EA Origin error gave out tons of free games to users

It's not unusual for game publishers to ask some of its customers to fill out an online survey. It's also not out of the ordinary to offer those same survey users some kind of freebie to get them to participate.

This weekend, Electronic Art sent out online surveys to users of its PC game download service Origin. When the survey was completed, they received a code that was designed to give them $20 off a game from the service. Many of the games on Origin are priced at $19.99 or below, which basically means a user could get a free game out of the deal.

That was the idea. The problem was that some users quickly found out that the code could be used more than once. As Kotaku reports, that caused a number of people to download what could be thousands of free games, worth tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars, from Origin.

EA stopped giving out the codes on Sunday but said they would honor all of the purchases made with the code on Origin before they pulled the plug. However, some people who filled out the survey and failed to use the code before EA's decision are now upset. Kotaku reports that one user on EA's forums stated, "When confronted on this issue, EA has chosen to respond by honoring the purchases of those who abused the system and not the coupons obtained by those wanting to use it properly after the fact. They have rewarded the abusers and punished their customers."

Source: Kotaku | Image via EA

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18 Comments

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I snagged Darkspore cuz some friends did. It's nothing to write home about and I don't even plan on leaving origin installed but whatever. *twirls finger* woo free game. Back to playing my second run of Dishonored and then XCom (Thanks GMG for those discounts)

I am a good guy and I got only one... extra. And that, the next day. Dragon Age Origins and Dead Space 2... By the way, I haven't had any clue about Dead Space, but it was incredible!

Hi everyone,

Last week, we emailed some Origin users in North America asking them to participate in an online survey, and offered a promo code for $20 off their next Origin purchase in return for completing the survey. Unfortunately, due to some misuses of the promo code, we had to discontinue its use early before its stated expiration date.

We wanted to clear up the confusion: all users that completed the survey will receive an email soon (in the next 1-2 days) which will contain a new code for $20 off a purchase of any EA game on Origin priced $19.99 or above.

Thank you again to all users that took the time to provide us with feedback about Origin.

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 10/15/2012 17:21:27
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

QforQ - Origin Community Manager
Follow me on Twitter at http://twitter.com/samhouston


Link: http://forum.ea.com/eaforum/po...t/135/9040620.page#25436791

Now all those people that DIDNT get the survey can stop complaining they never got their free game, we all know most of you complainers didn't get the survey, but the ones that did, there you go.

I'll hand it to EA on this one. Maybe some legit survey completers didn't get to use their code, but at least EA didn't ban, or even subtract the games from everyone! That's +1 for me, but I don't know how many +1's it'll take from them to make me review my opinion of them. Everything they've done in the past two years has been utter crap.

Reacon said,
I'll hand it to EA on this one. Maybe some legit survey completers didn't get to use their code, but at least EA didn't ban, or even subtract the games from everyone! That's +1 for me, but I don't know how many +1's it'll take from them to make me review my opinion of them. Everything they've done in the past two years has been utter crap.

....That is backwards if I've ever heard it. They should be banned, or at least stripped of their games.

Advocating that it is OK for people to take advantage of a situation that is bad for another when someone made a mistake (be it a company, or an individual), is just outright immoral and wrong. Sad that most people have this disgraceful mentality.

Edited by Perfect72, Oct 15 2012, 9:56pm :

Cuz that would make sense as EVERYONE I'm sure knew the code wasn't meant to be used for a free game for whoever used it. They don't need even more bad PR. They have enough and they know it.

I managed to get 2 games before it stopped working for me. I got Mass Effect 2 and Battlefield 2 Complete Edition. Both the games seem to be working fine. Go Origin haha

Reminds me of a time when Burger King gave out a voucher online for a free breakfast combo in New Zealand if you completed a survey.

They didn't limit it at all with no mention of a name or number so after many photocopies and free breakfasts for my friends, they sent an email letting people know they screwed up the previous voucher and had to void them.

They gave a new voucher which now just listed your name but no voucher number, so you could still go in multiple times for breakfast until it expired

Yup it was on Reddit this weekend. I saw the promo code but there weren't any good games to download. It also gave discounts to games like Mass Effect 3 only costing like $15 or something.

Saw the promo code on Reddit? That means a few bad eggs spoiled it for the rest of us.

EA saw only 6 survey responses were in and 6 million downloads were in... Yea, not the best of planning. +1 to EA for noticing a problem and honoring what took place.

Yea, it sucks that I did not get one (and other survey takers), but that is what happens with all of the unethical people out there screwing up good things.

g0ld1e said,
Yup it was on Reddit this weekend. I saw the promo code but there weren't any good games to download. It also gave discounts to games like Mass Effect 3 only costing like $15 or something.

They pretty much screwed the pooch by not making the promo codes unique for each person. If they are smart, they will restructure it and start it back up. Or maybe not. This is EA we are talking.