ‘service’ was removed long ago due to customer feedback. Since then I have not heard of EA removing the ability to download something after a year.

I do know that occasionally EA will sunset online game servers that are not heavily used. So if you try to play Rugby 08 online you will have to use one of the independent 3rd parties that found the opportunity to support you.

What is Amazon’s and Valve’s TOS for downloads?

CDN_Hammer says:

EA - what are you thinking??

Fist of all, I would have already bought this game if it was on Steam. I wasn’t too excited about buying a game and having to use Origin….and now this. Sorry EA – I would love to play this game, but you apparently don’t want my money. Dump the Origin requirement, and then figure out that the average person out there doesn’t want their personal information (even if it is just what is on our computers) floating out there to unnamed ‘3rd parties’.

PolyPusher (profile) says:

Re: EA - what are you thinking??

I couldn’t agree more… I have a pretty huge Steam library. When Origin came out and announced title exclusivity I was pretty annoyed. They caused a game I bought to get yanked out of my preferred service “Crysis 2 yanked from Steam” and to get it back I had to download and install Crysis 2 from Origin.

That’s it… Origin is off my system and will not be retuning. I’m a huge bc2 fan but I will not be getting battlefield 3 or any other Origin exclusive titles. I play with 6 other guys who are also big bc2 fans. They are going to do the same. Convince your friends not to get any Origin exclusive titles and it will eventually go away…

btrussell (profile) says:

Re: Re:

I generally do.

Have you read MS’ for “7?”

MS owns your computer if you install it. Or at least they have more rights to it than you do.

But, I don’t consider them legally binding.
You give me product, I give you money. If there are any further stipulations, then I wish to know about them before we make our transaction/agreement. Returning my money does not compensate me for my time of two trips to store nor the research/time to acquire alternative product.

crade (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

I don’t have time to read all that crap and hire a lawyer to see if I’m allowed to play a video game. Just put some peanut butter on the button and leave your dog in the room for a few minutes.

why would I care what some idiot thinks I’ve agreed to because my 5 year old may or may not have pushed a button, clicked a mouse or sneezed while oprah was on?

grumpy (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

The funny thing is, in the right jurisdiction (like here) a EULA is not binding if it is not presented to the buyer and accepted prior to the transaction. So if I buy a physical product the salesweasel must talk me through the EULA and have me sign it if it is to be valid. Guess how often this happens… I do love our bureaucrats once in a while. ๐Ÿ™‚

Nathan F (profile) says:

I wanted to play Battlefield 3, I really enjoyed Battlefield 2 and hoped to get back into FPS games with it. Then I saw it wasn’t going to be on Steam and then was Origin only. Even before details about the EULA came out I wasn’t all that keen on Origin so I finally decided to pass. I want to play Star Wars: The Old Republic, it will not be available on Steam and only on Origin. I really really would like to play it but I think I will have to pass. Most likely will have to pass on Mass Effect 3 and Skyrim if they are Origin only titles.

My main reason for avoiding the Origin store is that I really don’t want to have to sign up at another site or remember another user name and password. The broad terms of the EULA really turns me off to this and many new EA offerings. I might buy ME 3 but not download it and simply find a pirate copy so I don’t have to deal with this Origin’s silliness.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

Never said it was. Just explaining that Bethesda recently removed its titles from the list of those I’m willing to pay for on Steam, joining the ranks of EA and Ubisoft because it came to light that they implemented DRM that they didn’t disclose, and probably never would have had it not bitten them in the ass.

JaDe says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

I was actually replying to Nathan, as he seemed to imply that Skyrim was an EA game. But thanks for the info on Bethesda. I’m a huge Elder Scrolls fan but have skipped their recent Fallout games so I hadn’t really heard about the new DRM. I am now re-evaluating if I will be buying/playing Skyrim this November.

Anonymous Coward says:

Were there a choice about what you’d use to play Battlefield 3, Mass Effect 3, etc, then gamers could opt out of allowing Origin on their systems while such a policy is in place. But instead it’s a case of agree to such remarkable terms, or don’t play their games at all.

