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EA gives away a huge number of free games... by mistake

Electronic Arts recently ran a survey promotion on its online digital distribution service, Origin. Fill out some questionnaires, get a download code for any $20 game. It's the sort of promotion that happens all the time. But EA's code wasn't tied to the participant's account, nor did it expire after one use. No, with a simple log-out trick, it just kept on giving, allowing some gamers to download loads of games without paying a single penny.

According to Kotaku, the loophole took a good while to fix, by which time countless games had been downloaded. There were some corkers available, too - look at this gamer's 90GB haul:

Above: Some gamers downloaded over 15 games using various accounts

Acquiring free games through an exploit is stealing and it's explicitly stated in the terms of service that taking advantage of exploits will result in termination of your account. But seeing as a lot of people just signed up to Origin as a result, perhaps EA will turn a blind eye this once. Perhaps.

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20 comments

  • Dyne - October 31, 2012 6:03 p.m.

    I'd like to comment on the last line of the article: this is NOT stealing and Justin Towell should be absolutely ashamed for even insinuating that those who took part in this exploit "stole" from a company. This is EA's mistake and many gamers capitalized on this. Nowhere did they "steal" any game, they took advantage of an exploit in EA's own promotion. Imagine if a cashier at your supermarket gave you a $20 in change when she meant to give you $5. You notice this. If you take the money and leave the store, is this stealing? Can the store owner call the police and have you arrested? Of course not! It's the cashier's mistake and she takes the responsibility. You may be a jerk for taking the money, but in no way are you a thief. You can be your own moral compass and decide whether or not taking advantage of the exploit is morally wrong, but to call it stealing is journalistically corrupt.
  • drake-wayne - October 24, 2012 12:47 p.m.

    Love this game! Best one yet! My most favorite part is the guns. I just got an M4 like in the game here http://www.airsplat.com/airsoft-video-games.htm and they have a bunch of other guns like in all the other FPS games too!
  • Xtra_Tasty - October 16, 2012 6:47 a.m.

    I wish i woulda been in on this... ea has already gotten plenty of my money
  • GAYMER - October 16, 2012 2:14 a.m.

    You know someone probably got fired over this
  • Thedigitalg - October 15, 2012 1:48 p.m.

    This company deserves to have hundreds, even thousands stolen? Because you disagree with their business model? It's not like they're exploiting child labour or destroying the rainforests, they make games you don't like and try to sell worthless DLC (while giving you the choice to just not buy their games). You knob ends are the reason gaming is considered a child's pursuit. Grow up.
  • MasterBP - October 15, 2012 4:09 p.m.

    Laughing at the failings of major corporations is not exclusive to video games, get off your high horse you incredible cunt.
  • ParagonT - October 15, 2012 4:38 p.m.

    There's a bit more to it than that, but I'm sure you know that so there's no reason to get heated up over something so trivial. But please enlighten us how we "knob ends" are the reason for this while you sit upon your throne of omniscience and innocence.. oh' great one. Please adjust the height of your horse next time bud...
  • codzprc - October 15, 2012 7:40 p.m.

    EA just won a "Golden Poo" in April for being the Worst Company in America. Go ahead, google "EA mistreats employees" - #1 hit. Read some of the others while you're at it. Maybe you need to grow up and realize they are a terrible company. Name one game they DEVELOPED that's worth a damn. They PUBLISH great games, but can't do anything when it comes to developing - probably because they're higher-ups have no idea what people want when it comes to gaming and think consoles are a dying breed.
  • larkan - October 15, 2012 8:32 p.m.

    I don't see how anything was stolen at all. You could get a free code by filling out a questionnaire, and EA didn't put a limit on how many you could get. It's their fault, there's no exploit involved, they fucked up, and they won't punish people for their fuck ups if they're smart. Then again, this is EA.
  • Annihilator820 - October 15, 2012 12:23 p.m.

    This is what we call karma. You steal money, you steal great developers, and you steal content to pawn off as crappy DLC, and thus you get stolen from.
  • FOZ - October 15, 2012 10:08 a.m.

    It wasn't a "download code," it was a promo code that took $20 off any game over $20. The problem was it took $20 off nearly ANY game, including those $20 or less. And I can't imagine the backlash if EA tried to ban people over their own mistake.
  • Person5 - October 15, 2012 9:06 a.m.

    I'm trying to understand why EA did this. Sales like this (giving away tons of games for free) cheapens IP's and really hurts everyone, the consumer, the developer, and to a very small extent the publisher. Seeing Dead Space for free makes me realize it must not have been a good game, or else it would have been over 60. EA disappoints me, cheapening all those IP's just to get some more Origin users.
  • CombatWombat101 - October 15, 2012 12:39 p.m.

    I see what you did there. +1
  • ObliqueZombie - October 15, 2012 7:01 a.m.

    This is very decent of them, to let it slide for most everyone. I just refuse to use Origin for anything more than I have to, like to satiate my BF3 cravings. I'd rather use Steam for damn near anything computer gaming that I can.
  • LoneFullmetal7 - October 15, 2012 6:54 a.m.

    What goes around comes around.
  • bass88 - October 15, 2012 8:08 a.m.

    What do you mean?
  • MeanwhileGuy - October 15, 2012 4:38 a.m.

    I can't see anyone not thinking EA completely deserves this, after all the crap they've pulled over the years, including botching ME3. I for one will simply point and laugh at their idiocy, and then go and play an old EA game on Steam, and wallow in my own smugness.
  • Fox_Mulder - October 15, 2012 5:51 a.m.

    I'm not saying Mass Effect 3 WAS botched, but if anyone botched it, it was on Bioware.
  • yonderTheGreat - October 15, 2012 6:30 p.m.

    When the publisher fully owns the developer and you notice MARKED changes in quality (i.e. severely declining quality) in the games from that developer *AFTER* they were fully bought out and owned by the publisher then yes, the blames goes to the ones in control. Or, to paraphrase... Bioware = EA now.
  • zombi3grim - October 15, 2012 6:21 a.m.

    No company deserves being stolen from. Except maybe Wal-Mart. HA!

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