Battlefield 2142 to Include Spyware

(Update 1: to include sypware EULA)
(Update 2: to include second link)

Kotaku is running a short piece on how EA seems to have decided to include spyware with BF 2142 for the purpose of showing in-game ads. GameJoint has news on the relationship between IGA and EA.

So. In the latest CGW podcast, they received retail boxed copies of BF 2142.

When you open the box, a big slip of paper falls out first, preceeding any discs or manuals. The slip of paper says, essentially, that 2142 includes monitoring software which runs while your computer is online, and records “anonymous” information like your IP address, surfing habits (probably via cookie scans), and other “computing habits” in order to report this information back to ad companies and ad servers, which generates in-game ads.

Another potential use would be to monitor “surfing habits” for visits to certain exploits or sites dedicated to black hat hacking. Of course, since this blog is (at time of writing) the #2 result in Google for the term ‘BF2 exploits’, I wouldn’t put too faith in their detection system.

Should this be confirmed, I would have no hesitation in leaving BF 2142 well alone, regardless of any other merits / demerits. However, it may turn out to be a complete fabrication. Frankly, I can believe that it would happen, but I have a feeling that we will [hopefully] recieve some official word from EA. Once we hear, I’ll post an update.

Is it just me or is it a poor reflection on EA / DICE that I can believe that they would use mandatory spyware to generate advertising revenue from their customers?

Update:

One source is claiming the folliwing is the EULA for the advertising software:

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.”

4 Replies to “Battlefield 2142 to Include Spyware”

  1. Sounds less like spyware and more like in game advertising – yes there is hardly a difference, but there is one. Personally I have no problem with in game advertising, it makes a game that much more realistic. I feel the same way about advertising in films, where some see “lol, brilliant product placement” I see the world we live in.

  2. I see two problems with this move (if it is true). The first is the method of getting targeting: monitoring browser usage. I don’t want EA monitoring my browser usage, especially not for the purpose of making them money, in part because I don’t trust them with that data.

    Secondly, in-game advertising isn’t common at the moment, and I hope it won’t become common. Some games it doesn’t matter. For example, football sims can sell advertising boards at the sides of the pitch, a la real life. That, I don’t mind. In fact, in that case, it adds to the realism. I don’t want advertising in games like BF 2142 or FPSs in general because they will ruin the atmosphere (so to speak). Think about it: ads are designed to be seen. If I don’t notice them in-game, the advertisers aren’t getting their worth.

    Unfortunately I see the future holding more in-game advertising, and I fear that it will eventually degenerate to the same level as TV: vapid, ostentatious, and off-putting.

    Lastly — if I had bought the game (like Kenny), I would be annoyed. Why? Because I have paid full price for a game, which is now going to make the game company even more money by touting ads at me. I do not appreciate paying to be advertised at. If you want to offer a discount on the game and advertise within, thats fine. Hell, they could make it free since advertising is repeated, rather than the one-off price of buying the game. At least that way there would be an incentive to keep the game fresh and fun and as bug-free as possible, since then they would be keeping people in for advertising revenue’s sake.

    As intimated in the post, I won’t be buying this game unless this whol story turns out to be fake (as I hope it does).

  3. “monitoring browser usage” The CEO from IGA has come on and said what their involvement is – it is not this. They log your IP address and when you play. This is used to target specific audiences, much like adverts on TV which come on at different times to target different audiences.

    In-game advertising has happened in a few games I have played, and I needed to read that it existed and replay the level in order to see it. Of course not every game is going to have it almost hidden, but I don’t see it being a big eye-sore or distraction.

    Do you pay to watch TV? Not only do you need to pay for a TV, you need to pay a license fee to have adverts shown to you. I paid to go to the cinema today, I saw many adverts. I paid to go on the train and saw many adverts. They are all around us, and to me, having them in games is no big deal. I personally find the few I do see make it seem more realistic, although I find it it easy to ignore or even laugh at them – but I am betting I will be too busy launching myself at floating bricks to notice!

  4. They log your IP address and when you play. This is used to target specific audiences, much like adverts on TV which come on at different times to target different audiences.

    The piece of paper that comes with the retail copy seems to disagree with this. Perhaps IGA only monitor in-game stuff (time + IP, as you say), while EA do the “surfing habits”. Even still, why the hell should I pay t give an advertising company information about me? How do I know what they will do with my information? How do I know the information is correct? Why, in short, should I give them ANY info about me?

    In-game advertising has happened in a few games I have played, and I needed to read that it existed and replay the level in order to see it. Of course not every game is going to have it almost hidden, but I don’t see it being a big eye-sore or distraction.

    It will get worse (more noticable). If you didn’t realise they were there, they will try and fix that.

    Do you pay to watch TV?

    Nope

    Not only do you need to pay for a TV, you need to pay a license fee to have adverts shown to you.

    Still nope. License fee goes to the BBC, who don’t have advertising.

    They are all around us, and to me, having them in games is no big deal.

    If they don’t bother you, thats just peachy. However, they do bother me. Part of the reason I watch very little TV is I can’t stand the adverts. Case in point:

    NSPCC advert – the usual crying kids, sad stories etc. Okay, they have to advertise, fair enough. ‘Cept the ads say they protect people in “England and Wales (perhaps NI too, can’t remember)”. So why the heck are they showing a sad advert on Paramount Comedy to people in Scotland, who they don’t cover?! ‘Nuff said.

    You argue that they aren’t invasive at the moment. That’s true. Mind you, TV ads didn’t used to be loud, garish, in-your-face affairs either. There used to be no popups or flashy-jumpy banner ads on the internet. The same thing will happen with games.

    So again, tell me why I should have my habits (whatever they are) monitored to adertise at me in a game I pay full price for?

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