The mistake occurred when EA posted a survey to collect users’ opinions about the Origin service. Customers who completed the survey were awarded a coupon for $20 off their next Origin purchase.
However, an error with the coupon allowed customers to freely download an unlimited amount of games from the digital distribution service.
EA has since disabled the coupon code but asserts that it will honor the transactions made during the weekend, allowing those who abused the code to keep their games. EA has not indicated that it will allow those who completed the survey but did not use their codes to keep their coupons, despite the fact that the coupon was explicitly stated to expire on October 21.
EA affirms that it is actively monitoring the feedback from this event but has yet to take any new action.
Analysis: That’s right. If you abuse EA’s kindness, they will reward you. If you try and do the right thing, then you get punished. It’s all very backwards.
Customers who completed the survey and did not use the coupon, either because they were unaware of the glitch or because of moral convictions, will receive nothing but will lose what they had because their coupon is now non-redeemable. This, despite the clear, explicit promise EA made in regards to the coupon that it was valid until October 21. Customers who held onto the coupon in good faith have been blindsided, and it sucks.
Of course, its understandable that EA is in panic mode. Emergency red lights are bleeping everywhere, and Origin’s entire catalogue is being downloaded free of charge. EA has to do something, and it would make sense if they simply temporarily disabled the coupon in order to give themselves some time to fix the bug, then re-enabled it and perhaps extended the coupon’s duration to make amends for the inconvenience.
However, instead of doing that, they outright cancelled the coupon, and in a bizarre twist, granted absolute clemency to those who could have stolen upwards of several hundred dollars worth of goods from them. Sure, it’s EA’s fault that those goods were taken, and it wouldn’t make too much sense to punish those who digitally looted them, but the basic expectation is that they’d revoke the licenses of the games that were “stolen” with the buggy coupon codes. Not only was this not done, but EA acted in the completely opposite manner by honoring these users’ illegitimate downloads.
In other words, EA is dealing with their weekly PR bomb; everyone hates Origin; the sky is blue; and if you ever get the chance to cheat EA out of everything they own, then you should take them up on the offer before they punish you for not doing it.