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. That’s absurd – it completely defeats the point of the online pass from the point of view of the developer. If I’m going to buy an older game and I know that I have to pay for online anyway I’m buying pre-owned. I sincerely hope that this is a simple mistake that will be addressed promptly.

    • There’s no way it’s a simple mistake; they designed the expiry date into the pass system from the very start – it’s more data to handle, not something that can be retroactively implemented, and requires more work on their part. This is essentially them saying ‘if you don’t pay us what we want, when we want it, we’re going to neuter your game’.

      • I still wouldn’t call this case confirmed. It’s some random dude on the internet.

        “they designed the expiry date into the pass system from the very start”

        You make it sound like it’s official information, which it’s really not. I’d wait until EA makes an official statement. If it’s really true then they’s have to be hones about it, even if they come up with a stupid excuse. They can’t flat out deny it if it’s true.

      • It has been confirmed; there are releases out there that actually print their expiry date on the case or with the code itself.

        Bit of a sleeper, this issue! Went straight under most peoples radar.

      • So far I’ve only read about DLC that is on a times. Nothing about Online Passes. Care to provide a link to your source of information?

      • Nvm, just read the links from the second update of the article. EA is about to take a big PR hit with this if it turns out to be entirely true.

  2. I’ve always supported the idea of online passes to help give devs back the money lost from used sales. But this just…doesn’t….compute.

  3. *no words*

  4. This is the same as Blu-Ray (I bought Hancock new with Digital Copy) The date has already expired (-_-) there should be a word with WARNING this code has already expired!
    But a game seriously EA this is so (excuse my language) fucked up!
    I think I will write a letter in a few mins about this nonsense. I am really beginning to hate EA and others might follow EA’s path which will force gamers to buy Hot Pursuit NOW before the code expires!!! Absolutely FED UP!!!

    • Well if the gaf thread is to be believed (ruling out any ‘store localisation issues’ of course), it’ll be too late for them to buy Hot Pursuit now anyway as the code won’t work!

      I am actually at the point now where i am concerned about whether i have redeemed the online passes on the games i own! Dirt 3 comes to mind as i have had it for a while, but haven’t gone online with it.

      • Can’t believe it but my mate and I ordered new copies of ‘Hot Pursuit’ this week to play online after ‘The Run’ proved such a disappointment. Granted they were 9quid a copy and the single player is still awesome but I’m still chessed off

      • I’m also cheesed off… ;D

      • Have you tried the passes yet? If so, did you get the same/similar message?

      • I’d be interested in that as well. So far this NeoGAF dude is the only one who came forth with such claims.

      • The games have been shipped so I’d imagine they’ll be on my door step tonight or tomorrow.
        This whole thing seems a bit of a weird really. I thought the whole point was to discourage people buying pre-owned. If you are going to have to purchase an online pass regardless of whether you buy it new or used (assuming the game has been out for 18+ months of course), surely people are going to go for the cheaper used copy? I know I would/will

      • Yeah i wondered when i was asking whether you would have received your copy yet or not. Well, there’s no harm in trying it when you get it though & see what happens.

        & you are right, the fact that codes expire make the whole thing a bit of a moot point, as what is the point in buying new (later down the line of course) if you are in the same position as someone who has bought pre-owned?

  5. Ridiculous.

  6. I blame ‘MicroSoft’ for all this because they started the you ‘HAVE TO’ ‘pay extra to play online'(i.e Xbox LIVE) & then other companies thought ‘Hmm, those idiots will pay extra to play online, so we will find ways to f**k other people to’ lol

    • What an absurd statement.

    • Online passes expiring is mental, but I don’t really think you can blame Microsoft for their existence.

    • I blame the democratic republic of Congo. Why not eh? I’m still waiting for my monies after I ‘apparently died’…….

    • You’re silly :P Compared to the PSN, XBL is an almost faultless service and well worth the small asking price.

  7. how stupid, another sneaky way for them to make a little extra. If I bought a new game then had to buy a new online pass because the one in the sealed box had run out, I would be taking it back where I bought it and demanding a refund. Its not on….

  8. Those Dicks.

    I think that’s enough said really.

  9. Hang about here, I am yet to redeem my code that came with Portal 2, got the game on release. Will it have now expired?

    • In fact, I’m not sure if I’ve redeemed Dead Space 2, or Killzone 3 yet either… I’ll be sure to do this as soon as I get home.
      (sorry for the double post)
      This seems rather ridiculous to me, and it doesn’t make ANY sense what so ever.

  10. I bought Dragon Age Origins new a couple months after release and the pass in that had already expired – ridiculous.

    • :| what does the pass entail in that game? I was going to finally buy the ‘complete edition’ over Xmas so I’m curious

      • Its not exactly a “pass” on DA:O just access to DLC.

        If you buy the ultimate edition all the dlc is on disc though so don’t worry ;)

    • Was that the collectors edition (or whatever) with all the DLC? That’s shocking if so.

      • I think thats the one. Not sure if all the DLC is on the disk if you get the PS3 version but thats still very shitty for 360 owners

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