Monday, March 14, 2011


"America's trying to do the best for its veterans."
-R. Lee Ermey

Here's a couple of bits from gaming that I came across on the internet recently. The first is from the game company EA, which has a nasty reputation of buying up great game companies and destroying them. They've bought successful franchises such as Battlefield, Command and Conquer, Sim City, and Syndicate, then either stopped supporting them or shut them down. They have the Thief franchise right now but it appears they actually will be continuing with that series.

The latest stunt by EA Gaming was to ban people who were causing problems or were too annoying to the moderators from their gaming forums. That's not too surprising or odd, but people who had been banned from the forums had also been banned from EA Games such as Dragon Age 2. Rock Paper Shotgun reports:
BioWare forum user Arno has learned in the last 24 hours, after an ill-advised comment on the BioWare forums has led to his EA account being locked, such that he cannot play his purchased copy of Dragon Age 2 for 72 hours.

It reveals a clause in the terms of service that accompany buying an EA game that will surprise the vast majority who do not read the microprint. Misbehave in the forum (as Arno fully admits he did), and you can have your right to play a legitimately purchased game taken away from you. Forever, if they want to.
His horrific comment, the over-the-top extreme that Arno posted? "Have you sold your souls to the EA devil?" That got him a 72 hour suspension... and banned from Dragon Age 2 as well. Now, EA claims it was an error, although the TOS does mention you can be banned from games. He was told by an EA moderator that he was banned because of his post on the forum, but now EA claims:
“Unfortunately, there was an error in the system that accidentally suspended your entire EA account. Immediately upon learning of the glitch, we have restored the entire account and apologize for the inconvenience this may have caused while accessing other areas of the EA service.”
The other gaming story is a bit more positive. Activision's Call of Duty is one of the biggest and most successful games in the history of the world. Its last release sold more than 7,000,000 copies on the day of release, each of them for about $60 each.

Some of that money they are turning into a special soldier's fund called Call Of Duty Endowment (Or CODE). Here's how they describe the program:
Our mission is to create a national campaign that will assist those organizations that provide our former service members with job placement, training and educational services in their post military careers. We will strive to show America how the private sector can mobilize and reward our proud veterans with employment. Our goal is to raise millions of dollars through an initial donation by Activision Blizzard, which will be supplemented by additional donations from the corporate world and the generosity of everyday civilians.
Here are a few things that CODE has been up to:
  • a $125,000 grant to the Paralyzed Veterans of America (PVA) organization for vocationally-oriented services to veterans with disabilities, especially those veterans with spinal cord dysfunction.
  • $25,000 to the families of the victims of the for Hood Shootings through the USA Cares organization.
  • $100,000 to the Wounded Warrior Project (WWP) to help severely injured veterans explore Information Technology (IT) as a potential career field.
  • a $25,000 grant to Swords to Plowshares to provides counseling, employment, and placement assistance to veterans.
They've set up scholarships for soldiers to get more training and done many other things all in the name of helping vets find work and move on with their civilian lives. Given that the unemployment rate for vets is about 20%, this is a very good cause, and I'm glad to see CODE working on this. Not bad for a video game company.

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