EA Could Ban You From Its Games For Not Reporting Bugs

Always, always, always read the fine print or the EULA. Not paying attention to the rules can get you in trouble, though in this case, 'the rules' are kind of absurd.

So the point of alphas and betas are, ostensibly, to test games out and report bugs, yes? According to Ars Technica, the EULA on the Sim City beta states the following:

"If you know about a Bug or have heard about a Bug and fail to report the Bug to EA, we reserve the right to treat you no differently from someone who abuses the Bug. You acknowledge that EA reserve the right to lock anyone caught abusing a Bug out of all EA products."

This is to say, not reporting a bug on Sim City might get you banned from all EA games. That's... a tad extreme. Even if you abuse a bug in one game, does that mean you should be banned in all EA games? Is not reporting a bug really the same as abusing a bug? Hmm.

As Ars notes, there's no guarantee they'll actually ban players for this, especially given that it would be difficult to even tell if a player never reports it. Still, in spite of the low likelihood of anyone getting banned off all EA games because of Sim City bugs, the wording is alarming.

Sim City beta EULA includes company-wide ban for unreported bugs [Ars Technica]


    It would only be an issue if the user paid for the beta (in which case it probably shouldn't be called a beta). If not, then the fact is it's a beta release for the express purpose of bug reporting and testing. Not playing the game as though it were a final release.

      if they only banned you from the beta, or even sim city, fair enough. But possibly of banning you from all EA products? (I'm assuming by this they mean closing your origin account) That seems very disproportionate. Of cause they may not do this to anyone, but that have had some crazy banning policies in the past (closing origin accounts for the heinous crime of having trollface meme as avatar)

    I'd say it would have more to do with of someone was in the beta and when the full release happened they immediately start abusing a bug to others detriment.

      This is the most logical reply I've seen on this page. Makes the ELA make much more sense to me. Though I still think it's harsh to ban them from all their EA games.

    Thats what arenanet did.

      Yeah, they did. I'm still not cool with the way they handled that, they should have just taken away all the money they made.

      No, Arenanet banned people who abused a bug. Knowing about a bug didn't matter (and they also had no way to check this).

      They also only banned people who bought hundreds or even thousands of bugged priced items, which is clearly an attempt at wrecking the economy, and bans were in order.

      No, that guy who wrote on wherever you read that only did it once and got banned lied. It's the internet.

        They also called every bug an exploit - cof for example. Labeling anyone who played it an exploiter.

    The purpose of a Beta is bug testing, isn't it? Makes sense they'd want to incentivise the reporting of said bugs.

    Still, honey/vinegar, etc... guess they chose vinegar.

      What have you got against vinegar? It's delicious.

        Something about catching flies or something. But I never liked flies, so I guess I prefer vinegar too.

      That's my thinking. Being banned from all EA games is a bit ridiculous, but far too many people, both devs and gamers, are treating betas as free trials now a days. Obviously EA wants this beta to be an actual beta where people find and report bugs.

    The whole point of these closed Beta tests is for bug finding, if your not helping find bugs why should they let you play the Beta? And since this is a Beta perhaps they mean if you don't report bugs you know about there going to ban you from playing the Betas.

    I'd be a bit more concerned if the retail release has the same text in it. But as it's for Beta testing it's par for the course.

      Par for the course to block/lock/ban you from EVERY EA title in existence? Read that last line of the quoted text again..

      "You acknowledge that EA reserve the right to lock anyone caught abusing a Bug out of all EA products."

      "all EA products." not just SimCity

        I don't think I was clear here, I took it to mean banned from all EA Beta tests. Not banned from all EA games forever. If I was banned what's stopping me going EB and picking up a copy of Need for Speed on Console? How is a ban like that enforceable?

        I only read the quoted part, not the whole document.

    As it's incredibly hard to prove you passed over a bug and deliberately didn't notice it, for nefarious purposes, you won't have to worry about the enforcement. Its pretty nasty if you can be punished for being a crappy tester. Getting treated as a single entity across all titles may seem harsh but frankly I am going to be jumping for joy when we are not anonymous across all the net. While this EULA thing is stupid I am a proponent for making people accountable across the board. Its going to happen.

    Another damaging piece of truth about EvilArts

      I disagree, this article is more sensational journalism to get hits and make gamers grab their pitch forks against the evil EA!

      Really, this is to protect those who would and could abuse the system, enabling cheats and all other kinds of hacks. Clearly they want to put this clause in so they have a defence against such instances. In any case of something like this, it has a chance to abused.. But its there in faith for the gamers who don't cheat or hack.

        Yeah agreed. The title of the article made me click thinking screw EA to find that it is just in regards to a single beta for the specifics you already mentions.
        I think I will only read Mark Serrels and Junglist articles from now on. The rest of this site just blows.

    I'd like to know how they would be able to get into our brains and find out if we know about something or not.

      I'm guessing that's not the point. The point would be that this paragraph (in theory) gives them the power to use as little or as much of their power as they see fit against a player who is abusing a bug.
      In the past we've seen situations where a player has replied to a ban with 'I didn't know [obvious bug that I've been farming for trillions of gold for days with] was a bug, you can't ban me! I'll sue!'. That never really goes anywhere but this may still be a preemptive response to that.

      As stupid as EA is I doubt it's an effort to entrap innocent players who forgot to file a bug report, it's a way of ensuring that if they feel the need to ban someone who is exploiting a bug they can do it hassle free. If that bug happens to have an impact on their other games (and seeing the direction they're going that's not out of the question) they can also ban you from those without you needing to breach the agreement of the other games.

      Not that I agree with it. Best case judgement is that it's a grey area. Personally I disagree with anything that vague that lets you cut off the game completely from a cash paying customer.

    SimCity 2000 is still the greatest Sim game of all time. Ive waited a very long time for a real follow up to it, but it seems EA is going down the online/social path with this one. Ill check out the cracked version and see if its any good single player.

    What if you don't find any bugs? I've played betas where there were no bugs at all. Half the time betas are just to know how much the game needs to be optimized

    Last edited 22/01/13 5:00 pm

    Why not just claim that without access to the design documents you couldn't tell if it was a bug or expected behaviour? Also, if you hear of a bug, wouldn't that mean it's a known bug and doesn't need reporting? Obviously there are some things that are going to scream "bug", but this is really vaguely worded and should set all sorts of alarm bells off.

    Its this kind of BS publishers pull that makes me pirate their games out of spite.

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