Electronic Arts has announced it will be closing down the servers for a number of titles over the next few weeks, including those that required paid online passes to activate. This marks the first time the company will be closing down servers for titles that feature the company’s Online Pass initiative.
According to an EA representative, the dwindling activity of the games is the reason for the closure of the titles as EA’s policy is to turn off servers for the online portions of games that make up “less than 1%” of the EA customers’ online activity.
The games that will be affected on April 13 are:
• BOOM BLOX Bash Party
• Burnout Revenge
• EA Create
• EA Sports Active
• EA Sports Active NFL Training Camp
• FIFA 10
• The Godfather II
• Need for Speed ProStreet
• The Saboteur (Midnight Club access)
• Spare Parts
In addition to the above, iPhone titles such as Battlefield 3: Aftershock, Ghost Harvest, and Fantasi Safari will also see their online features be terminated on March 31.
Analysis: Clearly, Electronic Arts has become the leader of “games as a service” model and that doesn’t appear to be changing. This looks like a somewhat understandable decision that apparently affects a very small amount of customers. Then you look at competitors like Valve and their Steam service, and you see that they still support the Counter Strike franchise even though I’m certain that the title would have a lot more traffic than the previously mentioned EA titles. But it does hint at how EA treats their customers as walking wallets rather than as actual individuals.
Honestly, I’m strongly against this. This mostly comes from the fact that there’s an online pass thrown into the mix. I was under the impression that the online pass was utilized to pay for the price of maintaining the services, and it would appear this isn’t the case. In fact, the more I think about it, the more I’m under the impression that this is EA’s way of forcing customers to purchase their product sooner and at a higher price. What if a customer bought one of the following titles in the last week? They have very limited access to a main part of the game, and some of the games are just two years old.
This may even be seen as forcing customers to purchase the newest iteration of a title because the previous rendition is rendered partly useless. EA seems to just be up to their old tricks, and again, I find myself shaking my head in disgust. This is exactly what some people were worried about when the online pass was introduced to the gaming industry. Bravo to EA for doing what we all inevitably saw happening.