(Update) EA seems to have banned an entire country from Origin

Myanmar? I hardly knew her!

[Update: On the day of this post (10/30/16), I had reached out to EA via their customer service e-mail to get an answer on the situation. The response I got was very helpful and should put anyone at ease.

“The short answer here is that this occurred due to the US government trade embargo on Myanmar,” says Kashif A., a customer experience representative for EA. “EA is internally reviewing the situation and looking into whether and when service can be restored to Myanmar residents. It’s unclear to me whether we can do anything for residents of other countries that are still similarly embargoed, but I’ll bring the topic up for discussion internally.”]

I’ve never been fond of EA’s Origin service, updates or not. I don’t like the company, most of its games, or its software; it has always rubbed me as the kind of company that would delete my existence if possible. Turns out, gamers in Myanmar have had that exact thing happen.

According to Reddit user trivial_sublime, he can no longer access his Origin account. He had acquired around 20 games over the years, but those have vanished into the ether. As he went to access his account, he was constantly receiving messages of access being denied.

When he posed the question on EA’s official site, the first response was, “I’m sorry but Origin is no longer available in Myanmar.” Now, that didn’t come from an EA official, but trivial_sublime had also Googled why his account was denied and found the same answer.

Apparently, new US laws have banned Origin in some countries (despite those sanctions being lifted). I can’t find a lot of corroborating evidence for this, nor can I locate a list of which countries were affected.

Kotaku has gotten a hold of EA and it seems the issue is simply an error. According to its recent post an EA spokesperson responded with, “We are working to restore access to Origin for our players in Myanmar. We apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused, and we’ll share updates on timing as soon as possible.”

That may be a bit of pre-baked PR nonsense, but thankfully the situation isn’t permanent. I suppose this is a reality we will be facing moving forward. If all games are limited to digital marketplaces, changing licenses and shifts in attitudes can lead to a lot of titles being lost to time. To make matters worse, some countries might be blocked for little to no reason.

EA Games and Origin quietly bans an entire country – or, why you shouldn’t take digital distribution for granted. [Reddit]

Peter Glagowski
Former Dtoid staff member.