EA Won't Let Me Swap Failed Game For New One

Electronic Arts drew some friendly pats on the head for manning up and letting gamers substitute failed subscription fee-based game APB with a different title. Anthony discovered he was the victim of some fine print in the deal, though. Because he bought the game before July 16, EA says he had enough time to play the game before it shut down the servers, and thus isn’t entitled to a replacement.

Here’s a message he received from a customer service rep:

Greetings Gamer,

Thank you for contacting Electronic Arts.

Sorry for the delay. As your were previously informed, we are unable to provide any further compensation in regards to your issue due to the fact that it was purchased before July 16th. We’re currently offering compensation to the players whom did not have the chance to progress through the full extent of the game before it’s end. As you bought this before July 16th, it’s safe to assume that you had an appropriate amount of time to experience the game, and all of the content that was available. If you would still like a coupon, I will be able to provide one. However, I will not be able to compensate you with a free title. I apologize for the inconvenience.

If you have any further questions or concerns please reply to this email or visit our extensive knowledge base online at http://support.ea.com.

Thank you,


Anthony says the date was arbitrary and thinks he deserves a replacement game. What do you think?

Previously: Players Who Downloaded Failed Game On Steam Get Free Replacement


Edit Your Comment

  1. grucifer says:

    Definitely deserves a replacement game.

    Let’s be honest, this game was dead in the water since launch and everyone involved probably knew it.

  2. The_IT_Crone says:

    How are they to say how much time he had? Some of us gamers have lives- and play other games, too.

  3. sirwired says:

    Yes, the date was “arbitrary”, but it is perfectly reasonable to draw the line somewhere, and July 16th is where EA chose to draw it.

    • Larraque eats babies says:

      Hey! That guy bought our game on release day! He may have been excited for it and may have played 40 hours a week for the past three months! NO FREE GAME FOR YOU!!!!!!! That’ll learn you to be excited for games.

      Irrespective of date of purchase, there is a reasonable expectation for start and end dates for mumorpergers. That should be ~ 1-2 years from initial release of game.

      • dolemite says:

        I agree. When you get into an MMO, you are expecting to put hundreds if not thousands of hours into it (Personally, I expect at least a year or 2 if not more). The same expectations of “hey, you got a good 20-30 hours out of it” doesn’t hold water with mmo games.

        • dbeahn says:

          Aren’t you also expecting to spend monthly fees month after month to do so? Or do you get those years and years for the cost of the initial purchase?

          • Salty Johnson says:

            Yes, you’re expecting to spend monthly fees, but the difference between APB and most MMOs is that the monthly fee for APB was only $10 while the initial license was $60 (the price of most non-MMO games). Every single game that I’ve purchased for $60 I can still play right now, except for APB. That’s potentially years of use for $60. I’ve spent $80 total on APB and got 3 months out of it. I think I deserve more than this stupid 25%-off-any-game-in-the-EA-online-store bullshit coupon because I never plan on BUYING anything from there.

      • SteveZim1017 says:

        when you buy an MMO you get the 1st month free with the cost of the game. This is no different than if you bought it and decided you didnt like it.

        If I bought WoW of CoH or any other MMO and didnt like it after playing my first 30 days thats it. I get no refund or free game.

        the only issue I have here is the refund is for people who bought the game electronically only. hard copy gets no refund

    • hoi-polloi says:

      But is that a perfectly reasonable place to draw the line? EA is not providing a replacement title to gamers who bought the game in the first 17 days of its release, and the servers were shut down less than 90 days after the release date. That’s one hell of a short window of time. If I buy a game on launch day, I certainly expect to be able to play it three months later.

      If you’re giving a replacement game to recent adopters, it’s absurd to not extend the same benefit to early adopters in this case. At maximum, those folks only had access to the game for 2.5 weeks more than their peers. If you want to set some arbitrary limit, base it upon the number of hours logged in the game. If some poor schmoe bought the game at launch and played for 15 hours, shouldn’t he be more entitled to a replacement than someone who logged a couple hundred hours? One certainly got more use out of it than the other. I’ve sometimes found a good deal on a game and then shelved it until I finished my current title or had an opportunity to play.

  4. teke367 says:

    I guess it isn’t horrible that EA put a limit on the policy, however, somebody mentioned, the guy bought the game on release day, kind of sucks when the loyalty is punished in a sense.

    Also, wasn’t the problem with APB was that nobody bought it? It doesn’t seem like EA would be shelling out too many refunds if they left it open ended.

