EA is experiencing quite a week, with the successful launch of Battlefield 1, a limped launch of Titanfall 2, and then in the middle of it all the company has banned an entire country from its digital distribution service, Origin.
A post on the /r/gaming section of Reddit by 'trivial_sublime' paints a pretty bad picture for EA, with the poster saying: "I live in Myanmar, and I own about 20 games on Origin, and have spent hundreds of dollars on the platform. I've bought the full editions of all of the Battlefield games up to this point, with their season passes. I was trying to log into Origin a few days ago, and got a bizarre "Access Denied" message. I googled it, and found that "Origin is no longer available in Myanmar".
A post on EA's own website from '1guntra' said that they were getting "Access Denied" error messages when connecting from Yangon, Myanmar. An EA representative responded, saying: "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".
The post on Reddit continued, with 'trivial_sublime' adding: "Nevermind, it's the second link. They said "...with the Origin 10 update, US laws (which is where EA is based) forced them to block certain countries. Unfortunately you live in one of those countries. I'm sorry but there is nothing we ca do here to allow you access again." So I'm making a (hopefully pretty safe) assumption that it's because of sanctions".
Reddit's response to the post by 'trivial_sublime' was massive, hitting the front page of the site and seeing the user adding more and more details to the post. The post continued: "None of us has been offered a refund - not even a "sorry, all your games are gone." Remember, if they do it to me, they can do it to you too. Don't use or buy games from Origin or DRM services. They can take your content away without offering a refund".
The reason? The US government has imposed a trade embargo on Myanmar, so EA is falling into accordance with US law by restricting onlien services to residents of countries that are embargoed, like Myanmar. EA representative 'EA_Alex' said on Reddit: "Hey all, The short answer here is that this occurred due to the US government trade embargo on Myanmar. In accordance with US law, EA is legally required to restrict online services to residents of countries that are embargoed. This isn't an EA-specific issue -- it's an issue that impacts all companies offering services that are covered by trade embargoes".
Alex continued: "As the OP has noted, the embargo on Myanmar appear to have been lifted earlier this month. Accordingly, 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".
TL;DR by 'trivial_sublime' sums it up well:
- I live in Myanmar, but I am not from Myanmar.
- My account was not started in Myanmar (though several of my friends' accounts were, and they are having the same problem).
- Origin is kicking an "Access Denied" message to all of us. You can't access ANY games or even see the store. Click the links above for examples. If we use VPNs, we can circumvent this and access our games (although we can't play online due to insane ping - baseline here is 100ms; you use a VPN you go to 350+).
- Myanmar's sanctions were lifted on October 7th. For those of you that say EA has no choice, they do.
- We were all able to access Origin in early September. Obama announced that the sanctions were being lifted from Myanmar. Right around the time of the announcement, EA terminates all Myanmar access to Origin.
There's also a massive new post from the OP that explains everything - check that out here.