The Great Price Guarantee
Posted on Wednesday, September 18 2013 @ 13:32:00 PST
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Recently, Origin introduced the Great Game Guarantee, allowing any EA-published game to be returned for a full refund within the shorter of 7 days after purchase or 24 hours after playing. In their press release, EA suggested two reasons that one might take advantage of the policy: Either the game wasn’t fun or didn’t work. But, much like the secret menu at Panera Bread, there is a third, unpublicized reason for processing a Great Game Guarantee refund, and that is if the game you had previously purchased has gone on sale.
About a day after the Great Game Guarantee announcement, I decided to install Origin for the first time and put EA and their new return policy to the test. I chose to purchase The Saboteur—I wanted to test the policy against an older game, and also one that would only leave me twenty dollars in the hole should things turn sour. As promised, I was able to see that the game qualified for the guarantee in the checkout window, before any payment information was required. I completed the order, installed, and went to bed.
The next evening, I logged on and realized I had forgotten to capture the above image for my impending blog post. I searched the Origin store for The Saboteur and was shocked to find by the same game I had purchased not even 24 hours earlier now on sale for 70% off.
Now there’s a thought. I’d been burned once before by purchasing a full-price game that subsequently went on sale, and the experience was enough to condition me to buy all future PC games at a minimum 50% discount from the sticker price. And while a single day of discount protection wouldn’t change my purchasing habits, EA openly refunding a purchase because their service offered the same game license cheaper would make for an interesting policy precedent.
I submitted a Great Game Guarantee refund request on the first copy of The Saboteur, and then attempted to purchase the same license at a discounted price. My purchase went off without an issue, which was disconcerting. At no point during or after the purchase did Origin attempt to notify me—or even acknowledge—that I already owned a copy of the game I was buying. The only way to identify the second sale was to look at my account’s order history, where two purchases of the same game now resided: one at 21.39, the other at 6.41.
According to EA, I was to be contacted within 48 hours about the status of my Great Game Guarantee request. Six days later with no response, I began to worry. Had I broken some contract by repurchasing the same game I had requested a refund for? I imagined my profile flagged on a computer in EA’s Origin Asset Protection division, an administrator’s skeletal finger hovering judiciously over the ‘ban’ key.
With less than 24 hours until the seven day Great Game Guarantee window expired, I contacted EA customer support. The representative explained that, in addition to requesting the refund through the Origin interface, I had to directly contact customer support to process the refund. She would be happy to help me… but first, could I answer one quick question?
Silence from customer support—phoning the police, no doubt, to advise them of the impending private security raid against my estate.
No, wait, there she was. Everything was fine, I was being transferred to the Origin support team where my refund would be processed, thanks for contacting EA customer support.
And just like that, I was up $14.98.
The policy is one small step for Origin, but one giant leap for the conversation around digital goods pricing. During their annual Summer Sale, Steam offered Borderlands 2 at 33% off as a daily deal, and then at 66% off during a flash sale. Via Origin’s Great Game Guarantee, that 33% difference could be refunded right back to the purchaser’s [Steam] wallet. If Steam were to offer a passive ‘best price guarantee’ during its sales, how many additional units would it move, and would that extra volume make up for the revenue given back to customers?
Realistically, EA isn’t touting discount protection as a key pillar of the Origin platform. Capturing the discount requires users to actively manage their purchases in a short time window, and the policy only extends as far as EA-published games. And yet—intentional or not—the Great Game Guarantee is the most progressive, customer-centric digital goods pricing initiative to come about in the last two years.
The opinions expressed here does not necessarily reflect the views of Game Revolution, but we believe it's worthy of being featured on our site. This article has been lightly edited for grammar. silverstorm provided links to his images. You can find more Vox Pop articles here. ~Ed. Nick Tan