A buzz is starting up over a section of the EULA for the Hellgate: London demo.

The specific part is this:

3. Consent to Use of Data. You agree that EA, its affiliates, and each Related Party may collect, use, store and transmit technical and related information that identifies your computer, including without limitation your Internet Protocol address, operating system, application software and peripheral hardware, that may be gathered periodically to facilitate the provision of software updates, dynamically served content, product support and other services to you, including online play. EA and/or the Related Parties may also use this information in the aggregate and, in a form which does not personally identify you, to improve our products and services and we may share that aggregate data with our third party service providers.

The problem is that the above is rather vague in its terms. What are “EA affiliates”? Who are “related third parties”? And exactly how much information is being collected?

Obviously, if you need tech support for a game, the tech people need to know your system setup. There’s no way they can help you without that information.

However, what about that vague “application software” mention? Does it refer just to their game, or are they snooping around your hard drive to see what else is there?

And then there’s that “dynamically served content”. This usually means “advertising”. Now we know that HG:L is really meant for online players, and that they have two “tiers”. One is free online play. The other is “pay up” for extra content.

I suspect that the “dynamically served content” will be appearing in the “free” online play, and that the ads are likely to be based on the information collected as detailed in the EULA. Whether ads will also appear in the “pay for play” tier remains to be seen, but it wouldn’t surprise me.

Overall, I find this paragraph troubling, and I’m hesitant now about getting the game when it comes out. And I’m not going to be playing it online anyway.

But who know what’s really being installed on your system? Even with dialup, there may be a little something that “phones home” when you log on. Yeah, maybe I’ll pass this one up. I think they’re being just too nosy here.