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Battlefield 2142 to Bundle Spyware?

Zonk posted more than 7 years ago | from the not-cool-ea-not-cool dept.

439

An anonymous reader writes "Kotaku reports on a Shacknews Post. Battlefield 2142, the new Electronic Arts game, is expected to include mandatory spyware in the retail package. The software will apparently monitor web browser and other computer usage; this information will be used to deliver targeted in-game advertisements. Other popular game titles have included spyware in the past to aid anti-cheating measures. Is spyware acceptable to the public when it comes with a game, or has EA made a PR misstep?"

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439 comments

Great! (4, Funny)

badfrog (45310) | more than 7 years ago | (#16468931)

I always love to have as many backround processes running as possible!

Re:Great! (5, Interesting)

scuba_steve_1 (849912) | more than 7 years ago | (#16469063)

Wow...I realize that we are on the slippery slope of losing any semblance of privacy, but I did not realize that gamers were headed toward a cliff.

Spyware to monitor your non-gaming behavior to better target advertising? Can you imagine the other uses for this information? The secondary market for this information may yield a revenue stream that eclipses their software license revenue...especially since this spyware will be, in some perverted sense, legitimate.

Count me out EA. This is one frog that is jumping out of the pot of water.

Re:Great! (5, Interesting)

CDOS_CDOS run (669823) | more than 7 years ago | (#16469221)

Re:Great! (1)

networkBoy (774728) | more than 7 years ago | (#16469579)

Not that I'm a huge gamer, but I will *not* buy this product.
Really that simple.
[rant]
I don't think my IP address should be logged for anything other than identifying cheaters.
I don't think the game should run extra processes that will dog my machine.
I don't think that the Joe Sixpack will notice, but fortunately most gamers are not Joe :-)
I hope that the publisher gets what they've got coming.
[/rant]

-nB

Re:Great! (5, Funny)

IcyNeko (891749) | more than 7 years ago | (#16470023)

Hey man, if EA Games wants to advertise for reality porn and hentai anime in their video games, by all means please install spyware on my system. For extra points, include free 7-day trial on each site advertised.

no (3, Insightful)

ZiakII (829432) | more than 7 years ago | (#16468947)

no

Re:no (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16469169)

indeed, I'll never buy a game with spyware in it, hell, I turn down spyware when it's free.

They should be arrested for this in the same way we would do with a srcipt kiddie

Illegal? (1)

Cemu (968469) | more than 7 years ago | (#16468973)

Isn't spyware illegal or am I thinking of Malware? Either way it's not good.

Well... (2, Informative)

Tarlus (1000874) | more than 7 years ago | (#16469359)

Spyware is malware, if it installs without the user's consent, and then silently phones home with your usage information in the interest of forcing advertisements on you. If this game is really going to do this, then I'll boycott it.

Re:Well... (2, Insightful)

bassgoonist (876907) | more than 7 years ago | (#16469513)

Obviously it won't be without the user's consent...

I guarantee you there will a line somewhere stuck in the EULA that covers it perfectly.

Re:Well... (1)

WebCrapper (667046) | more than 7 years ago | (#16469585)

Unfortunately, most companies hide the malware in their opening terms and conditions.

When I worked for an ISP, every once in awhile, we would get someone that actually read the agreement and called in right at that screen to ask that the "spyware" (before it had a name) was installed. They usually got very upset when we made them install the software then dug down and unchecked 1 checkbox.

Re:Well... (1)

szembek (948327) | more than 7 years ago | (#16470629)

To ask that the spyware was installed? What the hell does that mean? Are you trying to say that they called in to ask you if spyware was going to be installed on their PC? I can't follow your post at all.

Re:Well... (1)

Kamots (321174) | more than 7 years ago | (#16470747)

There's a reason I don't have anything from an ISP installed on my computer.

In the cases where you supposedly have to install thier software in order to register an account, I'll call up tech support and pester them for a while. Every once in a long while that'll work and I'll manage to avoid installing crap. When it doesn't... well.. I at least cost the ISP money. If I have to install, then I'll image, install, create my account, thwn restore from my image.

But... I'm sadly one of a tiny minority. Even if there was only a decently sized minority (20-30%), calling in and complaining about having to install software, then you'd probably see a change in behavior by the ISPs to make it optional, and make it apparent that it's optional. (although they'd still claim that this software was the greatest thing since sliced bread though...)

Re:Illegal? (5, Interesting)

From A Far Away Land (930780) | more than 7 years ago | (#16469361)

I think a company should release a "game" where the point of the software is to monitor how the computer user, uses their computer. At the end of the day the "game" reports the results to the maker of the software, and gives the user points, based on how much porn, violence, and YouTube the user consumed. Sending emails to family decreases the score, while sending emails to people you meet online increases your score. The user's score could be displayed in the corner of the screen at all times, and the rules of the game wouldn't be made known to them, they could only see the result of the score after they take an action, and thus act how they think the game is supposed to be played.

That wouldn't be spyware, that would be "fun".

Re:Illegal? (1)

Carthag (643047) | more than 7 years ago | (#16469681)

You know upon reading that I immediately imagined a bunch of guys setting up a forum to exchange tips on how to get the highest score. What the fuck.

Re:Illegal? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16469913)

I don't see this as being illegal at all, since the game clearly informs you of exactly what the software does- after youve already purchased and opened the box, of course. Its most certainly ridiculous, and I have little doubt that ea would have forgone the slip of paper if they had a way of doing this undetected (impossible, I know, but just thinking theoretically). This warning needs to be on the outside of the box, but it isnt because they realize that it would greatly deter people from buying it.

