It's been making the rounds of late that EA recently made a fairly substantial mistake with a recent coupon code that resulted in easily thousands of games being given away. But while more than a few are laughing at EA's
misstep, it's not hard to see that this may well be a potential blessing for EA.
The coupon code disaster began when EA had offered up a $20 coupon code for the successful completion of a survey geared toward giving EA some marketing information. All of this was fine and well, but the problem came when EA discovered one fatal flaw in the $20 coupon for the Origin Store: the code wasn't secured.
What this meant was that, once the code was found out, it was infinitely reusable. Not only that, it was infinitely transferable. Once the code got posted to Reddit
, it unleashed a firestorm of free downloads that lasted the better part of the weekend.
But where's the blessing in all this, you wonder? Simple. There are, of course, the obvious points. EA is getting big publicity in hits on the blogosphere and the like. EA just handed out a bunch of free samples
that may spur future purchases. EA really didn't lose much in the way of sales since those users weren't likely to purchase games anyway, but may now since they got a look at what was on offer.
But perhaps the biggest plus to this whole mess is that EA got a lot of people mad at it. See, when EA shut down the unsecured code, it left a lot of users who had taken the survey and thus had a right to expect free goodies out in the cold. Naturally, cries of "lawsuit!" started to go up, and with good reason--they took the survey, they wanted their pay--and for a while, it looked like all the "good guys" in this situation were about to get righteously shafted. But EA admitted its wrongdoing, stepped up to the plate, and announced that over the next two days, they'd supply replacement, secured promo codes to get the survey takers the $20 they had coming. Assuming the new codes hit, that's going to give EA a sorely-needed shot of good will. EA's image hasn't exactly been the greatest of late (the EA Widow phenomenon of 2004 springs oh so readily to mind), so anything that can bring a note of good will to the proceedings definitely can't hurt.
This may not be the way EA had wanted to recover from a series of kicks to the image over the last decade, but at the same time, it may well prove an effective method.