Origin can cancel idle accounts, Terms of Service reveal

The Origin Terms of Service includes a previously-unnoticed bit, claiming that 24 months of non-use results in the expiration of entitlements and the possible cancellation of an account.

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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.

The mention comes from section 5 of the Terms of Service (via Rock Paper Shotgun):

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.

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  • reply
    August 3, 2011 11:15 AM

    Steve Watts posted a new article, Origin can cancel idle accounts, Terms of Service reveal.

    The Origin Terms of Service includes a previously-unnoticed bit, claiming that 24 months of non-use results in the expiration of entitlements and the possible cancellation of an account.

    • reply
      August 3, 2011 11:17 AM

      TIME TO LOL

    • reply
      August 3, 2011 11:21 AM

      [deleted]

      • reply
        August 3, 2011 11:34 AM

        Eric, you're working the jump to conclusions mat really hard there

        The shack still needs time to confirm things and properly present them. I mean it seems normal that the internet rumormill would be quicker.

        • reply
          August 3, 2011 11:40 AM

          there should be a way to combine the 100 post thread with the story

          • reply
            August 3, 2011 11:41 AM

            That's totally fair and I'd love something like that. I'm pretty sure I've said the same to greg-m but I in no way begrudge him because there's more important ways for him to spend his time

          • reply
            August 3, 2011 11:41 AM

            this is really the only problem. it's not like this story shouldn't be reported on on the main page

          • reply
            August 3, 2011 11:43 AM

            should there? we don't need the instant GRRRR reactions that just instantly multiply into dogpiles of like-thinkers attached to sober reporting, do we?

        • reply
          August 3, 2011 11:41 AM

          [deleted]

          • reply
            August 3, 2011 11:42 AM

            Gotcha! Fair enough, sometimes humor isn't always the clearest online etc etc

        • reply
          August 3, 2011 1:33 PM

          To be fair, it does seem like quite a bit of stuff posted in shack articles comes many hours after it's been posted on other sites.

          Not that I really care, it's just something I've noticed enough for me to remember that it happens.

      • reply
        August 3, 2011 11:38 AM

        dude relax. this is an army of nerds scouring anything true or false or anythign in between. the shacknews staff has to apply some information clearing before posting anything, so that should increase your confidence in the underlying discussion.

      • reply
        August 3, 2011 11:40 AM

        So would you rather we not write about it at all? This content goes out to a lot more people than just Chatty participants.

        • reply
          August 3, 2011 12:32 PM

          I wish there was some way to integrate the OP with the Shacknews official posting. It does get old to see news stories posted 6+ hours after the thread has been running that effectively splits the discussion.

      • reply
        August 3, 2011 11:41 AM

        faggot chatty enthusiast.

        see my balls, and suck.

        then stfu.

      • reply
        August 3, 2011 11:46 AM

        I WANT CREDIT!!!!!!

      • reply
        August 3, 2011 11:56 AM

        you get overly worked up about shit like this (nushack in general) all the time.

      • reply
        August 3, 2011 12:11 PM

        SCUMBAG SHACKNEWS

        • reply
          August 3, 2011 3:20 PM

          I think just Scumbag News works. We could also do ShackBag ScumNews.

      • reply
        August 3, 2011 12:40 PM

        The scumbag meme : http://www.reddit.com/r/pics/search?q=scumbag&restrict_sr=on
        ( it was funny EricZBA A++ would laugh again)

      • reply
        August 3, 2011 12:45 PM

        'Scumbag Shacknews'. Reddit wants its stupid meme back.

    • reply
      August 3, 2011 11:22 AM

      While I hope this is mostly just a CYA kinda thing, I suspect this is closer to the concept of EA only gives you a license to content for an undefined limited period of time, or not perpetual. Piss EA off for any number of undisclosed reasons and they revoke your ability to use that content. Don't buy a game a year at full price? Previous content revoked! (making that up).

