(or: Forbes' reporters know jackshit nothing about the videogame industry, the internet, or EA)
http://www.forbes.com/sites/erikkain...coupon-glitch/Multiple reports of a coupon code glitch at EAís online Origin store point to an exploit which allowed customers to enter a coupon code and receive $20 off an infinite number of games.
The loophole was first discovered on Slickdeals and quickly spread Ė as news of free games often does.
So letís contrast two interesting phenomenons.
On the one hand, you have a glitch allowing users to essentially exploit EA and get a bunch of the games they offer on Origin for free, and unsurprisingly people jump at the opportunity.
On the other hand, you have something like the Humble Indie Bundle, a pay-what-you-want service allowing gamers to get indie games on the cheap and support charity and the developers at the same time. The fifth installment of the Humble Indie Bundle raked in over $5 million.
So what gives?
Why do people rush to get free games on Origin while at the same time pay for games they could basically get for free in the Humble Indie Bundle?
I donít think this is EA-specific, but I do suspect thereís enough broad animosity toward publishers and sympathy toward indie developers that taking from the former feels justified while giving to the latter feels like the right thing to do.
Thatís clearly not solid ethics at play [update: I can see the logic behind this works - the coupon is EA-generated, users are just using the loophole from a legitimate coupon, etc.] but you can see how the logic plays out. The big, greedy corporation vs. the small guy is an old story doomed to be repeated.
A story doomed to be repeated because, at its core, thereís some big truths in there. The bigness of EA makes them seem impersonal and out of touch compared to small studios. And more than just seem; they often are out of touch with their consumer base. Maybe thatís inevitable.
This is the core driving factor behind something like Kickstarter, also.
Strip away the bigness that creates a divide between content creators and their customers and make commerce personal in a way it simply isnít with the big faceless entities like EA.
Iíve reached out to EA about the coupon glitch and will report back if and when I hear something.
No word on whether EA will take action against anyone who utilized it, though so far it appears no bans have taken place.
P.S. One theory Iíve seen floated is that EA did this intentionally to grow its user base. Iím going to call this one as ďnot likelyĒ in the ďnot a snowballís chance in HellĒ category.
First of all, they wouldnít take the coupon down if that were the case. Second, itís just an enormous stretch to think that EA is running that elaborate of a scheme on the hope and prayer somebody figures it out and is then able to spread the news properly, etc. If they wanted to grow their user base, they could use all sorts of upfront promotions and sales to do that.
As it stands, probably people who already have an Origin account were the most likely to use the exploit.