Or there’s door #3.
New Vegas became unplayable for most of the day Thursday. Turned out that Bethesda made it so that you had to connect to Steam Servers every time you start the game. Ubi, EA, and now Bethesda. My choices are
a) deal with this bullshit
b) give up pc gaming
c) use door #3

I’ll still pay for Valve games. I tried, I really tried, to give other publishers a chance to sell me what I want. They failed, so I’ll just go back to taking it.

AJ says:

What!

Have they lost their fucking minds? I wouldn’t install that crap on my machine if it was the best game ever made. How are these idiots not dragged in front of congress and whipped about the head and shoulders by the “someone please think of the children” crowd? How many kids are going to get this loaded up on their machines, and be “watched” without them knowing it?

Just because they hide some clause in their EULA that says they can break into my house, and rape my computer, doesn’t make it right! When does “gathering information” become cyber stalking or E-trespassing?

I hope they are happy! They just gave every game pirate on the planet validation, and fucked it up for the people that were doing it right. Fucking idiots….

out_of_the_blue says:

So don't pay or play! -- But I know you'll pirate it,

and then curse EA for wanting to be paid. That’s the circle of /argument/ that you guys keep making here. The few who won’t stick to “rules” such as paying for a game (even though you play it obsessively like a crazed monkey) cause a crack down from the producer, and it KEEPS GETTING WORSE because more people adopt piracy for a mix of reasons.

All this piece does is repeat yet again the same old complaints of nuisance, excuses for pirating, and bragging of pirating. Games for topic generates page views and comments because so many of you kids PLAY GAMES. I suppose you’re dimly aware that Masnick uses you EXACTLY the same as EA proposes to: eyeballs on advertisements, but you excuse that because he promotes a pro-piracy forum.

Ragaboo (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: So don't pay or play! -- But I know you'll pirate it,

I don’t like the “report and cruise on by” method in this sort of case. Why are you reporting a comment that isn’t spam? Why are we democratically removing comments that are discussing the topic at hand simply because the sentiment is flawed? How about correcting the flawed arguments like intelligent people instead of covering our eyes and ears? I had to un-hide the original comment (which I didn’t even initially see, because it was hidden) simply to understand the intelligent counter-points people were making in reply.

TLDR; Please stop clicking “report” for non-spam comments, regardless of trollism.

Greg G (profile) says:

Re: So don't pay or play! -- But I know you'll pirate it,

because so many of you kids PLAY GAMES.

Yep. I’m a 44 yr old kid. And I still play games.

OOB, you still don’t get it. I doubt you ever will.
Most of us are willing to pay for the games we want to play, but when companies like EA, Ubisoft, et al., come along and put these kinds of demands on their potential customers, the word “potential” is changed to “lost.”

And since the cracked copy will not have those restrictions on it, a lot of those lost customers will download the game.

These companies will never learn that copy protection/DRM will not stop piracy. And as they get more restrictive, or want to collect more data from your PC, the more potential customers they are going turn into lost customers.

All the DRM says to me is “Mr. Consumer, we at [Big Software Company] just don’t trust you. You have to let us snoop around on your computer and collect all sorts of information on you in order to use our software. And if you do that, we also own your computer since our software is now installed on it. And by the way, you don’t own this software, you are only licensing it, and we can shut down our DRM servers without notice, at which time the software will automatically be uninstalled from your computer, and you must return the physical copy of the DVD with all documentation it the original packaging… at your expense.
And cookies. Make sure you send cookies.”

fb39ca4 (profile) says:

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A Monkey with Atitude (profile) says:

Re: Damn

I have cancelled mine as well, I have played all the Battlefield games from 1942 to Current (even the crap Vietnam). (hell i even re-purchased a couple because i couldn’t find the discs anymore).

I love the series, And in 2142 i was a top 10 player… AND (I HOPE YOUR LISTENING EA) I HAVE CANCELLED MY PRE-ORDER… I play by the rules and buy the games i play even the turds, and I WILL NOT BE TREATED LIKE A CRIMINAL BECAUSE YOU CANT FIGURE OUT A BUSINESS PLAN…and before you apologize fuck you schills… I run my own business I know what customer service is and Schills and apologist for anti-customer behavior does not change that its anti-customer….