      • reply
        August 3, 2011 11:29 AM

        Posting criticism on forums? Games revoked. Whoops.

      • reply
        August 3, 2011 11:36 AM

        got that tin foil hat on pretty good, eh?

    • reply
      August 3, 2011 11:37 AM

      Steam and Blizzard have the same thing in their EULA. As Mwasher pointed out:

      From the Steam subscriber's agreement.

      2. In the case of a one-time purchase of a product license (e.g., purchase of a single game) from Valve, Valve may choose to terminate or cancel your Subscription in its entirety or may terminate or cancel only a portion of the Subscription (e.g., access to the software via Steam) and 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

      • reply
        August 3, 2011 1:42 PM

        That is not the same.

        • reply
          August 3, 2011 1:46 PM

          Yes it is. Both indicate that they "may" do this, it's just that EA puts a minimum term on how long before they can, whereas Valve leaves that question open ended.

          • reply
            August 3, 2011 1:52 PM

            Standard cancellation at any time at the discretion of the platform holder is standard across any TOS service in this and other industries, this is specific to inactivity of an account; whereas competing platforms do not have this stipulation.

            • reply
              August 3, 2011 2:00 PM

              Both allow the exact same consequences. EA does not say that they will do this, but rather leave the door open to cancellation just like other platforms.

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                August 3, 2011 3:44 PM

                What you are referencing is a situation where the player has no control over no particular reason, whereas this is the platform holder explicitly stating that a players action (or inaction) will terminate an agreement.

                The result may be the same but the two situations are vastly different.

                • reply
                  August 3, 2011 4:26 PM

                  Stop using the word "will". It doesn't say that. It says "may".

                  mwasher is correct. You're misinterpreting the TOS.

                  • reply
                    August 3, 2011 4:41 PM

                    Thank you for your insight.

                    • reply
                      August 3, 2011 4:45 PM

                      I don't know if you're being sarcastic, but it's true. You said above that it's standard procedure to have a ToS that gives the company flexibility to cancel at any time, but then you go on to say that EA's is special in that it's saying they will cancel your account. But this is just plain not true. Their "standard cancellation" policy appears to be better for the customer (in that you must be idle for 24 months for them to do this) than Steam's!

                      • reply
                        August 3, 2011 8:10 PM

                        Good to see we clarified this in the comments below.

                        Thanks.

                  • reply
                    August 3, 2011 4:45 PM

                    A "may" from Valve and a "may" from EA are not the same thing.

                    I am not as hostile to Origin as some, but that is a rather specific and ominous clause. Valves thing also kind of sucks but it refers to single games in particular and doesn't mention any conditions as such, plus it's heavily mitigated by my experience with the company. My experience with EA is mixed.

                    • reply
                      August 3, 2011 4:46 PM

                      As XAV said above, it's very standard for any TOS to give the company flexibility to cancel accounts as they see fit. EA's version is actually better for the consumer because it says they can only do it if you're idle for 24 months.

                      • reply
                        August 3, 2011 8:38 PM

                        And SpaecKow is saying he doesn't care if it's standard language. He doesn't trust EA to not screw him over using the legal language. He does trust Valve. Therefore he's not happy this language appears in Origin's TOS. It might not be "fair" to EA, but they've made their own bed. Now they have to sleep in it.

                  • reply
                    August 3, 2011 4:45 PM

                    are you sure about that? I think it's stated pretty clearly:

                    "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."

                    1) Your entitlements WILL expire.
                    2) Your account MAY be cancelled.

                    What am I missing here?

                    • reply
                      August 3, 2011 4:47 PM

                      Hm, I realize now that I actually don't know what "Entitlements" are in this context. Does the ToS define this term?

                      I could be completely incorrect if it turns out that "Entitlements" means "the ability to play your games"

                    • reply
                      August 3, 2011 4:50 PM

                      Okay update: Entitlements are defined in the ToS as meaning, among other things, "the ability to play a purchased game."

