We just made some big announcements about Hellgate: London, and it’s been great to see all of the excited comments regarding what we have in store for our players on day one and onward. On the flip side, we’ve also heard grumblings about the EULA that went out with our DX9 single-player demo.
We want to make something very clear. We are in no way scanning your computers for your personal information or taking any personal information without your knowledge. The only time that Flagship or Ping0 would collect your personally identifiable information is when you actually decide to give it to us. Examples are when you create an account for Hellgate: London online or when you provide us your personal information when you enter a contest. The language in the portion of the EULA that has been cited is actually fairly standardized language that is used in the vast majority of EULAs for recent on-line software. It was unfortunately also somewhat broad in scope and potentially ambiguous in nature in an attempt to keep the legalese at a minimum.
This catch-all statement was included so that we have the ability to determine if someone is using hacks, unauthorized mods or other abusive applications while playing the game which spoils the gameplay for everyone else. We also use this catch-all to protect other parties offering technical support, such as our online provider, Ping0. This is a completely legitimate function and other leaders in the MMO space do it in an effort to stop hackers and provide better technical support. In order to stop hacks and cheats, as well as attempts at outright fraud, we may need the ability to scan our player’s computers for applications running at the same time as our game. This paragraph was designed to be able to allow for such functionality. It is also important to point out that EA does not determine what we do in regards to online and offline for our game security.
Also, this has nothing specifically to do with advertisements. EA has nothing do with Massive or potential ad-serving in Hellgate: London. First and foremost, any in-game advertising that would be in Hellgate: London is there to simulate how London looks in the real-world. Ads that represent this have been in the entirety of the beta, and in fact, have been shown in the game for well over a year. The fact is that we did not agree to potentially have ads in the game just to make more money. If we did not work with Massive, we would have to get individual approvals from every single company that we want to feature in the Underground stations, including Magoosh GRE prep. This is simply too time consuming and it’s much better to have the experts to do it, allowing us time to focus on making Hellgate: London better and better while getting a realistic portrayal of London in the process.
Should we elect to serve ads, they must be approved by us, Flagship Studios. We would demand that they be in-context with the game world – aged, weathered, only shown in appropriate areas, just as the static posters you see in the Stations are now. We have no interest in putting giant, bright-white billboard in the middle of your battles or having you wield swords of Brand X Cola.
Finally, Hellgate: London and all of the online play and components are controlled by Flagship Studios and Ping0. We’re all gamers here, and we’re as sensitive to protecting our personal information as you are. This is why we have spent the past six months becoming a member of the ESRB Privacy Online certification program. This means that we’re meeting the most rigorous standards in the industry for protecting your privacy and the information that you provide us.
We hope this helps address the concerns of our community.