The time has finally arrived and the company that many have grown to hate and despise have listened. It is a miracle beyond belief, but eventually EA saw sense and made a wise choice. The EA online pass has hampered gamers for years – those who indulge in second hand purchases were usually ripped off and EA made fortunes out of the pockets of gamers who had to cough up to fully enjoy their game.
Electronic Arts had implemented an ‘Online Pass’ system that required users to enter a code to access the full online/multiplayer features of a game – the user was normally prompted on starting the game to either activate the code that came with the game or purchase a new one. The latter affected most gamers who had purchased a game second hand, believing they had achieved a good bargain they would be then required to pay over £5 (800 Microsoft Points) in order to utilise multiplayer content. EA had been sticklers for this kind of selling and it worked for them. It made them rich and now for some reason they have decided to backtrack.
EA has said it won’t be using online passes in new games and has made the decision to also remove or make free the pass for existing titles, including:
- Battlefield 3,
- Battlefield Bad Company 2,
- Mass Effect 3/2
- Need for Speed
and many more titles.
During an interview a company spokesperson told IGN:
“As we discontinue Online Pass for our new EA titles, we are also in the process of eliminating it from all our existing EA titles as well. We heard the feedback from players and decided to do away with Online Pass altogether.”
So it looks like EA doesn’t have a heart of stone after all. The company explained on its FAQ page that changes would be put into effect on both XBOX Live and the Playstation Network following use feedback. Yet I am sure those users who had to purchase a new pass will not be happy with the latest developments, maybe something for EA to discuss. Well I am personally glad they made this decision – EA had shot themselves in the foot when it came to the passes – it limited users from accessing content they had purchased and put people off buying EA at all. It seemed a vague move to protect DRM and ensure EA had control but slightly backfired. The move could be seen as an effort to draw gamers back to EA with upcoming launches of their biggest franchises such as Battlefield 4. I will be gladly downloading my free pass later to enjoy the full wonders of my few EA games I hold in possession and can look forward to buying Battlefield 4 preowned without the hassle of online passes.