Key Sony Gaming Websites Go Down Because They Let Their Domains Expire

from the spare-some-change? dept

As online gaming becomes more and more popular, we’re of course beginning to hear stories of occasional missteps in how the online infrastructure is handled. The reasons for this can vary. For instance, maybe you’re Electronic Arts and you’ve both made your game require a connection to your servers but you misjudged the load that would be on those servers. Or maybe you’re Electronic Arts and you decide to shut down an online game without refunding the money people have spent to play it. Or, hey, maybe you’re Electronic Arts and you decide to pull the plug on online gaming servers extremely soon just to push gamers into buying the next annual sports title. The point is that these reasons tend to be things that could be avoided.

Sony appears to be learning that lesson now, what with the gaming universe both shouting and laughing at them for forgetting to renew the domains on several popular gaming sites they run.

Sony Online Entertainment (SOE) sites and were sometimes redirecting users to generic holding pages from Network Solutions. Some SOE-related sites for games such as Everquest, Everquest 2, Landmark and H1Z1 were also apparently affected.

The reason became quickly apparent: the domains of the sites expired. The details are basically that the renewal emails all went to a junk mailbox set up for an employee that had left the company a while back and were never actually seen by whoever had taken over their duties. SOE President John Smedley, to his credit, isn’t even attempting anything besides an admission and an apology.

“The payment notifications went to a junk email box,” Smedley tweeted, adding, “Someone left and it got caught in the replacements junk filter. Simple as that. Embarrassing as that. No point dodging. DNS problems could take up to 48 hours to resolve,” he wrote, adding, “We are really really sorry on this one folks. Embarrassing and preventable. We screwed up.”

Look, it’s unfair to expect anyone to never make a mistake, but this all comes off as bush-league stuff that we just shouldn’t be reading about when it comes to a company like Sony, with all their experience in running an online gaming platform. Get it together guys. I mean, granted, I have no skin in the game, because I game the way God intended: in a dark room, playing alone, and with a cold craft beer next to me. But, you know, for all the other people.

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Comments on “Key Sony Gaming Websites Go Down Because They Let Their Domains Expire”

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DCL says:

Re: Re:

It used to be really “hip” to hate on EA and Tim is subject to the trend and I am increasingly disappointed at his lack of objectivity or willing to take a fresh look at things. This Article has little to do with EA but he made it the lead idea. I have been reading TD almost daily for a decade and IMO there are two topics where TD is prone to unfounded sensationalism, mud slinging and general FUD … Mike et al 1. blasting Conservative Republicans for being themselves (less of this now a days) and Tim with Electronic Arts. The rest of the options are more reasonable and backed up with some sort of real and relevant information.

Granted EA has done some idiotic things in its 30+ years and lately has had a few missteps. But if you look at EA as a whole there is lots of stuff that EA is doing that really are more Gamer friendly… the new CEO really is making a difference.

Recent Examples:
Got rid of Online Pass

Great Game Guarantee (a first for digital sales):

Game time program (free play time on full games):

On the House program (free games):

EA has spent a lot of money on improving customer service over the last few years… almost all phone staff is now Regular Full Time employees and train to be experts in our games.

Humble Bundle and many other socially responsible programs

Full disclosure… I work for EA. All the people I work with are very committed to making a good gamer experience and leadership encourages it and investments that make things better.

And no I am not being payed to write this.. although I am at work.

DCL says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Well I hope you and all your co-workers lose your jobs too… no not really, I am not a jerk.

Give some recent reason why Origin is so bad, just one…
and if you use “its spyware’ then you have a problem with confirmation bias.

People don’t realize that the main reason Origin is the PC install and patching service just like the equivalent of 1st party consoles… get a better, common user experience… look back 5 years and every EA game used a unique install and packaging technology. Plus it allows better integration with centralized social services that makes it easier for the game teams to focus on other things like making games. Sure it is also a sales and marketing platform but both parts are important.

Yeah, Dungeon Keeper was a disappointment.. it was just a Clash of Clans clone (I do like Clash of Clans and play daily). I didn’t say EA was perfect… we do try new things and don’t always get them right.

If you don’t want to buy EA games then don’t.

