EA Scares The Hell Out Of Origin Users Into Thinking They Have Been Hacked

EA Scares The Hell Out Of Origin Users Into Thinking They Have Been Hacked

This morning at around 3am, jolted awake by an antsy newborn, I rolled over to check my email and was alarmed to see a message from EA with the subject: “You’ve redeemed an Origin Access Membership Code.” Goddamnit, I thought. Did someone hack me? Turns out it was just EA starting off everyone’s day with a nice little scare.


Ironically, this email came as the result of an EA initiative to reward users of its PC platform with more security. Last month, EA quietly announced that Origin users with two-step verification enabled (in honour of “National Cybersecurity Month”) would get a free month of Origin Access Basic, which offers discounts and access to a bunch of old games. This was them making good on that promise.

Now if only “making good” hadn’t also equated to “scaring the hell out of users into thinking they’d been hacked and might have even lost all of their progress in Star Wars Jedi Fallen Order and had to start from scratch just like their buddy Kirk did.” Telling people that they’ve redeemed a code out of the blue is a good way to get them to immediately freak out and change all their passwords, especially in a world where just about every company (EA included) has been the target of a massive security breach.

I mean, fucking hell, EA, you scared the shit out of me last night. And a lot of other people:

And on and on and on. Why is it that even when they’re trying to do something nice, EA just can’t seem to avoid stepping on rakes?


  • LOL, I had the same reaction for two hours last night until I dug up a news tidbit about the TFA thing (Which I’d set up ages ago)

    Ultimately a nice gesture but reading the email in the wild it looks like someone else logged into you’re account and did something.

    It doesn’t help that the only time I’ve been hacked for real was back on the Xbox 360 so some moron could use my balance to buy FIFA Ultimate Team packs (a game I’ve never played but now two achievements in!) So EA was tangentially involved there too!

  • Why is it that even when they’re trying to do something nice, EA just can’t seem to avoid stepping on rakes?

    From the development, business process, and customer comms side of things, I’ve noticed a tendency for people ‘in the know’ to take a lot of shit for granted that really, really shouldn’t be. Up to and including a customer IQ level required to tie shoelaces.

    My devs sometimes ask why certain CX considerations are necessary, why we have to hand-hold and spell shit out to the extent that we do. I have a favourite example that I like to use, now, where one of our online forms broke so that after the point that customers are told, “Enter the details below:” …it’s blank. Pretty much everything after that doesn’t load except the submit button. Did users reload the page to fix the defect, getting all the fields that they’re used to seeing, that are specifically referred to in the text for those who are new to the form? Did they call to ask why they couldn’t see the fields that actually allow them to input the details of their request? No. They mashed the fuck out of the submit button, sending empty, blank work requests.

    So no, you cannot ever overestimate how important communication is. Succinct, accurate, and well in advance.

    • Ehhh, all depends on how willing people are to actually read instructions or communication. It’s quite common in my line of work that people won’t even read alert box text before mashing the ok button regardless of the outcome it provides.

      • Well, yeah. You can never cure ALL the fuckwits. Your objective should be to filter out as many as possible.

        Like a couple years back when we rolled out some dramatic UI changes and got feedback that it would’ve been nice if we’d ‘told people about it before it happened.’

        We had multiple yammer posts, direct emails to directors and business area managers, notices in the department newsletter, a front-page featured article on the intranet home page, we had widespread lowest-level UAT participation within every affected team, and an actual notification alert on the system login screen advising of the upcoming change. The only way we could’ve been more communicative would be if we had personally called or had one-on-one face-to-face with every single of our thousands of end-users.

        I swear, I badly wanted to physically print the full text of every piece of comms we sent and cram it directly into the colon of anyone complaining they ‘hadn’t been told’.

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