Electronic Arts' President of EA Labels Frank Gibeau says that its online pass system was dumb, that it is dead and that it will never be coming back. EA announced back in May that it would wind down its online pass system. The system required consumers who purchased an EA game to punch a code in to get access to multiplayer and other game extras. If someone purchased that same game used they would then have to pay a small fee – usually around $10.
"It's dead, it's dead, it's deep-sixed, it's at the bottom of the Mariana Trench," Electronic Arts' President of EA Labels Frank Gibeau told Joystiq.
Gibeau went on to say that there is no strategy to bring Online Pass back, and the whole idea of forcing consumers to input codes to unlock core features was "flat out dumb." He also said that the decision to kill off the system was not because it expected to get some sort of solution from Microsoft or Sony.
To EA's credit, it is beginning to sound like EA plans to work around used game purchases and find ways to monetize additional content without putting roadblocks in the way.
"Do used game buyers of FIFA participate in Ultimate Team? Yeah. Is it possible they might buy DLC? Yeah. Frankly, we're being more nuanced and sophisticated about it. Before we used a blunt instrument. Now we're going to be like 'Look, they own it, they bought the disc and it's theirs. They have a legitimate right for not doing anything illegal.'" Gibeau continued, "If we want to be progressive about it, we will make online services available to them that if they want to buy they can, but they don't have to. At least that way we participate in some monetization. The reputational damage [Online Pass] was causing us was in excess of the dollars we were making."
If Gibeau is being sincere then EA just might be on the road to redemption on this issue. It sounds like they are starting to understand that just because they didn't get a taste of a used game sale doesn't mean they can't make a lot of money on extras that fans actually want. For example, if someone buys Battlefield 4 used on PS4 and sees that EA has released extra multiplayer maps or full expansions like it did with Battlefield 3 then they will most definitely buy that extra content.