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Wait…Online Passes can expire?

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EA started it all with Project 10 dollar – a means of getting people to buy games new, to stem the growing tide of the 2nd hand games market. Mostly. This is done by restricting access to online multiplayer, unless the player inputs an access code that’s included with new copies of games. It’s simple; don’t buy a game new and you can’t play online without incurring extra expense.

Well, it seems you not only have to buy new – but have to buy quickly too – because those online codes can expire.

It was all brought to light by a neoGAF reader who purchased the year-old Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit – only to find that the online access code that was shipped with his new, sealed copy of the game had expired. According to EA’s EULA codes can, and indeed will expire. The fine folks from Joystiq poked further, and found that "As a rule, no Online Pass should expire, but a few titles will have a time limit on their use, even for new purchases." Getting a new pass will cost purchasers not a thing, but there’s the pain of having to go through EA’s customer support to do so.

While I understand publisher’s needs to make money – games are business, afterall – there’s a better way to do it than by being dicks – and these online passes just serve as stilted DRM for consoles. According to Joystiq, “Dragon Age 2, for example, has an Online Pass that expires on March 31, 2012, according to EA’s EULA description.” Which is just , as far as I’m concerned, just ANOTHER reason not to buy Dragon Age 2.

Last Updated: December 5, 2011

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