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. I would hope that is an oversight, but something tells me its just more an opertunistic money grabbing exercise.

  2. Guys guys guys, they warned us about this; it says right here on the back of my UK copy that the game is rated PG, and contains anti-social behaviour.

    • Further to this; I bought the game in error in February without realising it used the online pass system (drunk online shopping is not a good idea) – it’s sat on my shelf ever since, never been played. I just fired it up to try redeeming the code, and it did work.

      Details from the back of the manual (in case it’s batch-dependant) –

      • Interesting. Like I said. I got the exact same error when I entered my Saint’s Row Online Pass code in the wrong PSN store. I then logged into my UK PSN account (got the game from and it worked. The guy on NeoGAF said he made sure he entered the code in the right store but who knows. He might just be pissed at EA for some unknown reason and wants to make a big fuss about something.

      • That’s entirely possible K, and it would be sad if it were the case – it could still end up being a ‘cry wolf’ scenario. The question is; why implement an expiry date system at all into a system supposedly bought in to combat used game sales, unless they were always planning to use it in this manner? IMO if the servers are up, and the code’s not been used, then there should be no problem.

      • The PSN error seems like a generic message that pops up in various scenarios. You enter PSN cards the same way as Online Passes so it’s possible that PSN cards have an expiry date (for some unknown reason but gift cards have them too, maybe it’s a legal thing…) and this error message has been applied to more cases. Like I said. It didn’t flat out tell me I was in the wrong PSN store when I entered my Online Pass. It told me my code was wrong or expired.
        I hope EA steps in soon and clears things up.

  3. Just checked the back of NFS: Shift2 and it states “code expires 31/12/2021”, that’s the only EA game I have so don’t know what it states on others but I assume if it’s causing a stir it will be a lot less. Anyway 10 years seems reasonable.

    • There that’s the one it should be expired 10 years not a year (Hot Pursuit came out November!)
      I will check my other Online pass such as Shift 2 (Just to see if it’s different) Saint’s Row, DeadSpace 2, Madden NFL 12 and The Run!

      • Oh I also still have my copy of NFS Hot Pursuit. As soon as I get home I will check that expiry date of that game!

        Sorry for the double post there.

  4. Also, as a business practice, it’s probably downright illegal.

    But unless someone launches a class action somewhere, those fat bastards won’t bother replying.

  5. Why am I not surprised that I left this current gen to go back to the last gen consoles?

  6. This really does go against the grain, I enjoy waiting for certain games to drop in price before buying them, usually only a month or so, which would be ok, but if they started lowering the online pass expiry to less than a year..where would they stop? I hope this gets resolved as they will only be harming sales by continuing with this alienating route!

  7. Even more reason to avoid this. I’m glad i just bought a Wii where that BS has been avoided, mainly due to its unpopularity. Lots of Skyward Sword and Rabbids Go Home for me :3.

  8. I’ve noticed expiry dates in the small print a few times. Particularly Mass Effect 2. Disgraceful.

  9. So when can we protest?

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