EA has been a trendsetter in the realm of post-release, digital content, but it's now backing off one of its most prominent tools. At an event in LA today, EA senior VP of corporate communications Jeff Brown confirmed for GamesRadar that the company would be backing away from its Online Pass scheme, due in large part to fan dissatisfaction.
"We thought it was a cool way to package up online services and content," Brown said. "It never got off the ground. Consumers didn't like it. We listened to what they were saying and decided it wasn't worth doing it again...Consumers just didn't like it."
Brown went on to note that gamers should not expect Online Pass to return any time soon. "There's a lot of plans to keep building in new content and services," he said. "But no, there's no plan to package this stuff up. And frankly that was a secondary concern. And no, I'm not aware of any project that does that."
Introduced with Tiger Woods PGA Tour 11 in June 2010, the Online Pass program generally involved sequestering away online functionality behind a one-time use code. These codes came packed-in with new copies of games. However, those who picked up the game second-hand, be it through as a used game, rental, or otherwise, were required to pay $10 to buy their own, individual code.
The Online Pass scheme quickly caught with other publishers, including Activision, Ubisoft, Sony, and WB Interactive.