Electronic Arts was the first company to institute the online pass. It was, at the time, a revolutionary idea that allowed the publisher to make money from used game sales.
Now, it's walking away from the practice -- and players are celebrating.
Originally called "Project Ten Dollar," the system was fairly simple. Players who bought a game new found a one-time voucher within that granted them access to the game's multiplayer features. Once the game was traded in for credit at GameStop or some other retailer, and then resold, the next owner would have to pay $10 to access those same modes.
Future titles won't include the feature, though, chiefly because EA finally figured out gamers didn't like it.
“Initially launched as an effort to package a full menu of online content and services, many players didn’t respond to the format,” said John Reseburg, EA senior director of corporate communications. “We’ve listened to the feedback and decided to do away with it moving forward.”
As an added piece of good news for consumers, EA is also canceling the program for older games. In other words, if you pick up a used copy of last year's Mass Effect 3 today, you won't have to pay $10 to access the multiplayer.
Of course, the end of online passes at EA doesn't mean the end of them industry-wide. Project Ten Dollar quickly caught on with other publishers, including Activision and Ubisoft, and so far, EA is the only company to show interest in withdrawing from it.
And don't think EA is giving used game buyers a free ride. The company is counting on other methods, such as DLC and microtransactions, to make up for the lost income.
"We're still committed to creating content and services that enhance the game experience well beyond the day you first start playing," Reseburg added.
- Arts & Entertainment