EA Ditches Online Passes for Future Games

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#51 Edited by TehPickle (474 posts) -

Aren't Sony introducing that watermarking tech in their next console to give developers the OPTION of blocking used games? If that does turn out to be the case, then this statement from EA doesn't necessarily mean jack-shit, and could just be a PR excersise.

In any case, I'll remain optimistic for the time being that EAs heart of ice has finally started to thaw a little.

Also, MICROTRANSACTIONS! Oh huzzah (!)

#52 Posted by fisk0 (4113 posts) -

@sooty said:

Waiting for the catch.

The catch is that they are making more money through microtransactions than they ever did by selling online passes to people who bought the game used.

Also, I'm sure that EA wasn't the first people to do this, I know they adopted it on a wider scale before other publishers, but I swear I entered a code on a THQ game or something before any EA game

I'm not sure of who was first with it, it's kinda an extension of the CD key system that's been in use on PC's since the late 90's (while it was pretty common to lock the entire product to the CD key, many games, including Quake 3 and several of the C&C games worked pretty much exactly like online passes - allowing you to play the singleplayer campaign but asked for the key when you tried to play multiplayer). I'm pretty sure I also played some THQ games on PS3 that used online passes though.

But, yes, I'd think there wasn't a huge percentage of people who bought the games used, came home to find they needed an online pass and promptly spent $10 on one, I'd wager a lot more people are willing to spend a couple of bucks here and there on lockboxes, skins and other microtransaction things, and that putting the microtransactions behind an online pass paywall just resulted in fewer people participating in the microtransaction business. I don't have a 360, but how does Gears of War handle these things? Do those games use both online passes and microtransactions? It seems like their premium skins make them a lot of money at least.

#53 Edited by Godlyawesomeguy (6398 posts) -

While, ostensibly, this may seem all well and good for the consumer, I sensed as soon as I read the headline, as Alex noted towards the end, a much more nefarious plan to combat used game sales. I just can't fathom a world where EA simply gives up such a fight.

#54 Posted by DS23 (246 posts) -

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 stating the obvious, of course.

Fixed!

#55 Posted by kalmis (1558 posts) -

This is odd. I don't think the online passes were so bad. Especially since I am mostly not playing their online games anyway. But yeah, this means more more microtransactions probably as others have said. EA = so much fail

#56 Edited by WinterSnowblind (7617 posts) -

@sooty said:

Waiting for the catch.

Seems like it could a stunt to win some positive praise. Online passes seem pretty ineffective, especially if we're going to be seeing a much larger emphasis on DLC, microstransactions and in-app purchases.

#57 Posted by Pop (2633 posts) -

This makes me think that maybe EA knows that future consoles will have DRM built in and they're trying to score some points right now and then they will put the blame on console manufacturers.

Just a thought I may be just full of stinky horse shit.

#58 Posted by WilltheMagicAsian (1545 posts) -

Don't worry, they're dropping online passes in favor of microtransaction subsidized experiences.

#59 Edited by GaspoweR (3041 posts) -

@tehpickle said:

MICROTRANSACTIONS! Oh huzzah (!)

That is pretty much THE REASON that EA found to be FAR more profitable. It's bled out of their sports and racing franchises into pretty much every other game. At the very least it doesn't lock out content that is essential to a game but just gives an advantage or cuts down on time for those who have more disposable income and less time to play but want to enjoy the rewards that one can normally obtain by playing for hours of a certain game.

EDIT: This just popped into my head. Since they are getting more out of microtransactions monetarily, I think what's replaced the online pass in terms of function is the requirement to sign up and log into your Origin account for the EA games. To me that actually makes A LOT of sense. It's like how you need to log-in to Steam if you want to play your games that were bought on Steam.

#60 Edited by RazielCuts (2954 posts) -

I reckon they know something we don't know about all the rumours surrounding next gen with DRM and used games sales.

#61 Edited by JesusHammer (134 posts) -

@42manz: Imagine if EA tried to make money off of video games by making better video games.

