EA Mobile taking away games you’ve paid for – you don’t own them

May 2, 2012

Views: 715

Sadly there is a story going around in the Apple and iOS world today that rattled my cage a little bit. Usually I don't sympathize with the iCrowd but this story is pretty upsetting. Basically my title should be "You don't own your games or apps" but I wanted to toss in EA Mobile so everyone knows who I'm talking about. Apparently even if you buy a game (and pay $4.99) they can pull it from you at will, it's only a license.

I first saw this story on our sister site SlashGear this morning, and figured I'd see what the Android Community thought of the situation. This morning EA Mobile started sending out a message to those who've purchased and played their popular Rock band game saying this: "Dear Rockers, On May 31st, ROCK BAND will no longer be playable on your device. Thanks for rocking out with us!"

Basically the game has made them TONS of money over the past two years since being released on iOS, and they've since came out with newer and better games and are now leaving the original in the dust. Apparently they'll be shutting down the servers and users will no longer have access to the music required to play the game -- and the app will most likely disappear from the app store. Thankfully on Android I have Titanium Backup, or Astro App backup and can save these types of apps from shady developers for later use, even though that won't help the server side.

The Consumerist, in their last annual awards show awarded EA Sports for being The Worst Company in America. Whether I agree with that or not, this is a pretty bad situation. I love their games, I love Madden on Xbox and Android, I love Crysis, but this story made me pretty angry. We never get updates for our apps to begin with, and now if they start pulling them at will I have a feeling they'll be in for a world of hurt.

Basically what this all comes down to is you don't own your apps or games on Android or iOS, you are licensed to use them until the developer says otherwise. I think I'll be uninstalling Madden 12 right about now and probably won't pay for 2013 either.

Thoughts on the situation? Can you imagine if everyone who paid for Angry Birds suddenly couldn't play?

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  • Quick lads! Grab yer pitchforks and sickles! 

  • You mean they can remotely uninstall our games from our devices, or somehow render them unplayable? That seems like a major invasion to me.

    • Achoo

      Every time you execute a game on mobile devices it connects to a remote server to check your info and other things and if you’re not authorized or server is not available the game won’t start. DRM.

  • EA are certainly the worst company in the gaming industry. To do that and not even give a reason indicates a hell of a lot too.

  • Robert Matthews

    It shouldn’t come as a
    complete surprise to anyone who really owns the software.  The developer
    does.  You’re not buying the software but a license to use it.  This
    whole concept is the result of decades of legal battles against software
    piracy.  I’m not familiar with this game, but it sounds like it’s dependent
    on server interaction.  What are they to do?  Maintain the servers
    in perpetuity?  There has to be a time when enough is enough.


    I would have to say EA isn’t
    handling this very well.  I would be pissed if I spent $5 on a game three
    months ago only to be cut off at the knees.  Hopefully they’ll rethink how
    and in what manner they shut these servers down.

    • jaduncan

      You would probably wish to make the point that you had a reasonable expectation at the recent time of purchase that they would not do so, and a class action of people like you could form.

  • Bob

    Where have you been they did this with Tetris, Worms and Need for Speeds last year by changing the name in Google Play. But Apple people complain now it gets attention.

  • Wewhoeat

    Unless I’m reading your article the wrong way this software requires server side infrastructure to work and EA is under no obligation to continue running these servers forever and I’m sure this is clearly stated in their license agreement.  This practice had gone on in the gaming industry since the very first client server application appeared on the market.  The only thing I can say that maybe of benefit going forward is that for android at least they should make it visibile in the purchase screen if the software requires servers to continue to function (like all the other permissions required).

    This is nothing new.

  • Dyingjedi

    thanks for letting the public know! when this has happened to me in Google market days when I requested a refund from Google they gladly did refund me immediately. I posted publicly about it also and received lots of feedback from the social networks I posted the topic about and myself and others were outraged. you can find the subject on Google plus and Facebook. I think developers that are doing this are also being cornered by Google to. this is something we all should be very considered with. I don’t know about you guys, but I’ve literally have purchased over 1000 apps between amazon and Google. not including steampowered, in steam I own over 300 apps. I’ve been really worried about this sort of activity, doesn’t even matter if some people’s predictions come true about 2012 and the end some how really does come. it won’t matter then. but after 2012 on to 2013 all that I own and I’m still around and so is everyone else then we need to maybe have to collect on our virtual purchases! I personally have lots of money invested and consider all my purchases an investment! for me and my future apps will go to my kids! I’ve seen stuff posted from Google saying you own your software, good thing I never delete email I have email dating back to 1997 of things I’ve virtual purchased! well thanks for the post. Will be keeping an eye and ear open this kinda news. we should start a change.org petition for these owners. hi5 guys..


