Apple’s App Store is a crowded market for games, and even gaming giants like EA have a tough time getting noticed. For years, developers have dropped the prices of their apps in the hopes of getting them onto more devices, but on Thursday, EA started testing a new type of promotional giveaway: It’s giving out special iOS codes for “Real Racing 3″ that give players a little bit of the game’s in-app currency.
Since “Real Racing 3″ is a freemium game, it would’ve been impossible to discount the face price of the game. Instead, visiting a special link unlocks a “Handful of Gold,” which would be a $2 purchase without the promotion. The 10 gold pieces can be used by players to customize and upgrade the game’s cars. “Real Racing 3″ offers in-app purchases that cost as much as $20.
Real Racing 3 has had moderate success on the Apple App Store, clocking in as the top grossing app in 70 countries in March 2013. However, its downloads have been slipping recently, which is a fairly common problem among aging games.
The promotion, which was spotted by 148Apps, seems to be a use of Apple’s promo codes, which previously had only been used for paid app giveaways. Given the history between Apple and EA, whose games are frequently featured on the App Store, this could be the first of many promotions of this kind.
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Update: EA said in a statement that it’s investigating the reports (via TheVerge):
“Privacy and security are of the utmost importance to us, and we are currently investigating this report… We’ve taken immediate steps to disable any attempts to misuse EA domains…”
According to a report from internet security and research company Netcraft, hackers have compromised an EA Games server and are currently using it to host a phishing site that steals Apple IDs and more from unsuspecting users. The company published its report today and says it contacted EA yesterday to report the discovery, but as of publishing the compromised server and the phishing site stealing Apple IDs were still online.
Netcraft claims the phishing site being hosted on EA’s servers not only asks for an Apple ID and password but also the user’s “full name, card number, expiration date, verification code, date of birth, phone number, mother’s maiden name, plus other details that would be useful to a fraudster.” Netcraft also reports that EA Games is being targeted in other phishing attacks that are attempting to steal user data from its Origin game distribution service:
After submitting these details, the victim is redirected to the legitimate Apple ID website at https://appleid.apple.com/cgi-bin/WebObjects/MyAppleId.woa/… As well as hosting phishing sites, EA Games is also the target of phishing attacks which try to steal credentials from users of its Origindigital distribution platform. For example, the following site — which has been online for more than a week — is attempting to steal email addresses, passwords and security question answers.
While Netcraft is unsure of how the server was compromised, it speculates that an outdated version of WebCalendar 1.2.0 software (that has been patched since) running on the websites stored on the compromised servers could have provided a vulnerability for the attackers.
Filed under: iOS Tagged: Apple, Apple ID, EA, EA games, Electronic Arts, hacking, Netcraft, Origin, phishing, Security