Oh EA, how you never fail to disappoint. Earlier this week EA fired back at critics who made false claims regarding the cancellation of "Dead Space 4." EA even went as far as calling the article in question "easy click through pieces" because EA is "easy to hate." Well EA, you didn't get that reputation due to false merit and once again gave reasons for gamers everywhere to despise you.
It's no big secret that 'Sim City' has had a host of launch problems, mostly regarding it's always on DRM (Digital Rights Management) that force players to have a constant internet connection to play. Aside from the questionable integrity of such a practice (there really needs to be a revamp in digital content ownership laws in this country), because EA was simply not ready for the player load on the servers, thousands (yes, thousands) of players who bought the game have not been able to play it due to server issues on EA's side.
So how has EA addressed this? Well for starters, they're pulling content! All that great content that you already couldn't use because the game didn't work? Well now, even if you manage to connect to a server you won't have access to the full game because EA needs to cut out features in order to make it work. Speechless, actually speechless.
If it's not bad enough that players have spent $60+ on something they can't play, it's now being reported that EA is denying refunds on what is a clearly broken product. Even worse so, players who threatened to go an extra step and deny the charge via their credit company were told that they would have their account banned.
But wait, there's more! In an even more shameless story, EA now has claims against them stating that they are paying "100's" of Chinese "bloggers" to post nothing but positive things about Sim City on countless gaming boards. When some of these questionable bloggers were asked about their relationship with EA, they responded with "we get paid .16 cents a post." The person in question has posted over 700 times.
In all fairness, the "Chinese blogger" story does sound a little off, as even EA has addressed that as false, but lets focus on the return policy. I understand it's EA's right to ban users for denial of credit charges, as thats a very simple way to get free products to a certain degree (and in turn, caused "always on" DRM). But what if the cause is legitimate, and something as serious as this? Customers have a right to return a broken product, regardless if its on a physical or digital platform.
All-in-all, I think the entire book needs to be re-written when it comes to how digital media is handled on a consumer level. This is the early stages, the proverbial "wild west" of digital property management per the developers doing. Be it Blizzard charging people to "play" Diable III and not own it, or requiring a constant internet connection, forcing issues in terms of who owns what and when they can play it.
The positive out come of all of this? Maybe some light was brought to a quickly increasing dark area in what will be the future of gaming, regardless if gamers like it or not. Lets just hope it's not too far gone to change just yet.
Let me know what you think, subscribe to me here and follow me on twitter @NicholasGigante.