Companies have been collecting all sorts of info from us for a long time, so this is really just the next evolution. A lot of it is just anonymous computer specs (hell even blizzard does this), which are mostly harmless. But, thanks largely to steam we now have to create accounts to play a large number of games released, and quite frankly I would be surprised if these companies aren't selling our info.

Illegal? No, you know what you're getting (well, sort of). Dishonest and ridiculous? Absolutely, but they're just ea-ifying on what steam made possible.

Re:Illegal? (1)

itwerx (165526) | more than 7 years ago | (#16470193)

I don't see this as being illegal at all

Of course it's not illegal if the end user agrees to it.
      What it is though is an incredibly, (amazingly! astoundingly!), stupid decision by the EA marketing staff.

Suprise, (1)

Jaysyn (203771) | more than 7 years ago | (#16468975)

Suprise, another Battlefield game I'll be skipping

Jaysyn

Re:Suprise, (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16469081)

so long as its not gamespy arcade, that says what it is in the name...

Re:Suprise, (0)

ThePlague (30616) | more than 7 years ago | (#16469901)

It's really a shame about gamespy. That was once great software, giving seamless connection to online games like Quake I back in the day. It actually made things a lot easier. Now, however, it's an intrusive pig of a program, in league with the evil EA and their insipid BattleField franchise. BF VietNam was cool, and BF2 started out good, but disastrous patch after disastrous patch ruined a game that had real potential.

Re:Suprise, (1)

kseise (1012927) | more than 7 years ago | (#16470127)

I was looking for a reason to completely abandon Windows. This looks like the end of the line for me and Battlefield. Thanks for the memories. But I will not be willing to install malware just to play games..... well, I mean on top of the MS malware. EA should just skip the malware and paint pr0n onto all the ads for us. That is a game worth buying.

Just great (5, Insightful)

aadvancedGIR (959466) | more than 7 years ago | (#16468995)

Now, it will have to be rated 18+

Re:Just great (5, Interesting)

mcai8rw2 (923718) | more than 7 years ago | (#16469639)

Ahh intersting point you make...if only I had moderator points to rate it so...

So what you are hinting at is that to knowingly put spyware on a game, the end user has to be above 18 years old, and therefore 'legally' able to make such a desicion?

That is a very intersting point...i wonder if it is true though...

if it IS true then EA are cutting out a huge portion of their market sector.

Re:Just great (3, Interesting)

voice_of_all_reason (926702) | more than 7 years ago | (#16469685)

+insightful.

Minors can't enter into contracts, right? So software EULAs should be unenforceable against them, much less this.

Not a bad idea (4, Interesting)

davidwr (791652) | more than 7 years ago | (#16469911)

Companies will scream "free speech" if states try to outlaw "mandatory, up-front-in-your-face-we-told-you-its-here" spyware.

BUT if states use the "minors don't have full rights to engage in contracts" logic, they CAN restrict purchase of such software to people over the age of 18 and withstand court challenge.

THAT is one way to curb such evil.

So, it's free, right? (4, Insightful)

steveo777 (183629) | more than 7 years ago | (#16469003)

Because a game that does something I would never let a game do dang well better be free. Not to mention the computer I use to play it (or whatever system it's on). Because I sure as heck am not wasting good money on this. Yeah, it's a good idea, but I don't need another avenue for anyone to throw their products in my face. I get enough of that already.

I pre-ordered (5, Interesting)

goldcd (587052) | more than 7 years ago | (#16469031)

and paid for 2142 via EA's downloader - and the EULA made no mention of this.
Now either the kotaku is imagining bits of paper, the online purchased version is magically pure or EA are about to get themselves a huge class-action kicking.
I loved BF2, shelled out for the hit-or-miss expansion packs and already felt slightly narked off. I think this is the final straw - wish me luck on getting a refund.

Re:I pre-ordered (4, Interesting)

sglider (648795) | more than 7 years ago | (#16469123)

It's true [ssb5.net]. Unfortunately, those that have downloaded the game from EA Downloader are all but screwed, and I sincerely hope they are able to get their money back.

The real problem here is that EA isn't doing this to ease the burden for the consumer, it's doing it to make more profit -- you notice that whether or not you want ads, you've got them, and you still have to pay the full price for the game. It might not have been that bad if EA had reduced the price of the ad-supported game by 20 bucks or so.

GG EA, just another reason why I'm not buying BF2142.

Re:I pre-ordered (1)

LordPhantom (763327) | more than 7 years ago | (#16469251)

Interesting that they note in BIG BOLD PRINT not to use the software on a platform that ever connects to the internet if you want to play their game.
So..... either buy a new computer, or never use the internet? Sorry EA - your game loses.

Also, CAPS LOCK IS CRUISE CONTROL FOR COOL!!!!
Sheeyeah.

Re:I pre-ordered (1)

sglider (648795) | more than 7 years ago | (#16469435)

Not to mention that BF2142 (like it's predecessors) has a rather lame SP setup -- the only way to get your money's worth is to play online.

Re:I pre-ordered (1)

Edgewize (262271) | more than 7 years ago | (#16470303)

That disclaimer you link to explicitly says "in-game". It does nothing that Steam doesn't do, with regards to tracking what the player looks at and how much time is spent with something visible on screen (in this case, targetted in-game ads).

