The “all digital future” that companies like Electronic Arts and Microsoft were touting around years ago was never a pro-consumer avenue in the world of electronic entertainment. Every gamer who wasn’t a fanboy or a shill could see the dangers and the writing on the wall: handing over your entire digital library to a corporation leaves you at their mercy, and there’s nothing beneficial in it for the end-user. One EA Origin user learned that the hard way, when thousands of dollars worth of content was wiped out of his account and his account deleted, and EA refused to help him.
Reddit user Flying Officer made a post on r/gaming on August 10th, 2018 that gained a lot of attention and ended up making its way to r/all on the front page of Reddit. The post outlined how his Origin account on PC was deleted and all of his games were removed from the account. He made multiple attempts to get it restored but EA’s technical support didn’t care and didn’t make any effort to restore the account, even when he provided receipts, transaction numbers, credit card history of his purchases and order histories. EA’s support staff made the circular logic that since his account was deleted there was nothing they could do since there was no account history to check, which is why he took the issue to Reddit.
The corrupt moderators attempted to remove the post because it called out EA for their scumbaggery, but after a lot of complaints the post was restored. For those of you who don’t know, the moderators of r/Games and r/gaming bury posts that outline corruption or malfeasance taking place within the gaming industry. It’s part of their modus operandi as revealed in the leaked moderator logs, where any post dealing with corruption or bad industry practices are deleted or filtered out, either through a bot or through manual deletion by Reddit’s staff.
The post was later restored and gained even more widespread attention due to Reddit’s corrupt moderators trying to censor the news.
Eventually a representative for Electronic Arts stepped in to explain the situation, apologizing for Origin’s poor customer support. Going by the handle of Part Welsh, the EA rep explained in a lengthy post…
“I’ll echo the sentiment shared by many of you on the thread – no this isn’t acceptable to us that in this particular instance, we haven’t been able to directly resolve this issue via our dedicated support teams, and that it’s taken an early morning hunt for memes for me to discover this thread, which has since hit the top of /r/all. I’m grateful that it’s providing us the opportunity to rectify the issue, but we will assess everything related to this case to understand why this has happened in the first place – in case it can help to prevent similar occurrences for folks in the future.
Please also understand that no matter how this issue gets resolved, I won’t be in a position to ever talk about the specifics relating to the account of one of our players. That’s not cool, that should never happen, but please respect that these things aren’t always what they seem.”
At the time of writing this article, EA is still working with the user to restore his games.
Thankfully, most people rightfully called out Electronic Arts for their piss poor customer support and anti-consumer practices.
This has always been an issue with the pro-corporate and anti-consumer “all digital future”, ever since Origin started gaining popularity last gen.
If a company wants to delete thousands of dollars worth of games and make you re-buy all of them, they can. If a company wants to erase your digital library on a whim, they can. If a company wants to pull you along and neglect to offer you proper support, they can. And there’s nothing you can do about it unless you’re rich enough to sue… or, lucky enough to have a post gain 138,000 upvotes on Reddit to make front page news. Otherwise, you’re about as screwed as a fair-skinned Swede in a room getting an orifice exam by the protuberant appendages of sun-kissed gentlemen hailing from the Western Hemisphere.
There are going to be a bunch of pro-corporate shills to fill up comment sections on most known sites saying “You’ve never owned games, just rented licenses”, which is bullcrap. You do own the physical product, and can do with it as you please according to the First Sale Doctrine via 17 U.S.C. § 109. This gives you the right of ownership to display, sell, or retain that particular copy of a copyrighted work as you please, and that copy alone.
Of course, games media are anti-gamer and anti-consumer, so obviously they would take the pro-corporate stance of advocating that you’ve never owned games at all, which isn’t true. They do this in order to convince people to give up their consumer rights to physical media and sign them over to digital subscriptions, wherein your ownership rights are diminished greatly due to corporate schemes to turn digital purchases into what are essentially subscription leases. This makes the whole digital landscape a lot grayer than physical sales; but it’s so corporations can exercise anti-consumer practices that diminish your ability to fight back, and to essentially make it where you’re tethered to them for access to YOUR games.
This is why Blizzard’s push for always-on DRM with Diablo 3 was so detrimental, because that sort of authoritarianism can come back to bite you on your arse and limit your access to games you paid for.
This is exactly why fighting back against the all digital future is imperative if you value gaming and its historical preservation. Otherwise, the situation that befell Flying Officer will be a lot more common, and most people won’t be able to get their stories to hit the front page of Reddit due to moderators being corrupt, and corporate support sweeping it under the rug in order to force you to pay thousands of dollars again to repurchase all the games they can take away with the snap of a finger.
(Thanks for the news tip Blaugast)
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