Print 29 comment(s) - last by Motoman.. on May 17 at 11:55 AM

Customers wanted nothing to do with it

Electronic Arts (EA) has decided to nix its Online Pass program due to a lack of customer interest.

Online Pass unlocks online features and bonus content for many EA games. It requires a code, which can only be used once. If you play the game on another console or bought the game used (and the original owner used the original code), then you have to pay for a new code. 

EA released Online Pass in an effort to battle the used games market, where it (along with other game publishers like Ubisoft and Activision) have worried about losing revenue to GameStop's hoard of used games. 

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But now, EA is doing away with Online Pass because gamers don't seem to be interested in the extra online features for games such as "Battlefield 3." 

“Yes, we’re discontinuing Online Pass,” EA senior director of corporate communications John Reseburg said. “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.”

Source: Forbes

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A good first start
By anactoraaron on 5/16/2013 11:25:14 AM , Rating: 5
We’ve listened to the feedback and decided to do away with it moving forward.

Now if they would only listen to other feedback about rushed alpha stage pc games hitting the market or incomplete games requiring multiple dlc or the constant stagnant sports franchises...

RE: A good first start
By TheEinstein on 5/16/2013 11:35:07 AM , Rating: 4
And the crap always online drm (as a truck driver my $500 a year in direct expenditures on games and so far $1300 for 2014 in online costs makes me angry at this craptard idea)

RE: A good first start
By FITCamaro on 5/16/13, Rating: 0
RE: A good first start
By geekman1024 on 5/16/2013 10:16:41 PM , Rating: 2
so you've never heard about budget planning.

RE: A good first start
By TheEinstein on 5/17/2013 1:40:53 AM , Rating: 3
I typo, therefore i am...

RE: A good first start
By GulWestfale on 5/16/2013 12:06:03 PM , Rating: 3
this is EA. for every bad thing they remove, they will soon come up with two others. i have trusted them again and again, but i have finally decided a few months ago never to buy any of their games again.

RE: A good first start
By The0ne on 5/16/2013 1:18:29 PM , Rating: 3
You need to stop, dead cold, like me. Don't support them with your money. Sure there will still be millions but don't follow the herd of ship just because there are so many of them.

RE: A good first start
By spamreader1 on 5/16/2013 1:37:56 PM , Rating: 2
yup, the last ea game I bought was bf1942.

RE: A good first start
By Strunf on 5/17/2013 7:18:02 AM , Rating: 3
Then you don't play their games... games are NOT like any other commodity, if the hassles EA causes is much less than the rewards you get from a game then you buy the game, and EA does have games worth the trouble, besides it's not like Valve, Ubisoft or anyone else is better, I see people complaining about EA while they are all happy about Valve, as if Steam was without issues, I for one do not see much of difference.

RE: A good first start
By talikarni on 5/16/2013 3:27:36 PM , Rating: 2
I have had a personal boycott of EA since they completely screwed up and backed out of their promises with SimCity4 and so many other games.

Last game i bought from them was 2008

RE: A good first start
By TSS on 5/16/2013 1:21:55 PM , Rating: 4
You must be confused. By "Listened to feedback" they actually mean "looked at the balance sheet and it wasn't making us enough".

They will soon come up with a way to make more money on less content, probably with "free to play". Considering their mobile Simposons game and the amount of money they made on that, their experience with Tiberium Alliances (where they straight up sell resource packets) and the upcoming "free to play" generals. They will going full pay to win in the future, now that it's generally accepted.

Yes it is, especially in the mobile market. The transition was gradual, but we've long since moved past the time of hardcore gamers where even admitting playing a "free to play" game would lead to exclusion of the community. For the very reason of containing the problem.

Now it's the norm. Even the free to play game with the best model, league of legends, is pay to win. Obfuscated, but it is. Just consider this: LoL is completly situational based where the enemy champion type and position can greatly affect the outcome, things you cannot control making it situational based. The way to mitigate this is through ingame items, but also runes, which by themselves give a large enough boost at max level to affect the outcome significantly.

Free players don't earn anywhere near enough IP to buy all the runes they need to compensate for the situations they might be faced with with each champion type. This causes some to specialize, some to buy runes.

Because some don't buy runes and specialize, they can only play certain champions, and some of them not even in all situations (nobody says they'll spend the IP they do get wisely. You aren't told which rune is effective when, you learn as you play meaning you've bought a bunch of runes before you realise you want a different set). The team that has the paying players, also has the players able to counterpick at optimum efficiency, allowing for surviving longer and thus gaining a battlefield advantage.

The only point where this isn't happening is at the bottom, where everybody has nothing due to level limits, and at the top, where everybody buys stuff anyway. The only 2 places everybody's looking. Meanwhile, this balance difference screws over anybody in the middleground, the more champions the more situations the worse it gets.