Disclosure reminder… I do work for EA and don’t get paid for this.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

“Well I hope you and all your co-workers lose your jobs too… no not really, I am not a jerk.”

You chose to work for EA, if you don’t like the attitude towards your employer, how about getting a job at a reputable one?

“Give some recent reason why Origin is so bad, just one…
and if you use “its spyware’ then you have a problem with confirmation bias.”

the spyware thing was just the icing on the shit cake. First it is totally unnecessary, all of your “points” are already done by steam, just better. Further I refuse to install a client for every fucking publisher under the sun, That is why I also refuse to buy anything from Ubisoft or Rockstar.

Also about that spyware thing, it doesn’t matter it doesn’t do it now, but you got caught with your hand in the coockie jar and the “apology” for it came across as not being sorry that you did it, but for getting caught. And the whole idea that somewhere in you company thought that it was a good idea is already enough not to touch it. You never know when your company reintroduces it. Same for the Xbox One, the idiotic policies were a pure software thing and just that they backtracked doesn’t mean they bring it back.

Letting someone elses software on my machine is based on trust and you utterly lost it.
“Yeah, Dungeon Keeper was a disappointment.. it was just a Clash of Clans clone (I do like Clash of Clans and play daily). I didn’t say EA was perfect… we do try new things and don’t always get them right.”

Disappointment? Trying new things? are you serious?

this was a blatantly insulting attempt to rip-off people. This is a non-game which whole purpose is to make the “gameplay” or what small hints of it exist as painful as possible with the intent of squeezing money out of people at a rate that is insane. There is nothing innovative at all, this is new form of one armed bandit just without the miniscule chance of winning something. That you had the gall to use a beloved franchise like dungeon keeper for this is just epitome of evil in the gaming industry. And then your company has the audacity to stand and claim it failed because it “innovated” to much? You people obviously don’t have any idea what that word means. Here is a hint, gamers don’t like being treated as a walking, breathing ATM.

Also lets not forget, that you are not allowed to advertise dungeon keeper as free to play anymore in the UK. Guess, why that may be…

And that is stuff your company does constantly. Hideously murdering beloved franchises and developers, putting out outright broken software and not to forget you are the ones who started the bullshit of day one DLC and season passes.

Your company and the likes of Ubisoft are what is wrong with the gaming industry. You are the ones destroying it, not piracy.

“If you don’t want to buy EA games then don’t. “

I don’t. I Can’t even be bothered to pirate it, because the stuff you are bringing out is disappointing even for free. But you know what? even if i did pirate it it wouldn’t matter. And that is because your company doesn’t care and counts people boycotting your games the same as people pirating them. It doesn’t ever occur to your company that people may not buy your stuff, because of what you do and have done. There is a reason you got the worst company award multiple times now.

“Disclosure reminder… I do work for EA and don’t get paid for this.”

If you weren’t permanently trying to defend your hellhole of a company I might actually feel sorry for you…

DCL says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

“If you weren’t permanently trying to defend your hellhole of a company I might actually feel sorry for you…”

Thanks but no thanks for your back handed empathy. I like my job… I get paid well, work with great people, get to positively affect hundreds of thousands if not millions of people’s experience (obviously not you), and I get to talk about video games all day.

As for the spyware issue… I happen to know it wasn’t malicious like the hype lead people to believe, it was really supposed to be a convenience for Origin to find your existing games (see previous comment about how legacy games had different installs). But don’t take my word for it… check out the outcome of all the official inquiries on the subject… manly in Europe where privacy laws are more details, Germany had a lot of uproar.

I understand the desire for convenience but it sounds like you are saying that you don’t want competition and Steam is the only installer you need… hope that works out well for you. You may want to look up the terms monopoly and the history of how companies change behaviors with the end up being the defacto option. I noticed that you didn’t really give a reason other then “spy ware!”

