Road to Redemption? EA Eliminates Unpopular Online Pass Program

Paul Lilly

You can almost hear a golf clap erupting from GameStop stores.

It's no secret game publishers loathe the second-hand sales market, prompting many of them to have a love-hate relationship with GameStop, the world's most popular used games retailer. But is GameStop really the frenemy that some publishers view it as? Perhaps not. Electronic Arts (EA) has come to the conclusion that its Online Pass program isn't worth pissing off its customers and has decided to reverse course, a move that's perhaps indicative that EA wasn't losing as much money to used game sales as it thought it was.

Battlefield 3, Madden NFL, and a few other titles used the Online Pass system. The way it worked is that gamers would input a code included with new games to unlock online gameplay. The single-use code wouldn't transfer to a second owner, so if you bought a game used from GameStop or anywhere else and the code was already used, you'd have to purchase another one from EA.

Well, not anymore.

"Yes, we're discontinuing Online Pass," EA senior director of corporate communications, John Reseburg, told GamesBeat in an email. "None of our new EA titles will include that feature."

Reseburg went to say that "many players didn't respond to the format," which is the primary reason why EA decided to abandon the program. It was an unpopular program among gamers to begin with, but given EA's sometimes stubborn nature and willingness to put up with criticism , it seemed unlikely the publisher would reverse course.

It looks like Kevin Garnett was right , after all.

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