Friday Flame Wars: Should EA Have Banned Discount Code Exploiters?

EA recently made news when a weekend survey reward turned into an expected merchandise giveaway blowout. It turned out that the $20 Origin discount code gamers received for partaking in the survey could not only be used by anyone who tried it — and many did, thanks to it being spread all over social media sites — but that any given user could use the code as many times as he wanted, so long as he deleted his cookies.

After the incident, an Origin community manager stated that not only will no users be punished for abusing of this exploit, but they’ll also be able to keep all the games they stole:

“The coupon code is now expired; we’ll honor all sales made with the coupon code over the weekend and hope fans enjoy their games.”

My stance on exploits in games is that gamers shouldn’t be punished for a developer’s errors — however, this is an exploit that extended beyond a game, one that has real-world consequences akin to piracy. Ultimately, it was EA’s mistake that allowed this to happen, but do you believe the “exploiters” deserve to get off with a dozen free games and no repercussions? Do you think the only reason EA didn’t issue any bans or take any aggressive action was to avoid inevitable fallout and reputation damage?

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6 Comments on Friday Flame Wars: Should EA Have Banned Discount Code Exploiters?

Legendaryscmt

On October 19, 2012 at 2:23 pm

There’s no doubt EA didn’t take action because of the backlash they’ll get. However, even though it was their fault for allow such a mistake to happen, it doesn’t automatically make it right for people to exploit the vulnerability. People knew from the start that it was a mistake, yet took advantage of it.

Do they deserve to be punished? No, it was EA’s fault and those that took advantage of it didn’t do so by illegal means. That said, I think it shows the moralities of those that did exploit the glitch.

Choadly

On October 19, 2012 at 3:55 pm

Legendaryscmt – sorry, but when it comes to EA, the morality of the customers is irrelevant. This is the company that systematically destroys franchises and makes every effort to bleed the consumer dry by forcing them to pay extra for plot-imperative content, as well as re-skinning older games as ‘new’ at full price. You can’t even begin to compare that on a point of morality with a few gamers sharing a DLC code around for a few hours, which probably would never have been noticed by EA if it wasn’t flagged by the media. It’s the same as with the Gary McKinnon ‘hacking’ case of the Pentagon’s security – the words “glass,” “stone,” and “houses” spring to mind on both counts. EA deserve no sympathy and frankly should consider themselves lucky that the fallout wasn’t worse.

SquireZed

On October 19, 2012 at 4:47 pm

Much as I think EA got the bad end of the stick on this matter (take action and they’re the big bad company oppressing gamers, don’t and they end up losing hundreds of dollars of products per user over an accident), it really can’t be held against the people who purchased the game legally, because their disclaimer lacked one time use and limits per account stipulation, and their “security” was laughable at best. That said, it probably wasn’t “good” of people to take dozens of games for free, but the responsibility is on EA for the screw up, not them.

Ging

On October 19, 2012 at 6:49 pm

I’d say that yes they should get penalized, not by banning their account because that was partially ea’s fault of course, I guess i just don’t like them getting away with that freely even though I really don’t like EA.

lol

On October 19, 2012 at 9:13 pm

Uhhh why would they get banned? This is a retailer issue, not a dev/publisher issue.

Law says retailers have to honor any coupons, prices, or anything of the sort.

Axetwin

On October 19, 2012 at 10:56 pm

@Choadly – On the topic of reskinning games, EA is not the only company guilty of this. Game developers have been doing this with sports games since the Techmo Bowl games of the NES days. This isnt anything new, this isnt news, get over it.

Secondly, what do you mean by “and frankly should consider themselves lucky that the fallout wasn’t worse” . In order for there to the fallout to be “worse” there needs to be fallout in general. On this topic, there is no fallout.

Im all for hating on EA, but when they deserve it. However, theres nothing to hate on them for here. To the untrained eye, they handled this in a very un-EAlike fashion. The reason I say “untrained eye” is because “lol” (the guy above me) made a very good point. This is a retail issue, meaning retail laws apply here.

Once that coupon was issued with no limitations, EA was legally bound to honor that coupon. Now I know in the digital world, EA is basically The Nothing, destroying everything in its path leaving nothing in its wake. However, they are still bound by the rules of the real world, and a coupon is still a coupon even when its digital. So them not taking action had less to do with not wanting negative backlash, and more to do with the fact they hands were legally tied in this matter.