Some disturbing news has rolled in today: EA’s online passes can expire, as outed by a NeoGAF member and several other members of the forum. He posted that his brand new copy of Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit contained an expired Online Pass. While generally, no games should have an expiration date when it comes to this feature, some cases do arise where they do (Dragon Age 2, Dead Space 2).
EA has commented that re-downloading the Online Pass or obtaining it directly from them is free, although we imagine that it could, in some cases, not be an instantaneous thing. Let’s be honest: no one wants to be patient when they get a new game.
Online passes are a way to diffuse the used game market by making it so that buyers of used titles still have to pay something to the publisher. But how is EA going to seperate those calling in about expired codes and those calling in about missing codes? Since expired codes would be inactive, then there theoretically would be no proof that the purchase a consumer made wasn’t used.
As bad as this sounds, at least it gives kids a reason to open their games early before the holidays, I guess. Unfortunately, the downside of that is that the only way to see if you have an expired code or not is by voiding the retail return policy. It looks like consumers won’t be able to win either way.
[Image via Joystiq.]