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EA blunder as free Origin games promotion spins out of control

Discount code exploit triggers online craze

Electronic Arts was forced to close down a free games promotion over the weekend as users discovered that their discount codes did not expire after use.

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Thousands of gamers had been informed of the gaffe via social networks and Reddit posts, before EA closed the loophole nearly a full day after it was discovered.

What EA intended was to offer a $20 discount on Origin games to users who completed an online survey; however, participants soon noticed that their code, once initiated, could be used multiple times if they logged out of Origin.

In a subsequent craze of smash-and-grab discounts, users began to share the code with friends.

EA said it will honour its discount offer to those who used it, but the company shut down the discount system early to ensure that no one else could exploit it. This in turn left some Origin customers dissatisfied, having legitimately completed the survey only to find later that their voucher was suddenly not valid.

An Origin community manager told users that "the coupon code is now expired; we'll honour all sales made with the coupon code over the weekend and hope fans enjoy their games".

He added: "I understand why some folks may be frustrated that the coupon code ended early".

Other Origin users went on to claim that they have a right to be given a $20 voucher if they completed the survey, as was advertised.

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