EA faced a lot of controversy back when it first announced its Online Pass programme. According to VentureBeat, the company now seems to be doing away with the programme; the decision to do so was at least partially based on the negative feedback from players. “Yes, we’re discontinuing Online Pass,” John Reseburg, Senior Director of Corporate Communications,EA, told VentureBeat. “None of our new EA titles will include that feature.”
Online Passes are used in many of EA games, including its flagship titles Battlefield 3 and Madden NFL games. It is needed to access many of the games’ online features, including multiplayer. Players generally get a one-time use code that they have to enter in the game to access online features. This was originally intended to be a way to curb second-hand game sales. Since the code would already be used by the person who originally bought the copy, those who buy it second-hand couldn’t access the game’s online features. EA had sold online passes for such players. It was never a popular service among gamers.
Electronic Arts has discontinued its Online Pass program
“Initially launched as an effort to package a full menu of online content and services, many players didn’t respond to the format,” Reseburg said. “We’ve listened to the feedback and decided to do away with it moving forward.”
Despite gamers’ complaints against it, many companies had embraced it. The step is being taken by EA mostly because of the generally negative remarks about it from gamers. From this point onwards, those who buy EA games will not need an online pass to access online features.
“We’re still committed to creating content and services that enhance the game experience well beyond the day you first start playing,” Reseburg said.
It is only a matter of time before other publishers, including Activision and Ubisoft, ditch their own implementations of the online pass.