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The Mass Effect 2 downloadable content debacle

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Monday night and all Tuesday the tubes of the internet were clogged with unhappy gamers who purchased a brand new copy of Mass Effect 2, only to realize that the promise of free day-one downloadable content would also include one of the biggest headaches in gaming history.

In order to claim their pre-order armor and weapons, gamers were required to register with EA, provided they had not done so previously, then register with Bioware's social media networking site. Only then could they enter their pre-order codes.

But wait, there’s more. If either your Bioware or your EA accounts were registered to an email address that was different than your Xbox Live account you’d end up redeeming your code to an account you can’t access in game. This was where most gamers hit a wall.

If you were like me, you signed up for one of both of these sites with an email address you reserve specifically for spam. Now I can’t speak for any experience beyond my own, but I had to call EA’s customer service number, and after almost an hour on the phone with them was able to merge my two accounts into one master account with the proper email address. Looking at a few forums, it seems that my story of mild inconvenience is unique. Most people in this situation are still yet to be able to access the content they purchased.

So why was it such a cluster-f? The long and short of it is that EA wants to make money. The Cerberus Network is a plan to profit from the eventual used sales of Mass Effect 2. Since it’s the only platform you can download DLC from, if you didn’t buy a new copy you’ll need to purchase the network itself for $15 just for the right to buy their future content.

But EA also wants to keep a log of your information to get in touch with you in the future. If you go back and read the TOS that you agreed to when signing up for an EA.com account you’ll notice that you’ve agreed to let EA contact you periodically about the games you’ve registered. Sure you may have not checked the box letting them send you advertisements, but according to their privacy policy it’s not an advertisement if they are just informing you of a new feature the game offers. It’s not all bad though, since they’ll send you a coupon on your birthday.

I usually try to end these articles (See Also: Rants) of mine with a call to action, or something to be excited about. I honestly can’t this time. As long as we want to play games made by publishers who choose to experiment on how to make money on pre-owned game sales we the consumers will be screwed. Mass Effect is truly EA’s world, and should we want to visit we have to play by their rules.

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