EA will not include an online pass in any future games

Thursday, 16th May 2013 00:54 GMT By Brenna Hillier

EA, one of the most enthusiastic early adopters of the online pass system, has elected to abandon the scheme.

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

“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.”

Online passes are bundled with new copies of games, offering exclusive downloadable content or access to online multiplayer via a one-time use code. Activision and Ubisoft have also utilised the system.

Although unpopular with users who prefer to pick up games second-hand, the passes did represent significant “found revenue” for publishers in a market which otherwise brings no direct financial benefit to them.

EA had seemed very pleased with the scheme’s success, but its top billing in anti-consumer polls for two years straight may have caused it to rethink its policies.

Retailers have argued that the used game market does have substantial benefits for publishers, in that it drives new game sales.

Thanks, Kotaku.



  1. YoungZer0

    Whut? °w°

    I’m gonna be cynical here and predict that they found a new way to fuck up their games.

    #1 2 years ago
  2. Dark


    #2 2 years ago
  3. Moonwalker1982


    Exactly man. Most of the time when something sounds too good to be true, it usually is.

    #3 2 years ago
  4. salarta

    Maybe now they aren’t more evil than companies that kick people out of their homes and destroy rain forests! Then again, they might have to drop their prices on video games first before their policies aren’t equivalent to making families starve on the streets.

    I hope nobody here is too stupid to figure out the intent behind that last paragraph.

    #4 2 years ago
  5. marijnlems


    Videogame fans, man. Fucking videogame fans.

    #5 2 years ago
  6. Silent Killer01

    Online passes kill the multiplayer popularity and the people who buy new also suffer.

    #6 2 years ago
  7. machy

    i’m with @1 here .. and i’m pretty sure that they’ll lock the whole disk

    #7 2 years ago
  8. LordSkyline


    #8 2 years ago
  9. SlayerGT

    Looks like trying to save a little face and possibly restore some good will with gamers…since online passes will be soon obsolete with most things going digital. Just like always on, a system that did nothing for the consumer except add some inconvenience. Thanks EA.

    #9 2 years ago
  10. Joe_Gamer

    The bigger your multi-player community is, the more value it adds to your game, my guess is that this has nothing to do with “feedback” and everything to do with the fact that this program actually devalues their games far more than the pittance they earned from the few foolhardy participants could justify. Good old fashion bottom dollar business decision.

    #10 2 years ago
  11. DLTDawnlight

    I wonder how many GameStops are overstocked on used copies of Battlefield 3?

    #11 2 years ago
  12. zinc

    CoD has consistently offered solid online MP, with no monied xp boosts, or monied weapon packs and has consistently been on top of MP player charts…

    Considering how hard EA have tried to emulate/ripoff this success, its a surprise they left the unnecessary gouging of gamers till last.

    Or maybe they figure they should make mp worth paying for :)

    #12 2 years ago
  13. woe

    You’re move Sony.

    #13 2 years ago
  14. salarta

    @13: You are move Sony?

    #14 2 years ago
  15. Sanwiches

    hmm interesting. Let’s wait and see.

    #15 2 years ago
  16. Dark

    @13 sony = playstation move?

    #16 2 years ago
  17. FrayJoker

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

    <– Yeah. Get used to more Sim City fiascoes in the future.

    Of all of EA's harebrained schemes I actually thought this was the least offensive. Given that they absorb the cost of servers, moderators, patches whenever they have a multiplayer game these days, I felt that it was entirely reasonable of them to expect some return on second hand games. Especially as this was rarely more than just a verification code.

    I'm not one to throw around about gamer entitlement, the community has a right to demand better of the developers and publishers out there. But at least in this aspect, the developers and publishers have a right to demand better of the community.

    #17 2 years ago
  18. redwood

    I am sure they found an alternate which is less obvious and in-your-face.. oh well we ‘ll see

    #18 2 years ago
  19. redwood

    also with the next gen just around the corner.. they might just be focusing now on having always-on internet,

    #19 2 years ago
  20. tezzer1985

    This just makes me think, that both next-gen consoles will have some sort of disc registration function, and if you want to register a second hand game, you would have to pay a unvirsal fee.

    I’m sure Sony and Mircosoft have listened to developers, and have come up with a way to combat the second hand market.

    #20 2 years ago
  21. DrDamn

    Aside from the spelling, agree, let’s see what Sony do with theirs now. (Agreeing with woe … /checks hell for ice and skies for pigs). Though I tend to think this is just a precursor to full game activation codes.

    #21 2 years ago
  22. BrahManDude

    Thank You EA

    #22 2 years ago
  23. KineticCalvaria

    Surely I’m not the only one thinking that this is paving the way for dlc passes ala Battlefield premium with every game instead.

