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Tuesday, May 11, 2010

One step further - EA Online Pass required to play online .

Electronics Arts` aggressive promotion campaign, offering customers bonus content when buying shrink-wrapped copies of games like Dragon age: Origins, Battlefield: Bad Company 2 or Mass Effect 2, has proven in recent months to be a success. Due to the facts, the publisher plans to extend that initiative to their sport games business,taking it further with a new Online Pass .

Arriving by way of a packed-in, game-specific registration code, the Online Pass includes all new copies of Xbox 360 and PS3 releases from EA Sports and facilitates access to "online services, features and bonus content." Those who rent or buy a second hand EA Sports title can gain access to the Online Pass through a seven-day trial or buy a registration code right away for only $10.

The Online Pass initiative will debut on June 8 with Tiger Woods PGA Tour 11.The publishing label has updated the website with a detailed and easy to understand FAQ about the Online Pass:

"Activate your exclusive Tiger Woods PGA TOUR 11 Online pass to unlock the following: Online Team Play…[and] Online multiplayer modes," reads the pass (emphasis added). EA Sports reps later confirmed to GameSpot the pass would be required for any online play, with EA Sports senior vice president Andrew Wilson elaborating in the aforementioned FAQ.

"We've made a significant investment to offer the most immersive online experience available," said the executive. "We want to reserve EA Sports online services for people who pay EA to access them."

Andrew Wilson explained the decision thusly: "First, it's important to be clear that all users have access to premium content. … When we see how many people are playing all of our games online, consumers are telling us that competition is endemic to sports in a way that most people don't get just by playing a game alone on their couch."

Wilson's answer was a bit more slippery when asked about whether or not the move was to combat used game sales. "We actually view the second sale market as an opportunity to develop a direct relationship with our consumers, and with Online Pass everyone has access to the same premium online services and content regardless of how and where you buy the game," he explained.

Wilson continued, "In order to continue to enhance the online experiences that are attracting nearly five million connected game sessions a day, again, we think it's fair to get paid for the services we provide and to reserve these online services for people who pay EA to access them."

Tiger Woods PGA TOUR 11 focuses on it`s online modes.Console players (PS3 and Xbox 360) can compete in an online version of the prestigious Ryder Cup tournament. The PS3 and 360 editions of the game (which is also due out on Wii and iPhone) will let up to 24 players play in four-person teams in the biennial tournament`s signature events, which alternates shots, fourballs and singles. The Ps3 edition will also support Sony Move motion-sensing peripheral, due out this fall.

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