Monday, October 16, 2006

Really, How Much Will We Take?

Fredrik Skarstedt let me know about this item over at Shack News:
In the latest CGW podcast, they received retail boxed copies of BF 2142.

When you open the box, a big slip of paper falls out first, preceeding any discs or manuals. The slip of paper says, essentially, that 2142 includes monitoring software which runs while your computer is online, and records "anonymous" information like your IP address, surfing habits (probably via cookie scans), and other "computing habits" in order to report this information back to ad companies and ad servers, which generates in-game ads.

Now, I can live with certain in-game ads (though apparently there will be Dodge truck and Neon ads in the bleak, futuristic world of 2142), but including a lengthy description - outside of even the EULA - seems to indicate even EA knows that this is some shady borderline spyware shit. I don't support it and won't be buying 2142 (for a host of other reasons, too).

There are two separate lines of thought here.

The first is that EA should be congratulated for including that "big slip of paper" warning that they're about to go all 1984 on your ass. Sure, I would have preferred to say a big notice on the game box that says "WARNING: THIS BOX INCLUDES A BIG KICK TO YOUR TESTICLES," but at least they're being relatively up-front about it.

So let me get this straight: we're paying $49.99 for a game that is going to have intrusive, streaming ads that will be targeted to us personally through the monitoring of our Internet activities?

See, EA is telling us this is a prostate exam, but it's really just a finger up our ass. It's not going to "enhance" the game experience. Can they not make enough money selling a game for fifty freaking dollars that we can't return even if it's absolute shit (cough--NBA Live '07--cough)?

Like I said in the title, I wonder how much of this we will take. Gamers in general seem to be extremely complacent and entirely willing to get kicked in the face (or, in this case, somewhat lower). Is there a point at which even we get fed up?

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