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EA: 'We’re Discontinuing The Online Pass'

Author:
Jonathan Lester
Category:
News
Tags:
About time too, EA, Online Passes

EA: 'We’re Discontinuing The Online Pass'

"We've Listened To The Feedback"

EA seems to be making some promising noises after its change in management, not least of which a pledge to abandon those staggeringly-annoying Online Passes in future games.

About time too, really.

“Yes, we’re discontinuing Online Pass," EA senior director of corporate communications John Reseburg confirmed 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. We’ve listened to the feedback and decided to do away with it moving forward.

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

In case you don't know, online passes are one-use codes packaged with new games that let its first customer access online features and multiplayer. Pre-owned customers, however, need to pay an extra supplement (usually $10). Arguments for the system tended to revolve around making extra scratch for developers (though we have little proof that the money ends up in their hands as opposed to the publisher's wallet) and flat-out stupid excuses regarding server loads. EA were one of the most enthusiastic exponents of the scheme, but have likely culled it to curry favour with the increasingly irate gaming audience.

It's more than likely that EA have identified in-game microtransactions as a viable source of revenue, and this latest news does rather tie in with some recent rumblings on the subject. But it's great to see the time-wasting passes finally being shelved - and more to the point, it'll be interesting to see whether some of the copycat companies follow suit. Probably time to kill off that idiotic PSN pass now, Sony.

Add a comment8 comments
stevenjameshyde  May. 16, 2013 at 09:58

The cynic in me takes this as near-confirmation that the next XBox blocks pre-owned

chieftex  May. 16, 2013 at 10:58

The cynic in me takes this as near-confirmation that the next XBox blocks pre-owned


Hopefully you can calm the cynic in you because if the ps4 doesn't block preowned, you can assume Microsoft won't commit financial suicide by not following suit.

.... I hope.

Last edited by chieftex, May. 16, 2013 at 10:58
stevenjameshyde  May. 16, 2013 at 11:10

...but if they block pre-owned in exchange for some juicy EA exclusives, it might not be all that suicidal at all

chieftex  May. 16, 2013 at 11:31

...but if they block pre-owned in exchange for some juicy EA exclusives, it might not be all that suicidal at all


Block an entire market for one publisher? They had better be made of gold! I would certainly hope that publisher wasn't the worst company of 2012 as voted by customers...

Last edited by chieftex, May. 16, 2013 at 12:06
Late  May. 16, 2013 at 12:25

Damn, that does sound possible, tbh. :(
Hopefully not.

To be honest, I've never really had a problem with online passes. I think it's fair enough that if you buy the game second hand you get the campaign and maybe a day or two of online - but have to pay around £8 if you want more multiplayer.
The second hand games market usually reflects that, and those games that require passes are usually a bit cheaper.
It's not ideal, but I've always found it perfectly workable.

I'd much prefer they keep online passes than start ramping up microtransactions (though I get the distinct impression that's where they're headed with or without passes).
Again, I don't much mind microtransactions - so long as it's just things like new outfits or early access to a weapon/map you'd ordinarily unlock for free later in the game. If mugs want to pay extra for inconsequential things or to make their game easier then leave them to it. I fear it's heading toward you getting only part of the game in the box, and having to pay extra if you want the full game. (You could easily argue we're already at that point with some games.)

Breadster  May. 16, 2013 at 13:25

Well getting part of the game in the box and having to pay extra if you want the full game is pretty much exactly what online passes are, I don't see how you can not have a problem with them.

I think this is great news. I'm sure they've got something up their sleeve but like you said - it's all about the microtransactions now. Pretty much all their games have them, so if they drop online passes, more people end up with the game and can be pressured into buying pointless little extras.

The way they describe online passes as "...an effort to package a full menu of online content and services" just makes me hate EA even more.

Quietus  May. 16, 2013 at 14:01

Agree with Breadster here, Late. To me, Online Passes just seem like the biggest, most obvious example of a microtransaction.

chieftex  May. 16, 2013 at 15:51

Agreed - an online pass is effectively several microtransactions, which actually makes it a macrotransaction!

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