EA Sports goes dirty!

We all know that companies are there to make money, it’s what they do.
However EA Sports have taken it a step further, and quite frankly just insulted their fanbase and many others with what I’m going to happily call the most blatant customer rip-off that I’ve seen in many years.

Since the launch of Mass Effect 2, EA have been employing there Ten Dollar program, now this takes the form of the Cerberus code for Mass Effect 2, which lets us get some free DLC but only if you buy the game brand new, if you pick it up second hand you must buy said Cerberus code from Markeplace using precious Microsoft points.

This was also done with Battlefield: Bad Company 2, people who bought the game new recieved a VIP code which lets them get free map packs, while pre-owned buyers had to get the code from Markeplace.

Now, whole it annoyed a few, as a whole we accepted it because new buyers were rewarded with some free stuff.

However EA Sports have announced there latest phase of the Ten Dollar program, named the Online Pass……

Yes, people who purchase a new copy of any EA Sport game (starting on June 8th with Tiger Woods PGA Tour 11.) will get another shiny code, but guess what?
This code is used to access ONLINE play in that selected title.

Yes you read that correctly, we already pay to have Xbox Gold to play games online but now EA Sports think they should be getting extra cash for YOU to play THEIR games online.

If you buy the game second-hand, you’ll have to shell out 800MSP to buy a Online Pass from Marketplace.
Also remember, this pass WILL NOT let you play online in all EA Sports games, only for the game that you purchased the pass on.
So anytime you buy another EA Sport game, you’ll either have to buy it brand new or shell out points to play it online.

A helpful EA F.A.Q:

What exactly is Online Pass and when does it launch?

Online Pass launches in all EA SPORTS simulation games on the PS3 and Xbox 360 beginning in June with Tiger Woods PGA TOUR 11. It’s quite simple – every game will come with a game-specific, one-time use registration code with each unit sold new at retail. With your Online Pass, you’ll have access to multiplayer online play, group features like online dynasty and leagues, user created content, and bonus downloadable content for your game including, for example, a new driver in Tiger. If the original access code has been redeemed and fans wish to get access to the online content (for example, if you pick up a used copy), you can access a free 7-day trial or additional Online Passes will be available for $10.

What do you mean by “bonus content”? What type of content will that be?

In addition to Online Team Play, Live Tournaments and other modes and features, we expect every product will include additional content as part of its Online Pass. Access to bonus content is included in the purchase of an Online Pass for a particular product. For example, in Tiger Woods PGA TOUR 11, an advanced driver used on the PGA TOUR for play in-game will be included with the Online Pass. Our goal is to provide value to consumers, and this is one piece of that philosophy.

We’ve seen a lot of different publishers, including EA, introduce the concept of registration codes. How is this different, or the same, from others we’ve seen in the past year?

The concept of a code isn’t new, and in fact it’s something we’ve used in recent years with Live Season in FIFA and with Dynamic DNA in NBA LIVE. The Online Pass though accelerates what we’ve done in the past and is unique in that all users will have access to the premium online services and content we provide. Customers who purchase the games new for the full retail price get access to online services and features, as well as bonus game content; other customers will have access to all the online services and content for $10. GameStop has also offered their support. Gamers will be able to purchase access to the Online Pass and additional DLC from EA at their stores and through their website.

Why charge anything for online access?

First, it’s important to be clear that all users have access to premium content. I’ve been here now for more than a decade, and the investments we’re making in developing for digital are profound, compared to even a few years ago. And it makes sense. When we see how many people are playing all of our games online, consumers are telling us that competition is endemic to sports in a way that most people don’t get just by playing a game alone on their couch. As a result, we’ve made a significant investment to offer the most immersive online experience available. We want to reserve EA SPORTS online services for people who pay EA to access them.

Is this intended to combat second sale?

We actually view the second sale market as an opportunity to develop a direct relationship with our consumers, and with Online Pass everyone has access to the same premium online services and content regardless of how and where you buy the game. In order to continue to enhance the online experiences that are attracting nearly five million connected game sessions a day, again, we think it’s fair to get paid for the services we provide and to reserve these online services for people who pay EA to access them. In return, we’ll continue to invest in creating great games and offer industry-leading online services to extend the game experience to everyone. I don’t think even the harshest cynic can argue with that and instead I think fans will see the value we’re committing to deliver when they see all the services, features and bonus content that is extending the life of their products.

And a link to their Online Pass page so you can read all the gritty details:

Congratulations EA Sport, aren’t you just so proud of yourselves?

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