EA Drops Online Passes

End of an era for "project ten dollar", but what's going to go in its place? Always online?

EA, effectively immediately, are stopping the controversial “online pass” program, a system that has seen widespread use since the publisher first starting using it despite complaints from end users. The system meant that anyone buying a game second hand would need to pay an additional fee (normally around £7 or so) to use the full set of features – principally online play.

Whilst EA were the first to use online passes – thought by many to be aimed at blocking second hand game sales – the likes of Ubisoft and Sony, among other top publishers, signed up quickly. Pretty much every Sony first party game needs an online pass now, whether it’s on the PS3 or the PlayStation Vita, although branding and message between companies differs slightly.

“Yes, we’re discontinuing Online Pass,” said John Reseburg, EA senior director of corporate communications in an email to VentureBeat. “None of our new EA titles will include that feature.”

“Initially launched as an effort to package a full menu of online content and services, many players didn’t respond to the format,” Reseburg continued, making it clear that this is EA reacting to end user feedback, something that should be applauded really. “We’ve listened to the feedback and decided to do away with it moving forward.”

The first game to use an online pass was Tiger Woods 2011.

Don’t relax yet, though – it looks like EA might have something else up their sleeve. “We’re still committed to creating content and services that enhance the game experience well beyond the day you first start playing,” said Reseburg. Whether this ends up being an extension of the current Origin service, or a reliance on the dreaded “always on” idea we don’t know yet.

35 Comments

  1. that’s good news in one way, i might actually be able to buy ea games new in good conscience.
    but i fear they’ll replace it with something even more restrictive.
    like locking single player content to a single use code.
    and not stuff they can call extras, integral parts of the game.
    like maybe the ability to finish the game, wasn’t it Mark Rein from Epic that suggested a few years ago that the end bosses of games be locked to a single use code?

    and how long till they introduce a blanket preowned lockout?
    they’ve already got that on pc.

    or maybe more content that should have been in the game will be chopped out to be sold as dlc.

    but still, provisionally a good move on ea’s part, let’s look at the bright side for a change. ^_^
    i know they’re probably only doing it to salvage their reputation with the game buyers, but i’m ok with that.

  2. Sounds like good news but then again perhaps they’ve figured out a way of extracting blood digitally?

  3. “We’ve listened to the feedback and decided to do away with it moving forward.”

    My arse!!
    EA are one of the biggest money grabbing bastards in the business. I guarantee that they’ll have another ploy up their sleeves to syphon money out of us gamers.

    *rant over*

    Binky bonky boo, I smell of poo.

  4. Goodbye online pass and hello online always DRM or something just as bad. EA don’t give a damn about gamer feedback. if they did, we wouldn’t be seeing cut content being sold as DLC on day freaking 1 or mircostransactions in a £40 game.

  5. They should’ve gave out day one DLC instead, who knows whats next though. could be worse but hopefully it isn’t…

  6. I trust all the other sheep that followed EA’s lead when introducing them will now follow suit and drop them. Damn, I can’t find the ‘hint of sarcasm’ button.

  7. worry s me what will replace it micro transactions in full effect.

  8. Nice way to give an otherwise positive news a negative spin by bringing “always online” into the discussion.

  9. Cool, now stop tying your games to Origin, start releasing on Steam again, get rid of the microtransactions and I may just buy one of your games.

  10. Something’s wrong here…no online pass, but still “always-online”. At least they got rid of online passes.

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