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EA Promo Code Unlocked Most Origin Games, Not Just One

By - Source: Kotaku | B 39 comments

A gift code provided to EA customers who filled out a survey could be used my multiple people multiple times to unlock PC games on the Origin platform.

Kotaku reports that over the weekend, a select number of gamers registered with EA and/or its digital distribution platform, Origin, received an email to participate in a special survey. Upon completion, these gamers would receive a special code that could be redeemed for one free game on Origin priced $19.99 or more. These titles included Bulletstorm, Dragon Age II, Mass Effect, Darkspore and many more.

But clever gamers in the U.S. and Canada eventually figured out that this code actually unlocked more than just one game, and could be used by more than just one person. They took to Reddit on Saturday to post the good news, and collectively began distributing the codes, looting EA's virtual shelves, and listing the compatible titles which fell prey to the loophole.

What a weekend to be a PC gamer.

According to Kotaku, this site actually provided instructions on how to unlock multiple games with just one code. Customers merely had to add a game to the Origin cart and apply the promo code without logging in, then delete the game, and then actually log into their account. After performing a search, the game would be offered for $0 USD.

Currently it's unknown as to the number of unauthorized games EA distributed freely over the weekend, but the publisher eventually figured out what was going on, and locked the code down until it only provided one free title over $19.99. EA even said it would honor all the sales that were made using the leaked code.

But on Sunday the company killed off the code altogether, locking out all those people who actually took the legitimate route and participated in the survey. Naturally angry consumers took to the EA forums, demanding their promised reward.

"I took the survey and got a promo code for a $20 discount on a game," one customer said. "When I went to redeem the code, it said it was invalid. I think this could be false advertising and possibly fraud. I will check with my attorney with regards to a class-action suit. This is very frustrating but typical of the way that us customers are treated."

EA remained tight-lipped throughout most of the EA bashing party that transpired across the gaming community. Many customers understood why the offer was terminated early – just how much did EA lose by not securing the code properly? Still, those who participated in the survey as requested came up empty handed when trying to redeem the code... which was supposedly valid until October 21.

"I understand why some folks may be frustrated that the coupon code ended early, but the coupon is now expired," one EA community manager said.

 

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Top Comments
  • 24 Hide
    klavis , October 16, 2012 4:10 AM
    Ya...they kind of are legally obligated to give those people their free game, they can't just not honor it.
  • 21 Hide
    fuzzion , October 16, 2012 4:16 AM
    Steam ftw.
  • 15 Hide
    tomfreak , October 16, 2012 4:27 AM
    EA just give a new code for their angry customer again, but this time this code will only work 1 time per acc. (assuming they are right).

    but wth.... meh it is AGAIN USA only!

    So why should I be buying games from EA again?
Other Comments
  • 24 Hide
    klavis , October 16, 2012 4:10 AM
    Ya...they kind of are legally obligated to give those people their free game, they can't just not honor it.
  • 4 Hide
    dudewitbow , October 16, 2012 4:12 AM
    The funny thing is, I just happen to be there both when it was on Reddit and Overclock.net
  • 21 Hide
    fuzzion , October 16, 2012 4:16 AM
    Steam ftw.
  • 3 Hide
    amuffin , October 16, 2012 4:24 AM
    Dang...I got Crysis:Warhead for free by filling out the survey. Good thing I got it before they shut it all down LOL
  • 5 Hide
    longshotthe1st , October 16, 2012 4:25 AM
    Karma
  • 15 Hide
    tomfreak , October 16, 2012 4:27 AM
    EA just give a new code for their angry customer again, but this time this code will only work 1 time per acc. (assuming they are right).

    but wth.... meh it is AGAIN USA only!