    #23 2 years ago
  24. Lengendaryboss

    Amazing how nearly everyone thinks EA has some ulterior motive.

    #24 2 years ago
  25. redwood

    @24 Companies always do, it’s called maximizing profits

    #25 2 years ago
  26. Lengendaryboss

    The games industry is a business, so anti-consumer tactics is all about “maximizing profits.” Until EA find some alternative for the online pass an ulterior motive does not exist yet.

    #26 2 years ago
  27. GwynbleiddiuM

    I’d be happy to see publishers distance themselves from the money leeching tactics they currently employ, dropping the hideous microtransactions in games that you mostly play offline and charging people for every piece of content. Then again, nothing is that simple when we’re talking about soul sucking publishing firms. They’d come with equally stupid way to ruin it for everyone.

    #27 2 years ago
  28. locus2k1

    If I was to hazard a guess, it’s all going to be about Season Passes from now onwards. They’re not as intrusive as online passes, they save money for those who pay in advance of future DLC releases and it encourages the user to keep hold of the product they have purchase as they have invested for its long-term releases.

    At least, I wouldn’t mind this if it is the case, I prefer this method over online passes :)

    #28 2 years ago
  29. viralshag

    Never saw anything wrong with online passes. But that’s because if I want to play a game and support it, I would buy it new… so I never had a problem. The only time this is a problem, is if you buy pre-owned.

    I wonder if this will be related to games being console locked and the reason they’re dropping it is because in the future they won’t actually need to include them.

    #29 2 years ago
  30. DrDamn

    Either that or they feel the switch to digital is sufficient enough to cover extra costs. This way they look “better”.

    I never had a problem with online passes either. They were a way to recoup extra costs. This stuff has to be paid for at some point, I saw online passes as the logical place to put it.

    #30 2 years ago
  31. redwood

    @26 am sure they already have..

    #31 2 years ago
  32. viralshag

    @30, Exactly, it seemed like a minor cost to me. Especially if you’re making a saving on a pre-owned copy anyway. In most cases in the UK, you’re still going to save about £5-10 even with the online pass. Funnily enough on the two occasions I did buy pre-owned (BF4 & ME3 for the 360) both the online passes were unused and I didn’t need to buy them anyway.

    #32 2 years ago
  33. Beta

    Considering I rarely play online this has never really bothered me.

    #33 2 years ago
  34. NocturnalB

    If you are referring to “all digital” that won’t be happening, at least not for many years to come. I’m sorry that America ruins it for the rest of the world in this case, but our infrastructure simply cannot take that on yet, heck it’s just handling what we do with it now. EA isn’t going to alienate their home turf, none of them would.

    Edited Fun Fact: We rank 8th in world net speeds, we even rank below places like Latvia and the Czech Republic.

    #34 2 years ago
  35. DrDamn

    Not all digital no – that’s still a ways of, but the shift towards digital is happening and will grow as years go by. That negates the need for an online pass.

    #35 2 years ago
  36. viralshag

    @34, I think he means digital purchases in general. If the pricing is right I won’t have any problem skipping the retailer next-gen. I might be wrong though. :)

    Edit: There’s your answer.

    #36 2 years ago
  37. NocturnalB

    In that case i totally getcha.

    #37 2 years ago
  38. CyberMarco


    #38 2 years ago
  39. OlderGamer

    I have been waiting for an anouncment that tells us by paying a yearly subscription fee, we can have online access to all of said companies games. If we pay say…50usd a year, we recieve a log in and PW that we use to play all EA games. Ofc, the purchase price of the games aren’t included in that 50usd. Neither is DLC. But if covers all EA games so long as your subscription is upto date.

    Wait for it, it will happen.

    Also always on seems to have been just confirmed.

    Also keep in mind the bomb shell may not have droped yet: EA exlcusive to XBnxt. Online play included with your paied XB LIve Gold Membership. Wouldn’t that one rock?

    Anyway, no doubt in my mind that if EA let Online Passes go, it is because they have found something they like better.

    #39 2 years ago
  40. Lord Gremlin

    I like my disk games 100% fully functional at any time. Online pass means they are not.
    I hope Sony drops it too. Thanks to this shit I can’t play Senran Kagura on Vita online. And can go online with only one version of Soul Sacrifice. Disgusting… Online passes, region locked stores, fuck it.

    Come to think of it I’ve stopped buying EA games altogether… I think it was after Dragon age 2. Wow I got burned on this shit game, signature edition my arse. I mean, there are games that are considered bad, but I had a lot of fun with (Duke Nukem forever for example), but DA2 was just unpleasant.

    #40 2 years ago

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