It seems when EA decided to discontinue the implementation of their Online Pass system in all future games, they forgot to mention a worthwhile bonus decision: they’re also in the process of eliminating the pass from preexisting titles as well. An eagle-eyed NeoGAF user by the name of MMaRsu noticed today that the Xbox Live marketplace discounted many of EA’s Online Passes to the low, low price of free. The most recent list of games to receive the update includes:
- Alice: Madness Returns – American McGee’s Alice
- Battlefield: Bad Company 2 VIP
- Bulletstorm Online Pass
- Dragon Age: Origins – The Stone Prisoner
- Dragon Age 2: The Black Emporium
- Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning Online Pass
- Mass Effect 2: Cerberus Network
- Medal of Honor Online Pass
- SHIFT 2 UNLEASHED™ ONLINE PASS
- Skate 3: Skate Share Pack
Currently, the discounts are only applied to the Xbox 360 versions of these titles, and there’s no word yet on whether or not the changes are being applied to their PS3 counterparts. However, Polygon did manage to get a hold of an EA representative who gave them the following details: “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.”
Folks who play EA Sports titles will also notice that the prompt to enter an Online Pass when the game first boots up will no longer appear on the main menu. Instead, players will simply already have access to the full online experience. Other titles outside of the EA Sports umbrella will require a free download of their specific Online Pass from the marketplace.
This is quite an olive branch EA is extending under the guise of “giving the fans what they want.” Still, I’ll remain skeptical until we better understand what next-gen consoles are capable of and how they plan on billing our games as “services” as an excuse to make us spend more for content. In the meantime, this is a wonderful chance to pick up the Online Passes for any games folks may have purchased used, especially considering many of them contain free DLC content and bonuses.
What do you make of this news? Is EA looking a little less evil in your eyes, or do you suspect ulterior motives? How can EA profit from getting rid of Online Passes? Share your thoughts in the usual place, and be sure to like IGXPro on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, or give us the ‘ol +1 on Google+.