#62 Edited by BaconGames (3423 posts) -

The only real question is whether this only applies to games going forward or will those online pass requirements disappear retroactively? Something to this effect happened with MK9, I wonder if other EA games will follow suit.

#63 Posted by dandead (171 posts) -

Well the most popular game modes in the average sports game is "Ultimate Team" which is essentially digital card collecting. It's how EA is making most of it's money on there console titles so they probably decided that they would "loosen up" a little for some positive PR.

#64 Posted by BoOzak (922 posts) -

Dont EA generally shut down their servers for games over a year old anyway? (unless they're cash cows like Battlefield) So it wont matter for people who dont buy games new and wait for a discounted version or a cheap pre-owned copy because they'll be no online anyway.

#65 Posted by Lazyaza (2183 posts) -

A foolish man would believe this a sign of good things but alas I fear we are seeing the end of one evil only to be faced with a far far greater one. I wouldn't be surprised if their next initiative involved selling games for 100 dollars rrp with 50% of the content behind a digital pay wall. EA will eventually be that evil.

#66 Edited by DjCmeP (1148 posts) -

Please like us.

- EA

#67 Edited by Parsnip (1087 posts) -

Sounds like microtransactions up the wazoo.

#68 Posted by Aetheldod (3584 posts) -

At first I was like "YAY!!!!!" but now with the prospect of worse DRM shit I am bummed -__- Damn you @alex why cant there be just pure good news with you ?

#69 Posted by Aetheldod (3584 posts) -

At first I was like "YAY!!!!!" but now with the prospect of worse DRM shit I am bummed -__- Damn you @alex why cant there be just pure good news with you ?

#70 Edited by LKPOWER (156 posts) -

I'm going to choose not to be cynical. Good on them for doing away with online passes. Perhaps this is a step in the right direction.They need to to foster some good will amongst consumers and this could at least be a good way to start doing that.

#71 Edited by LKPOWER (156 posts) -

I'm going to choose not to be cynical. Good on them for doing away with online passes. Perhaps this is a step in the right direction.They need to to foster some good will amongst consumers and this could at least be a good way to start doing that.

#72 Posted by Lind_L_Taylor (3966 posts) -

I was more likely to buy a game that didn't have DLC than I was to buying any game with DLC, unless it was very, very good. Like Mass Effect 3. So I bet either the secondary market was being killed for those following the same mindset, or the secondary market was taking over because everyone was avoiding DLC products. Either way they were losing money. I've always thought it was a bad idea & after it started, I've bought a lot fewer games. I've switched to Steam and Steam Sales & never looked back.

#73 Posted by ripelivejam (3970 posts) -

ea buys gamestop?

#74 Edited by Milkman (16800 posts) -

@sooty said:

Waiting for the catch.

The catch is that they are making more money through microtransactions than they ever did by selling online passes to people who bought the game used.

Also, I'm sure that EA wasn't the first people to do this, I know they adopted it on a wider scale before other publishers, but I swear I entered a code on a THQ game or something before any EA game

Also, the catch is that the PS4 and new Xbox probably have this online pass stuff built directly into the system.

Online
#75 Edited by Deusoma (3006 posts) -

@milkman: Yeah, that's what I'm getting out of this, the unfortunate rumours about the next gen of consoles are true, and EA is trying to get a little positive publicity out of it before people find out that they really did it because online passes are about to become irrelevant.

#76 Posted by super_machine (1930 posts) -

I want my $10 back. When I bought BF3 on my PS3 it came with the online code. When my PS3 died, and I had to buy a new one I had to pay because my online pass didn't work. Fucking EA!

#77 Posted by Evercaptor (391 posts) -

I'll play pessimist and say that online passes are no longer, because the code is either all we get or required for ALL potions of the game.

Personally, though, I didn't have any problems with their strategy.

#78 Posted by President_Barackbar (3462 posts) -

@fiberpay said:

I love how this article still has a negative tone even thought EA is doing a pretty awesome thing, something people in the game industry always talk about, they actually listened to the CONSUMER. Sure there might be a catch later on but that is all just speculation, and to down play this because of speculation is pretty dumb.

