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Posted by Chuck Corbin on May 16, 2013

EA Discontinuing Their Controversial Online Pass

Major publishers have had a problem with used games for awhile now. After all, if a game is sold as used by a store like GameStop, the publishers don’t receive a single penny of the sale. One of the ways they’ve tried to combat this “loss” in revenue is by including free “Online Passes” to their games, a one-time use code that allows players to access all the online features available to a game. If somebody had bought that game used, however, the code would (usually) be useless, so if somebody wanted to make use of most of the online features, they would have to pay for an online pass from the publisher.

It’s a system that has (quite deservedly) received a lot of flak from gamers over the years who are looking to save a few bucks. And because of that flak, EA has announced that they are scrapping their Online Pass system because “many players didn’t respond to that format.” The fact that EA, who were the first to use an Online Pass system in the first place, is going through with discontinuing the service seems to tell me that they’re really getting desperate in trying to build back up fan support.

However, it’s not quite known if the Online Pass is being discontinued for games already released by EA. According to John Reseburg, EA’s senior director of corporate communications, “None of our new EA titles will include (Online Pass).” While it might be assumed that they’re discontinuing the program for older games, it wouldn’t necessarily surprise me to find out that they’re still going to keep it around for those older games “because it’s too embedded in the system to just take out”. Hopefully my cynicism is misplaced.

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