    Overall, I don’t think EA should be required to replace the game, but it would be really cool of them if they did.

    • craptastico says:

      the problem is that the company that released the game went bankrupt. i guess more people buying would have helped that, but they went bankrupt and had to stop running the game online. the game was only running for less than 3 months, and this July 16 date they picked is only 2 1/2 weeks after the game went live. i could see if they picked a date where after they wouldn’t give you a refund, but just two weeks after release? that’s ridiculous

      • aaron8301 says:

        EA Games did NOT go bankrupt. They’re very much financially sound, releasing new games all the time. They can afford to pay back the few people that basically bought a defective game from them.

  5. Jozef says:

    Games are an entertainment medium like any other. I don’t see books or DVDs having an expiration day either, yet. The only difference in this case is that the game required access to the publisher (EA’s servers), which is not the usual case with other entertainment formats. If the gamer had to pay both for the game and access, he should be reimbursed for the game and forfeit whatever he paid for monthly access.

    (That said, this story should serve as a warning example for anyone who purchases games that require on-line access to play, whether it’s multiplayer games, Steam-distributed games or games with Internet-based DRM, like those from UBI Soft.)

    • Salty Johnson says:

      An MMO is something one would expect to last a while because they have extended opportunity to make a lasting profit. Other games that require a one-time purchase don’t have continued income, but an MMO with a monthly subscription fee does.

      I’d say the moral of this story is to avoid MMOs that have the same initial license fee as any other game ($60 to start playing an MMO?!?!?!) and stick with the ones that are more reasonable (such as the one-time $5 account creation fee for EVE, and then free expansions forever).

  6. Mike says:

    Screw EA. I hate them. Anyone who is a gamer knows what I am talking about. They have made it near impossible to play their new sports games online without paying them money. If you rent a game, you get one week free and that is it, you need to pay up if you want more. You rented Battlefield 2? Well pay them extra money if you want more than the few maps that come free. Screw that. EA sucks, I can’t wait for NBA 2K11 to arrive, 2K sports FTW.

    I am over EA.

    • thor79 says:

      You rented a game instead of buying it…is it a surprise you have to pay more to get more? If you want to play longer why not just purchase the game…then you can play it as long as you like. Every avenue for renting games requires some form of subscription. Stop being a cheap ass and pay it or quit complaining about the way games are rented.

      • kujospam says:

        I think you are confused. When you buy a game disk it is assumed one disk, one user. When the disk switches hands, it is still one disk one user.

      • Mike says:

        I think you are confused, so let me try to clear this up.

        I, like millions of people, rent games for my PS3 and XBOX on Gamefly, it is like Netlfix for video games. They send me the game in the mail, I play it, then when I am done I send it back. Right now I have Halo Reach and NBA 2K11. I can play both of those games online, against anyone I want. This is not like a PC game where in theory I could rent it, install it, then send it back if I figured out a way around DRM. This is just getting a game disk for a console.

        EA, is the only game company that has created a system that does not allow people like me to play their games online. They charge me extra for something that is generally understood to be part of the game. In each game case there is a code you have to enter if you want to play online. If I rent the game, I do not get the code. I can pay extra for the code if I want to, which is total bullcrap when all other games let you play online as long as you have the disk. Therefore, I will not only be avoiding renting their games, I certainly will not buy them, since I can’t play online against the millions of people that rent their games.

        Does that make sense now?

        • Tongsy says:

          Well, it’s their business to sell games. They don’t gain anything by Gamefly buying 1 copy of a game and 15 people playing it – they would rather sell 15 copies. If restricting the online play convinces even one of those people to go buy the game, it works.

          • Sanspants says:

            I’m under the impression that EA (and other game and movie studios) charge MORE money for each copy to Gamefly or Blockbuster, simply because of how many people play one copy.

          • Mike says:

            “If restricting the online play convinces even one of those people to go buy the game, it works.”

            That’s just it, it doesn’t work. Take NBA Live vs. NBA 2K. EA pretty much ruined that game over the years. I had been playing EA basketball games since way back in the Genesis days, but EA kept messing the game up and guess what, NBA 2k is out-selling NBA Live (now it is called NBA Elite) by miles. http://www.operationsports.com/MMChrisS/blog/6505-nba-live-quality-comes-but-the-sales-dont/

            EA is lucky that they have a monopoly on the NFL so Madden will sell well. If they lose that monopoly, it is over for EA.

