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Used Game To Survive? EA Plans To Drop Online Pass 74

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the bizarro-ea dept.
Krazy Kanuck writes "Introduced in 2010, Online Pass was marketed as a way to 'preserve' online content or DLC as titles were sold in the used game market. Many saw this as a way to cut out the second hand game market. EA has now decided to end this program 'partly because the players didn't like it.' Unfortunately this appears to only be for future released games, those previously released will still be subject to this feature. Activision and Ubisoft still use this form of content control, it will be interesting to see if they follow suit."
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Used Game To Survive? EA Plans To Drop Online Pass

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  • Of course... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Hsien-Ko (1090623) on Thursday May 16, 2013 @11:34AM (#43741515)
    What good's an online pass when they shut down the game's master server after a year?
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Sylak (1611137)
      because it was for console games, and those are more to the whim of the console's network maintainer than the publisher
      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Uuh no, matchmaking servers run by EA for many older sports games (like 2011 and older) are no longer online so I hope you like single player mode.

        This is why people should never EVER buy multiplayer games without a LAN host option.

  • it also did not work company's like game stop would get you new keys for used games. in other words it did nothing to stop used sales.
    • by Xest (935314)

      That and their hand was probably forced somewhat, in the face of the recent European ruling that companies cannot artificially block or limit second hand software sales they'd have had to do this anyway.

      • by Sockatume (732728)

        I'm not sure that's the case. I don't think a court has tested whether presenting part of the game content as a free bonus for the first sale is actually a breach of resale rules. I'd certainly hope that it would be considered that way for all but the most trivial content but it's not been addressed.

        • by vux984 (928602)

          I don't think a court has tested whether presenting part of the game content as a free bonus for the first sale is actually a breach of resale rules.

          Courts haven't even really properly tested whether the shrinkwrap license that says they didn't sell you anything but a license to use the software on the disk. A license that may or may not be transferrable or revokable. All you bought is a disk you may or may not be allowed to use.

          Nor have they tested Steam's business model either. It looks like its a game i

          • Courts haven't even really properly tested whether the shrinkwrap license that says they didn't sell you anything but a license to use the software on the disk.

            You may want to take a look at ProCD, Inc. v. Zeidenberg, 86 F.3d 1447 (7th Cir. 1996), and coming to a different conclusion, Klocek v. Gateway, Inc., 104 F. Supp. 2d 1332 (D. Kan. 2000).

            • by vux984 (928602)

              "[...] and coming to a different conclusion [...]"

              That's sort of my point when I say "not properly tested", in that we still don't really know what's going to happen.

              There's also...

              United States v. Wise (9th Cir. 1977)
              MAI Sys. Corp. v. Peak Computer (9th Cir. 1993)
              Triad Sys. Corp. v. Southeastern Express Co. (9th Cir. 1995)
              Wall Data v. Los Angeles County Sheriff's Dept. (9th Cir. 2006)

              And when ruling on Vernor v. Autodesk, Inc., 2009, the district court found the precedents cited above to be in "direct, irr

          • and you have use me for all service work and only by my gas.

  • by grasshoppa (657393) <`gro.oc-onpt' `ta' `ydenneks'> on Thursday May 16, 2013 @11:37AM (#43741541) Homepage

    But EA doesn't encompass the entirety of the gaming industry. And while yes, many larger software and hardware companies are following suit with the hostility to consumers, this creates an amazing environment for indie game development companies to flourish.

    Which, frankly, is exciting. I'm tired of the same ol' crap from companies too scared to take risks.

  • Umm... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by JMJimmy (2036122) on Thursday May 16, 2013 @11:39AM (#43741579)

    " Unfortunately this appears to only be for future released games, those previously released will still be subject to this feature"

    Will they or will free codes be made available? There seems to be no concrete information on this anywhere.

    • " Unfortunately this appears to only be for future released games, those previously released will still be subject to this feature"

      Will they or will free codes be made available? There seems to be no concrete information on this anywhere.

      Everything I have read on this today states "going forward" or "in the future", which would suggest that they do not plan to redact the existing program for existing games, most likely due to the cost involved to patch, or I would assume. So to answer your question, no I do not have any concrete evidence that would truly support that, though you'll note I prefaced it with "it appears".

      • by JMJimmy (2036122)

        I wouldn't expect them to patch anything - just insert a generic unlimited use code which will authenticate any game on their end. I hope that's what they'll do but I somehow doubt it ;)

        • I assume the reason why they are not doing this for their previous titles is to avoid having to either anger existing customers who bought the code or have to refund them.
    • by Dishevel (1105119)

      Either way the big news here is this ...
      EA did something that was not completely and truly horrible!

      That is news.

  • I must've spent £50-80 on Mass Effect 2 and 3 story modules and I didn't build up a simmering hatred of EA in the process. I dare say that DLC makes enough money that online passes aren't worth it.

    Come to think of it, can you even buy the story DLC without an Online Pass? It'd be a spectacular bit of foot-shooting if they put in a £15 barrier to the player spending money on things they might actually want.

    • by mackil (668039)
      I think you're onto something there, with the DLC's being more lucrative.

      I was one of the "suckers" who bought Mass Effect 1 & 2 when Steam had them on sale. And just like EA predicted, once I reached the end of 2, I wanted to know how it all ended. So not only did they get me as a very reluctant Origin user, but they also have me seriously considering purchasing the Mass Effect 3 DLC's (which are still full price). Much more profitable and it doesn't upset your customer base (well, as much).

