A literal case of extreme couponing.
To end off this week I thought that a little levity might be in order, although it may not really be a humorous situation if you were one of the people at EA. It started off as something about as average and innocent as a person can possibly imagine. In order to generate some interest and sales for their Origin digital download service, EA gave out a coupon that was supposed to give a $20 discount on any one game available through the service.
Key words in that sentence: "was supposed to".
Instead of a decent discount on one game, the coupon instead allowed gamers to buy multiple games for no money whatsoever. You have to remember that Origin does include games like Dead Space, Command and Conquer, Crysis, Battlefield, and many others. In a short amount of time word spread like wildfire and people had download thousands of free games probably worth tens or maybe even upwards of a couple hundred thousand dollars.
To say it was a major oversight would probably still be an understatement of supreme stature.
Interestingly -- especially considering that it is EA we're talking about here -- the company has decided that anyone who got a ton of free games using the coupon could keep them. I suppose that it only makes sense, considering that this wasn't an outside error or foul manipulation on the part of unscrupulous people. Rather, it was the company's own flub that allowed people to cash in big.
I suppose that if nothing else this proves that it's important to test these kinds of things to make sure that, you know, you aren't giving people hundreds of dollars worth of games for free. Unless you want to. Hell, maybe then people would actually want to use Origin a little more.
In all seriousness though, I can't help but wonder just what combination of factors lead to this kind of error taking place. I can assume that EA will definitely be more careful in the future when providing gamers with incentives to buy games through their system.