EA dropping Online Passes - Report

Future EA games won't require Online Passes; the service is being scrapped after tepid player response.

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EA will be dropping Online Passes from all of its future games, citing lacklustre player support, according to a report by Venture Beat.

EA senior director of corporate communications John Reseburg revealed the news. “Yes, we’re discontinuing Online Pass,” he said “None of our new EA titles will include that feature.”

EA is not the only game publisher that elects to bundle an Online Pass with new copies of its games. The one-time codes are designed to restrict access to key features, such as online multiplayer. Players who buy a second-hand version of the game are given the option to purchase an Online Pass for a fee, prior to being able to play with others.

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“Initially launched as an effort to package a full menu of online content and services, many players didn’t respond to the format,” Reseburg said. “We’ve listened to the feedback and decided to do away with it, moving forward.”

“We’re still committed to creating content and services that enhance the game experience well beyond the day you first start playing,” Reseburg said.

Online Passes have often been viewed as ways for developers and publishers to offset the financial shortfall of not seeing revenue when games are traded in and resold through retailers. Last November, Square Enix revealed that it would make the Contracts mode in Hitman: Absolution accessible to all players. The trend continued in March with the Tomb Raider reboot providing unfettered access to online play without a key, while Insomniac Games’ upcoming shooter Fuse--which is published through the EA Partners program, and built around four-player cooperative play--will also ship without the need for an Online Pass.

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