Because only someone extremely naive would believe that EA just now had a pang of conscience and decided to listen to their customers. They've got some kind of ulterior motive, whether its that they make far more money selling incomplete games rife with microtransactions, or that the next gen consoles will have technology to lock games to a single system which makes online passes irrelevant.

#79 Posted by Andheez (583 posts) -

@sooty said:

Waiting for the catch.

The catch is that they want you to be online so that they can blast you with micro-transactions.

#80 Edited by fiberpay (282 posts) -

@fiberpay said:

I love how this article still has a negative tone even thought EA is doing a pretty awesome thing, something people in the game industry always talk about, they actually listened to the CONSUMER. Sure there might be a catch later on but that is all just speculation, and to down play this because of speculation is pretty dumb.

Because only someone extremely naive would believe that EA just now had a pang of conscience and decided to listen to their customers. They've got some kind of ulterior motive, whether its that they make far more money selling incomplete games rife with microtransactions, or that the next gen consoles will have technology to lock games to a single system which makes online passes irrelevant.

Or someone who does not think that all SPECULATION is true. Unless you got some FACTS for me Barack then go back to trying to balance our national budget.

Also, the fact that next gen systems might make the online pass irrelevant is not EA's fault.

Listen i'm not saying that EA might not be riding some free press but the fact that everyone is such fucking pessimists in this industry is disgusting. Even professional's in the industry cannot even write an article without being negative about a good change.

#81 Edited by Undeadpool (4943 posts) -

@fiberpay: The article? Or over half the comments?

#82 Posted by Kidavenger (3556 posts) -

While, ostensibly, this may seem

I really hate the way this word is spreading around lately, or maybe I'm just noticing it that last few months, but god fucking damn it's more awkward than "unentertaining".

#83 Edited by jakob187 (21671 posts) -

I'd like to think this is the start of EA getting their shit back together...

...but I imagine they will be announcing something along the lines of "thanks to the technology available through Microsoft and Sony's new systems, all EA games will run through Origin" blah blah blah.

#84 Edited by super2j (1695 posts) -

@sooty said:

Waiting for the catch.

simcity was just the beginning....if you catch my drift. Where we are going, we will wish we had online passes.

#85 Posted by RuthLoose (816 posts) -

EA to consumers after it gets announced that digital watermarking is the real anti-used games strategy for the PS4 and Xbox 3:

#86 Posted by CrossTheAtlantic (1145 posts) -

@warchief said:

@sooty: [best guess] the catch will be that they will enable always online using the services in both new consoles. Best way to say your console will not require always online DRM is to give publishers the ability to turn it on themselves.

This is so likely to be the cause you might as well go ahead and deem it a spoiler alert.

#87 Posted by mrsmiley (1108 posts) -

1. Consumers complain.

2. EA listens to consumers.

3. EA makes change that consumers suggest.

4. Consumers find a way to complain about that too.

5. ????????

6. PROFIT!

#88 Edited by PenguinDust (12519 posts) -

Looks like they are trying not to three-peat "worst company in America".

#89 Posted by Igottadeuce (89 posts) -

Yo, video games are shit.

#90 Posted by FuzzYLemoN (1600 posts) -

Great, what an irritating little farce that was.

#91 Posted by Nethlem (415 posts) -

@fiberpay said:

@president_barackbar said:

Because only someone extremely naive would believe that EA just now had a pang of conscience and decided to listen to their customers. They've got some kind of ulterior motive, whether its that they make far more money selling incomplete games rife with microtransactions, or that the next gen consoles will have technology to lock games to a single system which makes online passes irrelevant.

Or someone who does not think that all SPECULATION is true. Unless you got some FACTS for me Barack then go back to trying to balance our national budget.

Also, the fact that next gen systems might make the online pass irrelevant is not EA's fault.

Listen i'm not saying that EA might not be riding some free press but the fact that everyone is such fucking pessimists in this industry is disgusting. Even professional's in the industry cannot even write an article without being negative about a good change.

