Gamers rejoice! EA ditching Online Pass scheme for future games

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ea-logo-top-banner.jpgGaming giant Electronic Arts has confirmed that it will not be continuing with its controversial Online Pass scheme in its future games.

A point of great frustration for cash-strapped gamers, EA’s Online Pass scheme locked out online elements of second-hand games through a one-use passcode that shipped with brand new games. Second hand game buyers of EA’s Online Pass-packing games had to then pay an extra £10 to £15 extra to unlock online elements.

As well as annoying gamers, it caused a knock-on problem for retailers, with the likes of GAME suffering from the dramatic drop in second-hand game sales it caused.

However, EA’s successes with in-app purchases (and their recent drop in consumer popularity) has finally lead them to axe the scheme.

Speaking to GamesBeat, EA’s senior director of corporate communications, John Reseburg, confirmed the move:

“Yes,we’re discontinuing Online Pass,” he said.

“None of our new EA titles will include that feature. We’ve listened to the feedback and decided to do away with it moving forward.”

It’s been a tumultuous start to the year for EA. Angering customers with the problematic launch of SimCity 5, the company earned the dubious title of “Worst Company in America” in The Consumerist’s annual poll. The company’s CEO John Ricciteilo also resigned in March after revealing poor results for the fourth quarter.

At least this latest move will be welcomed by gamers, going some way to cleaning up the company’s current stormy relationship with consumers. Whether or not it also means that EA will now ramp in-app and in-game purchases up to unprecedented, intrusive levels to make up the difference however remains to be seen.

Gerald Lynch