FIFA 12, The Online Pass, And Why I Won’t Be Playing Anymore
The controversial online pass has claimed its first victim, so it seems.
It seems the online pass has taken its first genuine victim – at least, the first one I know about. FIFA 12 will no longer be being played in my flat, and I will not be in the market for future iterations of the game for the foreseeable future.
It’s not just the online pass, I should point out. The tackling system has me utterly stumped. Playing against the AI is an exercise in futility that I could do without – so I’m going to do without it. This is an entirely subjective standpoint and one I know isn’t shared by the whole world, before you start, but it’s got to me.
It’s got to me and it’s made it so I don’t want to play the game in single-player.
Now I know it’s still great against other people. But I don’t have an online pass, and I’m not going to buy one. I’ve made it abundantly clear what I think about this system elsewhere, so no need to go into much detail beyond this: I think they’re gouging nonsense that punish customers rather than the stores that are (apparently) in the wrong.
So that’s it – a combination of arse single-player and locked-out multiplayer that I absolutely refuse to pay to be unlocked means, after a few years of flirting with the series, I’m done with FIFA as far as I can see.
But what would happen if EA didn’t use the online pass? If that idea was – as it should have been – laughed straight out of the meeting room and the person who suggested it was fired, from a cannon, into the sun? What then?
Well, if I stuck with FIFA, EA wouldn’t be getting my money as I would be buying second-hand. It’s in my nature – it’s what I’ve always done, as a frugal (“tight”) northerner. They wouldn’t be getting a guaranteed top-up fee from me as this is the world where online passes don’t exist. So why would they bother living in this world if there’s no profit in it for them?
Well I’d still own the game. I’d still have it in my possession. I’d still have access to online elements including the PlayStation Store. On there, digital items and downloads can be sold, commonly known as DLC – or ‘downloadable content’.
Using this fabled ‘Dee El See’ system, EA could put up items like, say, updated kits or squads and charge a nominal fee for them. Maybe ‘legends’ teams. Maybe they could invent some kind of brutally addictive card game that I would get hopelessly addicted to and put in far more than the £6-10 they would get from me for the online pass…
Ohnowait. Isn’t it crazy to assume that not putting instant punitive measures on half your audience means you might still be able to make money by offering them content they actually want, and by treating them with some modicum of respect and rewarding loyalty.
Look at hats on Team Fortress 2, for example. Just… just look at them. That’s the stick by which everything else in the world should be measured.
But this isn’t just against EA – it’s against any company using a one-time pass system to lock out content from legitimate consumers. FIFA is the first time this has happened, that the online pass (and shitty single-player) has forced my hand like this. The way things are going, I can’t see it being the last.
The minute we stop getting persecuted for the apparent crimes of shops – it’s not the consumer that’s in the wrong, so don’t treat us like we’re the ones with our hands in the cookie jar – is the minute I’m willing to sit down and start paying attention again.
For now, I’ve sworn off football games (aside from my heroin… I mean Football Manager addiction) for the foreseeable future. In a world where online passes didn’t exist, I’d still have a reason to care.