Perspective: Why Did EA Scrap The Online Pass Scheme

After  being named the ‘Worst Company in America’ for the second year running, many attributed their recently abolition of online pass scheme as baby steps toward redemption. As gamers celebrate this supposed victory, are darker forces at work?

Scrapping online passes was a fantastic opportunity to save face, creating the impression that they’re taking on player feedback. But does it honestly take three years of market research to ascertain that consumers are unhappy with your marketing strategies. 2 years ago I would have told you that I considered online passes a punishment for purchasing the game legally. Something just doesn’t add up…

…Online passes make money and EA are a business. It’s in the interests of themselves, their employees and shareholders to continue doing so. Somehow they’ve got to shore the gap lost with the removal of online passes and what better avenue to pursue than micro-transactions.

EA’s penchant for in-game purchases, favours a demographic unwilling to devote the time, but with excess capital to spare. Online passes counter micro-transactions; you’re not going to buy spectre packs in Mass Effect 3 if you can’t play the multiplayer, suggesting that the potential profits outweigh losses.

Do EA care about being voted the worst company in America; they certainly don’t believe that’s the case. Voting ensued when the SIM City debacle lay fresh in everyone’s mind, Peter Moore sums up the companies disposition in the following quote “So here’s my response to this poll: We can do better. We will do better. But I am damn proud of this company, the people around the globe who work at EA, the games we create and the people that play them. The tallest trees catch the most wind. At EA we remain proud and unbowed.”

The destruction of the online pass scheme was a smart move by EA, but as the standing ovation dies down, it’s clear as day that the move isn’t as sincere as we thought.  If EA really want to get into our good books, how about bringing about the return of game manuals, toning down the use of micro-transactions and stopping this jibber-jabber about an exclusively online future.

Written by: Kamara

Avid video gamer, freelance journalist, community manager and aspiring editor.

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