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Origin download code giveaway costs EA dear

Thousands of games delivered for free as survey reward scheme goes awry

EA has been stung by an error in a download code giveaway which resulted in thousands of games being downloaded for free from the publisher's online store.

Codes were given to users who completed a survey, intended to allow the download of a single game each from EA's Origin service. Instead, each code could be used without limit, by any Origin user in North America.

Before long, news of the exploit hit the pages of Reddit, resulting in an explosion of users looting Origin for multiple titles - as many as forty each.

One user, PaladinMats, proudly posted the following list of games in his 'haul'.

  • Dead Space
  • Dead Space 2
  • Dragon Age: Origins
  • Dragon Age: Awakening
  • Dragon Age II
  • Crysis
  • Crysis Warhead
  • NFS Shift
  • NFS Hot Pursuit
  • NFS Undercover
  • NFS Shift 2 Unleashed
  • NFS World ($20 speed boost credit included)
  • Medal of Honor
  • Littilest Pet Shop
  • Burnout Paradise the Ultimate Box
  • MySims
  • Command & Conquer 4 Tiberian Twilight
  • Command & Conquer 3
  • Command & Conquer: Red Alert 3
  • Command & Conquer: Red Alert 3 - Uprising
  • Mass Effect 1
  • Mass Effect 2
  • Battlefield 2 Complete Collection
  • Battlefield 2142 Deluxe Edition
  • Battlefield Bad Company 2
  • Battlefield Bad Company 2 Vietnam DLC
  • Battlefield Bad Company 2 SPECACT Kit Upgrades
  • FIFA Soccer 12
  • Tiger Woods PGA Tour 12
  • Sim City 4
  • SimCity Societies
  • SimCity Societies: Destinations
  • Mirror's Edge
  • Mirror's Edge DLC
  • Mercenaries 2: World in Flames
  • Shank
  • Shank 2
  • Spore
  • The Saboteur
  • Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix™
  • Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows™ - Part 1
  • Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows™ - Part 2
  • Bulletstorm
  • Sims 3 add-ons

EA has been contacted for comment on the incident, but has yet to make an official statement regarding the planned response. It's unclear as to what the cause of the problem may have been.

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Latest comments (15)

Morville O'Driscoll Blogger & Critic 8 years ago
Now that's devaluing IP. :p

Also, on a serious note, the code could be used Worldwide, if you accessed the US Origin store via a VPN or specific url.
2Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply
Well, I suppose that's one way to encourage people to use Origin...
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Kayleigh McDougall Studying BA(Hons) Game Design and Production Management, University of Abertay Dundee8 years ago
It's a wonder they didn't expect this, and if they did I wonder what they were on at the time.
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Show all comments (15)
Stephen Richards Game Deisgner 8 years ago
Is Origin like Steam in that it requires online authentication to play games? If so, presumably EA could stop people playing unpaid games?
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They've rather graciously said that since the voucher has expired by now anyway, people can keep the games they got and (paraphrasing here) 'we hope you have fun!'

So it sounds like they're not taking any punitive action at all, which is rather nice.
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Keldon Alleyne Strategic Keyboard Basher, Avasopht Development8 years ago
Oh snap, I missed out. I wonder how this will affect future sales, will the publicity and the sense that loads of other people are now enjoying Origin games increase sales and adoption of Origin? Would be interesting to see the full effect of this.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Keldon Alleyne on 15th October 2012 2:57pm

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Paul Shirley Programmers 8 years ago
@Jessica: an apparently unauthorised customer support response threatening 'to audit and punish' caused a storm of complaint during the feeding frenzy... would have been highly unwise of EA to do anything but 'be gracious' after seeing that. After all, they cocked up the promo - one user claimed the discount was automatically applied simultaneously to all the games in his basket, hard to blame users for that!

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Paul Shirley on 15th October 2012 3:15pm

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James Prendergast Process Specialist 8 years ago
And people blame piracy for the death of revenue! I hope next quarter when some large body in the industry cites numbers of unpaid downloads they also blame EA!

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Christopher Bowen Editor in Chief, Gaming Bus8 years ago
What's ironic is that I read all of this, and my first response was "still not worth dealing with Origin".
2Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply
A novel way to encourage new EA fandom.
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Greg Wilcox Creator, Destroy All Fanboys! 8 years ago
Yeesh. Stupid is as stupid keeps on doing, i guess.
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Paul Jace Merchandiser 8 years ago
Maybe this was part of their secret plot to dethrone Steam.
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Mary Hilton Community Manager, Reclaim Your Game8 years ago
They lose hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of goods-it's not intentional, believe me..although I wish I'd known about it myself, even if I'm not a registered user of would have been nice to get something for nothing!
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Andrew Goodchild Studying development, Train2Game8 years ago
That's a nice haul, but with the Harry Potter ones, did he download them just because he could?
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Craig Page El Presidente, Awesome Enterprises8 years ago
I would have re-installed Origin to get all of those games for free, especially since you're not giving EA your credit card and an opportunity to bill you twice or add on extra fees.
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