      Dammi
      • by zlives (2009072)

        funny :)
        steam is the gateway drm...

        • funny :)
          steam is the gateway drm...

          Mass Effect 2 isn't on Steam any more because Valve wasn't happy about DLC for it only being sold by EA through an in-game store.

          To clarify: It's not that it had an in-game store they disagreed with, only that users couldn't pay for it from their Steam wallets.

      • If its not on Steam or DRM free, it doesnt exist to my computer.
    • by 0123456 (636235)

      Personally I now wait until the full game with all DLC included is on sale for $5. The only game I've bought on release (actually, pre-release) in the last few years is Guild Wars 2, because you can't avoid DLC in MMOs.

      So it's costing them money from me.

  • Personally I don't play online, so I was happy to pick up games for a deeper discount when I bought them used. Since they didn't include online anymore, used stores had to price them lower, so that was great.

    More often though, I buy my games new, so I wish EA had actually taken this even further. They could have just priced the games at $50 and asked for an extra $10 if you wanted the online, instead of charging $60 for everything bundled together. That way I wouldn't have to foot the bill for the devel
  • by HalAtWork (926717) on Thursday May 16, 2013 @12:15PM (#43741903)
    The reason the online pass existed was to get $10 out of people that would buy games used. If they can't buy used games anymore, what's the point of the online pass? So yeah, they'll drop it, AND you won't be able to buy games used. The headline is stupid.
  • Either
    1: It's no longer necessary because the next gen consoles from Sony and Microsoft will have some sort of way of limiting used game sales
    And/Or
    2: EA is missing out on a lot of revenue by taking its ball and going home.

    • by dstyle5 (702493)
      While not confirmed anywhere yet (I don't believe) the ability to block used games on the upcoming consoles at the publishers whim has been rumored for a while now.
  • Good Riddance (Score:4, Insightful)

    by medv4380 (1604309) on Thursday May 16, 2013 @12:22PM (#43741961)
    I've never bought an online pass and never will. I won't even tough BioShock Infinite because of the Season Pass on the shelves at GameStop. I'll wait until the games drops in price and all relevant dlc comes bundled. I will not by and Online Pass, Season Pass, or any other such money grab nonsense. They can take their project 10 dolla, and eat it. However, I suspect this is just getting rid of one demon and replacing it with another.
    • by vux984 (928602)

      Pretty much this. Its gotten to the point that I don't even look at new releases. I'll wait 6-8 months until all the obviously pre-planned DLC is out and then I'll buy it on sale at steam bundled with all the DLC, usually includes the "pre-order DLC" too if applicable.

      I used to buy games and then x-pacs, but the money grubbing has reached the point that realease day is really just the beginning of a staggered launch.

      I can wait 3-6 months and get the whole thing bundled together.

  • Unfortunately this appears to only be for future released games, those previously released will still be subject to this feature.

    How can that be called a feature?

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Lets face facts. For games to be played online the developer and or publisher have to pay to keep the servers running. It costs them manpower, bandwidth, hardware/resources, maintenance, time, energy, electricity and development costs. So to take advantage of that online gaming the consumer has to pay at least something because to just think a dev/pub should shell out each month for years on end is a bit silly.

    Say you buy madden used. EA doesn't see a single penny off that. That person then proceeds to play

  • by Funk_dat69 (215898) on Thursday May 16, 2013 @12:58PM (#43742343)

    On the surface this may look like EA is giving up it's quest to kill used games. I find that rather unlikely.

    What this likely *really* means, is that 'online pass' will soon be redundant. With ps4 and the next xbox soon to be out, this moves all but confirms that there will be something similar at the system level on both consoles, likely with publisher-friendly terms so they can share in on the ransom windfall.

    EA is shutting down theirs early to try and save face and let Sony and MS look like the jerks next gen, when in reality, it was probably their idea and lobbying that forced Sony and MS's hands.

    So..yippie?

    • by dstyle5 (702493)
      "it was probably their idea and lobbying that forced Sony and MS's hands."

      Yes, I'm sure EA crammed it down their unwilling throats, with a smelly yet gold-encrusted plunger taken from Riccitiello's gold-plated water closet.

      Why would Microsoft or Sony care about losing revenue from used game sales? The full revenue they get from a new game sale and the $7 license fee for 3rd party games, who would want that money?
      • Sheesh..so maybe 'forced' was an overlly strong word to use.
        But consider: EA may not have the clout they once had, but they are still one of the largest game publishers in the world and you still want them making games for your fledgling console, I think. And if 'the other console' may be giving them what they want, you are likely to consider the same.

        But this is maybe more likely: MS and Sony saw 'online pass' and decided they want that money instead of EA. It's their network after all. The console guys gi

  • Resale Economics (Score:3, Informative)

    by ThinkThis (912378) on Thursday May 16, 2013 @01:59PM (#43743015)
    I think the game / console companies are not considering the upside of resellable games. When a kid on a budget decides to splurge $60 for a game, they do so knowing that they have the option to recover a portion of that money later on. If they love the game they keep it longer if not they dump it. The bottom line is that knowing you can get some of your money back makes it easier to take the risk of buying that pricey item. Imagine buying a new car with a new resell license. The value of the car would be diminished and the confidence to purchase would be lower. Sure Toyota won't make any money if I resell that Camry, but they got more money at sale time because as a buyer I see value in the ability to resell.

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