I will keep playing games like DOTA, HON, and my fav. League of Legends, They ARE FREAKING FREE, NO DMA, NO WORRIES and they make MONEY with no worry piracy of milking the last dimes out of people.

FUCK EA, FUCK UBI… I AM VOTING WITH MY DOLLARS AND I VOTE FOR YOU TO GO AWAY!!!!

Scooters (profile) says:

This is why I buy my games through GameStop, used, and for consoles.

Screw EA. Screw Ubisoft.

Hold on a second, I just got a notice on my 360…

*no, I don’t give a damn about ESPN, the Disney-owned piece of sh…

As I was saying, it’s a good thing these consoles don’t have such crap. I’d be lost if I couldn’t…

…yes, I’d like to download the latest update because the game was shipped incomplete for some reason…

…simply play games.

*takes wallet out of back pocket and fondly remembers his father’s words “Here, take it all. No one needs to eat.”

It’s what I feel like saying to every entertainment business out there.

Ninja (profile) says:

“IF YOU DO NOT WANT EA TO COLLECT, USE, STORE, TRANSMIT OR DISPLAY THE DATA DESCRIBED IN THIS SECTION, PLEASE DO NOT INSTALL OR USE THE APPLICATION.”

Translation: don’t bother paying for our games, download them for free and be free of our utterly intrusive DRM.

I’ve been avoiding EA games for a while now (no, not even bothering to download them) so it’s all cool.

taoareyou (profile) says:

The Only Option I Would Agree To

If EA gave me the option of having the game for free and in return I give them data they sell to their “partners”. But if I pay for the game, I don’t want them taking info from my PC and selling it.

Of course, I haven’t purchased an EA game since the Securom fiasco blocking my DVD burner from working. And I don’t buy UBISoft stuff anymore either.

I think more and more people are going to go the way of the early comment makers here and have specially isolated environments to run their games in on their PC. I’m certainly looking into it.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: The Only Option I Would Agree To

In a lot of ways it is the same thing as what Google+, Facebook, Android Market place, Amazon, Costco and any supermarket cards do.

They look at what you have and buy so they market to you to get you to buy more. (I am not saying it is always done in a fair balanced way).

Rikuo (profile) says:

Re: Re: The Only Option I Would Agree To

This comparison fails because Google+, Facebook and supermarket cards only know what I do/buy within their own confines. Facebook knows what music I like because I specifically put it on there. Google knows what I like to search for because I use their search engine. Supermarkets know what I buy because I use the card at their tills with my purchases.
Origin here though is different from Steam. Steam will look at my computer components and in Valve’s offices, someone will write up a report that at the end of fiscal year 2011, X% of people used a Nvidia graphics card, so we should do more deals with Nvidia, so to speak. But Origin doesn’t just limit itself to components, the EULA allows it to look at my browsing history, what other programs I have installed, whether or not I use password programs. In other words, it looks at things it has no business looking at. It sees things that have no relation to Origin. It will see that I and millions of others use OpenOffice and sell that information to Microsoft.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Piraters

That is hilarious. The death of PC gaming has been long predicted. Never happened. Never will. And I’ll tell you why:

PCs have the highest specs available in any gaming platform and the least restrictions. ANYONE can make a mind-bogglingly awesome game for the PC with freely available tools. Not so in the console.

But because of this, PC gamers are also a lot more demanding. While console gamers would put up with a half-assed game, with no modding support or something as simple as the ability to managing your own key bindings (for example), PC gamers are much more vocal and express their distaste violently.

You see, PC gamers are used to being able to configure every little bit of their games. They also like to tweak things in .ini files and hack the game code. They also enjoy modding the game to make it more awesome.

Now, game makers hate this with a fury that burns with the heat of a thousand suns. I mean, why the heck should I, big shot programmer, take 2 minutes to make a menu where you can setup the key bindings. Or take 10 minutes to make a dedicated server? That stuff is hard work!