Re:I pre-ordered (1)

DrSkwid (118965) | more than 7 years ago | (#16470479)

Steam tracks the uris I vist in my web browser ?

got a uri for that ?

Re:I pre-ordered (1)

szembek (948327) | more than 7 years ago | (#16470823)

Read that post again. He is specifically saying that steam does not monitor your browser, it only monitors what you do IN GAME.

Use of EA downloader targets you as a sucker (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16470311)

I am addicted to BF2 and love the game, but this move to delivering new add-ons via this downloader has me steamed. Still haven't played the EF and AA add-ons for this reason. Who wants something in their startup tray just to download some files. Who needs stupid IE browser requirements just to download some maps. Who needs OS requirements limited to XP when the base game plays fine on 2000 and 2003 (which I am running). I want disks and full tranferrablity without being online. The EA downloader move was the first warning that this franchise might be going in the wrong direction. I guess EA downloader must have been successful enough that it lead EA to believe BF players are willing to bend over and take it up the ass. Sad what EA is doing to this wonderful franchise and sad what players are willing to accept.

Hmm (3, Interesting)

LordPhantom (763327) | more than 7 years ago | (#16469033)

Interesting to a point - I really could care less about in-game adds, but monitoring all of my internet traffic and placing in-game adds?
3 thoughts on this:

#1 - It probably won't be long before someone develops a web browser wrapper that 'fakes' site visits.

#2 - How explicitly does EA describe what they're collecting and how? If they're scanning my cookies, that's one thing. Directly monitoring packets is another level of bad.

#3 - How long do you think it will be before some adult site that daddy was visiting gets into Jr's game because everyone logs in on one account? I can see the laywers salivating......

Pathetic! (2, Interesting)

paulius_g (808556) | more than 7 years ago | (#16469039)

What? You can't be serious! Oh wait.... You are?

Now really, who will get all this money for advertising? The consummer still needs to buy the game, right? So what, all this spyware and ads revenue is a "bonus" to the game developer? If the game would be offered for free upon installation of this spyware, I would then accept it. I would get myself another HDD with another Windows installation just for that game.

My fellow /.ers, is this the starting of the end of privacy? Whatever happened too good old gaming.

Re:Pathetic! (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16470021)

is this the starting of the end of privacy?

Actually, this is the end of the end of privacy. Corporations know even more about you than you know about yourself. Welcome to the new world order.

Only if people know it is a problem (2, Interesting)

scoser (780371) | more than 7 years ago | (#16469067)

Is spyware acceptable to the public when it comes with a game, or has EA made a PR misstep?

It's only a big PR misstep if the general public is informed that this is a horrible idea. If it's just a couple of geeks muttering, it's not a problem at all (since most of /. hates EA already).

Therefore, I suggest telling all your friends that EA will be watching their every step online and they'll be open to identity theft. Come to think of it, would EA have pr0n ads in game if that's what your browsing history indicated? Now that would be hilarious.

"Billy! Why is there a naked lady in your game?!? Someone get me Jack Thompson on the phone, because it's time to sue!"

Re:Only if people know it is a problem (1)

Hausenwulf (956554) | more than 7 years ago | (#16469683)

This is something I might actually want Jack Thompson to get involved in... think of the children!

Unacceptable (1)

mcai8rw2 (923718) | more than 7 years ago | (#16469079)

This is entirely unacceptable...in any and every way.

Anti cheating measures are a good idea, but isn't it OUR perogative if we cheat or not? If there is a vested interest in prevention of cheating [such as MMORPG] then it is acceptable.

For single player games using spyware in the game is unacceptable...would the game stop functioning correctly if some antispyware software picked it up? Who knows...all i kno9w is that I won;t be buying the game.

Flippin liberties!

Re:Unacceptable (3, Interesting)

voice_of_all_reason (926702) | more than 7 years ago | (#16469115)

Heck, will the game stop functioning if the spyware server is shut down sometime in the future? What a great way to stop secondhand sales, just remote-disable all copies of the software from your end by not allowing it to authenticate.

Re:Unacceptable (1)

mcai8rw2 (923718) | more than 7 years ago | (#16469735)

God damn! Its phonehomeware all over again.

The only thing that doesn;t surprise me about this is that Battlefield 2142 is Vista only! coz that whole spayware thing sounds just like the underhanded unreasonable draconian thing that M$ is trying to stuff Vista full of.

Re:Unacceptable (2, Insightful)

Vaakku (698260) | more than 7 years ago | (#16470163)

Battlefield 2142 isn't Vista only. How about even trying to find out facts before start rantting about MS's Evil Empire.

Re:Unacceptable (1)

aadvancedGIR (959466) | more than 7 years ago | (#16469279)

That kind of game does not even need client-side anti-cheat.
-You don't need to keep a character sheet with caracteristics, gold & items, everyone start the game with a generic soldier.
-You can do every action resolution on the server. If a client tells the server it is doing something he shouldn't be able to do (like still moving after being killed), just kick it away.

Yay for background processes... (2, Insightful)

GeekDork (194851) | more than 7 years ago | (#16469093)

So EA/Dice has a really unstable, memory- and processor time-hogging bastard of an engine that'd barely run well even if it had exclusive hardware access, now they want to run more and really nasty stuff too? They just could have made a new game instead of an overhyped, overpriced and unnecessary mod. That's one more copany I won't be buying from anymore.

