A few astute gamers have taken it upon themselves to do the unfathomable: read the end user license agreement for Electronic Art’s PC gaming service, EA Origin. It turns out that accepting the software’s terms allows EA to see everything that happens on your computer and distribute the info to third parties. Many Origin users may not have realized this when signing up for the service.
The concerned gamers did the only thing you can do when video game companies do something upsetting: They took to the internet to raise awareness. With posts appearing on The Escapist’s forums and Reddit, the great gaming public has become aware of EA Origin’s ability to share your private information.
The legal fine print includes now common terms, such as requiring that even single-player games remain connected to the internet, but here’s one of the more upsetting excerpts from the EULA for EA Origin:
“You agree that EA may collect, use, store and transmit technical and related information that identifies your computer (including the Internet Protocol Address), operating system, Application usage (including but not limited to successful installation and/or removal), software, software usage and peripheral hardware, that may be gathered periodically to facilitate the provision of software updates, dynamically served content, product support and other services to you, including online services. EA may also use this information combined with personal information for marketing purposes and to improve our products and services. We may also share that data with our third party service providers in a form that does not personally identify you. IF YOU DO NOT WANT EA TO COLLECT, USE, STORE, TRANSMIT OR DISPLAY THE DATA DESCRIBED IN THIS SECTION, PLEASE DO NOT INSTALL OR USE THE APPLICATION.”
Some PC gamers are going to have to make a tough decision when Battlefield 3 releases, because as of now accepting these terms is the only way you’ll be able to play the game. We’ve reached out to EA for comment on the issue.
If sketchy license agreements get your blood is boiling and you’re looking for more to read on the issue, read Matt Miller’s excellent opinion piece.