We don’t cover the Battlefield games much on Massively OP, but this particular story caught my attention anyway because of the company and subject involved. According to a piece on Gamasutra, EA has effectively stymied a player-run effort to resurrect several Battlefield games, including Battlefield Heroes, as de facto emulators with online services, which have attracted significant fan support.
Revive Network says it was issued a polite request – not a formal cease-and-desist demand – by EA’s legal team, casually asking the site-runners to put an end to distrbuting the clients that make the resurrection possible.
“We’ve noticed that Revive Network has several projects and websites devoted to being a Medic by ‘reviving’ older Battlefield games, including Battlefield Heroes, Battlefield 2, and Battlefield 2142. It’s great to see your enthusiasm for these titles. Not to brag, but we too get the nostalgia chills when booting up these classic entries in the Battlefield franchise. We need a favor though: we must ask that you stop throwing down Ammo Crates. In other, more legal-styled terms, please stop distributing copies of our game clients and using our trademarks, logos, and artwork on your sites. Thing is, your websites may easily mislead visitors to believe that you are associated or affiliated with EA – we’re the only ones that get to wear the ‘Official EA’ dog tag. Since you’re Battlefield community members, we know that you are smart and helpful, and will respect that we must protect our intellectual property rights in the franchise.”
Downloads for the games have since been shut down, along with the Battlefield slice of the Revive Network itself, which signs off by thanking the community. But it’s safe to say fans aren’t giving up in any case.
What made me sit up and take notice is the fact that EA has traditionally been tacitly supportive of emulators in the online space, as MMORPG players can attest. Hundreds of Ultima Online emulators – some with subs of their own – have been allowed to go on relatively unchecked for almost two decades, in spite of the fact that the original MMORPG is still alive and well and putting out expansions. Dark Age of Camelot, Earth and Beyond, and Warhammer Online emulators have likewise been running for many years. Most recently, The Sims Online emulator’s mobile port was indeed issued a cease-and-desist from the company. Here’s to hoping EA’s legal team doesn’t have any of the other MMORPGs in its sights.