This crash was brought to you by Dodge. Buy bigger cars.

Pirating (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16469129)

Another reason to pirate the game, the pirated version won't have the spyware with it. Arrrggghh!

Exploitation! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16469139)

No no, not on EA's part. Okay, so yes on EA's part, but also - first thing I thought though was that once people figure out the algorithm for this, it's going to be so much fun.

Also, as this is EA, chances are they're not going to realize that Firefox is a web browser and then wonder when their statistics show that half of their userbase doesn't surf the internet at all.

Re:Exploitation! (1)

Guppy06 (410832) | more than 7 years ago | (#16469519)

"Also, as this is EA, chances are they're not going to realize that Firefox is a web browser and then wonder when their statistics show that half of their userbase doesn't surf the internet at all."

IE, Firefox... the IP stack is still sending out requests for port 80.

Nice, targeted ads ! (1)

Bibz (849958) | more than 7 years ago | (#16469161)

I'll be able to see online casino, pr0n and body parts enlargement ads in my game ! What a great idea.

Best comment evar (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16469187)

The Commissar says:

It occurs to me that the EA is actually using the Battlefield series as an experiment to find out how much bullshit a customer base will take before they finally learn. It's like a kid that keeps grabbing a hot cup, saying 'ow', then grabbing it again. When you look at the typical teamkilling clusterfuckpalooza that is your average Battlefield match, I think we have at least 5 more sequels on the way. The next one will actually reach into your wallet and steal whatevers there while you install! Progress!

Why only pay once? (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16469229)

Firstly, I hate spyware, but don't we all.

It seems to me that this is a bit of a double dip on their end. I could see putting up with this if it was actully financing "free" content that I could receive down the road. Professional caliber add-ons for example.

Some Questions remain

1. Can you turn off the spyware?
2. If so will it still be feature complete with the spyware turned off?
3. Will it uninstall when the game uninstalls?
4. What new security holes does this open?
5. Will the upfront purchase price be subsidized by this spyware?

-Lemur

Hooray! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16469243)

If all I use the web for is to browse nudie sites, will this mean I can get free pr0n in-game?

The software is optional!! (1, Informative)

madhatter256 (443326) | more than 7 years ago | (#16469339)

The software is optional. All you have to do, I click on "I Disagree" and installation of BF2: 2142 is completed. The installation of this 'spyware' comes after the setup installs all the neccesary files for BF2: 2142. I'd recommend the installation of the software because unlike other direct marketing approaches, this one is very much more precise. Now don't worry if EA is going to crack down on you, Kotaku, for having cookies to torrent websites, etc. That data doesn't even get transmitted. And the software is only activated when you are not playing the game and only while surfing the web.

I personally don't plan on buying BF2: 2142 because it doesn't appeal to me. I'm happy with BF2.

Re:The software is optional!! (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16469655)

And the software is only activated when you are not playing the game and only while surfing the web.

Phew! What a relief! It sounded like spyware for a moment there.

Re:The software is optional!! (2, Insightful)

D. Taylor (53947) | more than 7 years ago | (#16469703)

I'd recommend the installation of the software because unlike other direct marketing approaches, this one is very much more precise.
What? Why do I need to accept any direct marketing approaches?

They're all offensive, none more so than one that leaks my personal data to a company just because I bought a VIDEO GAME they wrote? Why should I accept that!?

Boycott (5, Interesting)

CosmicDan (934381) | more than 7 years ago | (#16469355)

I stopped buying EA games a few years ago after bizarre experience interviewing with Maxis. I was going for a high end programming job and everyone I interviewed with posed a question that was clearly straight out of their current task list. I gave good answers to everything and everyone seemed happy and impressed. I even exchanged some followup emails with one developer about a particularly odd math algorithm he had been working on. They seemed eager to have me onboard. Then the HR dept stepped in. Clearly they were still chained to EA and disconnected from Maxis. She determined that I was a low level system admin and even though we had discussed salary in the 120-140 range she said because I was just a system admin they could only offer me 40k. Cue twilight-zone music. I tried to explain to her that I was a senior developer and had just spent two days interviewing with all of the other deveopers there. Apparently this pissed her off something awful. I tried to contact some of the people I had interviewed with and she had forbidden them to speak with me. Real nice. So I figured that if HR runs the shop, it must be hell to work for. I have never heard anything positive from any EA owned shop's employee. I joined the developer's boycott of EA at that point and chalked it up as a lesson learned. Despite the fact that the Battlefield series of games looks really pretty, I still won't support EA. They do dirty business and destroy small studios. I wish there were some way to support the developers who bleed for them without contributing the the hateful machine that the conglomerate has become. Just my $0.02

Re:Boycott (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16469845)

That's a weird story. I don't doubt it, but there have been a lot of organizational shakeups recently -- especially in HR -- so things were much more reasonable when I interviewed. HR had nothing to do with it except that they set up the interviews, and then had the followup discussion, talked candidly about salary, and encouraged me to talk to the other employees on my own time before making a decision.

I haven't interacted with someone from HR since the day I was hired, although I'm sure I could if I wanted to ;)

Not exactly (5, Informative)

Wind_Walker (83965) | more than 7 years ago | (#16469363)

The representatives of DICE (the developers, EA is the publisher) have now clarified on the forums that it only records what ads you look at and for how long you look at them - it does not monitor your browsing habits, your cookies, or your hard drive.

Or so they say...