    So why should I be buying games from EA again?
  • -2 Hide
    lpedraja2002 , October 16, 2012 4:34 AM
    Damn I would have liked to try out that Sims Medieval game :( 

    Ah well, Origin isn't that bad, a couple of months ago they gave me a code to choose one of four games and I got Dragon Age Origins for free! I thought the game was very difficult but it had a great story and awesome characters.
  • 2 Hide
    mouse24 , October 16, 2012 4:50 AM
    Free games under 20 bucks? I doubt those bargain bin 20 dollar games are a huge part of there profit margin. they already squeezed what profit they could thats why its in the bargain bin. Wouldn't hurt to give a one time use code to everyone who filled out the survey. Not like one more free game is going to kill 'em since everyone got tons for free anyhow.
  • 1 Hide
    schiwing , October 16, 2012 4:58 AM
    mouse24Free games under 20 bucks? I doubt those bargain bin 20 dollar games are a huge part of there profit margin. they already squeezed what profit they could thats why its in the bargain bin. Wouldn't hurt to give a one time use code to everyone who filled out the survey. Not like one more free game is going to kill 'em since everyone got tons for free anyhow.


    Some people need to LEARN HOW TO READ.
    Looking at you, mouse24.
  • -9 Hide
    teknic111 , October 16, 2012 5:00 AM
    God damn it!!! I am on Reddit all day every day, but due to heavy drinking and sexing Friday night, I slept all day Saturday!!!! Why!!!!
  • 0 Hide
    kcorp2003 , October 16, 2012 5:10 AM
    i was wondering when you would write an article on this. yep.. me and the guys from MordorHQ got a whole lot of free games. i got like 8 games i wanted.
  • 8 Hide
    unksol , October 16, 2012 5:11 AM
    I fail to see how:
    A: a programmer could be so incompetent, and
    B: why anyone would want origin. Even to get old games for free....

    Wait... This is about EA? well... Now I get A... But B just is more confusing
  • 2 Hide
    jimmysmitty , October 16, 2012 5:15 AM
    TomfreakEA just give a new code for their angry customer again, but this time this code will only work 1 time per acc. (assuming they are right).but wth.... meh it is AGAIN USA only!So why should I be buying games from EA again?


    These promotions normally cannot be run across different countries due to legal restrictions and laws in place in each country being different. I am sure if they had one in say the UK, they wouldn't offer the same promotion in the US or Japan for example due to the differences.
  • 3 Hide
    mouse24 , October 16, 2012 5:27 AM
    schiwingSome people need to LEARN HOW TO READ.Looking at you, mouse24.


    I don't understand on what I missed. They gave a code, said code allowed one purchase, people were able to use it more than once. EA said fine then allowed those users that had already gotten use out of the code to be off scott free. They then promptly discontinued usage of the code after fixing the issue of it being used multiple times otherwise screwing people who

    1) haven't used the code yet.
    2) were the only people who didn't screw EA by getting free games.

    In short the only thing EA resolved by doing this is screwing honest customers. So I said considering they allowed this to happen and even let the "fraudulent" people keep there games its quiet jerkish to do this even though they fixed the entire problem.
  • -3 Hide
    Maxor127 , October 16, 2012 5:48 AM
    I guess I missed out. I never got an email and didn't hear about this until it was too late. I would've cleaned out on all of the DLC that I had no interest in spending money on.
  • -3 Hide
    bigdragon , October 16, 2012 5:58 AM
    Wow, I missed out. I got unwillingly roped into Origin as a result of Battlefail 3. Several free games would have been nice. Not like I'm going to buy them anyway. I haven't logged into Origin in months. That whole debacle with an overzealous DICE admin banning my entire EA account because of unsubstantiated accusations of "stat padding" (AKA unlocking the content paid for without grinding) was intolerable. If it's not free on Origin I'm not interested. EA has already scorched their bridge with me. I have no doubt that in the next couple weeks they will pull a SirusXM Radio thing and revoke freebies they don't agree with.
  • 0 Hide
    assasin32 , October 16, 2012 6:45 AM
    So let me guess this straight they offer a survey for people to get a free game if they participate. People do the survey and some find out they can exploit the system to steal games without even having to take said survey. So they lock it down to fix the exploit, THAN they shut down the entire program and revoke ALL free game offers which haven't been redeemed, even those obtained legitimately. Than they allow the people who exploit their system to keep said games.

    I am sorry I don't feel sorry for EA. It is pretty common protocol to reward honest customers and punish unhonest. So I would expect them to revoke the games from the accounts that obviously exploited this at bare minmium and more prefered way (as banning people from their account and games they did buy legally is a good way to lose customers for life), and than still up hold their end of the deal with the free games for the honest people. So it seems like the honest guy here got screwed over big time.

