Sunday, December 4th 2011

EA: New Online Gaming Content Codes Could Expire Before Even Being Used

If you're buying an Electronic Arts game, be prepared for the Online Pass that came with it to have already expired. This was the recent experience of a NeoGAF member who bought a brand new copy of Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit from Amazon, only to find that he got an error message saying that the code was either incorrect or no longer valid. Gaming website Joystick picked up on this and asked an EA advisor about this situation. It turns out that it's EA's corporate policy to have some of these codes expire, but that no one should be faced with this, as a rule. However, if they are, then they can get a new one for free, by either downloading it or getting it from EA directly. Checking the EULA shows that at the moment, there is only one game with this restriction. It's only Dragon Age 2 (packaged) which has a time-limited an Online Pass code and that it expires on March 31, 2012:

ONLINE PASS SERIAL CODE EXPIRES MARCH 31, 2012. EA ACCOUNT, REGISTRATION WITH ENCLOSED SINGLE-USE SERIAL CODES, INTERNET CONNECTION AND ACCEPTANCE OF END USER LICENSE AGREEMENT REQUIRED TO PLAY AND TO ACCESS BONUS CONTENT (IF ANY) AND ONLINE FEATURES AND/OR SERVICES. SERIAL CODES ARE NON-TRANSFERABLE ONCE USED. EA ONLINE PRIVACY POLICY AND TERMS OF SERVICE CAN BE FOUND AT EA.COM. YOU MUST BE 13+ TO ACTIVATE SOFTWAREAND REGISTER FOR AN EA ACCOUNT. EA MAY RETIRE ONLINE FEATURES AFTER 30 DAYS NOTICE POSTED ON EA.COM/2/SERVICE-UPDATES.
Note that it doesn't say anything about a replacement code at all. Only by contacting EA does the customer have any idea what to do about this, which can be very frustrating.

The advisor didn't explain why these codes are designed to expire and it's hard to see exactly why. However, maybe it's to increase security of the product somehow, perhaps in a similar way that passwords at workplaces usually expire after a certain amount of time? Regardless, it's another inconvenient hoop that the honest gamer who's shelled out their hard-earned money has to jump through. In particular, one can see how these games that find themselves in the bargain basement a year later will all have expired codes, which will only be renewed at EAs discretion. Imagine the disappointment and frustration for the customer to see the online features being proudly advertised on the box, only to be denied at the point of installing the game. Then, it will be even more annoying should they contact EA about this only to be told that this feature has been removed. A feature like this could make or break a sale, so allowing such a situation potentially opens up EA to lawsuits for false advertising, since they are selling games that have had features removed by stealth. At the very least, such a customer would be entitled to a refund, which the shop would then be unlikely to give, because the box has been opened...
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56 Comments on EA: New Online Gaming Content Codes Could Expire Before Even Being Used

#1
Lionheart
Fuck off EA :mad:

That is all ;)
Posted on Reply
#2
RejZoR
What the hell is purpose of this? Games don't just miraculously go bad like yoghurt or a cake...
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#3
stinger608
Frigging so typical for EA crap!!!
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#4
radrok
I think EA pays some people to find such stupid moves to execute, really what's the point on this?
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#5
Darkleoco
Well look EA waving their middle finger at the gaming community once again what the hell else is new :/
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#6
qubit
Overclocked quantum bit
by: Darkleoco
Well look EA waving their middle finger at the gaming community once again what the hell else is new :/
Yeah, I mean we're only the ones that keep those executives in fancy cars, hookers and cocaine. :rolleyes:

Here's one for you, EA: :nutkick:
Posted on Reply
#7
Shihabyooo
I only see shelf retailers being hurt with this one. If they didn't manage to sell their copies before the expiry date, they'll just have to order another batches. And I doubt EA would give the replacements for free !
Oh hey ! That would actually be a plus ! Just hang around till around a week before the expiry date, and the prices might drop enough to grab 5 for the price of 1 :D
Posted on Reply
#8
1Kurgan1
The Knife in your Back
Doesn't seem like a huge deal as long as they live up to giving out the code to people who ask for it.