But even if it's not spying on my pr0n, I still have problems with paying full price for a game and having it be supported by ads. If they want to knock off $10 and give me in-game ads, that's fine by me. I consider it a fair trade. But the recent ad craze in the video game industry is not lowering prices, it's just creating more revenue for the game publisher.

And since EA is not only charging for cheat codes [next-gen.biz] and adopting **AA tactics on torrents [destructoid.com] I've decided to stop buying EA products - even Spore.

Re:Not exactly (1)

rudeboy1 (516023) | more than 7 years ago | (#16469923)

True... to a point. Keep in mind that with all of the new technology being injected into the game industry, and, more importantly, the vastly opposing directions various consoles and chip makers are going technology-wise, that Publisher/developer costs are about to skyrocket, as they, (albeit, according to them... this is a bit like asking the oil industry about their cost variables) are forced to develop very different versions of the same game, whose complexity is increasing exponentially in order to take advantage of the latest advances. While the PC market is fairly linear, (at the moment) EA is also vested in the console market, and in order to keep games at a price point consumers can relate to, they must find alternative means of income to offset rising development costs. I know it seems like a drag that you as a PC player are forced to offset the costs of console games, but think of it more in the light that these manufacturers are unable to direct this kind of targeted advertising on a console market, at least until we start surfing the web regularly on our consoles. Also, as reprehensible as I find the addition of mandatory spyware, I do have some good experiences with targetted advertising. I have clicked on links on moe than a few occasions based on keywords in a gmail message. Gmail is a little more subtle about their advertising, but just as intrusive into your personal information; if you read their privacy policy regarding your personal mail, you may be shocked. Not to diss gmail. I love it, despite the Big Brother vibe.

Re:Not exactly (4, Interesting)

Wind_Walker (83965) | more than 7 years ago | (#16470221)

I love me some Gmail too - but the key detail is that Gmail is 100% free to me, and is supported by advertising. So is Slashdot, Gamespot, Kotaku, and just about every other website out there. I have no problem with advertising. I have problems with paying the same price for a video game supported by advertising as a game not supported by advertising.

As for the rising costs to develop and publish games, that's not my problem. That's EA's problem. Multi-million dollar budgets and FMVs do not a good game make. Look at Geometry Wars on the Xbox 360, or look at any of the plethora of AAA-quality Nintendo DS games. You do not need huge budgets and FMVs to make a good game which sells well in the market. Thus I have no compassion for EA when they tell me that their prices are skyrocketing.

Make a good game and I'll buy it. That's the only revenue you should need if you're running your business well. And if you're running it poorly, the Free Market will make short work of you.

journalistic integrity (1, Informative)

Edgewize (262271) | more than 7 years ago | (#16469367)

This rumor has been going around the net based off of ONE post on the ShackNews forums, with no confirmation whatsoever as far as I can tell. It seems to be fueled by the neverending hate for anything that EA does.

I highly doubt that this is true.

Re:journalistic integrity (1)

sglider (648795) | more than 7 years ago | (#16469541)

Besides the fact that Colin Clarke (DICE[CKMC]), the community manager for DICE, confirmed it? http://www.totalbf2142.com/forums/showthread.php?t =4180&page=3 [totalbf2142.com]

Re:journalistic integrity (1)

Wind_Walker (83965) | more than 7 years ago | (#16469587)

From the Gamespot [gamespot.com] review of Battlefield 2142 (emphasis mine)

On a peculiar note, even though the world is ending in 2142, it appears that advertising will still be around. Battlefield 2142 features in-game ads, though we didn't get to see them firsthand during our testing. Still, there is a printed disclaimer that comes with the game telling you that Battlefield 2142 will analyze certain "advertising data" on your machine to determine what ads to display to you. Ironically, EA says that if you don't want your data shared with its advertising partner then "do not install or play the software on any platform that is used to connect to the Internet." But that would pretty much defeat the purpose of playing Battlefield 2142, wouldn't it? Of course, you could always play single-player against the artificial intelligence, though the AI won't be mistaken for human opponents any time soon, and the single-player is still limited to 16-player maps. Still, this is an example of things to come, as we begin to see dynamic in-game ads appear in more and more games.

Re:journalistic integrity (1)

Edgewize (262271) | more than 7 years ago | (#16469975)

Thanks for the gamespot link. See my other comment in reply to the sibling post - this appears to be a vaguely and dangerously worded piece of paper to describe a relatively harmless "how-long-did-they-look-at-that-in-game-advertisem ent" reporting tool.

Why not ask the customers? (1, Insightful)

mwvdlee (775178) | more than 7 years ago | (#16469377)

Would you, as a potential customer for Battlefield 2142 prefer to get targetted in-game advertisement or no advertisement at all?

Seems clear to me; as it does not benefit the customer in any way, he shouldn't have to pay (using personal information as a currency) for it.

Enough sources? (1)

chrismcdirty (677039) | more than 7 years ago | (#16469379)

So, slashdot is reporting on Kotaku reporting on a Shacknews post? Are there any more layers we can go through there?

Re:Enough sources? (1)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 7 years ago | (#16469471)

Are there any more layers we can go through there?

      You could always wait for the dupe!

Re:Enough sources? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16470671)

Yeah, ShackNews got their info from a CGW podcast.