                      So I'm incorrect about this. The ToS actually guarantees that you will lose the ability to play your game after 24 months of inactivity. They might not "cancel your account", but it's unclear what canceling your account even means once the "Entitlements" are removed anyway.

                      • reply
                        August 3, 2011 4:54 PM

                        yeah that sounds right, not that any of this really matters anyway. I can't see EA shooting themselves in the foot in this manner... if they ever enforced this, the shitstorm that would erupt would be of unprecedented magnitude. Just the reaction to the mere possibility of them ever doing this is causing a huge amount of negative coverage.

                        • reply
                          August 3, 2011 8:19 PM

                          On the other hand, policies of that level of idiocy are entirely in keeping with mast digital distribution initiatives by major publishers.

                          • reply
                            August 4, 2011 5:11 AM

                            And their treatment of online services like multiplayer infrastructure and so on.

                    • reply
                      August 3, 2011 4:51 PM

                      Dont think youre missing anything especially, except maybe That backlashing against the wave of popular opinion is all part of the usual tidal movements on an Internet forum and that it's usually best to not pursue it too much.

    • reply
      August 3, 2011 11:54 AM

      Another reason I will stick with Steam. I have already lost purchased products through an EA digital download service. Don't plan on chancing it again.

    • reply
      August 3, 2011 11:55 AM

      Wasn't there already something about this and the said that they just put it in there just to say the can, but they have no intentions of actually deleting idle accounts after 24 months?

    • reply
      August 3, 2011 11:56 AM

      Shacknews has their top reporters on the case!

    • reply
      August 3, 2011 11:57 AM

      Companies usually send you a few e-mails before they would do something like so what's the big deal. If you haven't logged into an account in 2 years, my guess is that you have another, or died.

    • reply
      August 3, 2011 12:05 PM

      Its starting to look like shacknews doesn't even want to give origin a chance. Im not sure if reporting news this old is beneficial to anyone, other than rubbing salt into some people wounds.

      By the way it shouldn't be that hard to simply log in to said EA/Origin account once in 24 months, and EA most likely wouldn't even terminate an account anyways. They most likely just have the clause in there to cover a situation that may come up later, not to screw over your common gamer.

      • reply
        August 3, 2011 1:00 PM

        Screw them, I'll be enjoying my time in SW: TOR

      • reply
        August 3, 2011 1:20 PM

        uh, then i'm with shacknews... whats the issue here? EA fuckin sucks?

      • reply
        August 3, 2011 3:25 PM

        If EA wants Origin to be given a chance by anyone, they should avoid doing and saying stupid things.

    • reply
      August 3, 2011 3:46 PM

      If you don't play games for 2 years, you obviously don't want your games anymore.

      • reply
        August 3, 2011 4:14 PM

        If you don't drive your 1930 Plymouth for 2 years, you obviously don't want your car anymore.

        • reply
          August 3, 2011 4:16 PM

          yeah, this logic is relevant

        • reply
          August 3, 2011 4:24 PM

          really? that's the comparison you're going with here?

        • reply
          August 3, 2011 4:35 PM

          if ya dont do your wife for 2 years, you probably dont want her anymore.....

          ....aww shit I think I just made their point :(

      • reply
        August 3, 2011 4:46 PM

        A friend of mine hasn't had a computer in 3 or 4 years after his last one broke down. Him working 12 hours a day doesn't leave much time to play games. Are you saying he shouldn't be allowed to reload Civ 4 and play it because he's been working so hard the last few year?

    • reply
      August 3, 2011 8:52 PM

      Wow... so they not only force your accounts to Origin accounts, they can cancel them to? ... I'm sure they will cancel accounts for other reasons than being idle.

    • reply
      August 4, 2011 5:10 AM

      Origin will not tolerate underperforming customers. Think of the shareholders for once you selfish people.

    • reply
      August 4, 2011 5:59 AM

      speaking of Origin , can someone tell me how to prevent it from starting on boot?

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