There used to be an embeded media player here, but it doesn't work anymore. We blame the Tumbeasts.
Changes to the Origin EULA made some big waves last year. Mainly because of privacy concerns, but also because of a pre-dispute arbitration agreement put into place. A lot of people’s solution to the problem was simply to only play EA games on their consoles. Well, I’ve got some bad new for ya. The terms in the Origin EULA extend to all EA accounts. Any game that requires you to use an EA account to access online services will also pull you into the scope of Origin’s EULA.
In the video above we see the ToS for NFS: The Run on the XBox 360. Section 20 is what’s highlighted; it contains the terms that have you give up your rights to class action lawsuit and trial by judge or jury. You can decline the ToS, but all online functionality (multiplayer and Autolog in this case) will be disabled. On top of that, you will be asked to accept it every time you start the game. It seems a bit unfair that there is no reference to these terms before you actually get into the game. If you don’t accept the terms, you paid full price for a game that you only get half of.
In a lot of cases pre-dispute arbitration agreements are used as a deterrent. For example, an employer may have new employees sign agreements like these in the event that they leave and take legal action against said employer. The deterrent is that, in traditional arbitration agreements, both parties have to split the bill of the arbitrator. For a company, this usually poses no problem; for an individual it can get real expensive real fast. On top of that, some arbitration agreements are set in such a way that the losing party has to pay all fees. This being the case, an individual may just forego legal action because the risk is too great.
This doesn’t appear to be the case with this agreement, though. EA states that they are willing to pay full arbitration fees if you say you cannot pay. As opposed to a deterrent, it seems that they are looking for a way to keep legal issues quiet. Dealing with issues one-on-one is much more low key than a class action lawsuit. I’m not saying that this isn’t a bad thing, however. Class action lawsuits and public trials not only can be a bit more costly for companies, but more importantly, discourage behaviors that would put them in such circumstances in the first place.
Some gamers don’t care that their rights are being stripped just to gain access to a game. I can respect their decision, and I hope a situation doesn’t arise where they wish they had not. As for me, I haven’t purchased an EA game that requires the use of Origin; and now I’ll be steering away from games on console as well that require the use of an EA account.