Don't play PC games. (1)

iainl (136759) | more than 7 years ago | (#16469385)

Between this, Starforce and various and sundry other egregious invasions by game software, I've completely given up on the PC as a games platform. Sure, I've still got one for web browsing, video editing and other "serious" things, but if I want to play games I'll keep them to the consoles, thanks. This rather helpfully keeps my PC a fair bit more stable, too.

Dont lump us all in together (3, Interesting)

cliffski (65094) | more than 7 years ago | (#16469855)

Yes Starforce is EVIL, yes unskippable cutscenes are EVIL, yes doctored screenshots are EVIL, yes Ads in agmes are totally EVIL, but this the bullshit you get from what I laughable call the 'triple A' industry.

Most indie games have none of that crap. I am very loud and blatant about not pulling any stunts like those for my games. Plus theres no console approval board between me and my customers, and no console licence fee either.
Dont lump in the good old indie dev with the scum who pull stunts like this.

Re:Don't play PC games. (1)

Chimp_On_Stilts (805726) | more than 7 years ago | (#16470139)

Don't bail on the PC as a gaming platform over this, just buy from the dependable studios/publishers who put out consistently fun, high quality, and bullshit-free software.

Though opinions vary, I personally will suggest Valve and Blizzard as two companies deserving our support. Lets show the EAs of the world that we will continue to game, but we will not tolerate this crap. If enough people send their dollars elsewhere EA will be forced to change - to that end, tell all your buddies (especially those who don't keep up on gaming news as much) to avoid EA.

Uh, thats not remotely accurate (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16469457)

Did anyone actually read the information that came with the game?

Here are quotes from the devs on the subject:

DICE CKMC posted: The information that is gathered is specifically related to the ingame ads themselves and not anything personally related to you.

There is no additional spy ware software installed secretly to your machine.

DICE CKMC posted: Data will only be gathered from in game. Web browsing and other profiling data is not being gathered.

Squib has essentially nailed it. The purpose of the gathering is to determine if an ad is viewed by players.

DICE CKMC posted: As I have mentioned before (in other threads/interviews) there will be no adverse affects on players from the advertising aspect. It will not impact gameplay at all. You most definitely will not receive any emails or other forms of solicitation due to this.

I will add that if any of you do receive negative solicitation related to anything Battlefield please let me know.

Fuck You, EA (4, Funny)

HaloZero (610207) | more than 7 years ago | (#16469549)

I just called GameStop and cancelled my preorder.

I was all excited to pick it up and play, too. Just itching to order a new video card (over instead of buying a new Mac) to play this and a handful of other gems on. Guess I'll be sticking with the 360.

The line must be drawn here. Not even this far, certainly not any farther!

Business practices such as these really are an insult to the community. 'You're going to take our crap and like it!' - and the shitty part is that people do, over and over again. Stop cramming advertisements up my ass - I don't care about your shitty product. If I get my arm blown off in 2142, I don't want to see an advert for Bandaids. I certainly am not interested in a Dodge Neon.

I hope the lack of my sale takes money out of your pocket twice. I'll be encouraging all of my friends to cancel their preorders, now, and some of them are significantly more paranoid about Crapware than I am.

The text (4, Informative)

Spiked_Three (626260) | more than 7 years ago | (#16469577)

The Software may incorporate technology developed by IGA Worldwide Inc. ("IGA") (the "Advertising Technology"). The purpose of the Advertising Technology is to deliver in-game advertisements to you when you use the Software while connected to the Internet. When you use the Software while connected ot the Internet, the Advertising Technlogy may record your IP address and other anonymouse information ("Advertising Data"). The Advertising Data is temporarily used by IGA to enable the presentation and measurement of in-game advertisements and other in-game objects which are uploaded temporarily to your personal computer or game console and changed during online game play. The Advertising Technology does not collect any personally identifiable information about you, and EA will ont provide IGA with any of your personally identifiable information. The servers used by the Advertising Technology may, from time to time, be located outside your country of residence. If you are located within the European Union, the servers may be located outside the EU.

By installing and using the Software, you agree to: (i) the transfer of the Advertising Data to servers located outside your country of residence and, if applicable, outside the European Union; (ii)the collection and use of the Advertising Data as described in this Section; and (iii) the delivery of advertising and marketing content by the Advertising Technology. IF YOU DO NOT WANT IGA TO COLLECT, USE, STORE, OR TRANSMIT THE DATA DESCRIBED IN THIS SECTION, DO NOT INSTALL OR PLAY THE SOFTWARE ON ANY PLATFORM THAT IS USED TO CONNECT TO THE INTERNET."

Re:The text (4, Insightful)

malsdavis (542216) | more than 7 years ago | (#16470265)

How can they justify calling information like your IP Address, website cookies etc. "anonymous data". Unless your at an internet café and enter false info into any websites you visit, obviously IP address and some cookies can be used to personally identify exactly who you are.

Also, they'll need to do a lot more than just bury this disclaimer deep in the EULA to get around Data protection laws in many EU countries. The article states a piece of paper included in the game. Not sure how this works for people who download it though.

Re:The text (4, Interesting)

Kjella (173770) | more than 7 years ago | (#16470383)

Now here's one of the reasons I'd like proper security controls and compartmentalization in computers... Wanna access my web traffic? Yeah right, screw you. You're running as a nobody-user with no rights to nothing outside your little program files dir, and you don't come close to any of my data unless I permit it. There's so many applications that do things I don't want them to or never asked them to do, there really should be a way to sandbox "hostile" apps. You might ask why you'd want to run those in the first place, but I really feel that's another discussion. I want to be able to run the apps I want with assurances they won't hose my computer or do anything else I don't want them to. Not too much to ask, if you ask me.