True nobody likes being treated as an ATM but the market is changing and NO gaming company has the end all answer. Squeezing money is one way of looking at it… trying different monopolization strategies is another. Will it work in the long run… time will tell. but the founding spirit of CwF + RtB involves trying new things and DK was not the best execution of that, we didn’t connect with fans and therefore didn’t give them a reason to buy. I get that you don’t like that model but lots of games also use it, your time or buy something to speed things up, there are more than a few F2P like that. Some gamers like it, some don’t, I have noticed the older hardcore gamers tend to not like it but younger more “casual” gamers embrace it. (generation gap?)

As for the advertising in UK, I haven’t been following it closely, chances are it was because they used a word that had some legal implication. it will be interesting to see how all F2P games are affected by it (why is clash of clans not affected if DK is a clone). You should also get angry an many US companies get away with advertising deceptions (not sure how an Unlimited data plan can have a cap measured in GB.)

It seems like your responses are all based on your emotional opinion and that is fine… but it is hard to tell the reasoning is if you are passionate about games or just want to hate on EA because it is the popular thing to do.

DCL says:

Re: Re: Re:5 Re:

That is an interesting comment considering you brought up EA in the first place and did so in a way that didn’t really fit with the “lesson that Sony learned”. None of your EA examples are directly related to not renewing a service. Plus you don’t even mention Sony until the 2nd paragraph, that and your previous articles regarding EA implies you have some personal vendetta against the company. I asked a professional copy editor friend of mine (who don’t work for EA) and he was a bit confused at your attack as well.

That and I was pretty sure you weren’t going show up in the comments and say anything positive about EA since you seem to be too closed minded on the subject. I just wanted to give a counter point. Intelligent discussion and competing opinions and ideas are a good thing, that is what i feel TD is founded on, I don’t come here for the FUD and brand bashing.

Dark Helmet (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:6 Re:

Ok, let me try to explain this to you, and maybe you’ll understand. Prior to starting this post about trouble’s for online gaming, I searched through Techdirt’s search field for similar stories to reference in an opening graf about the topic. I then started giggling at the results, because most of the stories involved EA. Granted, many of those were written by myself and Tim Cushing, who covered the SimCity debacle REALLY well, but that’s what I found. Then I decided that if I was giggling, maybe I could make a funny opening paragraph built around a gimmick of pretending to be unaware that I was writing about EA over and over again. So that’s what I did.

Now, I know you think I’ve got some kind of mega-boner for bashing EA, but I really don’t. Go through my article history and you’ll see me bashing EA, Ubisoft, Blizzard, etc. etc. etc. I write articles in the polemic form. Examples below:

1. EA – This article and those referenced
2. Blizzard – This article, among others:
3. Ubisoft – This article, among others:
4. 2k Games – This article, among others:
5. Nintendo – This article, among others:
6. Eidos – This article, among others:
7. Square Enix – This article, among others:
8. Sega – This article, may be more:
9. Sony – This very article, among others

And there’s almost certainly more. So, the point isn’t that I don’t write articles criticizing EA. No, the point is that you appear to be a crazy person, or at least someone with an exceptionally selective memory, given that you seem to think I’ve got some kind of hard on for EA. I don’t.

Oh, and I REALLY love some of your games, too! Unlike others here, my experience with Origin has been mostly free of negatives. I prefer Steam, but I have nothing to bash Origin for, likely because I used it after all the controversy. The NBA Live, MVP Baseball and Madden NFL series games were long-favorites of mine for MANY years before your company ruined them beyond repair. The old Sim City games were glorious. System Shock makes me masturbate. The Sims was wonderful, all the way up to the last iteration. And the Mass Effect series is still my favorite game franchise ever, surpassing my much-loved Final Fantasy series.

But none of that was the god damned point of this article, which focused mostly on Sony and opened up with a graf tweaking the people you happen to work for. You somehow globalized that tweak and turned it into some kind of personal vendetta that doesn’t exist. I’d call that ego-maniacal, but that isn’t how you spell narcissistic. If you think I got something wrong, present a valid counter-argument, but crying about how much we’re mentioning EA’s fuckups doesn’t help your cause in the least….

nasch (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:7 Re:

No, the point is that you appear to be a crazy person, or at least someone with an exceptionally selective memory, given that you seem to think I’ve got some kind of hard on for EA.

