If it's crap ... We'll tell you
In a rather surprising move from a publisher who is generally seen as one of the most cynical and money grubbing in the industry, EA has officially confirmed that their much criticized 'Online Pass' system will no longer be used for any future retail products. EA senior director of corporate communications John Reseburg said to Gamesbeat in an email,
Yes, we’re discontinuing Online Pass. 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. 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.
If you had not purchased a used EA game or borrowed one from a friend in the past few years that had an online mulitplayer section then you probably don't know what an 'Online Pass' is. EA implemented this feature a few years back so that they could still profit from used game sales or people looking to play the multiplayer side of games they had rented online. If you bought for example Battlefield 3 used then you would have to pay $10 on top of the price of the game to unlock the ability to play the multiplayer portions of the game. The tactic was generally seen as a way to convince to people to buy the game new rather than used because new games didn't require the use of an Online Pass. EA may just win back some fan support from this move.
Or will they? Online reaction to this move has already drawn a number of different theories as to why EA would end the program. The most prevalent of said theories is that the reason EA has ended the Online Pass is because Microsoft's next console (to be revealed on Tuesday May 21st) will not allow you to play used games at all. This theory doesn't really hold much ground unless EA is planning on making themselves a Microsoft exclusive publisher. Sony has already announced that the Playstation 4 will allow for used games to be played on the console, and unless EA wants to alienate a large market they will not be going exclusive. One other piece of speculation is that maybe, just maybe, EA actually listened to their customers. Shocking I know, but go with me on this one. For the past two years EA has been voted the worst company in America on the Consumerist poll, and even if they are making money that kind of press will affect business. Nothing will convince people to buy more of your product than if the consumer doesn't hate the company making the product. This might be a first step into EA trying to win back some fan support they've lost over the years. Or maybe all of that is BS and they will simply make most of their games have a microtransaction system in it from now on. We'll see.
How did you react to this news? Has EA learned a lesson and are they trying to make it right? What else could they do to garner some fan appreciation? Let your thoughts be known in the comments below.