by: qubit
at the moment, there is only game with this restriction.
You are missing a word in there just to let you know :)
Posted on Reply
#9
qubit
Overclocked quantum bit
by: 1Kurgan1
Doesn't seem like a huge deal as long as they live up to giving out the code to people who ask for it.
Yeah, I sorta agree, in some sense. But look at how they've gone and done it ie the eula says nothing about it and one has no idea when they buy the game. Plus, if the feature's been removed (that 30-day online notice) the buyer is very unlikely to know about it when buying the retail box. It's the usual shit customer service from, EA. No wonder people are panning them on this thread.

by: 1Kurgan1
You are missing a word in there just to let you know :)
Duh! Thanks. I knew that sentence didn't look right. Fixed. :toast:
Posted on Reply
#10
Easy Rhino
Linux Advocate
if you buy a game and the code doesnt work, naturally any adult would contact the party they bought the game from. send a calm email stating the issue.

remember children, people make mistakes. nobody is perfect. life can be difficult and sometimes you don't get instant gratification. that does not mean the person or party you believe wronged you is the devil.
Posted on Reply
#11
cadaveca
My name is Dave
If expiration of the DA2 online pass is not listed on the outside of the box, EA may have a lawsuit coming. If it's advertized on the box, it better be in there, and work, or it's fraud.
Posted on Reply
#12
qubit
Overclocked quantum bit
by: cadaveca
If expiration of the DA2 online pass is not listed on the outside of the box, EA may have a lawsuit coming. If it's advertized on the box, it better be in there, and work, or it's fraud.
Exactly. Fraud. That's the word I was looking for. They can only get out of it, if they always give out a working code. Once the service has been pulled, it's fraud, period.
Posted on Reply
#13
Easy Rhino
Linux Advocate
ah, another excuse for kids to make themselves out to be the victim of something so lame. any adult would simply write a nice email to EA rep department and receive a new game code on verification. remember, people are not perfect. sometimes you dont get instant gratification. no need to play the victim or bitch about EA.
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#14
Live OR Die
Yer the code for BF3 that come with my X79 expires Dec 31 2012 :laugh:
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#15
newtekie1
Semi-Retired Folder
by: qubit
Imagine the disappointment and frustration for the customer to see the online features being proudly advertised on the box, only to be denied at the point of installing the game. Then, it will be even more annoying should they contact EA about this only to be told that this feature has been removed. A feature like this could make or break a sale, so allowing such a situation potentially opens up EA to lawsuits for false advertising, since they are selling games that have had features removed by stealth
You already explained why your own doomsday theory doesn't work. EA isn't going to deny anyone features that are advertised on the box, because they'll be slapped with a class action lawsuit in a heartbeat. So as EA directly already told you, they will handle the situation, and give out new codes to the few people that run into it. Problem solved.

by: cadaveca
If expiration of the DA2 online pass is not listed on the outside of the box, EA may have a lawsuit coming. If it's advertized on the box, it better be in there, and work, or it's fraud.
It doesn't really matter as long as they have a system in place to re-issue the codes, and it sounds like they do. Steam had similar issues with some of their activation codes that didn't work when customers bought them, simply re-issuing the code is enough. It might be a slight hassle to have to call to get a new code, but such is life.
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#16
cadaveca
My name is Dave
by: Easy Rhino
ah, another excuse for kids to make themselves out to be the victim of something so lame. any adult would simply write a nice email to EA rep department and receive a new game code on verification. remember, people are not perfect. sometimes you dont get instant gratification. no need to play the victim or bitch about EA.
Except that doesn't work for DA2. That's kind of the whole thing. As it says in qubit's post, you can do exactly that, get a new code, except for one game...you're missing the point.:rolleyes:

Thankfully, I already own DA2, but haven't even started it. Guess I'll be activating it NAOW.:laugh:
Posted on Reply
#18
BrooksyX
Steam and PC gaming FTW! haha I cant believe EA anymore.
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#19
Easy Rhino
Linux Advocate
hrm? this is a life lesson. if you buy a game code and it has expired be an adult and contact the representatives at the company you bought it from. you will be given a shiny new game code.