  •  Apparently they’ll be shutting down the servers and users will no longer have access to the music required to play the game — and the app will most likely disappear from the app store. ” 

     I play Need For Speed from EA on an EVO 4G. On Android, the soundtracks are saved onto the SD Card as “.bgm files”. (Background music). This should not be an excuse…especially since the sample rate and file size is so small.  We could say they should think about the players, but that’s not gonna happen. They are like Bed Stores who sell you a mattress then hope you get bed bugs or wet the bed so you have to buy a new one.

  • CoffeeGeeker

    EA (and Gameloft) are two companies one should definitely avoid when making purchase decisions on Android. They rarely update their games, and in the fragmented market of Android, that means if you buy a few EA games this week (or Gameloft, as I did for both) on your phone (or tablet), chances are they won’t work next week on your tablet (or phone). I bought Sim City in anticipation of playing one of my favourite oldtimey games on my not-yet-arrived Asus Transformer Prime back in Feb; before I bought it, I did confirm it was “compatible” with the TF201. But once I got the TFP, SimCity would load but crash within a minute or two, consistently. Emails to EA support go unanswered on this. EA (and Gameloft) do not support the Android community at all, do not give one iota of care about their customers on mobile devices, so it’s time for all of us to stop supporting them in any way.

    • Est

      Agreed. Stop supporting EA.

  • hotwirez

    EA has just gone off the deep end. They have/are letting some employees off and have shut down whole sections of their system. Now this. Follow the blood trail, it leads to all of the money. Just Nucking Futs !

  • EA makes some pretty amazing games for the PC and console. When it comes to the mobile world, EA and Gameloft need to take some advice…

    First, If I purchase a game, it is mine. I can play it as long as my device supports it. Which has been a large issue for EA because 90% of the games I purchased upon switching to ICS were not supported, which I can understand, but you have no right to pull them. Second, pay for features and to play games are beyond annoying, I would rather pay $10 for a game to have all the features then to pay $2, $3, $1 here and there just to continue gameplay.

    Apple did it right when they limited the amount of pay to play content on apps…Google, maybe you need to put your foot down, we can all live without Gameloft and EA games.

    • I think you are giving EA too much credit. EA do not make amazing games. It buy studios making amazing games, huge difference. It’s like saying Oracle created Java.

  • Obi5683

    Unfortunately this applies to all of the Pop Cap games that they now own.  None of them work on ICS.  I still like playing Plants vs. Zombies.  Zombie Smash has filled the void for now, but I still want some Plant on Zombie carnage.  How can you expect to make any money from games that already had a large user base, but now can’t add any more users due to the fact that this year’s phones are coming with ICS preloaded. I guess they only care about the iOS users that can still use their games.

    • Obi5683

       Yes, I realize that this is a story about iOS users losing access to an EA game.

  • Jason Rousset

    EA seems to have backed off of this after the uproar it caused, claiming (probably falsely) that it was an erroneous message. Given that the notice of Rock Band Mobile being terminated was also on their FAQ before they backed off, I’m assuming they’re just doing damage control considering that Apple probably threatened them with something.

  • Est

    EA sims will not work on asus transformer anymore, as of 5/3. Why?

  • Wodin

    EA is only in for the $$ and so are more companies these days unfortionatly, they always have this “i hold a carrot before your eyes” thing, and you get a little piece. But if u want the full thing you got to pay more and more. Like in Battlefield for the PC.. First u buy the “shell” with a few usable things then they throw patches that are like 10GB in total just to fix this shell. After they fixed their actualy beta product in my eyes they throw “premium” option at you wich cost’s us alot to. It just a money drain tactic from your wallet to theirs… there is no more customer respect.
    They make a game wich everyone likes…. Then they make another just like it and cut the first one off so you gotta buy the other! Is it in another game or in a premium upgrade… they just rip you off!

  • vv

    dont buy ea games pirate it …ea sucks apple’s dick just making games on ios so to teach them lesson stop buying ea games and get it for free