EA has confirmed that new copies of upcoming releases Battlefield 3 and Mass Effect 3 will ship with online passes.
Designed both to discourage and monetise second-hand game sales, as well as offer a way to fund the expenses of running online gaming servers, the online pass system requires second-hand buyers to pay for access to multiplayer features in EA games.
Responding to a fan who asked if he needed to buy a new copy of Battlefield 3 to play over Xbox Live, core gameplay designer Alan Kertz said on Twitter (via MP1st):"You can also purchase an online pass for a used copy."
He later explained that the online pass system was being used "because servers cost money, and used games don't make developers any money."
Meanwhile, EA said yesterday that Mass Effect 3: Galaxy at War features can only be activated via an online pass code found in every new copy of the game.