Rock Paper Shotgun's John Walker is investigating EA's habit of banning customers from playing their own games. All it seems to take is a naughty word on their official forums. The bans prevent even single-player use of games, and EA does not give refunds.
Despite repeated attempts to receive a statement on EA's current position on their banning procedure, we have only been met with silence for the last fortnight. … I'm building up quite the portfolio of affected gamers, who find after a forum violation they're unable to access their Origin games. And within this is a more disturbing trend – those who are finding that their forum bans are, without explanation, becoming permanent bans. Permanent bans from accessing their Origin accounts, their Battlelog accounts, and therefore downloading purchased games, and playing online. Something which obviously raises serious questions about consumer rights, which is of course another angle we're currently investigating.
Walker points out that even if someone posts "invective-speckled" rants, that should only earn a forum ban, not the complete swiping of entire game catalogs.
For years, DRM advocates scoffed at the idea that it would be used for bullshit like this — the refrain was always that it was about preventing piracy. But managing rights is what DRM was built to do, so that is what it's used for.
The problem is not that EA has an intentional policy of punitively screwing its customers. It will fix this specific problem, now that enough people have noticed it. The problem is that the machinery of DRM creates perverse incentives for everyone from top executives to forum moderators, and the corporate veil creates moral hazard to go with it. So you never know where the next shit ganache in the chocolate box will be.
EA Origin Bans: Update Edition [Rock Paper Shotgun]