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Electronic Arts discontinues Online Pass, a controversial form of video game DRM

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EA electronic arts logo
EA electronic arts logo

Electronic Arts has a reputation to rebuild, and today the video game company is making one important gesture: VentureBeat reports that EA is getting rid of its oft-loathed Online Pass program. Basically, Online Pass was an attempt to allow Electronic Arts to profit even from second-hand game sales using a form of DRM: it would restrict multiplayer and other online functionality only to users who bought a brand-new copy of the game, or specifically paid EA for a code after their used game purchase.

Recently, however, gamers have begun vocalizing their displeasure at systems that would keep them from enjoying cheaper used games, and both Sony and Microsoft have seemingly backed away from plans to do the same thing with their next-generation consoles. Electronic Arts in particular has been under fire for requiring an always-on internet connection for the latest SimCity, after experiencing crippling server problems that made the game unplayable as a result. While an always-on connection might still be a DRM option for Electronic Arts, at least Online Pass is out. "None of our new EA titles will include that feature," the company told GamesBeat. Other game companies still use similar features, though.