I think it’s very much selective attention/memory. He works for EA, so any criticism of EA is MUCH more noticeable and memorable to him than criticism of other game companies that he has nothing to do with. I think that could explain why he thought a throwaway joke (and a good one, I enjoyed it) was the focus of the article.

Chronno S. Trigger (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Re:

You’re running far off track here, but I’ll sum it up for you.

The UK determined that Dungeon Keepers cannot be called “Free to Play” because they determined that the game could not be reasonably played for free.

There are plenty of games that work with F2P well. Dungeon Keepers is on the other end of the spectrum, the one labeled “unreasonable to the point of legal intervention”. Seems the only innovative thing with Dungeon Keepers is making it impossible to play without paying.

Lastly a bit of advice: If one of my employees said “trying different monopolization strategies is another” in any way that could be construed as speaking as an employee, I’d fire their asses. Intentionally trying to monopolize a market has huge legal consequences. No company wants to be associated with that word.

Please note: the only emotion that came to me when reading your comment was sock when I read the “monopolization” part.

DCL says:

Re: Re: Re:5 Re:

That was a horrible typo on my part… I meant to say monetization (strategies for making money) but even with that I do feel it was pretty corporate sounding, and I am not proud I typed it. But the reality is every company has to find some ways to pay the bills. You could make the best game ever and if you give it away you can’t pay your employees to make a new one.
Like I stated before I am not an official spokes person or voice of anything of EA, I am an employee of EA that disclosed I worked for them before somebody looked up my IP address and called me a shill. With an error like that you can tell I am no professional copy writer.

I haven’t really done a lot of research for the UK ad issue. I guess it is expectations… for both Clash of Clans, Simpson’s Tapped out and Dungeon Keeper I got to decent levels withing 20 hours of game play (over the course of a week or two) with no real money spent. At that point I gave Clash of Clans some money because I wanted to, not that I felt I had do so to continue (in fact I still have most of those purchased gems).

But if DK isn’t “playable for free” that is the case what is “playable v not playable’, does that extend to Call of Duty since starting off as a new player now is impossible because everybody is leveled up? Where does the line start and end? What is the time to money spent conversion?

Chronno S. Trigger (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:6 Re:

“You could make the best game ever and if you give it away you can’t pay your employees to make a new one.”

And you would be right (for most situations), but this isn’t a black or white issue. The options aren’t just give it away or constantly bug for more money. There are steps in between. You could, I don’t know, actually sell the game. I know a lot of people were looking forward to Dungeon Keeper. EA could have sold it and people would have bought it. Dungeon Keeper had a legacy behind it, had a following. Not hard at all to build off of it.

But if you insist that F2P is the way to go, it could have been handled much better. Look at Team Fortress 2, completely free to play, but everyone has hats. That’s what you get when you don’t bug your users all the time, loyalty. It doesn’t take a psychic to predict that annoying the hell out of your players is not the way to go.

But that’s not what I want you to walk away with. If you get anything from this conversation, I hope it’s that this all doesn’t matter. None of it. You know what matters? What the customers (the people that have the money you want) think of you. EA has a stigma, earned or just a fad, doesn’t matter. EA has to get over that stigma or there’s just going to be more fuel for the fire. DRM, spying, always online, down servers, F2P that’s nowhere near free, directly insulting the gaming community. It all adds up.

Public relations is a bitch, and public opinion will turn on a dime. But you can use that. Stop using invasive DRM, ease up on the F2P, stop with the always online crap, work to make Origin better then Steam. Start putting the customer first and all this will blow over.

If CoD is so unbalanced that new players can’t play, then yes CoD needs to die (and the developers disciplined).

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Re:

You better get paid well, selling your soul should not come cheap.

About the spyware issue, it was done, period. I don’t particularly care if by accident or on purpose. That means either you are incompetent or malicious, neither options helps you gain trustworthiness.

Funny thing though, how in one paragraph you are berating me about “competition” and the next paragraph you bring up “monopolization strategies”. Does that kind of doublethink hurt? What is it going to be? Competition is only good as long as it benefits EA?

