EA are discontinuing the controversial “online pass” program after end-user feedback, and none of the new EA titles will include them from now on. The online pass system requires consumers of second-hand games to purchase a pass, usually around £7.99, to access all the features of a game, normally the online or multiplayer component of the game.
EA was the first to use online passes, but other publishers, including Ubisoft and Sony were quickly to sign on too. Pretty much every Sony first party game needs an online pass now, whether it’s on the PS3 or the PlayStation Vita.
“Yes, we’re discontinuing Online Pass,” said John Reseburg, EA senior director of corporate communications in an email to VentureBeat. “None of our new EA titles will include that feature.”
“Initially launched as an effort to package a full menu of online content and services, many players didn’t respond to the format,” Reseburg continued, making it clear that this is EA reacting to end user feedback, something that should be applauded really. “We’ve listened to the feedback and decided to do away with it moving forward.”
EA may be looking to replace the online pass with some other sort of service, possibly an always-on connection.