View Full Version : EA Origin blunder leads to free games bonanza

October 15th, 2012, 18:41
Electronic Arts has stumbled across an interesting promotional tool for its Origin digital distribution service: accidentally give away thousands of games. Last week, the publisher set up a promotion offering US gamers a $20 discount token for taking part in an online survey. However, once participants had spent their reward, the code remained active, allowing wily users to download dozens of titles for nothing, as well as distribute the unsecure code to friends.Naturally, news quickly spread and once it made it onto Reddit, Origin was hit by thousands of greedy gamers filling their hard drives with titles like Dead Space, Sim City 4, Mass Effect 2 and Spore. The fun continued throughout Saturday and Sunday until EA discovered the error and leapt into action. “The coupon code is now expired; we’ll honor all sales made with the coupon code over the weekend,” explained Community Manager Sam Houston, via a forum thread (http://forum.ea.com/eaforum/posts/list/60/9040620.page). “Hope fans enjoy their games,” he added merrily, while perhaps looking across the room at a colleague quietly clearing his desk.The Origin service has proved controversial in the past, with some gamers labelling its terms and conditions Draconian and dismissing the client as spyware. The free games weekend may well have done wonders for PR. As one Twitter user put it (https://twitter.com/Uredus/status/257807402282405888), “EA accidentally gave away tons of games […] Am I the only one thinking it’s probably increased Origin useage (sic) by 500%?”However, EA’s generosity toward those who exploited its mistake hasn’t gone down well with everyone. Some of those who filled out the survey just before the offer was withdrawn feel they have unfairly missed out. “So the guys that scammed the system get to keep their multiple free/discounted games and those of us that were honest and filled out your survey get squat?” asked one user on the Origin forum, accurately. “The coupon is now expired,” responded a forlorn Houston.On the bright side for survey haters, it might be quite a while before Origin bothers them again.