EA Ditching Online Pass for New Titles Coming This Year
After a few years of restricting the online access in used games, EA will finally abandon its Online Pass program this year. Instead of requiring a code to play online (included for free in new games), players will now have the freedom to enjoy titles like Madden NFL 25, Battlefield 4, and NHL 14 without the burden of having to enter a 12-digit code.
For people who bought EA's games new, the Online Pass program wasn't that big of a deal. It took a few seconds to download the pass before you were allowed to play whatever game you purchased, but the Online Pass appeared to be a decent compromise. If you bought the game second-hand, you had to pay a nominal fee (typically $10) to play online. Since you were already getting the game at a discount (and none of that money went to the developer or publisher), the reasoning was those that made the game should see some return on the used sale.
Apparently the experiment hasn't been as revolutionary as EA had hoped though. According to Venture Beat, the publisher will cease all use of the Online Pass program immediately. “Initially launched as an effort to package a full menu of online content and services, many players didn’t respond to the format,” EA senior director of corporate communications John Reseburg told the site in a statement. “We’ve listened to the feedback and decided to do away with it moving forward.”
While the Online Pass had its fair share of detractors who will certainly be happy the policy is ending, there might be something more sinister down the road. Multiple reports over the past year have indicated the next Xbox will include some sort of always-on piracy prevention measures. These features could be used to make it so a newly purchased game can only be used on one console. Microsoft won't be dishing any details on its new console until May 21st, so we won't have long to wait and see what happens. Hopefully, like Sony, Microsoft won't attempt something so insane.