Killing Floor 2 Devs Will Ban Your CD Key For “Cyber Bullying” On Forums [UPDATE]

[UPDATE]

Tripwire Interactive have clarified their stance on the EULA for Killing Floor 2.

While they say that yes, they can “take your game away,” they’ve said previously this has only happened to two customers, one of which was convicted as a “hacker” in court. They also make a point in saying that they don’t have any intention of policing servers and hunting down people who “use bad language at each other.”

You can read the full post below:

Rather than post in this EULA thread, which already runs to a few pages, I’ll just start a new one and drop a few comments.

1. We actually put our EULA out in the open, so everyone can read it. It isn’t hiding on page 37 of a game manual, that is tucked away somewhere in your game files. It is written to be (at least vaguely) understandable by someone who is not a lawyer.

2. Just about ALL the games you are buying on Steam and anywhere else are actually a license to use. Yes, that is likely to become an issue in the EU at some point. Someone much smarter than me (probably at Valve, cos they’re all smarter than me) will work out how to handle that. If you are twitchy, because you’ve read our EULA – try reading everyone else’s! There’s some real horrors out there.

3. People are worried that we can “take your game away”. Well, yes, we can. We’ve sold around 10 million games over the last 10 years. We have, I believe, taken away games from about 2 people. One of those was later convicted as a hacker in court.

4. We added the pieces to the EULA about “behaviors” as a reaction to really evil behaviors which are simply not appropriate in multi-player or co-op games. Or anywhere in civilized society, for that matter.

So what does this mean? It just means that we wanted to make it clear where we stand. We don’t have any intention (or the time, frankly) to start policing servers and hunting down people who use bad language at each other.

Its there so that, if at some point in the future, some individual gets utterly out of control and is being abusive to enough thousands of people to come to our attention – we can actually take action.

For the other 99.999% of the population – play on! We’re not watching or tracking you or anything else. We have wayyyy better things to do – like making games.

[ORIGINAL ARTICLE]

Nobody reads EULAs. They’re long, legally (and sometimes grammatically) opaque and have been the subject of developer pranks. Maybe this is why they are not taken seriously and largely ignored by the gaming public.

Perhaps that’s what the developers of Killing Floor 2 are banking on, since they produced a rather sneaky list of caveats into their new game’s EULA.

How sneaky?

Well, first of all, how does being banned for creating a mod that the developers deem “offensive” sound? Apparently, your rights to that CD Key you get from Steam will be revoked if you create content that the developers decide is “inappropriate”. In their own language, you will have your license revoked for, quote, “sexually explicit, harmful, threatening, abusive, defamatory, obscene, hateful, racially or ethnically offensive imagery or libelous, defamatory, or other illegal material, material that is scandalous or invades the rights of privacy or publicity of any third party.”

Fairly vague language, isn’t it? You could use this to revoke the keys of anyone for anything. It doesn’t end there, though.

Remember when we, as gamers, rallied against Electronic Arts for revoking the rights to play a legally obtained game due to a forum ban? Understandably, people were upset and had enough common sense to see this was a ridiculous rule.

Looks like Tripwire, the developers of Killing Floor 2, didn’t learn that lesson…because they’ve now done the same thing.

Lastly, and related to that, is the fact that anything deemed to fall under “cyber-bullying” can result in a revoke of your key as well. Of course, some will say this is fairly common and that it is well within their rights to police their own game community in such a manner. If this was merely a VAC ban or you were being blacklisted from a server, that would be understandable, but having your CD Key tossed to the digital void for things as innocuous and hard-to-define as “cyber bullying” on a forum (Not even in the game, at that) as well as creating a mod the developers (Or a sensitive gamer) finds “offensive” is a big step up from what we’ve seen in the past. The deliberately vague language doesn’t help, either.

Killing Floor 2 recently went up on Steam Early Access and has received mostly positive reviews, though some have been arguing back and forth about what the EULA represents and how far and to what extent it will be enforced.

Is this just a normal EULA that isn’t worth worrying about, or is it language vague enough to remove anyone or anything they don’t agree with? Is it censorship, or do they have a right to ban someone for making a nude/nazi/rape mod? Does it set a dangerous precedent, or is it just the developers covering their own rear? With this game being an 18+ title, shouldn’t people be savvy enough to know how to use the “block” command? What’s your take on this?

Carl Batchelor

About

Carl is both a JRPG fan and a CRPG'er who especially loves European PC games. Even with more than three decades of gaming under his belt, he feels the best of the hobby is yet to come.