EA’s Banhammer Timeout
The last few days have seen some interesting activities on the part of Electronic Arts in relation to Battlefield 3 and its users. On Monday, we learned they were banning and stat-wiping “boosters,” users who were grinding their XP way up thanks to a very easy-to-exploit bug that EA hasn’t yet patched. Then on Tuesday, we reported that forum users whose discussions weren’t family friendly were getting banned from the forums—and their Origin accounts entirely.
Well, according to a post on Rock Paper Shotgun today, it seems as though EA is starting to take note of what some fans believe to be some pretty harsh moves. After several inquiries on RPS’s part, John Reseburg, a representative from EA’s Corporate Communications had this to say:
“With every game and service EA offers, we take the satisfaction of our customers very seriously. We discourage cheating and strive to maintain a high level of integrity in both our games and our forums. Therefore when someone violates our Terms of Service, we are forced to take actions that can include suspensions and other measures. We do not take those decisions lightly—however the integrity of our services and the satisfaction of our customers requires a clear set of rules. We have listened to our customers and are planning a policy update which will include more equitable rules on suspensions— we want to make sure the time fits the crime. As with all technology updates, these changes take some time to implement. Meanwhile, we urge any user with a question about suspensions or our policies to please contact us at (866) 543-5435 so we can address their specific situation.”
As the post points out, the bans that have been reported haven’t been for cheating, so that part of the response is kind of missing the target. The bans came as a result of two things. One was gamers utilizing an unfixed bug in EA’s game—not any kind of cheating on the part of the gamers. Grimy? Yes, but no grimier than failing to go back to the supermarket after they forget to scan your box of Captain Crunch. It’s like that bit in Monopoly: “Bank Error in Your Favor” is the best. The other thing was just the perceived offensiveness of certain words, some of which are very questionable as to their inappropriateness—and this wasn’t even in the game itself.
But what’s important here is that it sounds like EA’s starting to take a look at the way their actions have been affecting their reputation among gamers. While it’s within EA’s rights to protect their game and their property, if gamers continue to gripe about all the rules in their fantasy shooting game that they don’t like, they won’t come back.