EA lets banned Origin users play their single-player games again

How charitable of them.

Have you ever been banned from EA’s Origin service for using colourful language or questioning the principles of an EA subsidiary? Come on, I know some of you must have. Well I have good news for you. If you’ve ever run afoul of EA’s Decency Enforcement Robots and been locked out of all your games as a result you can now play them again! All you have to do is switch your Origin client to offline mode. If you want to play online multiplayer in anything you’ll have to appeal your ban but at least you can play your single-player games again! You know, those games in which you never once interacted with a single online oik yet still got banned from for calling someone a felch-monkey in a forum somewhere. Basically EA is graciously allowing you to use products you paid for. Ave Riccitiello!

Origin solidly demonstrated how fragile our ownership of digital purchases really is in March of last year when BioWare forum member “Arno” posted the comment “Have you sold your souls to the EA devil?” For this presumptuous remark Arno had his Origin account banned for 72 hours and couldn’t even install the then newly-released Dragon Age 2, a single-player title. Purely for daring to express an opinion. It’s not like he called Ray Muzyka a goat-licking whorehopper or boasted about shagging Casey Hudson’s mother.

In December that same year a Battlefield 3 player going by the name “Aaron” had his Origin account suspended and later deleted for doing literally nothing wrong. Another forum member had insulted Aaron in a post containing somewhat ribald language that referred to him specifically by name, and the post was picked up by EA’s automated content filter. This electronic guardian of decency assumed it was Aaron who’d written the offending post, because machines are only as clever as the chimp that programs them, and suspended him quicker than you could say “computer says no”. By that logic if I write “The elderly are a millstone around the society’s neck and should be executed, Jonathan Holmes”, I have magically made quite possibly the nicest man at Destructoid.com an advocate for mass-murder.

As much as I love the convenience of digital distribution it’s not without this obnoxious downside regarding ownership. In times of yore if bought a physical copy of a game it was mine to use as I desired within reason. So long as I had the actual disc I could install it, play it, uninstall it, install it again, chuck it in a bin, use it as a coaster or throw it to a dog down the park. It would never one day suddenly refuse to work if I swore on a public forum or called someone a smug, self-righteous pudenda in an online game. With digital distribution you are one misstep away from losing the ability to play any of the games on your account that you supposedly “own”, and I don’t mean own in the “making a small child cry and call you a Jewish homosexual of African descent” kind of way. It’s like getting banned from your local game store for swearing and an employee coming round to your house to take away all the games you ever bought there.

Origin isn’t the only service that can strip your games from you. If your Steam account gets properly banned (not just a VAC-ban that keeps your cheating arse from plaguing official servers) you can kiss goodbye to potentially hundreds of dollars’/pounds’/Vietnamese dong’s-worth of games, single or multi-player, with nary a by-your-leave. In theory you have to perpetrate some actual fraud through Steam or abuse the trading system before such a ban is inflicted but that isn’t always the case. Not everyone banned from a service is guilty until proven otherwise, and cases like these will keep being an issue until the subject of ownership is properly ratified.

I suppose some progress is better than none though, so congratulations to banned Origin users on being able to play some of your games again.

Source: Joystiq


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Matt is the irresponsible degenerate behind bitscreed.com and the sarcastic writer, editor, director, presenter and tea boy of Pixel Burn.