EA Keeps Online Passes Dead, Despite Xbox One, PS4 Ditching DRM

So first, everyone was worried that the PS4 would have some kind of digital rights management scheme on the side, despite Sony saying at the February 20th reveal that they didn't really plan on doing that sort of thing. Then, EA decided to kill off the Online Pass. We all cheered but then quickly retreated to the thought that something was up. Then, Microsoft dropped an atom bomb and we were all like, “Oh yeah these mofos at EA are so going to make good on that used game fee”. But then, Sony went and spirit bombed the living molecules out of Microsoft with a “Holy crap!” announcement at E3 and then we were all like “So how is EA going to make good on this?” And then, Microsoft was like “We can't compete like this, we're turning our dead horse into a race horse. #Dealwithit”.

As it stands, everyone is now curious how Electronic Arts will deal with a landscape that actually took a step backward from DRM and a step forward toward pro-consumerism. So what happens to EA now that their DRM plans were soiled like a baby's diaper at a NASCAR event once the engines start? Well, according to EA, they're going to roll with it.

EA senior director of corporate communications, John Reseburg, dropped some lines to Polygon shortly after the news broke about the Xbox One turning into the Xbox One-Eighty now that the hammer of consumerism has dropped and the pre-order numbers showed Microsoft trailing by a near three to one margin. According to Reseburg...

"[There is] no change to our decision to discontinue Online Pass," … “It is dead” … "As we said a few weeks ago, none of our new EA titles will include online pass, and we are removing it from existing games as well," ... "Nothing else on today's news, but did want to be clear that our online pass decision was based on player feedback, and there's no change."

“Nothing else on today's news”... why does that scare me? And are you scared, too?

It feels like there's still some undercurrent of change that we're not seeing yet that could ultimately affect the way we play games. I know it comes across as pessimistic but I just find it so hard to believe that we're actually going to have a generation of gaming equivalent to the PlayStation 2 era. Something about that just seems fishy. Perhaps all the BS from a company like EA throughout the past couple of years just has my skeptical senses tingling.

Peter Moore, EA's chief operating officer, recently told Geoff Keighley between the E3 conferences that the company would have to reconvene on their issues regarding DRM but that they were completely backing away from the Online Pass but they were undecided regarding the Xbox One's used game fees.

If, however, things aren't that bad and it's all safe and smooth as dairy milk from here on out, then that's some cool beans. I wouldn't mind being very wrong in this case and as Gaming Blend's own Pete Haas mentioned, perhaps the removal of the Xbox One's DRM will be a real game changer this time around. But if EA decides to double down on some form of DRM... well, there will be rage to pay.

Will Usher

Staff Writer at CinemaBlend.