Online Pass

Electronic Arts isn’t just dropping Online Passes for its future games — the publisher now plans to strip the requirement from its existing roster of titles.

“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,” EA senior director of corporate communications John Reseburg told GamesBeat. “We heard the feedback from players and decided to do away with Online Pass altogether.”

Earlier this month, EA confirmed that it would no longer use Online Pass, which charges players $10 fee to access certain online features if they don’t have the code that comes with the game at the time of purchase. This enabled the publisher to generate revenue from used-game sales. The publisher claims it discontinued the policy because it saw how unpopular it was with its customers.

Now, games like Battlefield 3, NHL 13, Madden NFL 13 will drop the Online Pass requirement.

“Players will see it first with some EA Sports titles, where a prompt to enter an Online Pass code will no longer appear in-game,” said Reseberg. “With other titles we are simply making Online Passes available free of charge online.

“These are rolling updates that are taking effect over the next several weeks. We hope players continue to enjoy our games and online services for a long time to come.”

Gamers met EA’s May 15 revelation that it will drop Online Passes with an equal mixture of relief and skepticism. While most customers were happy to leave the inconvenient policy in the past, many suspected the timing has something to do with how the next-gen consoles from Sony and Microsoft will handle second-hand games.

On May 21, Microsoft revealed Xbox One to the public, but it failed to detail what, if any, used-game restrictions it is employing in the new hardware. The company promised the Xbox One can play second-hand titles, but rumors about a possible fee for accessing used games continue to swirl.