If you want competition you would have to put every game from every publisher/developer on every distribution platform or store, including DRM free. After that the platforms can compete with each other and you can get useful information which platform/store (with or without DRM) people actually prefer. But then I guess Origin wouldn’t even be in the top 10. The moment you have games exclusive to a platform you are not competing, you are holding content people might want hostage.

This entire thing with the clients for ubisoft, rockstar, EA, Kalypso and whoever else is not about competition, it is about control. If it were about serving the needs of the gamers you would sit in a room and come up with a unified real standard for distribution, DRM free or as lightweight and unintrusive as possible (at maximum steam level of DRM, ideally less) and that whole thing as open source, so no single company can dominate the infrastructure.

For your issue with patching, in an ideal world it would be a packet manager like the red hat packet manager or the debian one on linux, all encompassing for the entire system, and open source.

and for dungeon keeper again, squeezing money is the only way to look at it. the gameplay stops as if you hit a brick wall unless you play. It doesn’t slow down it is stopped dead in its tracks. That alot of other games use this model doesn’t make it better either. They are similarly despicable and I don’t touch them. The only reason DK mobile got this attention was because it desecrated a beloved franchise in this way and I think it could have served a good purpose if it would have lead to a proper discussion about this type of non-game in general. I find this type of game morally abhorrent and inexcusable. I’m also calling out companies like (famous for creative trademark trolling) and Zynga (your particular “inspiration” in the casual monetization practices)

Also that this kind of game is widely adopted is not necessarily an indication that people are generally ok with it or rather would be ok with it if they knew better. The big thing here is, that mobile games and especially this type is for a huge amount of people their first contact with gaming all together, thanks to the rapid spread of smartphones. And this is gaming at its worst. It is sad that a lot of peoples first experience with the medium involves progress for money, that is not what gaming should be. And I find it despicable that companies like yours are essentially preying on people that just don’t know better.

I hope this will have serious repercussions in the greater free to play market because I see most of them as scams, plain and simple. If I had any say in this the majority would be culled rather sooner than later. I would be fine if these games were free limited demos that you can unlock for a few bucks, but this amount of monetization? that is just wrong. But then, how are the paid demos in some console regions working out for you? And don’t even try to excuse it with a bug. It is clearly testing waters for future attempts to rip people off.

You want more reason why I hate EA?
-Wing commander franchise
-Magic Carpet Franchise
-Syndicate Franchise (the real one, not the shooter one)
-Sim whatever (except the sims hate the concept, and last sim city which was only good for a few laughs)
-Command & Conquer (murdered with part 4)
-Populous Franchise

-Bioware (only a soulless husk of what it once was)
-Origin (the studio, not the unholy desecration of its name)

-day 1 DLC
-invention of season passes

Being told by multiple customer support reps that the Bioware social account containing Dragon Age: Origins and Mass effect 2 with all DLC (including all rare promo ones) was unrecoverably lost during the merger with the Origin (former EA account) and I should buy them again. this were the last 2 EA games I bought, and I only bought them because they were free of intrusive DRM. I gave your company a chance, after the whole DRM crap that was going on before, with these 2 games and not only did you double down on DRM with origin, but you also gloriously blew it with the lost DLC. (don’t even bother refering me to any CS rep these 2 I did pirate the DLC for and I can’t be arsed to spend any time with another of these assholes)

Your company is doing the worst business practices in the entire industry and get away with it, encouraging other similarly morally bankrupt companies to the same You are an example of what not to do, but many other big publishers take it as instruction to follow.

And I have huge issues with a lot of gaming and IT companies with a rather extensive “no buy list”. It is just that in gaming EA as at the very top of the list with a rather safe distance to the others, but Ubisoft has started climbing rather quickly…

Sheogorath (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

You know what would make EA the best company? Getting rid of the DRM completely. Let’s face it, honest customers are simply pissed off at putting a game into their PC, only to find they can’t play it because the DRM on the disc prevents it being fully installed, and the DRM removal patch offered by the game’s developer to solve the issue can only be used on a fully installed game. All the while, the pirates are laughing at the honest customers who got burnt while playing games that they removed the DRM from. Stop pissing us off, stop putting DRM on games.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

I don’t see a problem here. EA really is a pack of lying, greedy, incompetent assholes and they fully DESERVE to ripped at every opportunity.