            “They don’t gain anything by Gamefly buying 1 copy of a game and 15 people playing it – they would rather sell 15 copies”

            That is assuming 15 people would buy the game if they couldn’t rent or play online, which is not the case. People like me love to play games first, then buy them if I really want them. Gamefly is great for this, if you rent a game, and you like it, you just log onto Gamefly and click on “buy” and you get to keep the game you have. I have purchased several games like this. By trying to milk the renting crowd for extra money the way EA does, you lose many potential sales.

  7. thor79 says:

    Wow…he got farther than me…when they sent me the rejection email they never even mentioned the arbitrary date. Wasted $100 on the game…2 copies, one for the NA servers and one for the EU servers (where most of my clan played). Bought both prior to launch hoping to play a long time. Due to the state the game was in I never used up the first 50 hours with either account.

  8. yzerman says:

    This is the known fundamental problem with MMOs. I am pretty sure if you read the EULA it probably states how long they have to keep the servers online and how much notice they have to give.

    Overall if they guy got 90 days of enjoyment out of it I don’t think EA should have to do anything.

  9. anime_runs_my_life says:

    Part of me wants to say it depends on how close to the 16th he bought the game and the other part of me remembers why I don’t buy EA games anymore because of their BS, and says they need to replace the game or at least give him his money back.

  10. Gulliver says:

    All I know is I feel really damn old reading these posts. MMO, APB, EA, HMO, PPO, EPA, DEA. I have no idea what any of it is. My pong still works though

    • AnthonyC says:

      Don’t worry too much about it. Good games (and acronyms) come and go, but the truly great (or revolutionary) ones stay great forever. You can play them again and again, and when the hardware fails, there are plenty of re-makes or emulators out there to let you keep on enjoying them.
      Space Invaders, Tetris, Super Mario Brothers, Mortal Combat, Chrono Trigger, Final Fantasy 7, Sid Meier’s Civilization III, Myst

  11. chungkuo says:

    The game went under without a reasonable amount of time for a lot of users (like me) to even use the time that was included with the retail purchase. EA has been offering refunds to people in a completely arbitrary and random fashion. My theory is that some CSRs or managers started doing it on a case by case basis, then once the Intertrons got wind of it they thought, “oh crap” and started coming up with arbitrary conditions for why User A got a refund and User B got the shaft. For example, lots of Steam users had luck getting refunds out of EA once Valve started telling its users to go bug EA. Now EA is telling people that they have “no relationship” with Steam and that even though EA is the publisher they are in no way responsible for their product. Furthermore, if I think this is wrong I should have my credit card company issue a chargeback against Steam for the amount.

    I’m certain EA is aware that Valve’s policy when someone issues a chargeback is to completely lock out that person’s account and remove access to every piece of software you’ve purchased through their store, which in my case is close to $3,000.

    The whole thing looks like a giant pissing match between EA and Valve now using their customers as ammo. It’s pretty terrible behavior on the part of both companies.

  12. TTFK says:

    One thing people seem to forget: EA was not actually required to do ANYTHING! The fact that they set up a program to compensate a portion of the customers should not be construed as a “screw the rest of the users” right to bitch.

  13. OnePumpChump says:

    EA = Shit.

    That Spore fracas was enough to make me swear off them forever. This is further reinforcement.

  14. humbajoe says:

    How can you complete an MMORPG? Particularly one that only lasted 3 months? It takes me about that time just to get to level 20 (i.e. well before any of the “good parts” of those kinds of games) – and that’s if I’m really into the game.

    Stop being dicks EA, compensate everyone who bought the game you should have supported better.

    Hell, even when I played Matrix Online that game at least lasted a few years before getting cut short. 3 months is laughable – they didn’t even try.

  15. icewall says:

    EA is definitely one of the worst companies to purchase games from, period. Offline gameplay is fine if that’s all you want, but online they will nickle and dime you to their hearts content. Any other game out there you can play for as long as you like online/offline for free. EA you get one year at best, despite the fact you pay just as much as any other game.

    IMO it is the pure greed that they are now trying to skim rental/secondary users for more money simply because they would rather rent a game that’s only going to be good for a year anyway. EA has not ‘lost’ any revenue on the rental market, they’re just screwing you because they figure they can get away with it.

  16. aminoacid says:

    The other problem is that if you purchased the game directly from the APB website you seem to be screwed. I tried emailing EA about it and they dont care. which is bull**** that they dont back what they distribute. What reason do i have to buy another EA game every again?