This site exists to track the ongoing developments regarding online passes in video games. The primary feature here is The List, in which we have compiled all known games that are employing some form of online pass, so gamers can make an educated purchase decision, whether they choose to support publishers that utilize online passes or not.
What is an Online Pass?
An online pass is a one-time-use code printed on a paper packaged with new retail copies of console video games that must be entered into the gamer’s system in order to unlock portions of the game. Most often when an online pass is utilized, the online multiplayer component of the game is what the pass unlocks. Currently, online passes exist only on Playstation 3 and Xbox 360 games.
Since these codes can only be used once, the portions of the game unlocked by the code will be inaccessible to any subsequent users of the game, such as gamers who buy a game used (whether at a major retailer or via private party sales such as those facilitated by Glyde), those who rent games from a service such as GameFly, and those who borrow games from a friend.
Online passes are typically available for purchase for around $10 on the Playstation Network or Xbox Live for second-hand gamers who wish to access the locked portions of a game.
Who Uses Online Passes?
The following publishers frequently use online passes on recent releases. Each calls their version of the pass by a different name, listed after the publisher.
- Electronic Arts / EA Sports: Online Pass
- Sony Computer Entertainment: PSN Pass
- Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment: Pass Card (?)
- THQ: Online Pass Code
- Codemasters: VIP Pass
- Ubisoft: Uplay Passport
- Namco Bandai: Gold Pass