Of course Sony is also a pack of lying, greedy, incompetent assholes but I’m sure there’s enough room in the comments here to rip them too.

It is, as they say, a target-rich environment.

CK20XX (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

I see a couple problems here:

1.) Every step forward EA takes is accompanied by at least one step backward, so the good things the company does ultimately don’t amount to anything. When the net gain is still negative, your good gestures are liable to come off as too little, too late at best. I know that sounds like an unfair situation to be in, but you really do have to work hard to earn the Consumerist’s Worst Company in America competition two years running, and you need to accept that it’s going to take even more work to overcome all that bad karma. If you really mean to put your past behind you, you need to stop complaining and focus on tackling the mountain you built in your path.

2.) The kind gestures you list are only relevant to EA’s Origin platform, while plenty of disasters continue to occur elsewhere. See Battlefield 4 and the infamously bad Sim City, for example.

DCL says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

True that EA is not perfect… it is a big company. Remember that games take years to build and changing course is not easy and neither is PR (see most TD Streisand Effect articles). EA Exec’s often get blamed for “requiring x studio to have feature y” but the reality is more that the Exec’s have say if the project gets funded and goes forward based on the premise and feature set… and the rest is up to the studio to decide… sometimes those studios do not so smart things and end up hanging themselves with there own rope. Should the Exec’s have stepped in and said more.. maybe so but then they get blamed for being controlled. EA is not a charity… studios have to work on making good games to get funding and approvals.

For the worst company thing…do you really put that much value in that ‘competition’ that is little more then a marketing ploy? (I am not just saying that because we won twice, more from a ‘how it is run’ point of view)… but I will say that everybody I knew including upper execs made it very clear that we need to change our ways so that we don’t the award again. Keep watching.

On the 2nd point… you have to start somewhere, reread that list and you will notice that they are ongoing programs that are not common in the Digital Games space… only the humble bundle was a single occurrence. I do tend to “focus” on more on the Origin aspect but since Origin is PC centric it means EA has control over the experience compared to 1st party/consoles that have a lot of extra requirements and restrictions that are mandated. But with things like Great Games Guarantee you can buy it, try it, then return it if you don’t like it or doesn’t play well on your hardware, that is big for the digital space and help mitigates the risk for users to buy games that they find they don’t want.

I forgot to mention in my other disclosures that I am not an official source for EA… my opinions are my own… and I still not getting paid to write this.

CK20XX (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

Saying “EA isn’t perfect” is putting it mildly. In fact, the way you use the phrase, it honestly sounds like you’re trying to make excuses for them. I do actually believe you when you say you’re not a shill, but I think you’re too much of a company patriot for your own good, and that does nothing to help your credibility.

You need to exercise more wisdom and realize that nothing you say is going to change any minds here, not because people are prejudiced, but because EA has worked hard to prove that it is untrustworthy. The Consumerists’ annual competition is most significant as a litmus test that reinforces what everyone already knew beforehand: that people are sick to death of being deceived by EA and they aren’t willing to give them anymore chances. That’s the kind of challenge your company faces.

As for Origin… I suspect that EA having complete control over it is exactly why so many people don’t want anything to do with it. In fact, it’s quite a testament as to how far a company has fallen when people looks at the unique programs Origin offers and still want nothing to do with them. I personally do not want to try out Origin’s Great Games Guarantee, Game Time Program, or On The House Program because there’s no guarantee that the rug won’t somehow be yanked out from underneath me later.

DCL says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

A company that has been around for 30+ years has its own internal “generations” and those only last for so long… I am part of that next generation and want to make things better.. video games are important and EA is a big part of that history for better or worse, I am trying to make it better.

Am I making excuses? Nope. Excuses imply you don’t take responsibly for your actions… I wasn’t around or involved in many of the bad decisions but I have learned from them and am working to not make them again. I freely admit EA has done some lousy things. but it has done some great things too.

Exercise more wisdom?.. interesting… I would say the same to you as you seem only interested in yesterday and not what possible for tomorrow. As the financial industry likes to footnote everything.. “past performance is not a guarantee for future outcomes”, but at the same time “those that do not study the mistakes of the past are doomed to repeat them”.

