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EA scraps Online Pass program

By Brendan Kelly, 17 May 2013
FYI, this story is more than a year old

Do you want to read the rest of this article? Purchase an online pass now for only $79.99 and you can do just that!

The sentence above is one many of you will be familiar with, but as of today EA is binning its Online Pass program for all future games.

Many gamers have seen reason to criticise EA over the years, but most will agree the most annoying thing is the Online Pass, an attempt to squeeze some extra cash out of second-hand games and promote first-hand purchases.

The welcome news came in an email to GamesBeat from the senior director of communications at EA, John Reseburg.

“Yes, we’re discontinuing Online Pass. None of our new EA titles will include that feature.”

Why is this a big deal? A number of EA titles require the Online Pass to access online features including multiplayer.

By purchasing the game new you receive an Online Pass code, however it is single usage so second-hand games most likely require you to buy a new one. Battlefield 3 requires an Online Pass, as do several of the EA Sports titles including the Madden series.

“Initially launched as an effort to package a full menu of online content and services, many players didn’t respond to the format. We’ve listened to the feedback and decided to do away with it moving forward.”

To be fair, I doubt it was the ‘format’ most gamers took issue with, but the price and hassle of having to worry about having to pay twice for one game.

“We’re still committed to creating content and services that enhance the game experience well beyond the day you first start playing,” says Reseburg.

EA wasn’t alone in implementing an online pass system, as both Activison and Ubisoft used the plan for some of their larger titles.

It’s a wise move from EA, but I think they might still have a long way to go to win our hearts and minds.

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