EA introduces fee to access used games multiplayer
EA has caused an uproar with the announcement that – from next month – if you purchase an EA Sports title second hand you will be required to pay an additional fee, or be locked out of playing online.
But are they really the bad guy in all of this?
The idea is simple. Starting next month with the release of Tiger Woods PGA TOUR 11, EA Sports games will come with an ‘Online Pass’ – essentially a voucher code which gives you access to play online, as well as DLC.
This is a one hit code – once you’ve used it no one else can. Then when you trade the game in, the next person to buy it second hand will have to pay $10 for a new Online Pass. If this pass isn’t purchased then you are denied access to online modes, and any DLC you have can only be played offline.
One Online Pass doesn’t cover you for every EA Sports game you play – each game requires the purchase of a separate code if the game is second hand.
EAs Peter Moore had the following to say on his blog;
“This year, we will introduce Online Pass to all EA SPORTS simulation games on the Xbox 360 and PS3, beginning next month with Tiger Woods PGA TOUR 11. Online Pass is a game-specific, one-time registration code that grants gamers full online access, as well as additional bonus game content. An Online Pass will be included with the original retail purchase of the game. If the original access code has been redeemed (for example, if you pick up a used copy), additional Online Passes will be available for $10. Fans can also sign up for a free 7-day trial to experience Online Pass.
This is an important inflection point in our business and one we think is fair because it allows us to accelerate our commitment to enhance premium online services to the entire robust EA SPORTS online community. And we’re delighted that GameStop is offering their support of this program as a place for gamers to purchase points that provide access to downloadable content from EA at their stores and through their website.
Meaningful online features are keeping games in their consoles longer and creating more value and a richer platform for competition. We intend to continue investing in the experiences that consumers are asking for most.”
The pros and cons of this decision are numerous and warrant an article of their own. We can see EAs point about keeping their revenue stream going if one game is resold two, three, even four times – but we also remember a time when games we purchased were actually ours without any catch.
Gaming is evolving – what is your opinion?