October 15, 2012
Reddit Users Steal Thousands Of Games From Electronics Arts
Michael Harper for redOrbit.com — Your Universe Online
Ah Reddit: A vast community of Internet enthusiasts, pseudo-polymaths and pranksters. An extremely vibrant online community, Reddit users are often responsible for making stories, videos and memes go “viral” across the web. They´ve also been known to band together to perform large scale pranks at the expense of whatever organization may be at the brunt end of their ire.
So, this weekend as some Electronics Arts (EA) customers received coupon codes in their email inboxes to download free games, some Redditors discovered a flaw in the system, resulting in EA easily giving some hundreds of thousands of titles away for free. According to Kotaku, one reader was able to make away with 14 titles for free.
The coupon code in question was originally intended for EA customers who had completed a survey. With this code in hand, gamers were given $20 to spend in EA´s Origin online store. With many titles priced at $19.99, the coupon code was essentially good for one free game. However, after talking it over on Reddit, these gamers found that EA had not properly secured this code, meaning that users could use and reuse the code multiple times.
Once this news made its way through the online community, many began downloading titles at will, all for free. Users estimated a total of 44 games were available for free for about 18 hours over the weekend. The code was only available for Canadian and US customers. However, the Internet and Reddit being none other than that which they are, many international gamers were able to sidestep these regulations and download their free games as well.
EA finally noticed this loophole in their system and closed the promotion early Monday morning at 1:28 AM Pacific Time.
The company has yet to release a statement concerning this issue, or announce just how many games were taken during this promotion, though if the massive amounts of comments on Reddit are any indication, EA could have lost a lot of money over the weekend.
One blogger decided to reach out to EA to ask if those who had taken advantage of the flaw could expect any sort of punishment from the gaming company. Max Woolf posted a screen shot of his online conversation with one “Prashant” at EA customer service. When asked if using the code to buy multiple games was a “bannable” offense, Prashant replied: “Yes this is offence when we will audit they will get punish for that.”
However, according to Origin Community Manager Sam Houston, (Or EA_QforQ) EA would continue to “honor all sales made with the coupon code over the weekend,” and furthermore hoped that the fans enjoyed their ill-gotten games.
It is kind of EA to honor the “sales” of the games downloaded this weekend, a move many “frugal” Reddit users are no doubt very happy about. However, it´s left to be seen what will become of those users who legitimately answered the survey and have yet to take advantage of the offer, which was originally set to expire on October 21st.
As the dust settled and Reddit users set themselves in front of their newly acquired games, they began listing off the titles they were able to make away with. Some of these titles include: Dead Space and Dead Space 2, Dragon Age 2, Need for Speed Shift 2, Mass Effects 1 and 2, Battlefield Bad Company 2 and Battlefield 3, and Sim City 4.