EA’s Evolution of Downloadable Content: Introducting the Online Pass

The Appetizer:

One of EA’s latest endeavors, titled the Online Pass, is included in their latest sports games.  The Online Pass is a new feature that requires a one-time use code that can only be found within the box of the game which will enable players access to use online exclusive capabilities and materials not accessible on the original disc.  If a player decides to trade the game in and someone else purchases it, that new gamer will also have  the ability to access the Online Pass for the game, however, they will need to purchase a new code from EA.

The Main Course

The Dessert

What is so significant about this is that it is an additional answer to the million (or should I say millions) dollar question: how does a videogame company continue to make money off of their released games from the original purchasers and– most importantly- purchasers of used games.  It could be argued that this answer has already been provided through the use of individual microtransaction and game downloads, however, the Online Pass is significant in that it is promoting itself along the lines that Xbox Live / PSN does.  In other words, it is promoting itself as an ever evolving, active network.  The Online Pass does not just offer extra content, but it also offers services— a major difference from just purchasing downloadable content.  These services will be key to attracting original game purchasers to the Online Pass, thus ultimately providing EA an additional revenue stream.

The Overall Meal

3 Stars!

The Doggybag

Do you think the concept of the Online Pass will catch on with consumers?

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