All for the same reason pay to win games where shunned in the first place: To make you suffer. They aren't about enjoyment, they are about annoying you to the point you will pay money to get rid of the annoyances. It's right up EA's alley, so i wonder why it took them so long.

Guess it took Valve to start selling keys to chances on useless virtual items without being burned at the stake before they felt it was safe to try it.

RE: A good first start
By Motoman on 5/16/2013 1:45:18 PM , Rating: 3
While I certainly agree that some F2P games are rather scammy, and I don't know anything about EA's endeavors in that market, I will say that it's not necessarily bad.

I've played a number of games in F2P mode - specifically, Age of Conan, DC Universe, DDO, LOTRO, and Star Trek Online.

I didn't spend money on any of the first 4 at all. And while I admit that my interests in the games waned and I started playing other things after 10-20 character levels, it wasn't because I didn't have access to paid-for content. I'd be perfectly happy to continue to play, and enjoy, those games in F2P mode for a long time if some other game didn't catch my eye.

What did catch my eye was Star Trek Online. I started playing it and really found that I enjoyed it more than other for the past several months, whenever I play anything it's STO.

Now, after a while of playing STO in pure F2P mode, I *decided* that I'd like to see what was in some of the "lockboxes" that you get. It costs real money to do that. And I spent some real money buying "keys" to unlock those "lockboxes."

I'm OK with that, because it was a conscious decision that it was worth some actual dollars to me to do that. And at this point, I certainly don't mind throwing a few dollars to the developers/publishers for putting the game out and letting me play it.

Most of the stuff out of the lockboxes was kind of meh...but I did get some cool stuff that I otherwise wouldn't have had, and I like having it. Would I have enjoyed the game less if I didn't have those things? Not really. I'd have still kept playing. But I got some cool things I otherwise wouldn't have, and I'm pretty OK with the transaction overall.

Compare that to WoW - for the last year or so of when I was subscribed to WoW, I really didn't even play at all. Months would go by and I didn't even log in...and I was just wasting money on the subscription that I more or less just kept forgetting to cancel, and/or convinced myself that maybe I'd go back and play it again.

But I never did, and eventually did just cancel my subscription. After having given Blizzard a lot of money for nothing.

I'm much happier with the STO arrangement than the WoW arrangement.

RE: A good first start
By ComputerJuice on 5/16/2013 4:05:18 PM , Rating: 2
EA's F2P is probably the most scammy. They are most certainly going with the method they used for Star Wars The Old Republic. Here is brief synopsis of how it works:

$60 game
$20 DLC (named an expac but is truthfully DLC)

That gets you the whole game... unless you want to be able to actually play the game. Then you will have buy enough in game currency (cartel coins... ironic yes) to purchase "unlocks" to be able to actually play the game. And that is going to cost you $5-$10 each unlock.

Want to be able to have enough cash to actually be able to purchase things from vendors? $5

Want enough quickbar slots for all your abilities? $5

Want to be able to play all the species in the game? $5

Want to be able to do dungeons? $5

Want to raid? $5

Want high level gear? $5

Want to do dailies to earn badges to trade in for that high level gear? $5

the list literally goes on for days...

Sure, you can sub for $15 a month, but still have to buy in-game items to get many armor, pets, vehicles, colors, titles, etc...

The game currently will cost you $2300 real money to be able to get all content... with a monthly sub. And they add about 10-15 new items a month, so that number only grows the more you play.

RE: A good first start
By Motoman on 5/16/2013 4:20:46 PM , Rating: 2
Yeah, that's totally different than all the games I mentioned. You can play all of them literally for free and really have everything you need to enjoy the game.

RE: A good first start
By TSS on 5/17/13, Rating: 0
RE: A good first start
By Strunf on 5/17/2013 7:25:53 AM , Rating: 2
I play World of Tanks, and paying doesn't give you any advantage, the battles are made with random people and they balance the player/tank levels between the teams, so the teams are always balanced. The only thing you get with money is a faster progression and more tanks, but this doesn't really matter cause even if you progress faster you'll always end competing against people your level and not people weaker than you.

Kill all DRM
By Motoman on 5/16/2013 11:56:04 AM , Rating: 4
The online pass thing was nothing more than DRM. No other excuse or explanation is necessary.

As I've stated before, DRM should be outlawed. Here's why:

1. It has a 100% failure rate. Nothing that has ever had DRM on it has *not* been hacked and made available illicitly.

2. It costs lots of money to add to the product in question - raising costs for the producers, and prices for the consumer. For something that never works as intended anyway.

3. It punishes the legitimate consumer by limiting what they can do with the product they paid for, and/or actually causing them real not being able to watch the movie they just bought, or DRM making their computer unstable...or not being able to use a game with an always-online DRM scheme because they're not always reliably online.

