A few thousands of those who’ve been waiting to get their hands on a 20th Anniversary Edition PlayStation 4 in the UK have in fact gained an unfair advantage by utilising an exploit published by a disgruntled fan.
Yesterday was the first day a number of PS4 Anniversary Edition consoles were to be available for sale in the UK. There was a trick however, only Sony fans could get their hands on the limited edition console.
Sony devised a way to ensure that only the most loyal and dedicated fans can buy them. That system was a website showing a number of video game characters. Sony would then give out a clue through the PlayStation UK Twitter at a predetermined time each day that only true fans could solve.
If you do solve it, you go and click on whatever character you think it was. You will then be presented with a form to fill, and only the first 100 people to fill said form each day, would get to buy the £399 console from GAME.
As always, the internet interfered, crowd-sourcing the clues and spreading the answer on social media as quickly as possible, available to anyone. Which naturally resulted in thousands filling the forms just minutes after the clues were tweeted.
One PlayStation fan, software engineer Dean Wild, was not happy with this unfair advantage, so he published an exploit that allows anyone access to the form on GAME’s website, bypassing the whole clue shebang.
“I’ve published this information because this competition has been a complete scandal with people cheating and sharing the links on forums and Twitter,” said Wild.
“My goal is to force Sony to shut down this shambles and distribute the consoles in a fairer way. Of course, they might just plug the hole so don’t be surprised if this exploit stops working.”
The exploit worked again this morning, which resulted in GAME saying that it would not consider any forms filled before the clue went live.
Sony later responded as well.
“We launched #20YearsofCharacters on http://eu.playstation.com/20yearsofcharacters with the intention of giving our true fans the best opportunity of purchasing the PS4 20th Anniversary Edition console,” Sony said in a statement made to Eurogamer.
“Following feedback from the PlayStation UK community we would like to remind everybody that the daily link for this activity won’t be live until seconds before the clue is announced on twitter.com/PlayStationUK.
“Unfortunately we are now aware of some users attempting to run programmes to reveal the URL early and give themselves an unfair advantage. Users we identify as using these tactics will be disqualified from the process and will continue to be. Since reports of this behaviour surfaced we have been adding additional encryptions and will continue to do so in advance of the final clue tomorrow.”
Tomorrow marks the final day any of those consoles will be available in the UK through this system, and only time will tell if Sony had indeed tightened it up.