For better or worse, Online Passes aren't going anywhere. No matter how much we gamers might complain about them. I think at this point we can either roll with it or get out of gaming, because the good ol' days of being free of this sort of hassle disappeared the moment when consoles being online became the standard instead of the exception.
Even though I don't really have a problem with them, I do think Online Passes have a long way to go. Having to type in a 25 character alpha-numeric code on a d-pad kind of sucks, but next generation most consoles will probably have cameras capable of reading a barcode or something to make redeeming goodies like this a little easier on everyone. Also, the sooner publishers look into an authentication process which allows players to get single-player content locked behind a code while offline the better. I mean, yeah, check the code if the console ever does go online with the game, but you don't need to screw the people without internet access.
Initially I was against the concept of the Online Pass. I felt like it was just a cheap way for the developers to make a quick buck at the expense of the used market. Then I had a brainwave and realized that the things also act like DRM, and a pretty benevolent form of it at that. Pirates gonna pirate, of course, but they're not going to be playing any upcoming games online using the company's servers unless they shell out the cash for the privilege.
If you think of the Online Passes as DRM they're about as unobtrusive as entering a CD-Key was for computer games a decade ago, which is pretty reasonable. Compare the Online Pass we console gamers have to some of the stuff the PC crowd has had to put up with, and suddenly it doesn't look quite as evil and draconian. Right now, a lot of the flaming hate for them is simply a PR problem, and one a good marketing crew could have avoided by phrasing it as unobtrusive DRM instead of as a dig at GameStop. That's already out of the bag, but they could probably still do some damage control with that line of thought.
Now if you'll excuse me, I'm off to key in a code so I can play the Catwoman section of Batman: Arkham City
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