I don’t really want to change your minds to bend to my opinion… but if I get just a few people thinking outside the box they have made for themselves and do their own research and independent thinking I feel I have done something positive. I like to think of myself as an optimistic realist.

Why is EA having the desire to make a good experience for PC users in an area where there is SOOO much diversity for hardware and software (mobile is also tough) a bad thing? Quality is the is the reason 1st party has so many restrictions… but they also know that publishers have no other choice but to comply. Steam also does it, in fact they are more likely to ‘bully’ smaller publishers into doing things the steam way then the other PC marketplaces. I don’t mind Steam (but I hated it during my Counter Strike days)… and use it but IMO the have become stagnant in their PC service. I bring up Steam not to bash on them, but to get you thinking.

As for the your comment “no guarantee that the rug won’t somehow be yanked out from underneath me later” that is a hard topic not limited to EA. The public is just now starting to understand that the millennia old “social contract between vendor and buyer” for physical goods does not apply to digital and that a new one is needed. Like always the vendors have a jump on the public (see DCMT) and it affects most digital markets including music, books and games… even your coffee making equipment. Regarding the recent the announcement of the GameSpy shut down, if you think people at EA are ignoring the issue hoping it goes away then I know for a fact that you are wrong. But like most legacy things… it just isn’t as easy as it seems like it should be.

techflaws (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Re:

The public is just now starting to understand that the millennia old “social contract between vendor and buyer” for physical goods does not apply to digital and that a new one is needed

Actually, what the companies need to understand is that the public does see no reason why it should no longer apply and that any change of this will be met with boycott (which of course will be deflected to ‘piracy’).

John Fenderson (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

” I will say that everybody I knew including upper execs made it very clear that we need to change our ways so that we don’t the award again. Keep watching.”

I will. But so far, I’ve seen no actual indication that anything is likely to change.

“But with things like Great Games Guarantee you can buy it, try it, then return it if you don’t like it or doesn’t play well on your hardware, that is big for the digital space and help mitigates the risk for users to buy games that they find they don’t want.”

No, it doesn’t. The problem with EA is not the quality of their games, it’s their business practices. The game itself can be Great, but since EA retains control over the game after the sale, that Greatness can be (and has been in titles gone by) eliminated at any moment.

This is the bottom line: in the old days, you could try out the game and if it worked for you, then it would continue to work for you regardless of what the company decided to do later on. Now, that’s no longer true. The most you can say about a game is that it works at the moment. However, that can be changed at any time by the company. So now, buying a game requires a huge amount of trust in the company.

EA isn’t a trustworthy company. That’s the problem.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

EA spent years and years pissing off the gamer. Like the other AC, for years and years now EA has been on my no buy ever list, along with Ubisoft. Someone may see the light over there but EA has earned a lot of animosity through it’s past practices.

I tend to agree with Tim for the same reasons. EA not only earned it’s reputation but went on a binge to double down on it. At present you couldn’t give me an EA game. It’s just not worth the hassle for the privilege of spending your money. I am quite happy giving other gaming houses my money but not EA or Ubisoft. Screw them just like they did their customers so many times and so often.

Rikuo (profile) says:

I’m wondering why Network Solutions, once they realised they weren’t getting a response from this huge multi-national corporation, didn’t phone or fire off a letter. I can understand if they don’t bother for small sites and/or companies, but surely they should have asked Sony of all people if they’re sure about not paying their bills?

Imagine if this happened to the White House, and some clerk there just forgot to pay the phone bill…

sehlat (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Simple Answer: “Not my circus. Not my monkey.”

If you don’t pay the power bill, and the power company sends an email to an address you haven’t used in years, they have NO duty to send out bloodhounds to track you down and warn you your power is about to be cut off.

Besides, reclaiming the expired domains really got Sony’s attention, just as a housholder WILL notice the lights going out. It was a lot quicker and a lot less effort than bloodhounds.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:


I would imagine the register would make use of the contact information that their client provided when they got the domain in the first place. That should include email and maybe a phone number.

