Analysts discuss impact of EA Sports Online Pass

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Analysts discuss impact of EA Sports Online Pass
Over at IndustryGamers, several analysts have chimed in on EA's latest assault on used game sales: The EA Sports Online Pass. The pass will offer players access to online features -- up to and possibly including online multiplayer -- on all future EA Sports titles starting with Tiger Woods PGA Tour 11. Should someone buy a game used, additional passes can be purchased for $10. The overall consensus among analysts: It's a good thing and a smart move on EA's part.

According to Wedbush Morgan's Michael Pachter, it only makes sense that EA should be compensated for rendering online services. He noted that EA "currently does not get paid" by those who purchase used games and that the pass "is ensuring that second-hand purchasers will pay something for the maintenance of the server network and for access to premium content."

The majority of analysts agreed with Pachter, with EEDAR's Jesse Divnich noting that games now extend far beyond their own physical media. "Seven years ago, when you purchased Grand Theft Auto for $50, the entire experience was encapsulated on a DVD," said Divnich, "in 2010 that is no longer the case." He added that it is "perfectly reasonable" for EA to expect payment for features that aren't included directly on the disc. Also, DFC Intelligence's David Cole expects more companies to pursue similar programs in the future.

Meanwhile, Lazard Capital Markets' Cole Sebastian referred to the program as "a double-edged sword for publishers." While it may lower used sales, said Sebastian, it also diminishes the resale value of games that customers would trade in to purchase new ones.
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