Also, they don’t very much like people modding their games because (in their puny minds), allowing mods is like admitting that you were wrong the first time around, and someone had to come by and make your game better.

So, no, piracy is not destroying the PC games. It’s just a convenient excuse. They’ll come around. Like Mr. “We won’t make a PC version of Super Street Fighter IV for the PC because of the pirates” Capcom did. They always do.

Signed: AC, proud PC games and PWNER of console players since 19XX.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Piraters

Well said man. I still play all of my old games that I’ve PAID for over the 20years of pc gaming. Many are still very active and have grown thanks to extensive modding, sometimes the mods are so large they practically make a new game. The companies that have recognized that are drowning in money. Just look at Valve

crade (profile) says:

Re: Re: Piraters

It’s not completely dead, but
People are moving away from PC gaming for good reasons (not because of piracy):

– It’s hard as to develop for, you have like 1000 variables to account for for every 1 variable on a console gaming. You test on a PS3, it works, your golden. You test on a PC and it works, it’s a fluke. Plus antivirus programs suck and wreck everything
– it’s expensive to maintain a rig.
– hard to get games setup (same problems as why it’s hard to develop)
– Games could work 1 day, you install another app and it breaks
– for the most part the same game is released on console and is just as good (or close enough most people don’t care).
– etc etc

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Piraters

Those are not good excuses, you see we have virtual machines now, any game developer could develop their own virtual machine and put their own games on that console it would work in any machine ever produced and probably well into the future.

Doubt?

http://mamedev.org/
http://www.mess.org/
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_video_game_console_emulators

Virtual machines are for games what Mono is for programming.

The Groove Tiger (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 what did richard DO?

http://images.wikia.com/u5lazarus/images/e/eb/Electronic_Arts_historical_logo.svg

http://ultima.wikia.com/wiki/Cube_Generator

http://ultima.wikia.com/wiki/Sphere_Generator

http://ultima.wikia.com/wiki/Tetrahedron_Generator

“However, as early as 1988, the relationship between these companies was strained, as proven in Ultima V, where one curse word was “Electronic Arts.” Richard Garriott felt that EA’s policies were destructive, and the relationship worsened over time.

1990, Origin openly based several bloodthirsty pirates in Ultima VI on senior EA employees Trip Hawkins (Captain Hawkins), Joe Ybarra (Old Ybarra), Bing Gordon (Alastor Gordon) and Steward Bonn (Bonn). Richard Garriott also named a morgue after Hawkins. The practice continued in Ultima VII wherein three generators formed the EA logo, the initials of the “bad guys” Elizabeth and Abraham were “EA,” and the Guardian was the “Destroyer of Worlds” (Origin’s motto was “We Create Worlds”).”

Source: http://ultima.wikia.com/wiki/Electronic_Arts

anonymous says:

so yet another company pisses on it’s customers. and they wonder why people download ‘pirate’ copies? it doesn’t take a genius to know why but it seems that it takes a genius (from EA) to do something about it, make customers continue to buy and play the games without blaming ‘piracy’ for the lack of support. perhaps they just want to pack up producing and selling games? instead of giving the real reasons about what is going on, good ol’ ‘piracy’ can take the can.

JCFgamer (user link) says:

I noticed this advertising crap after a update on Fight Night. They started advertising and in the ring and bill boards with upcoming movies, and products. And you had to agree to it before being able to play Fight Night, so I boycotted it.

These gaming companies are out of hand with their belief that they can just invade your privacy to make more money selling your info to 3rd parties.

mikey4001 (profile) says:

Thanks, EA, for making it easy.

I have been a loyal consumer of the battlefield franchise since BF:1942, all the expansion packs, DLC, and everything else. I even steam-gifted multiple copies BF:BC2 to some friends so they would play that POS with me. I have been looking forward to BF3 ever since I first launched the demo for 2142. But I guess I still just can’t be trusted…

I have been stashing cash all summer to buy a new video card when BF3 is released. Looks like this bit of news has just saved me not only $60 bucks for the game, but another $300 or so on top of that for new gear. Perhaps instead of complaining to EA, there should be some “constructive criticism” directed towards nVidia, ATI, AMD, Intel, etc. When I don’t buy new games, I don’t buy new gaming gear. After all, out in the back yard on a nice autumn day with a good book and a cold brew is certainly NOT “the way it is meant to be played.”

