Wednesday, May 22, 2013

EA discontinues Online Passes, but what could this mean?

Several days ago, Senior Director of Corporate Communications John Reseburg announced that EA, from this point on, will discontinue the Online Pass.

If you're unsure of what this program is, Online Passes were a one-time use code that would be packaged with new video games. The Online Pass promised a new way to experience your video games when, in reality, it simply granted access to the online features on whatever particular console the code was redeemed on.

EA utilized this program to try and earn some money off of the used game market. After purchasing a used game, consumers would most likely end up with a used code. In order to partake in the online features a new code, usually costing $9.99, would have to be bought.

Although it didn't affect me entirely--due to the fact that I almost always by new games because I prefer to hand my money over to the developers rather than GameStop--people (including myself) hated this program and the level of greed it revealed from EA.

Fortunately, the program has been brought to a close. "Yes, we’re discontinuing Online Pass. None of our new EA titles will include that feature,” Reseburg confirmed in an email to GamesBeat. “Initially launched as an effort to package a full menu of online content and services, many players didn’t respond to the format. We’ve listened to the feedback and decided to do away with it moving forward."

Now, this is excellent news! They've listened to fan feedback and are responding in a positive light. So, why do I still feel uneasy about all this?

This uneasiness shows how much distrust I have for EA. This discontinuation is a victory, but what does this publisher have up their sleeve? I believe EA had two options to make money: Online Passes, and another option that hasn't quite been revealed to the public yet. After weighing out the two, they must have realized that, in theory, their revenue would increase if they followed the route without Online Passes.

This is all speculation, but with CFO Blake Jorgensen stating EA will be incorporating micro-transactions into all future games--a statement he later "clarified" by saying "all of our mobile games will have micro-transactions in them"--it causes one to ponder when and how consumers will receive the inevitable slap in the face.

For now, all we can do is savor the victory, and remain cynical of any future business moves EA decides to make.

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