Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Still More EA, and It's Getting Worse

This thing is growing like some kind of disease.

First, here's an excerpt from a Gamasutra interview with IGA Worldwide CEO Justin Townsend:
Specifically, IGA's software uses the IP address for geotargeting of in-game ads (so that European ads are not shown to those in the U.S., for example). It also creates a unique user number that's generated locally, and is able to re-identify the gamer when he next appears online.

In addition, IGA's in-game ad solution does capture the time of day that the user started to play each gaming session - Townsend mentioned, as an example, that "if the brief says 'Males 18 to 34'", the ads may only be served between 6pm and 9pm on a weekday evening or similar, to replicate 'primetime' viewing.

The time that each ad impression takes place is also recorded by IGA, alongside what type of ad content it was (billboard, megaboard, or video stream), the duration (how long was the ad seen for), the size of the ad relative to the player, and the angle of deflection (what angle the ad is viewed at).

It's good that Townsend is trying to get in front of this instead of it running him over. However, the flyer/disclaimer itself is a problem, because it reserves rights for EA that it clearly shouldn't have.

And here's the other problem, which appears to be much bigger. DQ reader Noah Dullis sent me this:
EA released a patch for Battlefield 2142 today, and I noticed this while looking through its ReadMe:"Players who have the Windows security update KB917422 installed may suffer from an application error when running Battlefield 2142. This error can be solved by uninstalling the KB917422 update."

And what does the Windows security update KB917422 do?

From Microsoft: "A security issue has been identified in the Windows Kernel that could allow an attacker to compromise your Windows-based system and gain control over it.

Outstanding! To play Battlefield 2141, not only do we have to put up with intrusive advertising, we have to uninstall a security update that was designed to protect the Windows Kernel.

Gee, I hope Mr. Townsend is still answering his phone.

[NOTE: a DQ reader sent me a link to a Microsoft hot fix that indicates the Security Update in question could crash programs that limited the size of the application stack below a certain value. For more information, see this post]

Here's the readme for the patch (click on "more details about this file"):
patch readme.

And here are the details of what's in the security update that we're being instructed to uninstall: Windows security update.

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