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SimCity Closed Beta EULA Sparks Controversy

By - Source: SideQuesting | B 31 comments
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According to the SimCity closed beta EULA, failing to report a bug may ban you from all EA games entirely.

Recently, EA opened up closed beta signups to PC gamers looking to get a taste of the city-building series reboot SimCity. The EULA that closed beta entrants were forced to sign was a bit strange, as it stated the following: “It is understood and agreed that, as part of your participation in the Beta Program, it is your responsibility to report all known bugs, abuse of ‘bugs’, ‘undocumented features’ or other defects and problems related to the Game and Beta Software to EA as soon as they are found (“Bugs”). 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.”

Essentially, anyone who has knowledge of a bug and fails to report it will not only be banned from the SimCity beta, but be locked entirely out of their Origin accounts. The wording of the EULA raised a bit of ruckus across various media outlets. EA responded by changing the wording of the EULA and released yet another statement explaining the company's stance: "The clause in the EA Beta Agreement for the SimCity beta was intended to prohibit players from using known exploits to their advantage. However, the language as included is too broad. EA has never taken away access to a player’s games for failing to report a bug. We are now updating the Beta Agreement to remove this point."

This isn't the first time that the publishing giant has stirred up a bit of controversy with its EULAs. Back in 2011, EA's distribution service Origin had a EULA that was worded in a way that could be interpreted to allow EA to monitor and share applications running on a user's PC. Soon after, the company changed the wording of the EULA, removing or altering all clauses that would allow it to collect any personally identifiable information. 



 

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  • 23 Hide
    upgrade_1977 , January 24, 2013 2:20 PM
    Ban from Origin? Another reason to stick with steam, lol.
  • 13 Hide
    zubikov , January 24, 2013 2:21 PM
    I hate EA. It gutted all its competition, lost creativity and now tries to rule the industry with an iron fist. It's all marketing, lawyers and shareholders over programming and art. Any talent still left in the company is afraid to show their true colors and stand out b/c it may interfere with some policy or objective. I'm all for making money and successful, responsible companies making quality products, but EA is a shame to a declining console/PC gaming industry. Won't be getting my money!
Other Comments
  • 7 Hide
    nukemaster , January 24, 2013 2:12 PM
    Exploiting bugs then reporting(have to see how far it goes before a report :p  ) them is the FUN of beta testing.
  • 23 Hide
    upgrade_1977 , January 24, 2013 2:20 PM
    Ban from Origin? Another reason to stick with steam, lol.
  • 13 Hide
    zubikov , January 24, 2013 2:21 PM
    I hate EA. It gutted all its competition, lost creativity and now tries to rule the industry with an iron fist. It's all marketing, lawyers and shareholders over programming and art. Any talent still left in the company is afraid to show their true colors and stand out b/c it may interfere with some policy or objective. I'm all for making money and successful, responsible companies making quality products, but EA is a shame to a declining console/PC gaming industry. Won't be getting my money!
  • -1 Hide
    bigdragon , January 24, 2013 2:30 PM
    That clause was likely there because of competitive multiplayer games such as Battlefield. What bugs me though is that this means cheats won't exist in Sim City. Hell, I doubt there will even be mods with the way they've been trying to lock everything down. I used cheats from time to time in Sim City 4 and used mods every single time. I am really disappointed in the direction EA has taken with this new Sim City. It would have been nice if they sat down with the SC4Devotion people and hashed out how to make the perfect Sim City game instead of going off on this multiplayer always-online tangent.
  • -1 Hide
    bak0n , January 24, 2013 2:51 PM
    So... I'd lose access to the SimCity beta(if I were to test it) if they were to ban me for Origin. Not a big loss.
  • -1 Hide
    Kami3k , January 24, 2013 2:55 PM
    NorthwesternI don't see why this is such a big problem. You should report every problem to prevent anyone from exploiting it, and while it is a bit excessive to ban someone over such a bug, no simple flaw should be left unattended and unreported.


    It's just a "bit excessive?

    I'm assuming what Hitler did to the Jews was just a bit excessive as well?

    You must be a EA employee paid to spew this drivel, I don't see how any could defend getting banned for missing a bug and not reporting it.
  • 2 Hide
    ph1sh55 , January 24, 2013 2:58 PM
    Testing the limit of 'exploits' is part of beta testing. That's a pretty comical thing to have for a EULA for a BETA. Hell look at all of the fps games where's exploits 'abused' ended up being kept as features. (rocket jumping, movement quirks etc)
  • 4 Hide
    hwangchan , January 24, 2013 3:03 PM
    The way it was written, they would have the right to block your origin account if you didn't report a bug, even if you didn't personally experience said bug. That's moronic.