You want FACTS? How about the little fact that EA is first and foremost a public company, wanna take a guess what's the main goal for these kind companies? It's not "welfare for their customers", it's cold hard profit for it's shareholders. From this perspective this move makes no sense whatsoever. Because they removed a tool that generated more profits for them. Such a move usually would be considered pretty dumb in that line of business, unless you have something in place that's gonna generate way more profit or at least the same level profit with less effort/investment.

After all we are talking about a company that has no qualms about telling their customers: "We want as much of your money, with as little effort on our side, as possible". Have you already forgotten how EA imagines it's glorious microtransactions future? A small remainder:

http://www.xbox360achievements.org/news-2705-The-Future-is-Apparently-Free-to-Play--But-is-That-a-Good-Thing?.html

Money quotes:

“As the head of our Playfish division likes to say, ‘There’s no such thing as free to play… it’s play first, pay later,’ and that’s a very compelling model”

“When you are six hours into playing Battlefield and you run out of ammo in your clip and we ask you for a dollar to reload, you’re really not that price sensitive at that point in time,”

“So essentially what ends up happening, and the reason the play-first, pay-later model works nicely, is a consumer gets engaged in a property. They may spend ten, twenty, thirty, fifty hours in a game. And then, when they’re deep into a game, they’re well invested in it.”

“At that point in time the commitment can be pretty high. It’s a great model and it represents a substantially better future for the industry.”

So you wanna tell me a company, that's thinking really hard about what's the best way to charge you for reloads in an FPS game, has suddenly found it's "inner good" and suddenly wants less of your money? I call bullshit on that..

And in the case of next-gen platforms incorporating such "used sales prevention" mechanics, it would be seriously naive to assume that one of the biggest three publishers on the planet, and the inventor of such business practices in the first place, would have had no hand at all in all this happening. Sure it would also be far-stretched to assume that EA would be the sole reason for such systems being in place, if they are actually in place. But it's more than likely that they did their integral part to push the first parties into that direction.

Not to mention that with the current state of the AAA industry, there is more than enough reason for educated customers to be pessimistic, or at least skeptic, about any move that looks likes it's "too good to be true" at first glance.

#92 Edited by pmm217 (35 posts) -

“Initially launched as an effort to package a full menu of online content and services, many players didn't respond to the format,” No shit.

#93 Posted by itsVASH (172 posts) -

I guess someone took that whole most hated company in the US to heart

#94 Posted by Krakn3Dfx (2490 posts) -

Maybe it's been said, but this could just be in light of the rumor that MS is locking games to a single console, in which case online passes would no longer be an issue. It would be an excellent chance for EA to play the good guy without really any loss to them as a company.

Of course, this line of thought doesn't work for the PS4 (as much as we know at least), so I'm still just speculating.

#95 Edited by fiberpay (282 posts) -

@nethlem: Thanks for the lecture on business, if you got some extra time someday you should come down to my grocery store and show me how to run it.

My main point is that people are bitching when they don't even know the outcome. Maybe once they release a game that makes you pay to reload then you will have a reason to bitch, until then I guess you can keep overreacting.

#97 Edited by Gildermershina (296 posts) -

Fuck EA for doing this! For some reason we'll figure out later, because EA would NEVER do anything in the interest of customers. That wouldn't fit the narrative.

#98 Posted by HadesTimes (804 posts) -

As has all ready been mentioned; I think all this means is that they have something new planned. Either games that need to all ways be online or microtransactions or something of the like. They have had online passes for more than three years now and just NOW, they have decided it wasn't working. Just seems too convenient that we are heading into a new console cycle. Also, there is a "chance" that the new generation of console games will cost $99.99. Don't tell anyone you heard that from me....

#99 Posted by 42manZ (105 posts) -

@jesushammer: That sounds crazy enough to work! However I will admit to being something of an optimist.

#100 Edited by Dark_Lord_Spam (3303 posts) -

Huh. Sure. I didn't really give a damn about online passes, since they seemed a fair way to recover profits from used sales (it's not like I have any sympathy for GameStop or Best Buy), but sure.

What remains concerning is their insistence that I buy every EA game on Origin if I want to play the PC (i.e. optimal) version.

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