Online Pass Codes Expire, But Shouldn’t, Says EA

Online Pass Codes Expire, But Shouldn’t, Says EA
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Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit released more than a year ago, but a NeoGAF member recently picked up a new, shrinkwrapped copy. He was upset to learn that the code inside for his online pass, which provides access to the game’s multiplayer features, had expired. That’s right: New-in-the-box game, unused code and no multiplayer for you.

His colleagues went through Electronic Arts’ EULA and found a clause that indicates these pass codes can expire and there was much gnashing of teeth. Credit Joystiq, however, for pursuing this just now with a customer service advisor at EA. They were told that an Online Pass can indeed expire. “As a rule, no Online Pass should expire, but a few titles will have a time limit on their use, even for new purchases,” Joystiq reported.

Dragon Age 2, which released March 11, will see its Online Pass code expire on March 31, 2012, Joystiq was told. Again, this expiration covers the code itself, not the actual access to online features.

EA: Online Pass can expire for new-game purchases, but it shouldn’t [Joystiq]


  • Isn’t it lovely how they say “Oh, yeah, it really shouldn’t be happening” but then they don’t do anything to resolve the matter >.>

  • Yet another reason why publishers such drop this futile anti-piracy measures. Yes, I know they have the right to protect their investment but the measures they tend to use are often counter-intuative and do nothing to address the problem.

  • “this expiration covers the code itself, not the actual access to online features.”

    However, the use of the code enables the online access so what is the point?

    • Essentially you have to enter the code before the code expires and then your online pass access will not expire. To me it seems like they’re using double speak confusing the code with the pass/access, and leaving the customer screwed.

  • Publishers should make online passes free on the psstore/xb marketplace after 6-9 months. Helps the developers, and after 6-9 months the game has probably made the majority of revenue its going to make.

    • Except the code is precisely designed to generate revenue for the publisher after the initial launch period when second hand sales occur that publishers otherwise get nothing from.

      • And this should show you that the online pass is nothing but a money spinner and not for the reasons the makers would have you belive.

  • “As a rule, no Online Pass should expire, but a few titles will have a time limit on their use, even for new purchases,” Joystiq reported.

    Isn’t a time limit exactly the same as expiring? I’m betting there’s nothing on the advertising or box of the games indicating that you may not get what you pay for and that it’s only present in the EULA.

    This is utterly disgraceful.

  • “Again, this expiration covers the code itself, not the actual access to online features.”

    So they reimburse you with a new code or what?

    • No, I figure it means “If you have redeemed the code, you’re cool, it will keep working. If you haven’t redeemed it, tough luck, go buy online access from the store instead”.

  • Wow, I love how you can’t read the EULA to see if you agree before purchasing unless you purchase. In saying that he can return the game legally and say the code has already expired not my prob money back please.
    Though, I would say EA if he sent an email would go, very sorry here’s a new code just provide a receipt number or something. EA support isn’t evil despite the internet trolldom.

    • Its customers like you that let them get away with their practices. The passes should not even exist let alone have any expire dates at all. The customer has already gone out and brought the new game now they have to jump through all these hoops to get it to work. Just shows you that the passes were deigned purely for money making, nothing more.

  • While this is kind of ridiculous, its not exactly new. The online pass for Skate 3 had expired when I purchased it brand new but a quick email to EA support and they gave me a valid one for free.

  • EA expects that you are been a good sheep and bought this years edition, need for speed the run instead of Need for speed HP instead.

    • EA along with activision in the past have stated that they like the subscribtion staragtey were customers are constantly paying out on an annuel releases and not just a one off when a customer buys a game. Thats why you have dlc, subscribtion games eg. new star wars repiblic etc and season passes and online passes etc. Whats going to come next?

  • Not a very good argument for encouraging first hand sales. If you buy second hand, you know you only have to pay for the withheld component once. If you’re buying first hand however, you pay a cover charge for the paid component as part of the initial price but there’s a chance that it will have expired and you’ll have to pay again for it.

  • “Online Pass Codes Expire, But Shouldn’t, Says EA”

    That phrasing makes it sound like the expiration is a mistake, but that’s hardly what EA are saying.

    They’re saying that as a general rule it shouldn’t happen, but it does happen and when it does it’s intentional.

    • Its been happening with them for a long time. When dragon age origins was released the dlc the stone prisoner had about a 3 month window from release date before expiring and then customers had to pay if they wanted it even though it was free with new purchases.

  • What I really don’t get is why there’s an expiration date AT ALL. I mean if you buy it new you have a fresh code yay! If you buy it second-hand and the code wasn’t used then yay! The actual multiplayer service should be what ends (which I hate but must accept) why should the legitimate access method to a working service ever expire?

  • this is pathetic, i remember a similar thing happening when i bought a copy a counter-strike, then went to install it like 2 years later and it said “this game version is too fucking old you have to download the whole game again” but i couldnt, because i couldn’t remember the username i used 2 years previous. This kind of shit shouldn’t be an issue, there should always be a way around it… it scares me how purely digital so many of our purchases are, knowing that in 10 years it could very well be worthless and unplayable.

    • They do that so they can sell it too you all over again in 10 years time and you will have to buy it again to play it. Just look at all the hd remasteres, download games from psn store, xbl, nintendo virtual console and the annual releases of anniversay titles like zelda and halo etc. And the sad thing they will get away with it because consumers willcomplain but pay for it anyway.

  • If it doesn’t state the expiry date on the outside of the box and EA won’t give him a new code then he should return it to the retailer. The code is part of the package, they sold him a code which had already expired so they should replace it with a newer copy with a valid code.

  • I think that if EA are going to attach expiry dates to online codes, then EA should ensure those titles that include the use of those codes are pulled from shelves to stop this from happening.

    I don’t see the logic in having to buy a game first and only then being able to read the damn EULA.

    I know this isn’t limited to EA but for all kinds of other douche bagery, they really do suck!

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