Now imagine if client is ignoring both email (because of the junk mail filtering) and phone messages (because the replacement has a different phone extension). What can the register do at this point?

As sehlat said, any other means of contacting the client might not reach the right person…

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

…the register would make use of the contact information that their client provided when they got the domain in the first place. That should include email and maybe a phone number.

Now imagine if client is ignoring both email (because of the junk mail filtering) and phone messages (because the replacement has a different phone extension). What can the register do at this point?…

Try changing the contact information when the one who set it up leaves your company. How many people have the admin account and password for this? If it’s only one and that one leaves without leaving said password, try getting that changed. The amount of information Network Solutions asks for is mind boggling. (Yes, we found this out the hard way.)

But I agree: props for owning up to the mistake.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

If this were someone who created lets say Arts for an Electronic medium, they’d probably be trying to:
A) Convince the customers that their computers/consoles/connection was too poor to access their premium services.
B) Blame the customers for the outage, citing too much demand that they were forced to pull poor staff off making sure the servers were paid for.
C) Blame Network Services for shutting down their servers with no warning whatsoever.
D) Convince the customers that their new premium mandatory DRM software will prevent these sorts of problems from happening in the future.
E) Convince the customers that they have used up their online connection trial subscription and that they will need to purchase an extended subscription to re-enable online services.

nasch (profile) says:

Re: Re:

It was a stupid mistake but it was a mistake and they owned up to it. I can’t fault them for that. They have my respect for not trying to pass the buck.

Agreed, it was so refreshing to read a straight up apology that just admitted that they did a stupid screwup and they’re sorry. No excuses, no scapegoating – if you apologize like that and fix it as quickly as possible, most customers will forgive you (I think).

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

Or they could use DNS as originally intended, with subdomains: could easily be But for some reason marketers like to set up special domains for everything (it’s especially annoying when security-sensitive sites like banks do it–phishing is much easier when nobody has any idea what sites are actually related to the company).

TKnarr (profile) says:

Why no entry on a calendar?

A calendar program with reminders and a nice bright cheery red for critical renewal dates on it. I hear Microsoft, Apple and Google all make nice ones that aren’t tied to a particular user or their machine. They can even be integrated with your e-mail program so everything’s in one place. Reminders from the registrar are nice, but I make sure I keep track of when all my domains are due for renewal myself.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Why no entry on a calendar?

It’s been suggested that there was a guy that did have that setup. That would work if he is still in that position when the reminder of the renewal rolls around.

Forgetting to pass on that detail to the next guy taking over the position is, well, rather easy to do.

TKnarr (profile) says:

Re: Re: Why no entry on a calendar?

I was thinking a shared calendar and a link to it on the internal Web site along with all the other important links to important Web apps and info new hires need. That way you’d literally have to lose everyone at once to even stand a chance of losing track of the calendar.

Oh, wait, I forgot about those layoffs…

nasch (profile) says:

Re: Re:

That’s not solely due to Sony. I remember once I had paid my domain name renewal to my webhost and they neglected to renew my domain name, so I was screwed for three days because of the oversight.

How does your registrar screwing up have any bearing on whose fault the Sony situation is? Did you just read the headline and not the story? Do you just not think before you type?

Anonymous Coward says:

“[…]this all comes off as bush-league stuff that we just shouldn’t be reading about when it comes to a company like Sony, with all their experience in running an online gaming platform.”

Are you sure you’re thinking of the same Sony I am? The same Sony that launched the PS3’s online store as a simple web page? The same Sony that had one of the biggest hacks in history take down their entire gaming service for months?

I mean, don’t get me wrong – I really like Sony products (I would get in fistfights defending the PS Vita if anyone cared about the Vita enough to even badmouth it)but their online efforts have always been pretty half-baked.

Anonymous Coward says:

Hey, it may be amateur hour with the domain renewal but they handled it really well. Shit happens, and I’m going to guarantee that for every trivial solution that would have handled this everyone assumed that it was already in place because of how stupid easy it is. You see it in software where people assume a null pointer will never propagate this far, etc – the most trivial mistakes are easy to make because they’re so trivial. But, Sony didn’t try to make up excuses, blame the guy who left, and I think that’s pretty admirable.

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