If you've ever had to enter a code just to use the online features of a new game, you can thank EA for that. The publisher essentially invented the single-use code concept as a way of combating used game sales, ensuring that new purchasers could jump right in (provided the code actually worked), and anyone who bought a second-hand copy would have to pay a fee to get online. As much as many people hated it, EA kept doing it, and other publishers quickly followed suit.
Now, strangely enough, the publisher that started this whole thing has decided it no longer plans to bother with it. Speaking to GamesBeat yesterday, EA's head of corporate communications John Reseberg let it be known that EA would no longer be including online passes in its games.
“Initially launched as an effort to package a full menu of online content and services, many players didn't respond to the format,” Reseburg told GamesBeat. “We've listened to the feedback and decided to do away with it moving forward.”
It's an interesting quote, given that players most certainly did respond to the Online Pass concept, albeit primarily in negative fashion. It's also possible that EA simply didn't see enough value in the revenue derived from Online Passes. The company made between $10 and $15 million strictly from Online Passes in its first year including them, though those numbers might not have been enough to justify continuing on in the face of the audience's displeasure.
I doubt any of you out there in Giant Bomb land will shed a single tear over this. I know I certainly won't be. The only question I have now is, if EA has ditched this method of circumventing used game sales, does that mean it has a better--or, perhaps, more aggressive--method on the horizon? Maybe something to do with new consoles and built-in checks for new/used games? Just speculating, of course, but I doubt anyone would be too surprised if something like that came to fruition.