Anonymous Coward says:

I’ve already dropped EA as a supplier of games. They long ago crossed the line with their DRM.

I value games for their replay value. If a game does the same thing and has you play exactly the same game again, it isn’t a game I want.

If it requires an internet connection just to play, then it isn’t for me either. I don’t always have a place where there is a net connection 100% of the time.

Sounds to me like EA is wanting it’s games pirated because the pirates have the better model. If I really want to try it out, I can always go that route. Thing is most of them aren’t worth the trouble to download.

Lastly, if I play a game, it’s always on a computer without internet connected. I’ll transfer the game to the machine that will play it by other means than LAN. But the game machine never, ever, sees the internet.

Good luck on harvesting the data on that one.

Anonymous Coward says:

My Prediction

A few months after releasing Battlefield 3 on Origin, EA will send out mass settlement letters to a significant number of their paying customers because their spyware detected a pirated game on the customer’s hard drive.

A year later, EA goes out of business because no one trusts them or is willing to purchase their games anymore.

Anonymous Coward says:

Old news is old Mike. EA already softened the EA taking out the language about using the info for marketing and tightened up the other language a bit

EA knows that you care how information about you is collected, used and shared, and we appreciate your trust that we will do so carefully and sensibly. Information about our customers is an important part of our business, and EA would never sell your personally identifiable information to anyone, nor would it ever use spyware or install spyware on users? machines. We and agents acting 37683v1 on our behalf do not share information that personally identifies you without your consent, except in rare instances where disclosure is required by law or to enforce EA?s legal rights.”

“EA collects nonpersonally identifiable (or anonymous) information for purposes of improving our products and services, providing services to you, facilitating the provision of software updates, dynamically served content and product support as well as communicating with you. The non-personally identifiable information that EA collects includes technical and related information that identifies your computer (including the Internet Protocol Address) and operating system, as well as information about your Application usage (including but not limited to successful installation and/or removal), software, software usage and peripheral hardware. As noted above, this information is gathered periodically for purposes such as improving our products and services, troubleshooting bugs, and otherwise enhancing your user experience.”

News about:
http://www.joystiq.com/2011/08/26/ea-revises-origin-eula-data-collection-is-still-in-collection/

New EULA:
http://eacom.s3.amazonaws.com/EULA_Origin_8.24.11.pdf

EA privacy policy:
http://www.ea.com/1/privacy-policy

Capitalist Lion Tamer (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

Hoth, you’re killing me. “Old news?” That Joystiq post went up a few hours after this one hit Techdirt. RPS just posted their update not more than 2 hours ago (note my timestamp) and it links to a Giant Bomb post that went up sometime today (no timestamp).

I know this is the internet and all, but… man. That stings a little. (BTW, if EA updated its EULA two days ago, maybe it should have tried to leak the info a little faster.)

(And yes, the petitions are filling up to have all writers at Techdirt change their names to “Mike.” Mr. Ho and Mr. Costanza have taken the lead. I think Nina’s up next.)

John Fenderson (profile) says:

Re: Re:

And EA’s statements can be trusted why, exactly? They’ve demonstrated, repeatedly, that they are not trustworthy. They’ve tipped their hand with the original version of these statements. Why should anyone believe that the new & improved statements will be adhered to?

Particularly since, in the first place, the new & improved statements still say they will root around your system to find information they have no business accessing (what apps you’ve installed, what peripherals you have, etc.)

In the second place, they have not even defined what they mean by “personally identifiable information” — and as Apple’s EULAs aptly demonstrate, there can and often is peronally identifiable information that is not considered such by the company making such promises. In Apple’s case, MAC addresses & location information isn’t included even though they clearly identify you personally.

Does EA have a more realistic definition? Who knows?

All in all, the new & improved statements aren’t really. Any EULA and privacy statement can only be trusted to the same extent as the entity issuing them can be trusted.

