You say spyware like it’s a bad thing

With the release of Battlefield 2142, people are spazing out.

Shack News released the following information:

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.

Now, I can live with certain in-game ads (though apparently there will be Dodge truck and Neon ads in the bleak, futuristic world of 2142), but including a lengthy description – outside of even the Eula – seems to indicate even EA knows that this is some shady borderline spyware shit. I don’t support it and won’t be buying 2142 (for a host of other reasons, too).

The Dice development team (the people who actually created the game) had the following to say about it:

Greetings,

We would like to provide more information on in-game advertising in Battlefield 2142. To try and help everyone better understand it, here is how it works.

The in-game advertisement is respectful of players’ privacy: it never accesses files not directly related to the game, and it does not capture personal data such as cookies, account login detail, gameplay behaviour or surfing history. As it is an integrated part of Battlefield 2142 and not a separate program, it only runs when the game is running.

Because BF2142 delivers ads by region, the IP address of the player is used to determine the region of the player and helps serve ads by region and language; for instance, a player in Paris will be presented with ads in French. Note that this IP address is not stored on the advertisement server and is not repurposed for other uses.

A unique ID number is anonymously assigned the first time the player joins a Battlefield 2142 online game. It is stored locally on the PC but is not linked to any personal details. The in-game advertisement gathers what we call “impression data”, such as location of the billboard in the game or duration of advertisement impression. It helps see how many people have seen an ad – but not who has seen it.

We are also conscious that the advertisement shouldn’t distract the player from the overall gaming experience, so all ads fit in the unique environment of each level in the game. The content of the ads is also controlled to ensure that no offensive content is displayed in Battlefield 2142.

We all hope that this explanation will address recent concerns on the advertisement in Battlefield 2142.
See you on the Battlefield.

Your Dice Live Team

So… lets think about this for a few seconds. You buy a game and pay a one time fee of $50 for it (if you got it the day it came out… you’ll pay less later). In return, you get patches, updates, and enhancements for several years that don’t cost you a dime. You also get servers to play on that are free to use (you don’t pay a monthly subscription fee to play the game you paid for).

If this was EverQuest or World of Warcraft, I’d be pissed as hell. With those types of games, you have to buy the game AND pay a monthly fee just to play it (which is, in my opinion, just plain wrong… if you have to pay a monthly fee to play, the game should be free).

I think a few ads are a very small price to pay for what you get, and this really isn’t spyware.
Oh… and by the way… I installed it last night and the game totally rocks!