In May EA announced they were dropping their controversial but now widely accepted (and copied) Online Pass system. Many assumed this was due to the Xbox One’s restrictive DRM policies, but according to a spokesperson for the publisher nothing has changed after Microsoft’s dramatic and rather unexpected reversal last night.
“There is no change to our decision to discontinue Online Pass,” EA’s senior director of corporate communications John Reseburg told Polygon. “It is dead.”
“As we said a few weeks ago, none of our new EA titles will include online pass, and we are removing it from existing games as well,” Reseburg said. “Nothing else on today’s news, but did want to be clear that our online pass decision was based on player feedback, and there’s no change.”
The Online Pass system was designed to ensure publishers got some revenue back from pre-owned games, forcing those that picked up a second-hand title to pay out again (usually around £7) for a ‘pass’ to play online, or unlock certain single player features. EA were first, but others followed quickly.
Last night Microsoft announced that the Xbox One would not launch with restrictive DRM on used games, allowing gamers to freely trade titles at the expense of certain sharing functionality.