Online Passes EXPIRE? Go Away, This Gen

[drop2]Just when you thought the whole concept of online passes couldn’t get any more ridiculous, I’ve just read today that they expire.

Yes – we’re reading that the codes that you get when you buy a brand new copy of game don’t last forever.


You might think I’m being flippant, but this is ridiculous. According to the report on NeoGAF, you can still buy some games that are over a year old brand new, but when you get them home, tear off the wrapping and enter the code – it doesn’t work.


I give in, I really do. Sure, some passes last longer than others, but in the case of Hot Pursuit, for example, the post suggests that if you were to buy it new the online section of the game will be out of bounds – the code in the box doesn’t appear to work.

I’m well aware than PSN promotional codes expire over time (as they do with most other such codes – iTunes promos generally only last a couple of weeks, for example) but online passes shouldn’t. They just shouldn’t.

And whilst I’m sure the publishers cover themselves with tiny disclaimers on the box – I don’t think this is nearly enough.

What do you think?  Have you experienced this yourselves?

Source: NeoGAF, via IGN Forums.

Update: we’ve asked EA for comment regarding the Hot Pursuit codes.

Update 2: apparently this isn’t all that new.  Thread here (and another here) on EA’s forums suggests this has been happening since the last couple of weeks.

Update 3: apparently phone support at EA aren’t fully aware of this, and hopefully they can work with Sony to get more codes out there that do work.  We must stress that this will ultimately be an issue with most publishers and games, not just – in this instance – EA and Hot Pursuit.  Recent online pass slips appear to have expiration dates on them.

Update 4: edited for clarity, removed the section regarding buying another copy from the Store until we can prove that they work fine too.

Update 5: EA have responded, although not to us. “EA’s Online Pass can indeed expire for some new games, blocking buyers out of online content until they download a new pass or attain one from EA directly”, EA confirmed to Joystiq. “As a rule, no Online Pass should expire, but a few titles will have a time limit on their use, even for new purchases. Dragon Age 2, for example, has an Online Pass that expires on March 31, 2012, according to EA’s EULA description. Re-downloading or getting a new Pass is free, EA said.”



  1. Tis wrong especially if the “use by date” isn’t listed on the front or back cover.

    I guess this is an attack on the cheap sale of new stock by online retailers?

  2. sure you just ring the help line & they will fix it for you still silly that they run out.

    • So what is the point of an expire date then?

      • true but I find it hard to believe that if I got hot pursuit today & the code did not work EA would not give me a new one.

      • Unfortunately, i don’t find that hard to believe at all skib. Robbing gits.

      • There should be a service to renew an expired Online Pass for later purchases but then again, it’s extra effort we have to put up with. I can’t imagine what they could gain from giving those codes a best before date at all.

      • the point is many people won’t know they can ring the support line and will just buy a new pass.

        and anyway, do we know they’ll fix it or will they just say it’s expired and you’re out of luck?

      • and apparently they wont fix it.

        somebody’s experience with ea help, from the neogaf thread.
        “He said they only deal with Origin codes and not 3rd party retailer ones? LOL”

        what have i been saying?
        when it comes to taking your money they’re all possessive, then it’s their game and always will be, but the second something goes wrong it’s nothing to do with them, then you’re dealing with the store and ea had no part in the transaction.

        you bought it from the shop not them, so it’s the shop you should go to.

        this is why anybody who cares about gaming should avoid games with these passes like the frakking plague.

      • He later claimed that they provided a new code (which also didn’t work). You just have to be persistent enough.

      • I get the feeling that the Anti Online Pass bus is about to pick up a load more passengers; I’d like to thank everyone that didn’t take a stand against this practice in the first place!

      • You’re welco… wait, what? :P

      • There’s a space on the back seat here KeRaSh, welcome :)

      • I’m still on the fence about Online Passes. I buy 99% of my games new anyways and I rarely play online. But then again… all the cool kids sit in the back, right? :D

  3. That’s ridiculous. What’s stopping someone buying a game second hand now anyone for older games that require online passes? It defeats the purpose of the online pass

  4. Thats outrageous, how come this has never come to light before.

  5. OH FOR FUCK SAKE! Now i can’t even fecking wait a year or two to get a new copy unless i want to pay for the online pass despite it BEING NEW!

    This is punishing everyone, waited a while to get it did ya? Then that will be a fiver to play online. What’s next? a pass to boot up the game? PC style DRM?

    I am begining to hate EA now. So ea, go and shove the expire date idea up ye butt. =)

  6. Seems to be an EA thing from reading that gaf thread. We should do a name and shame. Codes should not expire.

    • That’s a great idea! I also would like future game reviews from TSA to make a point of telling us if said games require an online pass – this would help me to decide whether to buy games new or preowned, or new but later etc.

      • Both of these, we have to act with out wallets!

      • *our wallets. Damn typing…

      • Funnily enough, acting without wallets works as well… :)

  7. So now we get gouged no matter where, when, or how we decide to purchase our games? Words fail me.

  8. bloody con. Online passes suck balls big time, let alone having a limited time on them.

  9. That is just ridiculous, Blastiel is right they need to put an expiry date of the pass on the box.

    Is this leading to a yearly subscription fee for online games?

    What kind of a message does that send out when the publishers are willing to punish people for buying brand new copies as well?

  10. I never really cared about the online pass hoopla, since I usually buy the game new, but this shafts me too.

    Would like to see EA come out and answer to this, wouldn’t be surprised (ie I hope for their sake) that this is a misunderstanding.

    • Next our online passes with new games will only last a year!

      • ….I mean, once redeemed.

      • Sshh – Lets not give them any ideas now eh? ;)

      • Sorry, my bad :O

      • i wouldn’t worry, i have no doubt they’ve already thought of that.
        and as soon as they think they can get away with it, that’s exactly what they’ll do.

    • *cough*, “Misunderstanding”. This justifies their point even less because this makes the online passes no longer a case of beating pre-owned sales, they just want more money!

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