Next weekend, Maxis will let a selected batch of new participants take part in the SimCity closed beta, in an effort to find and fix potential bugs before the game is released in two months. While getting to play games before they’re released may sound like a sweet gig, a recent finding in the EULA for the new participants dictates a lifelong ban from every EA title could be warranted for those who fail to report bugs. Sound fun? We didn’t think so.
While betas exist for the purposes of bug-finding, server-testing, gameplay balancing, etc., it seems rather ridiculous that Electronic Arts would push such a threat onto a legally-binding agreement sent out to every potential SimCity beta tester. Simply put, the EULA states that if a user finds a bug and doesn’t report it, they’ll be considered the same caliber of customer as a ‘bug abuser’, and therefore will be banned from using all EA products.
We’re not entirely sure how Electronic Arts plans on figuring out who knew about bugs and didn’t report them, but the threat popping out of nowhere is pretty incredulous in itself.
Lazy Beta Testers may find themselves in a twist.
Quoth the End User License Agreement for the selected beta participants:
It is understood and agreed that, as part of your participation in the Beta Program, it is your responsibility to report all known bugs, abuse of ‘bugs’, ‘undocumented features’ or other defects and problems related to the Game and Beta Software to EA as soon as they are found (“Bugs”). If you know about a Bug or have heard about a Bug and fail to report the Bug to EA, we reserve the right to treat you no differently from someone who abuses the Bug. You acknowledge that EA reserve the right to lock anyone caught abusing a Bug out of all EA products.
It’s typical that most gamers don’t actually read such license agreements, but every now and then some important details like this do pop up. There’s bound to be a few fans who just want to use the beta as a demonstration for the game, and may find themselves banned from all EA titles as a result of not keeping up their end of the deal – a punishment that is clearly is too severe. That is, if EA can/will even enforce it. It seems to be there as a precaution for abusers, but regardless, it doesn’t bode well for Consumerist’s “worst company in America” poll this year – Which EA won last year.
SimCity is due for release on March 5th in North America and March 8th in Europe, exclusively for PC and Mac.
Follow me on Twitter @Makelevi.