EA Getting Rid Of Online Passes

One of the first publishers to dabble in the idea of an "online pass" - whereby gamers were charted a fee for accessing certain online content if they purchased a title pre-owned - has decided to do away with the program.

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

Interestingly, Reseburg claims the decision is based on consumer feedback. “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.”

EA kills its controversial Online Pass program [VentureBeat]


    How can you claim getting rid of it as "moving forward" where introducing it was a step backwards?

    To be honest I saw online passes as one of the lesser evils. Always online single player games is far worse.

      Would have to agree - paying a small amount for online content is fine with me, other things like always online and micro transactions can go to hell though.

      100% agreed. This is total !!!!!!!MISDIRECTION!!!!!!!!.

      With "Online Passes" you only pay a small fee if you buy the game second hand and want to use the multiplayer and online components [completely reasonable if you ask me].

      Microsoft would be idiots to do this, because they already charge us monthly for this service.

      EA will introduce Microtransactions on the multiplayer portion of their games, so of course they will remove Network Passes.

      Congratulations EA you just graduated another level of what you are.

      We are NOT stupid, We know the difference between Microtransactions/OnlineDRM and Network Pass.

      Last edited 17/05/13 11:35 am

    Now maybe they'll get rid of micro-transactions too.

      Never gonna happen. Best you can hope for is removal of drm crap

      Micro transactions are fine. Don't like 'em, don't use 'em :)

        That only applies to single player games, If I am playing a multiplayer game then suddenly they introduce micro transactions other players can pay money to win against me more easily and I cannot just "Not use em"

          like what? AFAIK microtransactions in multiplayer gaming has always been cosmetic purchases that do not affect gameplay balance.

            In BF3, I think they had a situation where you could pay money to unlock all the weapons without 'earning' them in-game.

              So it is okay for a multiplayer game to give some players an unfair advantage if it is based on how long they've played?

              Paying for unlocks isn't great, but putting new players at a disadvantage isn't great either (especially when their lack of skill already disadvantages them).

              But if the game is balanced well, this should never be a problem. A semi-experienced BF3 player working their way through the unlocks could probably kill just about any new player who has paid to unlock all the items. I don't see the problem with people paying for unlocks especially if they don't have as much time to put into the game as someone who is working their way through the unlocks. It's really up to the developer to make sure the game is balanced correctly. Now, if paid unlocks do end up giving an unfair advantage, that's a different story.

            World O' Tanks had purchaseable shells and tanks that made it somewhat easier to kill opponents when compared to the standard (free) ammo/tanks. I think it also had non standard (not free) armour upgrades too at one point. For a while there, it was the very definition of "pay to win". I'm not sure how it fares now though, given how p-t-w is such a dirty term amongst gamers.

            Last edited 16/05/13 2:52 pm

        The problem is that what's considered suitable for "microtransactions" were considered unlockables or goals in older games. They're now asking us to pay for something that's most likely already on the disk, or is a simple coding change that any modder can complete within minutes and upload them onto the internet (See Metros locked difficulty setting).

        If the original games were already sold at a cheaper price then microtransactions could be more suitable to make up the remaining cost. But considering we're expected to pay full price for a new game (regardless of its retail or over the internet) why should we even consider paying for extra content that we've already bought?

        Publishers should be asking their customers to pay less for more, not pay more for less.

          If the original games were already sold at a cheaper price then microtransactions could be more suitable to make up the remaining cost.

          Yeah. I don't mind micro-transactions in theory but the goal of most of the shops seems to be to double their money and wring as much out of each individual player as possible. You'll pay full price for a game and then get slapped with micro-transactions on things that don't actually cost money to produce (beyond the cost of actually making the store to tell them in). A new dungeon in Zelda? Ok, that costs money to make. A fairy in a bottle? No.

