Here’s another reason to hate online passes

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HorseManure

Every year, EA (and other publishers as well) shut down the online servers that power the multiplayer aspects of some of their older games – making them unplayable online. Though it tends to affect older sports games, there’s a certain sting in knowing that a game in your library, something you’ve paid money for, has effectively been neutered.

EA’s released a list of 11 games that, as of April 13, will have their multiplayer functionality severed. Worse is that among them is a game that shipped with an online pass.

Here’s the list of games that’ll go dark next month:

April 13, 2012 — Online Services Shutdown

  • BOOM BLOX Bash Party for Wii
  • Burnout™ Revenge for Xbox 360
  • EA Create for PC, PlayStation 3, Wii and Xbox 360
  • EA Sports Active 2.0 for PlayStation 3, Wii and Xbox 360
  • EA Sports Active NFL Training Camp for Wii
  • FIFA 10 for PlayStation Portable and Wii
  • The Godfather™ II for PC, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360
  • MMA for PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360
  • Need for Speed™ ProStreet for PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360
  • The Saboteur™ (loss of The Midnight Club access) for PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360
  • Spare Parts for PlayStation 3 Xbox 360

They’re mostly old games that nobody cares about, but the fact that EA’s MMA is shutting down just 18 months after release is a bit of a roundhouse kick to the face. The game required an online pass for multiplayer – something second hand buyers of the game would have paid extra for. sure, it’s easy to say that players should migrate to the undoubtedly superior UFC Undisputed – but that’s not the point. when they first started with this online pass nonsense, publishers justified them as a way to finance the set up and maintenance of multiplayer servers, and shutting down these servers a year and a half on just shows how little these publishers care for their customers.

As I said, these games are old and hardly anybody cares – but it’s a terrible precedent and it won’t be too long before a game you really care about gets the multiplayer axe. It would sting less if these games had local network functionality – but increasingly, more and more focus has been put on online services like Xbox Live and Sony’s SEN. It’s becoming frighteningly clear that we’re no longer buying games when we hand over R600 to retailers – we’re just renting them for a long time.

If you’ve paid for an online pass, you ought to demand a refund – or insist that games get patched up to allow for peer-to-peer networking.

Last Updated: March 20, 2012

Geoffrey Tim

Editor. I'm old, grumpy and more than just a little cynical. One day, I found myself in possession of a NES, and a copy of Super Mario Bros 3. It was that game that made me realise that games were more than just toys to idly while away time - they were capable of being masterpieces. I'm here now, looking for more of those masterpieces.

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