Re:The text (1)

Vaakku (698260) | more than 7 years ago | (#16470405)

Technlogy may record your IP address and other anonymouse information ("Advertising Data").
Anonymous my a$$. If they save my IP, whois registry will supply them with my address and phonenumber.

Re:The text (1)

Dire Bonobo (812883) | more than 7 years ago | (#16470659)

Good to know.

I've avoided buying games because of unreasonable programs bundled with them before (for example, Silent Storm Sentinels being lumbered with Starforce copy protection), so it's good to know I should avoid this game, too.

I wonder if they're floating this as a test balloon, or if they actually think this is a reasonable thing to do. Or whether they figure most people just won't care. I wonder how much of an impact it actually makes when people avoid games which do this kind of thing.

an invalid argument (1)

Edgewize (262271) | more than 7 years ago | (#16469625)

"Other popular game titles have included spyware in the past to aid anti-cheating measures. Is spyware acceptable to the public when it comes with a game, or has EA made a PR misstep?"

What a disgusting attempt to inflame people on an issue that doesn't exist. First of all, anti-cheating measures are not spyware. Spyware reports back on what you are doing. Programs like PunkBuster or Warden (part of Blizzard's WoW client) do not report on anything except the game process, UNLESS THEY CATCH YOU CHEATING.

Secondly, there are more options than "spyware is acceptable" and "EA did something evil". For starters, maybe (probably?) Battlefield 2142 does not contain spyware. Maybe it does, but it is opt-in, which would not be evil. Maybe it does, but is opt-out on install, which would still be evil but not as bad as this /. post makes it out to be.

And maybe this whole thing is made up because AFAIK, nobody other than that one ShackNews forum poster has confirmed this.

Re:an invalid argument (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16470267)

What a disgusting attempt to inflame people on an issue that doesn't exist. First of all, anti-cheating measures are not spyware. Spyware reports back on what you are doing. Programs like PunkBuster or Warden (part of Blizzard's WoW client) do not report on anything except the game process, UNLESS THEY CATCH YOU CHEATING.

No, they do report more than that. Think about it - you could easily get around Warden if all you needed to do was send the correct "All Clear" message. Instead, Warden reports hashes of information about processes running on your machine, which are compared to known cheats at the server side. You don't know which hash values are in the server's list of cheats, and nor do you know precisely what information is being used to derive them, as the Warden code is changed regularly. I think that this is pretty clearly Spyware, as it is software that looks at the programs you are running and reports them over a network connection. Furthermore, its actual methods are secret.

Punkbuster is much the same, with the added kick-in-the-teeth of insisting on running as administrator. Cheats couldn't possibly hide from the administrator account, right?

Should be relatively easy to block, right? (2, Insightful)

Parallax Blue (836836) | more than 7 years ago | (#16469673)

Maybe I'm just naïve, but a firewall should be able to block the program from accessing the internet. Sure, you still have a background process running on your machine, but at least it's not invading your privacy. On the other hand, if it accesses the 'net through BF2142 you're gonna have a problem.

On another note, this trend of adverts in games is becoming alarming. Is this the "next-gen" of ad placement? As the /. story says though, it may be a big PR misstep. If gamers experience lag or their computer crashes because of this new software, there's going to be hell to pay for EA. Therefore, EA better make damn sure their software is bug free and totally unobtrusive. Even then, gaming sites may make such a big deal out of it that they'll back off.

I hope they do, because if EA is allowed to do this it could set a very bad precedent.

-Parallax

But I already *bought* the game... (3, Insightful)

endemoniada (744727) | more than 7 years ago | (#16469767)

Seriously, what the hell?

If i buy BF2142, which I won't, then I've already given my share to the developers and anyone else that deserves to get paid. It would be a whole other matter if the game was free, or significantly cheaper, but it's not.

Basically, I PAY lots of money to GET ads, and there's not even a way to pay MORE to get RID of them!

Wonderfail - (1)

RoffleTheWaffle (916980) | more than 7 years ago | (#16469785)

You know, before now I wasn't especially interested in 2142. I thought BF2's multiplayer was pretty weak and can't run it on my home computer anyway, so naturally I wasn't looking forward to what amounts to a retail mod of a game I already didn't like. After this, though, I'll be telling all my friends - including a few avid BF2 players who have been anticipating this release - to avoid this shit like the plague, at least until a hack is released that disables this dandy little 'feature' EA has decided to so graciously bestow upon this highly anticipated title. (As though they actually need more money. What, is EA poor or something? Correct me if I'm wrong, but I seem to remember EA being in fairly good shape, huge and happy as ever. Seriously though, targeted in-game advertising? Look, if you want more money from someone after they buy your shitty game, make them subscribe to it or something, don't cram out of place car billboards and dick-pill banners down their throats.)

I'll laugh my ass off if they start banning people for blocking the in-game spam and spyware, too. Though I can't say I'd be in such good spirits if I happened to be one of the folks unfortunate enough to have pre-ordered this online, not knowing I'd be allowing this garbage onto my computer but still wanting to play. That would be grounds for massive E-rage, and frankly, I think anyone who pre-ordered should be investigating the possibility of a refund as soon as possible.

