Update 2: In a post from the official Origin form back in September, a user noted that access to Origin was also blocked for those in Iran. An EA representative confirmed that to be the case and added that Origin is inaccessible to Cuba, North Korea, Sudan, Syria, and Ukraine (Crimea region), in addition to Myanmar and Iran. The representative also notes that EA is attempting to restore access to those in Myanmar, which is consistent with the statement given to Kotaku below.
Update: Speaking to Kotaku, a spokesperson for Electronic Arts commented on the situation after the Reddit post landed on the front page of Reddit earlier today.
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.
Original article below
We have seen a lot of ban waves in our time, but this one has to be the biggest one in recent memory.
A Reddit user by the name trivial_sublime started a thread on the /r/gaming subreddit, the largest community for gamers on the popular website, about the block:
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.”
This user decided to inquire about the access denied error on the EA Answers website, where an Origin Champion (forum users who have shown to be helpful and accurate on numerous occasions are awarded this title confirmed that Myanmar was no longer on the list of countries in which EA operates.
Yes, 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.
All of this was allegedly because of sanctions the US had against Myanmar until very recently.
Sounds fair enough, were it not for the fact that losing access to Origin also locks you out of playing your games in offline mode and you can’t use the client to browse the store anymore, rendering your Origin library basically useless. According to trivial_sublime, nobody was informed of the impending block, which is something you’d at least expect if a service plans to take all your games away from you.
According to the Reddit user, who has been living in Myanmar but didn’t grow up there, his account was also locked even though he made his Origin account in a different country. He notes that while he did not make his account in Myanmar, several of his friends did and they also got locked out of the client. Some people in Myanmar have tried using a VPN to circumvent the block, doing so means playing with very high ping rates which makes online gaming a gigantic pain.
If the ban is the result of the aforementioned sanctions, it would be a tad strange. The sanctions the US government had against the country of Myanmar got lifted on October 7. Despite this, trivial_sublime notes that he was able to use Origin without any trouble whatsoever when the sanctions were in effect, all the way up until a few days ago when the service started denying players access. If this turns out to be why EA will have blocked an entire market from consuming their products for no real reason.
We have contacted EA about this and will update the article when and if we hear from them.
I think this rates fairly high on the list of things I fear might happen at some point. EA shutting the entire games market down and locking players out of the content they paid for is something that could happen to any of us. How many games do you have on Steam? 5? 20? 1000? What would you do if you wouldn’t have any access to them despite you having paid for them? Even scarier still is this could happen to any platform you’ve bought digital goods on.