Destructoid has an interesting interview with Frank Gibeau, head of EA Labels, regarding the company’s recent announcement that they were ending their “Online Pass” system. These passes prevented customers who bought EA games used from being able to access many features of those games. According to Gibeau:
“We’re not crafting a strategy to bring [Online Pass] back, you will not input codes to unlock your game, it’s not going to happen… 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. So we said ‘it’s not worth it,’ and so the idea was, look, ‘don’t do stuff like that anymore.’
“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 it was causing us was in excess of the dollars we were making.”
If taken at face value, this all sounds fantastic. It would be wonderful if EA has truly learned their lesson and are beginning to make smart decisions. However, EA has shown repeatedly that they can not be entirely trusted to be honest with their customers, and so this should all be taken with a grain of salt.