    And honestly I would have thrown in another cheap free game even if it were a cheap $5 game or some promotional $5 gift card or something as a thanks for not exploiting us and try to entice them to buy more and as a final "screw you" to the people who exploited. Though this last part is purely what I would do if I were in a position of power to do it.
  • 1 Hide
    dudewitbow , October 16, 2012 7:13 AM
    assasin32So let me guess this straight they offer a survey for people to get a free game if they participate. People do the survey and some find out they can exploit the system to steal games without even having to take said survey. So they lock it down to fix the exploit, THAN they shut down the entire program and revoke ALL free game offers which haven't been redeemed, even those obtained legitimately. Than they allow the people who exploit their system to keep said games.I am sorry I don't feel sorry for EA. It is pretty common protocol to reward honest customers and punish unhonest. So I would expect them to revoke the games from the accounts that obviously exploited this at bare minmium and more prefered way (as banning people from their account and games they did buy legally is a good way to lose customers for life), and than still up hold their end of the deal with the free games for the honest people. So it seems like the honest guy here got screwed over big time.And honestly I would have thrown in another cheap free game even if it were a cheap $5 game or some promotional $5 gift card or something as a thanks for not exploiting us and try to entice them to buy more and as a final "screw you" to the people who exploited. Though this last part is purely what I would do if I were in a position of power to do it.



    how it worked was:

    1. There was a survey which asked why people didnt use/purchase on origin alot
    2. it gave a promotional code for 20$ off most EA brand titles. it was later found out that the code was the same on every survey, so it was said by users of reddit(on r/gamedeals and r/gaming), which then sparked fire everywhere like on cheapassgamer, overclock net etc.
    3. originally, you could have added all the games into your shopping cart, and the code would be applied to all eligible titles and discount them in one go. this was patched quickly.
    4. At this point, the only known way to abuse the code thereafter was multiple accounts
    5. A user on overclock net found a roundabout method in order to get the promotions working though a series of steps(1. log out, add item to cart, apply code, remove from cart, log in, add game again and its saved as promotional price). This went on for a whole day without EA not responding to it(origin was on heavy site load).
    6. EA removes the code earlier than its originally supposed to be removed.

    So basically EA is in a predicament with 2 choices:

    Choice A: Revoke all the games with the promo that day(doesn't stop users who already downloaded it since the games aren't DRM'd like steam is), This path would cause extreme backlash, especially wouldn't help out the original purpose of the code was to promote users to use origin for purchases. Revoking the titles would just confirm to several thousands of users that Origin isn't worth their time(and really the only game most users play that required origin was ME3 on PC or BF3)

    Choice B: Allow everyone to keep the games. bringing a temporary increase of origin users. Keeping a possibility of a more neutral opinion of the public on EA(especially after their worst company fiasco as well as gamers tend to not like EA pushing costly and day 1 DLC in their faces)
  • 1 Hide
    matus_grinvalsky , October 16, 2012 8:33 AM
    That was really bad execution on EA's side. I think they should find a way how to contact customers that had not redeemed their code and send them new one that could be used just once.

    On the other hand, I am surprised that users abusing flaw are not called for what they are - THIEVES. I see no difference between what they did and somebody stealing from a shop when shopkeeper is not looking (or to be precise, to take more than they paid for).
  • 3 Hide
    alidan , October 16, 2012 9:04 AM
    matus_grinvalskyThat was really bad execution on EA's side. I think they should find a way how to contact customers that had not redeemed their code and send them new one that could be used just once.On the other hand, I am surprised that users abusing flaw are not called for what they are - THIEVES. I see no difference between what they did and somebody stealing from a shop when shopkeeper is not looking (or to be precise, to take more than they paid for).


    oh, hello, do you want a free game?
    here you go
    come again
    oh you can get another free game, here you go, come again
    ect ect

    i cant see them as theives, the system was broken to begin with... 1 code useable by everyone, for every game... this was so retardedly stupid on their part i cant call fault with people who took advantage of it.

    only reason i didnt get in on it was fear i may have been charged in the future.
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