EA Botches Origin Coupon Giveaway

Andy Chalk

One Flag, One Fleet, One Cat
Nov 12, 2002
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EA Botches Origin Coupon Giveaway


Electronic Arts has managed to turn a simple idea into another Origin PR disaster.

A select number of Origin users received a pretty sweet offer from EA over the weekend: fill out a survey and get a code for a free game download. Hard to screw that up, right?

Wrong. It was very quickly discovered that the code EA handed out was not a single-use code but could in fact be used over and over again to download as many games as the holder wanted. Even worse, or better depending on your perspective, the coupon codes could be used by anyone, not just the intended recipient, to download as many games as their bandwidth would allow. Quelle surprise, they quickly turned up on Reddit [http://www.reddit.com/r/GameDeals/comments/11ewb0/use_the_code_os3874xvc_to_get_20_off_origin/] and the looting began in earnest.

It's not known how many unauthorized games went out the door and probably never will be, but given that the codes hit Reddit on Saturday and it took EA until Sunday night to kill them, you can bet it was more than a few. Even so, EA's response to the mixup was, at least at first glance, very cool and a solid PR move, as it promised to honor all sales made with the coupon code, no questions asked.

But the good feelings didn't last. By pulling the plug on the coupon code, EA locked out everyone who had completed the survey but hadn't yet had the opportunity to claim their free game. The people who were quick enough to screw the system made out like bandits, in other words, but a significant number of legitimate freebie claimants have been left out in the cold.

A slew of complaints has turned up on the Origin forums and EA doesn't appear to be handling them with quite the same grace it showed in the initial coupon mess; a few users have stated that EA customer support is honoring the codes on a case-by-case basis but the official company position seems to be a flat-out "no."

"I understand why some folks may be frustrated that the coupon code ended early," as an Origin Community Manager put it [http://forum.ea.com/eaforum/posts/list/60/9040620.page#25426635], "but the coupon is now expired."

via: Rock, Paper, Shotgun [http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/2012/10/15/eas-origin-leaves-the-doors-unlock-looting-ensues/]


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Zagzag

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Sep 11, 2009
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Well, that must be really annoying for the people who didn't get their games, but it's probably a better move than allowing anyone to have anything, assuming EA can't actually fix the codes to work properly.
 

fenrizz

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Feb 7, 2009
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I'm going to support EA on this one.

They tried to do a nice thing, although they did not do a very good job at it, and people took advantage.
While it is very nice of them to honor all "sales", it should come as no surprise that the coupon is now invalid.

Suck to be the one without a free game, but such is life.
 

Baldr

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Jan 6, 2010
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fenrizz said:
I'm going to support EA on this one.

They tried to do a nice thing, although they did not do a very good job at it, and people took advantage.
While it is very nice of them to honor all "sales", it should come as no surprise that the coupon is now invalid.

Suck to be the one without a free game, but such is life.
EA has a list of who they gave the survey to and can easily look up to see if the code has been used on the account already or not. EA should honor those codes for 1 free game, regardless of the screw up with the other codes.
 

Korzack

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Apr 28, 2010
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Unfortunate for both sides - I'm not gonna *****-slap EA about too much for this (Nice idea to do a coupon thing to begin with, pity it was US only, but then I guess getting the right localisations would be a pain in the hole), but you'd think with origin been essentially DRM anyway, they'd have patched a way in for each code to be consumable, like how SecuROM used to be when you activated codes. Still, a C- for the effort, lads.
 

Lawyer105

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Apr 15, 2009
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Couldn't care less, personally... even if I'd been given a code, I'm not sure I'dve used it. Apart from Origin exclusives that I can have no other way (and therefore have already purchased), there's nothing I'd purposefully use Origin for anyways.

Seriously, the choice on Origin is so limited that once you've got 4-6 games, you've probably exhausted the store of everything that you personally play (sure there'll be exceptions, but I'm sure this is true for the majority of people).

My Steam list, on the other hand, is OVER 9000! (well... it's over 120 and growing! :p )

fenrizz said:
I'm going to support EA on this one.

They tried to do a nice thing, although they did not do a very good job at it, and people took advantage.
While it is very nice of them to honor all "sales", it should come as no surprise that the coupon is now invalid.

Suck to be the one without a free game, but such is life.
[/tinfoilhat] I can't help wondering whether this whole coupon thing (and the "mistake") is really just a marketing ploy and a desperate effort to bump up Origin usage. The biggest hurdle is getting people to try something new, after all.
 

Tanakh

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Jul 8, 2011
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Lawyer105 said:
Couldn't care less, personally... even if I'd been given a code, I'm not sure I'dve used it. Apart from Origin exclusives that I can have no other way (and therefore have already purchased), there's nothing I'd purposefully use Origin for anyways.
Same, the code was in the escapist forums this weekend and i do have an origin account because i used to play BF3, but after seeing the titles it wasn't worth my time to redownload and log in even to get a bunch of free EA games.
 

cidbahamut

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Mar 1, 2010
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Sounds like they screwed up and are just locking the whole thing down while they debug the problem.

I'm more surprised that they're letting folks get away with all those free games.
 

Ldude893

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Apr 2, 2010
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I managed to get Mirror's Edge right before the code was invalidated, but that was just to replace the broken copy I already had. All the other games were either over the price range or weren't worth getting.

[sub]CAPTCHA: dalek asylum. [/sub]
 

Lt. Rocky

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Jan 4, 2012
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EA's new to the concept of compassion, so it might be a while until we get an event that's done properly. Give them credit for trying at least.
 

SouthpawFencer

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Jul 5, 2010
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This situation sounds like a perfect metaphor for EA's anti-piracy efforts to date: EA's incompetency create an opportunity, pirates exploit it, and EA's efforts at damage control screw over legitimate customers while the pirates mostly get away, consequence-free.
 

Zombie_Moogle

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Dec 25, 2008
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Lt. Rocky said:
EA's new to the concept of compassion, so it might be a while until we get an event that's done properly. Give them credit for trying at least.
That's what they get for scaring away the one being at EA that had something resembling emotions: Peter Molyneux
 

Kargathia

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Jul 16, 2009
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Zombie_Moogle said:
Lt. Rocky said:
EA's new to the concept of compassion, so it might be a while until we get an event that's done properly. Give them credit for trying at least.
That's what they get for scaring away the one being at EA that had something resembling emotions: Peter Molyneux
While I can't help but be enjoyed by the whole notion that if a large publisher pulls a dickmove, it probably was EA, I still feel the need to point out that Peter Molyneux was employed by Microsoft.
 

halobolola

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Mar 3, 2011
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Thing is, you didnt even need to be in america to get the free games, i got one ( i shoulda got more, but the website slowed to a crawl), and im in the uk :D