EA's new Origin online store is being met with a fresh bit of controversy, this time with the revelation that the store can cancel your account after 24 months of non-use. Though the language isn't clear on what piece of game content would be impacted, some users are calling foul on the potential for purchases going missing.
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.
You probably noticed the word "entitlement" is used quite a bit. If a FAQ for Warhammer Online is any indication, the term refers to any "Item Bundle, Content Pack, or Character Transfer that can be purchased at the EA Store." That seems to imply that DLC and specialized store transactions could be affected, but not games themselves.
The TOS itself also doesn't mention game deletion, but if you have to log in to Origin to access a game or its features, account deletion have the same net result. Of course, the TOS isn't necessarily claiming that this will happen to everyone who goes over 24 months like clockwork -- just that EA is permitted to do it if they choose.
Origin's main competitor, Steam, does not mention inactive accounts in its subscriber agreement. However, like most digital distribution services, "either you or Valve has the right to terminate or cancel your Account or a particular Subscription at any time."
Valve's terms are a bit more flexible than EA's, with the potential to download game files during a grace period after termination. "Valve may, but is not obligated to, provide access (for a limited period of time) to the download of a stand-alone version of the software and content associated with such one-time purchase."
Shacknews has contacted EA for clarification, but has not received a reply as of the time of publishing.