If you buy games digitally you’re already running a grave risk because if you can’t get online, if your cable goes out, if the service is down for maintenance, et al, you can’t play your games or at least, re-install them. EA’s Origin is taking things a step further in the strong-arming of the digital distribution service by claiming that accounts inactive for two years or more can be deleted and all account assets, entitlements and content can be removed as well.
Imagine buying a limited edition of Battlefield 3 from Origin, playing the game for a while and then eventually letting the game sit for a while and deciding to buy nothing else of Origin for the next two years. Guess what, you could return a few years later to find out that your game, your account, and the content therein, could all be gone. Poof.
According to Origin's official end user license agreement, Rock, Paper, Shotgun picked up on a very important clause that could render some gamers more furious than Republicans being forced to raise taxes in a house vote on the upper echelon of America’s financial elite.
The clause explicitly states that…
We do not guarantee that any Content or Entitlement will be available at all times or at any given time or that we will continue to offer particular Content or Entitlements for any particular length of time. We reserve the right to change and update Content and Entitlements without notice to you. If you have not used your Entitlements or Account for twenty four (24) months or more and your Account has associated Entitlements, your Entitlements will expire and your Account may be cancelled for non-use. Once you have redeemed your Entitlements, that content is not returnable, exchangeable, or refundable for other Entitlements or for cash, or other goods or services.It’s a little hazy because technically “Content” and “Entitlements” could only represent downloadable content or in-game achievements, as pointed out by Rock, Paper, Shotgun. However, we all know that “Content” and “Entitlements” can also refer to any form of digital content you downloaded from Origin, or any entitlement you received or redeemed from the service, including but not limited to a game, additional downloadable addons, mods, demos, achievements, patches and everything else in between.
If your account stays inactive for two or more years (and I know for a fact that I have about a dozen accounts with different game services that have been inactive for well over two years) then you potentially set yourself up to lose everything. Potentially.
Now some of you might be wondering why EA would even include such a clause or go to such lengths to paralyze a gamer’s time-frame for using the service, but it all makes sense from a business standpoint: So long as you stick to using Origin for games your account is safe. If you don’t use Origin for the length of time specified in the EULA and your account is cancelled most people will have to pay to retrieve or re-activate the account. Either way, EA wins.
Alternatively, you could just stick with Steam, which seems to be the lesser of the two evils in this particular scenario…not to mention they have some darn good deals even if you’re not into buying your games digitally.
You can read up more on Origina's EULA or talk to the boys and girls that run the service by paying them a kind visit over at the Official Website. Happy hunting.