EA has shown they deserve exactly no trust whatsoever.

Call me Al says:

Looks like I’m heading back to piracy or giving up gaming completely. I felt that since I’ve got a decent salary I had no excuse not to buy games from series that I enjoy such as Fable, Elder Scrolls, Mass Effect etc. However I recently bought Fable III and due to system conflicts with the Games for Windows DRM type thing on that I’m still not able to play the game several months after buying it. I’ve spent hours and hours trying to fix it.

I was putting money aside to upgrade my computer ready for Skyrim and Mass Effect 3 but if they both have dodgy DRM then I might just give up on the whole thing. I’m busy and the time I devote to gaming has to be worth it. It no longer seems to be.

So as someone above points out its not just the gaming companies who will lose out on my money. Its also the hardware companies because I simply don’t need anything more powerful then I already have… browsing and dvds is just not that demanding.

Anonymous Coward says:

I don’t mind saying that after years and years of getting taken to the cleaners with piss poor games, some that didn’t work out of the box (with no method to get a refund on a programming defect) that I prefer to pirate games to find those that are actually worth the money.

As many times it has come out, it’s tryout time. If it is worth the money, I’ll go buy it. Just did that tonight with a worthwhile game. But I am tired of wasting my money on games that the programmers and the software house rushed into print without adequate testing time and without fixing the bugs first. Mostly they want to rush it to market, unfixed, and have you connect and download their software in order to get the patches to fix it; if you are lucky. If you aren’t lucky, maybe an patch will be out in a year or maybe never.

I won’t buy a car with the understanding the tires for it will come next year. Why would I buy a game with a problem built in it, at the start, without a care about fixing it before selling it?

Hardware? Yeah, just bought a new computer just to game and do graphics on. High end computers carry high end prices. However they are what you need to game on the computer if you are going to do the up to date good stuff with decent graphics.

I’ll be darn if I am going to agree to either EA, Ubisoft, nor any other gaming makers idea of ripping off the customer more than they already have with some of the defected software sold as completed products. To turn around and add intrusive DRM and spyware at the same time is adding insult to injury when you figure the customer is paying for the game.

EA and Ubisoft have long been off the radar as far as gaming goes because of their actions tell you where their interests are. It’s not to make great games as much as it is to rip off the paying customer. I don’t support products and companies I disagree with their practices over.

Austin (profile) says:

Why I pirated Brink

This reminds me why I pirated Brink a month ago. I. Hate. Steam. As it is literally impossible to buy the DLC without Steam, I took an alternate route. After signing up for a Steam acciunt and purchasing the DLC (I bought the original game itself in a local Best Buy) I then proceeded to illegally torrent the Game and the DLC and install it without Steam. Thus, I was forced to piracy, even though I purchased a totally legal copy of both the game and the DlC, in an effort to avoid the DRM. This is now the 6th time I’ve done this – purchasing a game then pirating it to avoid DRM – and it’s getting really old.

I just hope someone can get ME3 on TPB before it’s a month old. I love the Mass Effect series and fully intend to pay good money for ME3, just as I did for ME2 and all the DLC so far. But I’d rather leave the internet outright than have software spying on portions of my system that don’t pertain to it.

fvj90r says:

Had it preordered – bioware is the only company I do that with. Then news hitting with this… Cancelled. If this is ho they plan to treat paying customers they should expect to lose every single customer who sees privacy> a random entertainment product out of many. Its not heroin, its not heart medicine,its not food or wonderful big milky boobies. I can do without it and with this decision you will be doing without a lot of $

Pirated versions were always faster,lighter,smoother. They don’t scratch up, they don’t force me to update.

And now you can add they don’t wanna log my keystrokes,browse my porn, and redirect my browser to battlefield 22 sales page because I drunkenly googled peppermint flavored ammo on the 22nd of last yr and their bots thought it a wise sales move.

So fuck you EA. You made a socialist musketeer out of me. Yeaargh, all for one and one for all. I will turn that 70$ into bitcoin and donate it to random commando comrades.

When someone hands you money – you dont slap them. I hope enough people all stand together and we can paper cut the fuckers to death.

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