Users complain of expired EA 'Online Pass' codes

Though Electronic Arts games regularly feature an "Online Pass" to activate multiplayer and other features, it would appear that the codes include a hidden expiration date. Users on EA's own forums have been complaining of the situation since late October, specifically citing issues with Need for Speed Hot Pursuit. Today, there continues to be a problem, according to users on EA's forums and NeoGAF. Based on our tests with new copies of Needs for Speed Hot Pursuit and Medal of Honor, included one-use codes are no longer working. "I ordered a brand new copy of Need for Speed Hot Pursuit on PS3 from Amazon a couple of days back and received it today," NeoGAF user Guy Legend wrote. "Putting in the online code that came with the game gives the message telling me that the code is either incorrect or no longer valid." In two different tests in the office using the PlayStation 3 versions of Hot Pursuit and Medal of Honor, an error message informed us: "The code you entered may not be correct or may no longer be valid." Shacknews reader Kevin Miller checked a code of EA MMA on his Xbox Live Gold account that Shacknews provided for him, noting that the code provided did not work. The tested copy of EA MMA, like Hot Pursuit and Medal of Honor, was brand new. Miller did note he was able to access all EA MMA online features freely without the code, however. Shacknews is still investigating EA MMA's requirement for the 'Online Pass.'

EA MMA's one-use code on Xbox 360 is no longer valid

NeoGAF user Cels complained of the same issue with the PlayStation 3 version of the game, and has been jumping through customer service hoops. In that situation, according to the forum post, EA customer service has provided new codes, which are also invalid. After a "fourth ticket" with EA's service line, the forum user was told "there's something wrong with [EA's] system and that the online codes won't work." It is unclear if EA intended for the codes to expire or if its validation is associated with the platform's network, having been 'flushed out' of the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 network. Though this seems unlikely, Shacknews has contacted representatives at Sony and Microsoft for comment. [Update] A Sony spokesperson told Shacknews: "The system doesn't flush out older codes...any code with an expiration date is defined by the publisher." The paper inserts included in copies of Need for Speed Hot Pursuit and Medal of Honor, which house each game's one-use codes, makes no mention of its ability to expire. The inserts do stipulate that EA may "retire online features" after 30 days of posting notice on its Service Update site. This notice however is specific to EA's regular server closure for older titles. EA MMA's one-use code is printed on the back of the game's manual, but offers the same text as the PS3 inserts and makes no mention of expiration. EA's terms of service (ToS) only mentions expiration its online title's subscription services and the trial periods for select content.

It is not uncommon for DLC promo codes to expire, as evidenced by the included content code in BioWare's Dragon Age Origins; however, 'Online Passes' unlock gameplay modes.

Additionally, neither the PlayStation Store or Xbox Live Marketplace offers users the ability to purchase an online pass for Need for Speed Hot Pursuit. A prompt within Hot Pursuit does give players the ability to purchase the pass; however, it is not listed on either platform's digital storefront. The PlayStation Store offers the Medal of Honor "Online Pass" for $9.99; however, it is not available on the Xbox Live Marketplace. EA MMA online pass is not available for purchase on either platform's online service; however, the "full game" is available for sale on the PlayStation Network for $20. GameStop is selling the online pass for games on its site, including EA's MMA title. Shacknews has contacted Electronic Arts regarding, but the company has yet to respond at the time of publishing. [Dragon Age Origins DLC code image via Shacknews reader Ron Tailor]