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. Gaming is getting less and less fun…..

  2. This isn’t new. Dragon Age Origins had DLC codes included with the Retail version and they had expiry dates on them. I’m amazed people have only just noticed.

    • But this is different. This is online access, not DLC. Slightly different although EA are trying hard to blur the lines just now.

    • the xbox360 codes worked beyond expiry on DA:O, according to the mrs anyhow…..

  3. At the end of the day, the online pass is supposed to ‘benefit’ those that buy new right? Well, what if i am still purchasing new, but a bit later down the line? Why are my rights suddenly lessened just because i wasn’t a day one adopter??

    Fact is that it is supposed to promote new sales so that the dev/pub get some money from the sale – So i choose to support this by waiting until its a price that i can afford & then get punished for giving them money by buying new & then have to give them more to play online?

    Highway robbery.

  4. I don’t have that much of a problem with online passes but this is taking the piss now. I hope this is a mistake and EA come out and correct this, otherwise I may give up entirely on EA games.

    • Ha that’s almost word for word what I said on page 1. My new brother from another mother.

  5. I fail to see a valid reason for them to have a best before date for their digital online passes that do nothing more than allow a piece of software to connect to matchmaking servers (dumbed down version).

    Yesterday I came across a PSN error when I tried to enter my Saint’s Row The Third Online Pass. It said that my code was wrong, has been entered before or was expired. I freaked because I bought the game new. I tried it from within the game AND from the PSN.
    It turned out I had to redeem the code from within the UK PSN because I got the game from and then it worked.
    PS3 froze when I tried to connect to a coop game then but that’s probably FW 4.0’s fault, right? ;)

    • Wait… I just read the exact error message the guy on NeoGAF got and it’s exactly the same message I got with my Saint’s Row code. Did this guy enter the code in the wrong PSN store? If so then this might be a big misunderstanding.

      • Can you link it? Coz I can’t see this being the case.

      • It’s the first post in the thread linked in this TSA article .

        “Putting in the online code that came with the game gives the message telling me that the code is either incorrect or no longer valid.”

        This is exactly what I got yesterday when I entered my UK Online Pass code while being logged into the German PSN.

      • So reading that, it’s not actually accurate. there seems to be a problem with the code as two people now have been given a new code and neither worked. But EA ARE giving a new code.

        Still, a bit of a mess really.

      • The last post in the thread mentions that the EA support rep asked him to create a new PSN ID in the region that matched the game and the guy said he tried it and it didn’t work. It’s pretty messed up if true but it’s weird that we only heared about this now and this is the first reported case of such a thing. If the code really did expire then the EA support rep should know or at least be able to find out if this was the case.
        I’d like to hear an official statement from EA or someone who owns the same game but hasn’t redeemed his code yet could try and verify the issue.

  6. I think that somebody would stand a very strong case of taking EA to court over this. If the expiry date of the online pass is not advertised on the box, and you have purchased a new game with the understanding that the game will come with a valid online pass because its not advertised as expired on the box, then EA would HAVE to give you a valid one, or you are well within your rights to threaten court action. Thats like selling a bag of crisps with no expiry date printed on them and when you get them home, they are just a pile of mould.

    • Apparently they only print expiry dates for DLC like extra cars or costumes. They have a clause that covers their asses in case the servers of the game shut down sometime down the line but as far as the NeoGAF thread goes there is no expiry date for the online pass itself printed anywhere on the box.

      • Shutting down the servers I understand and they normally give plenty of notice, but selling an online code thats no good without you knowing about it is not cricket and is liable.

    • You know, this is probably illegal, and could be punishable by law.

  7. It’s nothing new. You can buy Harry Potter 6 on blu ray which is a triple play with a digital copy. But you won’t be able to redeem the digital copy because it expired.

    • that happened to me.

      so i torrented a copy.
      i bought the bluray new so i was just getting what i paid for.

      ordinarily i wouldn’t do that, but i felt i was justified doing it in this instance.
      when i ordered it online there was no mention of an expiry date on the digital copy.
      it’s there on the box, but in tiny small print on the back.
      and needless to say, you wouldn’t be able to read that in the pictures they had of the box.

  8. Ridiculous money grabbing.

  9. Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr……. -.-

    I would like to express how this makes me feel more eloquently but I just can’t at the minute – and besides I think the articles heading is succinct enough as is.

  10. I can understand having expiry dates as servers get turned off but they should be 5 years after release, not a year. Just means there is no reason to buy new games after they’re a year old. Makes those new copies almost worthless.

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