Questions, questions (3, Insightful)

phorm (591458) | more than 7 years ago | (#16470109)

From the actual box disclaimer (linked in another's post) it appears that the software is used to monitor and/or distribute how often the in-game ads are viewed, not the browser etc. This bring a few questions:

a) Does said software run when the game isn't running
b) Does it connect on a specific port or to a specific IP (can I block it)
c) Where is this info located besides in-box. If a user has opened the box, most outlets will not accept a return
d) Can somebody give a working link/email for EA's complaints department

reputable sources.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16470143)

is slashdot seriously linking to a Kotaku 'story' that has as its only source a post on a web forum? You have got to be joking - sites like Kotaku, Joystiq, etc have no credibility, its just a big circle jerk of bloggers. they have an even dumber version of slashdot - they post stories on the site that are found elsewhere 99% of the time, often linking to a story on another gaming blog, that links to another blog, that links to the real story, which often times isn't credible and can't be backed up.

These sites will post anything and everything on their front pages to drive in traffic, and never make any attempt to tell us when the things they have 'reported' are completely wrong. Posting this drivel on slashdot or digg only adds to the problem.

This is what you get when you choose closed source (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16470159)

Pretendo, $ony-Bony, and Micro$haft will all do this eventually on their consoles along with their third party developers inserting it into their games. Always go with an open source solution. This is the only way to prevent spyware of anykind.

Ben Franklin said it best: (4, Funny)

merc (115854) | more than 7 years ago | (#16470367)

"Those who would give up essential Liberty to purchase a MMORPG deserve neither Liberty nor a MMORPG."

Acceptable? (1)

necro81 (917438) | more than 7 years ago | (#16470583)

from summary: "Is spyware acceptable to the public when it comes with a game, or has EA made a PR misstep?"

One may as well ask "Are rootkits acceptable to the public when it comes with music, or has Sony made a PR misstep?"

We all know how well that one worked out. At least it's well publicized before the release, so that the hew and cry can prevent it from happening in the first place.

Battlefield 2142 on Planetside travesty. (1)

Tei (520358) | more than 7 years ago | (#16470645)

I like the Battlefield 1942 engine, but I kind of hate how EA and Dice is milking the engine releasing games based on it with only graphics changes, while the engine is still somewhat "static", so most mods gameplay is not that all different. The engine feels like a non-engine, something you can't do different gameplay styles. And theres still bugs from the original version on the latest one.

Having that, I dont care much, except that seems that releasing soo fast destroy older communitys around older versions and add nothing. Is much like Battlefield is a episodic game, with several episodes, but not cross compatibility. You buy extensions of the game as new games, but these new "games" break backward compatibility, so break the gamming server community. Yea, It hurt the gamming scene.

Having that. I checked BF2142, and there are more about the problem. The engine is the BF2 one, with his problems and lack of flexibility. The gameplay is still good, but somewhat lost in translation from.... PlanetSide. Yes, because not only some ideas look ripped from PlanetSide, but are not well translated. This why If you like Battlefield 2142, you sould absolutelly download and play PlanetSide, because with the same hovertanks, pods, AMC, titan bases, etc.. is a much better, rich game, with a real MPORTS experience. Not only that, but seems that these poor villains of SOE able now to play the game to level 6 withouth pay, for free :D

And not only that, but PlanetSide is designed around a simpler engine, that give smoother gameplay, and as much more and different refreshing weapons.

And that is SAD. Because I like Battlefield, and the Battlefield gameplay. I like how DICE understand realism, and how mix realism and gamism to make a vivid experience. We have lost YEARS with new and new releases of Battlefield, but the engine is not much better. Meanwhile look at Quake, Unreal or other engines, theres eons of evolution on a few years.

note to self: I love the hovertank. I miss my copters :(. (Why the game is soo slow and "brown" on my computer?.)

That's just great (1)

skintigh2 (456496) | more than 7 years ago | (#16470681)

So, if this game is anything like C&C Generals or the expansion packs, it will be so buggy it wont play out of the box, it will be owned by blatant cheaters for the first year and then the expansion pack will come out and similarly be owned, they will never include the ladder pack and other promised features, BUT they will have spyware installed on your computer.

Where do I sign?

Killing Me Softly With Spyware (1)

blueZhift (652272) | more than 7 years ago | (#16470693)

Well it looks like EA is doing their part to kill off that pesky PC gaming once and for all. I'm sure that there is all kinds of spying going on on users during online console games, but at least none of that involves (potentially) the kinds of other private crap I have on my PC. As usual, hacks will be born to get around the spyware, but isn't anyone getting a little tired of this yet? I know I am, soon the only game I'll be playing on my PC is solitaire!

Not that bad... (1)

Potatomasher (798018) | more than 7 years ago | (#16470701)

At least we'll get a free game out of it. What's that ? we won't ? Screw that. Let the collective boycotting begin (in case you weren't boycotting EA games already)

They've lost my $$$ (1)

vonPoonBurGer (680105) | more than 7 years ago | (#16470709)

I played the demo of BF2142, and was underwhelmed. I've played a lot of BF1942 (well, mostly the Desert Combat mod) and BF2, so I thought BF2142 would be a definite purchase for me. Still, I found I didn't enjoy the demo as much as I anticipated I would. I figured I'd wait a bit, see if some friends bought it, maybe pick it up after a patch or two was released. However, if they're going to attempt to spy on my other computing activities so they can deliver targetted ads in-game, I definitely will not be buying it now or at any point in the future. Glad I chose to wait!
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