    I don't think its the policy that was wrong exactly, just the way it was written. Apparently EA agreed, but it was easier to just exclude the clause than fix it.
  • 0 Hide
    EnFission , January 24, 2013 3:07 PM
    You are signing up for a closed beta, with the purpose of finding bugs for EA, not to actually playing the game. If you aren't reporting bugs, you are wasting EA's time and preventing another player from beta testing (presuming they have participant limit). You have reduced the efficiency of the closed beta.

    Congrats Kami3k, you have compared being locked out of an account to mass genocide, next time try and get the scale a little closer.
  • 1 Hide
    jn77 , January 24, 2013 3:35 PM
    I wonder if we get enough people together we can SUE EA to have Maxsis sold off to be an independent game company again.

    Better yet.... Petition retailers "Not to Carry" any EA products anymore. That is not illegal. When sales drop, they revise the EULA or loose out.
  • 6 Hide
    ko888 , January 24, 2013 3:48 PM
    If you don't have access to the code how would you know if an oddity is a bug or if it's a feature?
  • 4 Hide
    ammaross , January 24, 2013 3:54 PM
    Is it just me, or is everyone over-reacting simply because the company says they "reserve the right" to lock you out of all games, meaning that in certain cases, if you're being malicious and exploiting a server-crash bug and making the game as a whole unplayable for others, they could lock you out of all of your games (thus providing a heavy enough punishment to hopefully deter people from such an abuse of exploit). Obviously, if they didn't have this "reservation" in their EULA, they would have no legal ground to block users from unrelated game titles due to actions in another, thus why it was included. Nowhere in the text does it read "we will lock out every account that fails to report a bug." Honestly, having such an "ace" up the sleeve is the biggest stick they could carry to deter abusers, and I'd likely include the same (as well as fix server-crashing bugs promptly).
  • 0 Hide
    xxsk8er101xx , January 24, 2013 3:57 PM
    Don't beta test their games? Why do you care honestly. If they want to threaten you to use their product I would say don't use their product. Simple solution.
  • -1 Hide
    RADIO_ACTIVE , January 24, 2013 4:10 PM
    ammarossIs it just me, or is everyone over-reacting simply because the company says they "reserve the right" to lock you out of all games, meaning that in certain cases, if you're being malicious and exploiting a server-crash bug and making the game as a whole unplayable for others, they could lock you out of all of your games (thus providing a heavy enough punishment to hopefully deter people from such an abuse of exploit). Obviously, if they didn't have this "reservation" in their EULA, they would have no legal ground to block users from unrelated game titles due to actions in another, thus why it was included. Nowhere in the text does it read "we will lock out every account that fails to report a bug." Honestly, having such an "ace" up the sleeve is the biggest stick they could carry to deter abusers, and I'd likely include the same (as well as fix server-crashing bugs promptly).

    Also, to add to your perfect comment, people don't have to beta test it as well. It is their choice to.
  • 3 Hide
    holyknight1121 , January 24, 2013 4:28 PM
    How are you supposed to know if a bug/glitch/runtime error is a problem or whether it was intended to be a new feature?
  • 1 Hide
    egmccann , January 24, 2013 5:04 PM
    ko888If you don't have access to the code how would you know if an oddity is a bug or if it's a feature?

    holyknight1121How are you supposed to know if a bug/glitch/runtime error is a problem or whether it was intended to be a new feature?


    "This program has closed unexpectedly."

    Bug, or cool new feature?

    I've been in a fair number of betas. Generally, you can tell something's supposed to be a bug vs a feature. ("Hey, I activated that power and I can walk through walls - look at this cool, yet unfinished at this point, architecture!" versus "Hey, I did nothing and can walk through walls at that point, nothing's back here, look, I'm falling to my death in a complete void!" for instance.)

    Generally, if you pay attention to notes/the beta forum, you'll see features listed they want you to test.

    And, in general, if you're not sure if it's a bug or a feature, either (A) ask or (B) report it anyway. Because it could very well be a new feature that isn't supposed to do that.
  • 1 Hide
    gm0n3y , January 24, 2013 5:07 PM
    Is being locked out of Origin really a punishment?
  • 0 Hide
    ko888 , January 24, 2013 5:14 PM
    egmccann"This program has closed unexpectedly." Bug, or cool new feature?I've been in a fair number of betas. Generally, you can tell something's supposed to be a bug vs a feature. ("Hey, I activated that power and I can walk through walls - look at this cool, yet unfinished at this point, architecture!" versus "Hey, I did nothing and can walk through walls at that point, nothing's back here, look, I'm falling to my death in a complete void!" for instance.)Generally, if you pay attention to notes/the beta forum, you'll see features listed they want you to test. And, in general, if you're not sure if it's a bug or a feature, either (A) ask or (B) report it anyway. Because it could very well be a new feature that isn't supposed to do that.
    Bugs that are that major should have been fixed during alpha testing.
  • 1 Hide
    vittau , January 24, 2013 5:36 PM
    Typical EA bull****, can't say I'm surprised...
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