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Remember the Online Pass? Project $10? The Multiplayer Midnight Tryst? Yeah, that scheme from big publishers that made gamers have to buy multiplayer access to their games as if they were picking up a prostitute before attending a dinner party? Well, EA is shooting it in the head...burying it behind a shed and putting it on fire. To that, I say good riddance. Maybe we can get Ubisoft and Activision to follow suit? Probably not.
Anyway, Gamesbeat received actual confirmation from Electronic Arts themselves, with director of corporate communications John Reseburg responding to GamesBeat's Jason Wilson in an e-mail, to which he wrote...
“Yes, we’re discontinuing Online Pass,” ... “None of our new EA titles will include that feature.”
"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.”
“We’re still committed to creating content and services that enhance the game experience well beyond the day you first start playing,”
It's like EA took a look at the Top 10 things gamers hate about EA and then decided to run a checklist of how to get their name detached from all those “hated” practices. Getting rid of John Riccitiello was a nice step toward reformation, but axing the Online Pass is a sure sign of progress toward becoming more consumer friendly.
For those of you who don't know or remember, the Online Pass is issued with each new game out there. It grants first-adopters the privilege of playing their $60 game online. Yes, there are actual safeguards in place to ensure that advertised features are still behind some sort of paywall or DRM copyright protection scheme. In this case, Project $10 was to help financially lift revenue from used game sales, as anyone who bought a game second hand would have to pay an additional $10 to access the multiplayer, assuming the person who first bought the game didn't use the included multiplayer pass to access...well, the multiplayer.
I'm not going to get into why Project $10 had to be the way it was, and I don't feel like having lies fondle the eyes of readers. Suffice it to say, I'm just glad that the whole thing is being done away with, especially after it was discovered that Online Passes were actually set to expire, meaning that even if you bought an EA game brand spanking new you still couldn't access the game's multiplayer, causing some players to have to pay an additional $10 on top of the new game price in order to play online with friends, family or complete and total strangers.
With EA's strong focus on an “interconnected” and “socially driven” directive in their business operations for interactive software entertainment, it's at least a step in the right direction of their network-friendly goals to remove as many barriers to entry as possible, and thankfully that means that the Online Pass will be no more. Now if only they could do something about the Origin exclusivity...