EA is dropping online passes on its new titles following feedback from its players.
The upcoming Battlefield 4 will not require an online pass to access multiplayer, unlike its predecessor.
Talking to VentureBeat, EA senior director of corporate communications John Reseburg confirmed that no new titles from EA will feature an online pass requirement to access online functionality.
'Initially launched as an effort to package a full menu of online content and services, many players didn't respond to the format,'
said Reseburg, speaking to VentureBeat. 'We've listened to the feedback and decided to do away with it moving forward.'
The player response cited is curious as at the time of the program's launch in 2010, EA reported that there was no 'significant pushback from the user'
in a statement regarding the company's commitment to the program.
Reseburg was specifically talking about the upcoming Battlefield 4 and the online pass is not being discontinued on titles that already require them, only not implemented on future titles.
Games that currently use the online pass include Battlefield 3 and most of the entries in the EA Sports catalogue and there are no reported plans to phase these out at this time.
The move does not necessarily mean that EA is backing away from developing online features with Reseburg commenting that the company will still be committed to creating content and services that make players want to keep playing a title beyond its initial play through.
Judging by the success that EA often trumpets with regards to The Simpsons: Tapped Out, there's a possibility that this continued content creation could take the form of micro-transactions for its more traditional triple A titles, something that the company has experimented with before on Dead Space 3.
Online passes are an attempt to fight the second hand game market. As accessing online features requires this one-use activation code, if a second hand title is sold without an un-used code then a replacement can then be bought from the publisher directly, ensuring a revenue stream from used games. Other publishers including Activision and Ubisoft also use online passes.