          In free to play games they'd be much more acceptable but it still doesn't pan out that well. I think the model works really well when they're of offering a generous demo that you can gradually pay for semi-optional unlocks until you get the full version, with fully-optional items on the side. I don't subscribe to the whole 'free to play must mean 100% free' idea. However most of them gouge you with prices for items that aren't even close to optional, and then throw a price tag on regularly consumed items.
          Then they go ahead and make it so that if you're willing to grind 80 hours a week you can get $2 worth of the currency. That way they can say 'you can get everything without spending a cent' even though it would take the next ten years to get one of the good items. When it comes to free-to-play MMOs just give me a subscription option that turns off the majority of micro-transactions. Keep the free model there for people who are interested just offer me an alternative that strips the hassle out of it.

            Microtransactions in theory used to have only cosmatic changes to the game and used to far removed from main game content.

            Remember pre order DLC used to be that way too, until Mass Effect 3's Javak [from Ashes].

            Last edited 17/05/13 11:47 am

        I see micro-transactions as a car salesman who wants to keep offering me “extras” after I’ve already bought the car. Sure, I don’t have to buy them, but it would be nice if we could put the tediousness of him trying to get more money out of my pocket out of the way.

      No. I'm afraid NOT. It's the reason to get rid of the Network Pass.

    I think that this is the first step of EA to try and win back the people.

      They've had many first steps, but they generally find a way of screwing that up by trying to sneak new forms of DRM into new releases, or by pulling a Sim City.

    Getting rid of online passes and moving onto P2W microtransactions, season passes and draconian DRM. Don't be fooled.

      This was my thoughts exactly. When was the last time they had an 'online pass' anyway. More recently its been 'signature edition' anyway.

      Agreed. I'm not too concerned with season passes though. I kinda like them. They seem to bundle all map packs/expansions at a discounted price. Gears of War and Battlefield 3 did this nicely (although the whole premium-queue jumping thing was not cool).

      Agreed. They'll get more profit from charging existing customers more than once.

    Hmmm... something suspect about this, I'm not convinced there's something else to replace that lost revenue in the works already.

    As a cynical consumer, I was under the impression season passes pretty much existed to get in on the second hand sales market.

    I sincerely hope that the reason it is being abandoned is not because it's not necessary anymore due to features in 'nextgen' consoles.

      You do realise they can require online activation and a single use code on any game for the PS3 & 360 right?

      Just because they do not does not mean they can not.

      EA need to improve their image, this is a step in that direction. Remember us we're cool, we're bros lets get rid of that pesky online activation. Microtransactions make up for that loss because you know I love to pay for the unlocks. They are right but, us oldies are the ones who remember when games gave you the content for skill not dollars. We're not the market they want they want the people who can't go 10 minutes without playing with their phones.

    There's something else EA have to get rid of, it starts with 'O' as well. Any guesses?

    i heard they were getting rid of the online pass team to make room for the puppy killing floor in head office.

    I feel like the only reason they are getting rid of this is because in the next-gen consoles it'll kind of do it for them anyway...
    I think next-gen will have a lot different anti-piracy/anti-second hand measures built in so EA no longer has to double up and have bad PR for it.

    If calling "Getting Rid Of Online Passes" is moving forward then introducing the online passes in the first place is moving backwards.

    I cant wait to see how EA tries to screw everyone next.

    I am sure EA is just a front for money laundering, because I can't believe people are stupid enough to actually give them money.

    To the comments about DRM...Why are so many Gaming companies now dead? Is it because of stupid business decisions? Possibly. Or is it the overhanging shadow of Piracy ..Yes...As sad as it is...Always online DRM Has been the only effective way to stop Piracy. How often does an internet connection go down these days? Back in the days when Internet Reliability was at an all time low - Sure it would have been a major issue. But in these days the ONLY way Companies can at least slow piracy is with an Always Online Solution. Just my 2 cents

    I must be the only person in the world who thought online passes was a good compromise. A very reasonable option compared to always-online.

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