EA: Online Pass profits didn't balance out reputation damage and player frustration

EA is finally ditching Online Passes so the three-year experiment clearly didn't work out quite as it had hoped, but how bad was it? "The amount of money that we made, it didn't replace the amount of frustration we put on our customers and it didn't offset the reputation damage it caused the company," EA Labels president Frank Gibeau has said at E3. Ah. So quite bad.

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EA is finally ditching Online Passes so the three-year DRM experiment clearly didn't work out quite as it had hoped, but how bad was it? "The amount of money that we made, it didn't replace the amount of frustration we put on our customers and it didn't offset the reputation damage it caused the company," EA Labels president Frank Gibeau has said at E3. Ah. So quite bad.

Gibeau described the scheme as "flat out dumb" in the interview with Joystiq. "So we said 'it's not worth it,' and so the idea was, look, 'don't do stuff like that anymore.'"

He points out, astutely and blimming obviously, that people who bought a used copy of FIFA might still pay for packs in its wildly successful Ultimate Team mode--if only it weren't locked away behind an Online Pass. If you're not sporty, think of buying Mass Effect 3's multiplayer item packs.

"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 explained.

"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."

Following the big announcement, EA started making Online Passes free for older games. And don't worry: Gibeau assures the Online Pass is properly dead and gone; over; finito; kaput. Good.

From The Chatty
  • reply
    June 14, 2013 6:45 AM

    Alice O'Connor posted a new article, EA: Online Pass profits didn't balance out reputation damage and player frustration.

    EA is finally ditching Online Passes so the three-year experiment clearly didn't work out quite as it had hoped, but how bad was it? "The amount of money that we made, it didn't replace the amount of frustration we put on our customers and it didn't offset the reputation damage it caused the company," EA Labels president Frank Gibeau has said at E3. Ah. So quite bad.

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      June 14, 2013 7:06 AM

      EA recanted on DRM? That might explain all the extreme weather we've been having.

      Now, just imaging what might happen if Ubisoft did the same thing.

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        June 14, 2013 7:21 AM

        people forget that origin is actually more forgiving in terms of DRM than steam, it does not require you to be always online. I'm pretty sure they have activation limits, but i don't know how good they are about giving more of them when you run out.

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          June 14, 2013 7:33 AM

          You don't have to be always online to play steam games either. People don't forget how bad Origin is, they know how bad it is. There are tons of people like myself that are not happy with having to have 3 different stores installed just to play games. Between steam, origin and ubisoft's thing I've had enough.

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            June 14, 2013 7:37 AM

            At the same time, as good as Steam is, I'm uncomfortable with the idea of only one store. I do wish however, that EA released on Steam in addition to their own store, maybe offering perks for "buying locally" off of Origin.

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              June 14, 2013 8:59 AM

              yeah thats what i wish they woiuld do as well. I have a few origin games but currently dont even hvae it installed on my computer

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            June 14, 2013 9:57 AM

            The problem isn't the multiple stores, it's the annoying exclusitivity of each that is bothersome.

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          June 14, 2013 7:33 AM

          Steam doesn't require to be online.

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            June 14, 2013 7:37 AM

            you

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            June 14, 2013 8:12 AM

            Yeah though I wish their offline mode was more reliable.

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            June 14, 2013 8:25 AM

            True, but it's not designed to be long term offline. While it does work in a lot of cases, it's not 100%.

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              June 14, 2013 8:30 AM

              it worked for 30 days for me (thats how long i was offline) and i have some people using games offline on their notebook for longer than that (like a year now?). the offline mode has come a long way and i read that there are permanent solutions if you copy certain files unless the game specifically demands that you log in once in a certain timeframe?

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                June 14, 2013 8:35 AM

                I'm aware that it works reasonably well, i've had it offline for over 2 months on my laptop, but it's still not as good as only having to activate online once.

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            June 14, 2013 12:36 PM

            You have to be connected to the internet to put steam in offline mode.

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          June 14, 2013 7:35 AM

          Uh, no. Steam doesn't require an always on connection.

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          June 14, 2013 7:36 AM

          Steam doesn't require you to be always online either. Steam has an offline mode where you can play all your games without the need for an internet connection.

          Once set to offline mode it stays in that mode until you change it back, so you can shut down your PC and when you start up again you can still start up Steam and play your games without an internet connection.

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        June 14, 2013 7:35 AM

        The world's changing and I get that people have to try and protect their product and make some money to continue financing games which are just getting more and more expensive. But when it screws over your userbase, it pleases me to see companies realize it and actually react properly. I don't give kudos to EA very often, but they get it here.

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        June 14, 2013 12:57 PM

        Ubisoft doesn't have the online check anymore since like 2011? I know Far Cry 3 worked fine offline in Afghanistan last year.

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      June 14, 2013 7:29 AM

      Lesson learned! Thank. Fucking. Heavens.

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      June 14, 2013 7:39 AM

      Lol I remember renting Mortal Kombat and i couldn't play it online. BRB let me get my credit card out so I can play the game. Lol no. I sent it back.

      Good campaign though

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        June 14, 2013 12:04 PM

        not an EA game right? i think EA let you play online for 2 days if it was a rental. correct me if I'm wrong.

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          June 14, 2013 12:13 PM

          You're correct. EA allowed 2 days. MK9 was published by Warner.