It appears that EA will be doing away with their Online Pass program. EA stated that it wouldn’t be running with certificates in new games and Game Informer reported that this would apply to current titles too. This means that EA titles will cease to request a code to allow for gameplay. With other games numbers will be available online for free in the coming weeks.
For those unfamiliar with the Online Pass program, it basically had buyers of used games pay $10 for online multiplayer, bonus material, and other features after they are given a one week free trial of these things. Of course gamers who bought the game new get the features standard. Looking at how a store such as GameStop would price a new game would make the plan unsavory to some gamers.
An example would be Game A releases at $59.99 new, but the game retailer puts a used copy of the new release up for $54.99—after buying it for less from the gamer who turned it in. Buying the game new would bring the total to $64.99 with only $10 of that going to the developer/publisher and the rest to the retailer. Note that this was only for the extras and online play, the main, single player experience wasn’t affected for the most part.
One could look at the Online Pass period as an experiment to see how it would fly. It sunk like a lead zeppelin. Another way to look at this is that the cancelation of the Online Pass plan is in reaction to either what Microsoft have planned for retail games with the Xbox ONE or in reaction to gaming community’s—the gamers who buy the games—reaction to the Xbox ONE in general.
In any case it seems as though EA fans can breathe a sigh of relief on this.