Legal expert likens Dead Space 3 micro-transaction exploit to "theft"

EA and Visceral welcome infinite resources exploit

EA has revealed that there are no plans to patch out a Dead Space 3 exploit that allows users to circumvent the game's micro-transaction system - a practice that has been likened to stealing.

The latter sees you paying additional pounds and pennies to unlock items you can also find in-game, by scavenging for resources. This has been seized upon by a number of sites and pundits as an attempt to 'cheat' consumers of the fruits of their purchases, and the discovery of the exploit has, accordingly, been hailed as a low-key form of consumer activism.


Not everybody's as comfortable with this turn of events, however. "If you go into a baker's to buy a bun and they give you the wrong change and you walk away knowing you have been given more change than you handed over in the first place, that's theft," intellectual property expert Sara Ludlam of Lupton, Fawcett, Lee & Priestley told the BBC last week.

"So, arguably if you go into this game knowing you are supposed to be paying for these weapons and you notice a glitch allows you to accumulate them without paying, that's theft as well. But it is arguable because it's a new area."

EA has now commented on the story in a statement sent to GameFront, architect of the resource exploit. "The resource-earning mechanic in Dead Space 3 is not a glitch," observed PR representative Jino Talens. "We have no plans to issue a patch to change this aspect of the game. We encourage players to explore the game and discover the areas where resources respawn for free.

"We've deliberately designed Dead Space 3 to allow players to harvest resources by playing through the game. For those that wish to accumulate upgrades instantly, we have enabled an optional system for them to buy the resources at a minimal cost ($1-$3)."

Speaking as somebody who's played the game through, I can't say I was ever remotely tempted or bothered by the opportunity to unlock gear ahead of time. Are there times when a scarcity of guns and ammo makes the prospect of paying for resupply a touch more attractive? Sure, but that's true of any game. All it takes is a bit of self-control.

The prospect of such systems is unattractive for other reasons, however - they rupture the illusion of inhabiting another world, intruding the commercial upon the creative. Dead Space 3 commits bigger sins on this front - those areas you can only enter in the company of Jack Carver are tucked behind doors explicitly labelled "co-op". Read our Dead Space 3 review for more.