Battlefield 3 will indeed use Online Pass. Responding on Twitter to a fan asking if a new copy was required to play multiplayer, DICE core gameplay designer Alan Kertz responded, "You can also purchase an online pass for a used copy." Kertz explained the reasoning behind Online Pass to another fan, writing, "Because servers cost money, and used games don't make developers any money."
Of course, the fact that an EA-published title will include Online Pass isn't exactly surprising, and we've suspected as much for Battlefield 3 for months now. What is somewhat surprising is that Battlefield 3's Online Pass is required for all multiplayer access. In the game's predecessor, Battlefield: Bad Company 2, Online Pass granted players extra multiplayer content, but was not required for multiplayer access. Then again, that was before Online Pass started earning millions of dollars.