Well here’s something I never expected to write. In an age where companies are looking to increase security and find ways to retain more control over their products, EA has surprisingly moved in the opposite direction with regards to its controversial Online Pass.
Yesterday, Electronic Arts revealed via GamesBeat that it won’t be continuing its Online Pass policy in future titles. For those of you who have not had experience with this practice, the Online Pass was originally meant to be included with their sports titles, but soon was included in non-sports titles like Battlefield 3. This was EA’s way to gain money off used game sales as new games would come packaged with a one-time use code which “unlocked” new features or online components. Without it, the user would not be able to use those features without spending $10 to buy a new code. It’s been well documented that this practice was not well received by gamers.
So why the surprising move? From what was mentioned, apparently this move was done based on feedback the company had received. First launched in 2010, it’s never been wildly popular so I’m not sure why they’re just now seeing the feedback. Perhaps this move was done to curb the recent struggles the company has experienced to paint them in a better light? Could this be the result of former CEO John Riccitiello no longer being with the company? For you conspiracy theorists out there, maybe this move confirms the rumored online component coming with Microsoft’s next generation console, which would make the online pass redundant. Chew on that for a while, as we’ll be getting answers on the rumored “Xbox Infinity” next Tuesday. Time will tell.