4. While it's long been established that consumers have the right to make a copy of something they bought for their own use - like a backup copy of a DVD movie you bought, or ripping a CD you bought to .mp3 so you can carry that music around more easily, the content producers bought a law that makes it illegal to circumvent DRM. So while one law says you can make copies, another law makes it illegal to follow the first law if DRM was involved. This is what we call "fascism."

Ban it all. Costs would go down for producers, prices would go down for consumers, usability concerns for legitimate consumers would go away and there would be no difference in the % of such products that wind up in a torrent on Pirate Bay.

RE: Kill all DRM
By Hakuryu on 5/16/2013 12:26:53 PM , Rating: 2
For the most part agreed, but Steam is another matter.

I actually prefer buying games there, even if no DRM versions are available. Steam does DRM right; no bullsquat rules like only being able to install three times, and a suite of useful things - auto updates, workshop, community hub, sales, forums, etc.

RE: Kill all DRM
By Motoman on 5/16/2013 12:42:35 PM , Rating: 2
My problem with Steam is that you can't freely resell or give the game away - certainly not to a store like Gamestop, or a non-Steam user.

You also have to have robust always-on internet connectivity to use Steam. That works for most Americans...but there are tens of millions of Americans for which that doesn't work.

I don't have a problem buying something online and then downloading it. It's the restrictions in how you can use it and/or dispose of it later that bother me in that case.

Not to mention the possibility that some day Steam goes away. It's happened before...and it can happen again.

RE: Kill all DRM
By mcnabney on 5/16/2013 1:24:59 PM , Rating: 2
That may eventually change.

The EU have forced the issue of being legally allowed to sell digital purchases. Global uniformity may bring that to the states.

RE: Kill all DRM
By inperfectdarkness on 5/17/2013 12:38:30 AM , Rating: 2
This can't possibly happen soon enough.

RE: Kill all DRM
By BRB29 on 5/16/2013 1:26:38 PM , Rating: 2
when something is that cheap and you can never lose it, the money and hassle you saved is more than enough to cover the resell price.

You can freely resell/give away a game as long as you don't buy it for your use.

Steam is at the frontier of gaming delivery. They won't disappear for a long time. I'm sure they will adapt their business model to change.

RE: Kill all DRM
By Motoman on 5/16/2013 2:01:58 PM , Rating: 2
when something is that cheap and you can never lose it, the money and hassle you saved is more than enough to cover the resell price.

Well, if you look at a game that's $50 as a DVD on the shelf, and maybe it's $25 as a Steam still paid $25 for it. I wouldn't look at that as being "I already got $25 back from a $50 purchase" - I'm looking at it as "I spent $25 on this and I can't easily resell it or give it away." As least in traditional manners, such as selling it to Gamestop or giving it to someone else (outside of Steam).

As for "can never lose it" - bigger companies than Steam have folded up and gone away. Maybe they're the "frontier of gaming delivery" - but nothing is forever. And sometimes the end can come a lot sooner than you think.

I must admit that I am confused by this statement though:

You can freely resell/give away a game as long as you don't buy it for your use.

...if I buy a game on Steam for myself and then get tired of it, I had thought there was some way to gift that game within Steam to another Steam user. Is that not true? Or what are you saying there?

RE: Kill all DRM
By arthur449 on 5/17/2013 4:02:40 AM , Rating: 2
You can buy a game for yourself or as a gift. Once you've "opened" a gift it's locked to your account and you cannot give it to someone else.

RE: Kill all DRM
By Motoman on 5/17/2013 11:55:11 AM , Rating: 2
Oh. Well then it's worse than I thought.

That brings me back to the $50 retail box vs. $25 Steam download. Sure, the Steam download was half the price of the retail version...but I still spent $25 that I can get no part of back via resale, and apparently can't even gift it to someone else when I'm done with it.

By CZroe on 5/16/2013 11:36:30 AM , Rating: 2
Online Pass also wreaked havoc with rental customers who couldn't play the games online to know if it was worth buying. It makes sense that they didn't mention that part, seeing as how they only claim to have listened to their "customers."

By p05esto on 5/16/2013 12:30:32 PM , Rating: 2
Seriously F these companies trying to lock us down with DRM and no used games purchases. I'm sick and tired of it and I WILL totally stop gaming if the games keep going in this direction. I already don't buy any EA games and will not get the new xbox if they require internet or prevent used games. Seriously F the whole industry. FFFFFFFFFFFFFFFF em

By talikarni on 5/16/2013 3:22:26 PM , Rating: 2
They claim it is for free or premium online content, yet most of them is either 1 free mostly useless car in a racing game full of 80 cars or other equally useless content... of course it is failing.
EA never listens to the people, they only put out what THEY think will make them money, not what the people want which could make them so much more.

The truth
By Rage187 on 5/16/2013 3:56:44 PM , Rating: 2
They are discontinuing it because the next gen systems will have another mechanism to make sure you don't get the full value of a used game. They won't have to use the EA pass.

Don't believe EA all of a sudden had a change of heart.

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