UPDATE: EA has contacted Platform Nation and has told us that this clause was included for legal protection and they have no intention of deleting users accounts or games. EA representatives also said “rest assured 100% we will never delete paid content”. So it looks like your games and content are safe on Origin.
Original story below.
For years EA used the EA Download Manager (EADM) to handle their digital transactions. It integrated with the EA Store and your EA account to manage games you bought digitally. It was their version of Steam, only it lacked the expansive catalog, useful features, and low prices. Possibly the biggest reason it failed to catch on however was that it did not give you indefinite rights to your games. Unlike Steam, which lets you download any of your games as many times and places as you want, EA Download Manager only granted you download rights for six months. When you were purchasing a game through EA’s online store they gave you the option to extend that to two years for $5, which is a ripoff of epic proportions.
EA relaunched EADM this June as Origin, a new online store and platform that is much more feature-packed and is a huge improvement over what it replaced. After giving it a test run last month I was actually quite pleased with it. While it still has quite a way to go to catch up with Steam, it was at least competitive now. However it was all too good to be true, and it turns out EA has been sticking to their old ways since the beginning.
Origin unified EA’s online store and account system, carrying over previous EADM purchases and allowing you to redeem your retail CD-Keys. Many assumed this meant they moved over to a permanent rights management system like Steam, and even EA implies that iself, saying, “Origin enables you to access your games from any PC, anytime, anywhere.”
However it has recently been discovered in the Origin Terms of Service that ” If you have not used your Entitlements [being games, expansions, or other content] 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.” Twenty four months may sound like a long time but its simply unacceptable to remove games from an account, or altogether delete an account just due to non-use. The way this clause is worded its possible for a daily user to have a game removed from his account if he has not launched that specific game in two years.
I talked to a customer service representative in Origin’s Live Chat Support and was told that it is indeed true that both a game, or an entire account may be deleted, if they are deemed “inactive” after two years. Its possible this clause is just included for legal protection, to , for example, delete an account with one game that has only been used one time in two years. In rare situations like that its understandable why EA may not want to hang on to every user who has ever signed on to the service, but there is no sign if they are implementing it for cases like that or making it a hard and fast rule they will enforce strictly. Given their history of digital rights management I would not be surprised if its the latter.
I also have noticed that in their Origin FAQ that “digital download rights remain available for at least one year after purchase. Origin typically doesn’t retire games, and we’ve only retired around 10 of the 150 games we sell.” There again stating that download rights are indeed definite, and games that are retired will no longer be available, even to existing customer. Hopefully the 10/150 games that have been retired includes games from past iterations of the service including EADM and EA Link. Because otherwise almost 7% of Origin’s games have been retired in just over a month of existence. Both Steam and GOG.com, two major digital distribution companies, allow customers download access to games even if they have been removed from the service.
5. Content and Entitlement Availability
Entitlements may only be held in Accounts belonging to legal residents of countries where access to and use of Content and Entitlements is permitted. Entitlements may be purchased or acquired only from EA or an authorized retailer. EA reserves the right to refuse your request(s) to acquire Entitlements, and EA reserves the right to limit or block any request to acquire Entitlements for any reason.
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.