EA Threatens Game Bans for Forum Activity (Updated)

Update: Electronic Arts has clarified to Shacknews that the situation stemmed from a "misunderstanding," explaining that "access to the forums and access to the games are separate" and that "each forum, game and service is managed independently by customer support representatives."

Original Story: Owners of Electronic Arts published titles such as Spore and Command & Conquer: Red Alert 3 may end up banned from playing their games if they get banned from any EA-moderated forum, according to this post from moderator eaapoc:

Your forum account will be directly tied to your Master EA Account, so if we ban you on the forums, you would be banned from the game as well since the login process is the same. And you'd actually be banned from your other EA games as well since its all tied to your account. So if you have SPORE and Red Alert 3 and you get yourself banned on our forums or in-game, well, your SPORE account would be banned to. It's all one in the same, so I strongly reccommend people play nice and act mature.

Similar threats emerged earlier this year, when Spore forumites were threatened with bans for discussing the title's controversial DRM, though EA later stepped in to clarify that the threat stemmed from an "over-zealous community volunteer" and was "absolutely not true or in-line with EA's moderation policy."

"What if some moderator goes off on a power trip?" asked Shacker Pugnate, who tipped us off to the news. "Does he seriously have the right to block access to software you legally purchased?"

Faylor's Take: To reiterate my previous stance, I certainly sympathize with the plight of those that have been tasked with watching over a game's official forums. But I really can't believe that EA has allowed this to pop up once again.

Apart from scaring posters into submission and causing even more controversy, I can't think of one reason to even bring up the idea of removing a consumer's ability to play their $50 game because of a questionable forum violation.

I can understand removing a user's posting privileges--I'm sure this has already happened multiple times--but the idea that there aren't varying levels of privileges--ie, separate posting and game access--to these accounts is an obscene oversight.

The implications of preventing owners from playing the $50 game they legitimately bought because of something they posted on the forums are mind boggling, and I really, really can't see this policy flying once the press runs with it and the higher-ups are made aware.