being nice to others when they have made a mistake will take you very far in this world. playing the victim and bitching about something as meaningless as an expired game code will not.
Posted on Reply
#20
qubit
Overclocked quantum bit
by: newtekie1
You already explained why your own doomsday theory doesn't work. EA isn't going to deny anyone features that are advertised on the box, because they'll be slapped with a class action lawsuit in a heartbeat. So as EA directly already told you, they will handle the situation, and give out new codes to the few people that run into it. Problem solved.
I think you're selectively understanding what I'm saying again.

All I could do to clarify it, is to pretty much repeat what I've said, rewording it a bit maybe, but I know from experience we'll end up going round in circles again and I'd rather not do that. :toast:

by: Live OR Die
Here we go
http://img832.imageshack.us/img832/3933/img0049lr.jpg
Damn. Good find. I have that BF3 voucher I got with my 2700K CPU the other day. I guess I'd better activate it sooner rather than later. :ohwell:

And you know what? That EULA I pointed to doesn't show this! :mad: Your screenshot looks like a photo of the back of the box, perhaps?
Posted on Reply
#22
AsRock
TPU addict
Had this kind ofcrap with them when i got Mass Effect some time ago and came to want to play it again with the addon which the key don't exist no more so i can no longer use the addon.
Posted on Reply
#23
Easy Rhino
Linux Advocate
this news is very useful if people would stop playing the victim for a minute.

we now know of a possible problem with EA games purchased from online vendors. this is how you should deal with it.

#1 if you have an EA game and have not activated it yet, spend 5 minutes and do it now to avoid a hassle down the road.
#2 if you purchase a game code and it happens to be expired when you receive it contact a rep and explain the issue. since EA knows and recognizes the problem be polite and you will surely receive a shiny new game code

/life lesson
Posted on Reply
#24
cadaveca
My name is Dave
by: Easy Rhino
hrm? this is a life lesson. if you buy a game code and it has expired be an adult and contact the representatives at the company you bought it from. you will be given a shiny new game code.

being nice to others when they have made a mistake will take you very far in this world. playing the victim and bitching about something as meaningless as an expired game code will not.
Where's the complaint? I see this as an informative post telling people to do exactly as you suggest. Now, when someone runs into this problem, and they google looking for an answer, they'll find posts like Qubit's telling them they need to contact EA to get a new one, and that this is normal.

Having codes for activation of the game itself expire is a relatively new thing. People need to be educated on how the system works.


Of course, it'd be more helpful if there was a link in the post showing people where to go to contact EA and fix the problem. Even then, becuase this post kinda specifically is centered towards consoles, even having codes in the first place is a relatively new thing. Normally you just needed the disc itself. To me, this seems a move against the rental market, adn has nothing to do with retail purchases. The whole thing was started with an XBOX360 copy of Hot Pursuit, BTW.
Posted on Reply
#25
qubit
Overclocked quantum bit
by: Easy Rhino
this news is very useful if people would stop playing the victim for a minute.

we now know of a possible problem with EA games purchased from online vendors. this is how you should deal with it.

#1 if you have an EA game and have not activated it yet, spend 5 minutes and do it now to avoid a hassle down the road.
#2 if you purchase a game code and it happens to be expired when you receive it contact a rep and explain the issue. since EA knows and recognizes the problem be polite and you will surely receive a shiny new game code

/life lesson
Yes, those work (inconvenience aside) but what about the scenario I pictured where the game has been bought from the shop when it's getting on a bit and the service has been pulled? You can't expect someone looking at the box for the first time to be expected to know that an internet announcement was made about its closure six months ago. That then makes it fraud.

Also, I hate to say it, but I don't completely trust EA to necessarily honour their promise, either, given the kind of customer service stunts they're known to pull. I'm stressing that this last bit is purely my own opinion/feeling on this, so please don't bite my head off! lol :toast:
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