One of EA's latest moves illustrates once more why so many gamers hate DRM. The game publisher recently started enforcing US trade embargoes via the Origin store, this not only means gamers from impacted countries can no longer buy new games, it also means these gamers can no longer play previously bought games protected by EA's Origin DRM system.
At the moment, EA is banning users from Myanmar, Iran, Syria, Sudan, the Crimea region of the Ukraine, Cuba, and North Korea. Especially Myanmar is pretty strange because, as Bit Tech points out, the country has been under a US trade embargo for 19 years but the Obama administration lifted the sanctions a month ago:
Previously, nations like Myanmar were able to browse the Origin store and purchase games thereon, with local gamers building up libraries of titles. A thread posted to social networking site Reddit this weekend, however, claimed that EA had suddenly and without warning cut Myanmar off from accessing Origin, making it impossible for gamers in that country to play the titles they had already purchased and installed. Soon, reports from other nations experiencing similar bans came in: Iran, Syria, Sudan, the Crimea region of the Ukraine, Cuba, and North Korea have all been confirmed by EA as being blocked from the Origin service.
The company has pointed to US trade embargoes which, it rightly points out, forbid EA from providing software services to residents of embargoed nations. Sadly, its approach appears to have been ill-managed: Myanmar has been under a US trade embargo for the past 19 years, longer than Origin has existed and during which time Origin purchases have been made without difficulty; in September this year, however, the embargo was finally lifted - which means that claims EA suddenly started enforcing an embargo which no longer existed point to poor management on the company's part.
After the issue wound up on social media, EA promised it would restore access to Origin for users in Myanmar. Still, it's another reminder that DRM can have nasty consequences for end-users.