In these online centered times, online titles are one of the most popular types of gaming. What would the Call of Duty titles be without online play? Online DLC through the way of map packs and outfitting is a major financial draw for companies because of how gamers like to play online. EA has lots of games and lots of them have online play but it’s that time of year again where EA swoop in to shut down some older titles’ online component. This year the following titles are being shut down forever:

From August:
ARMY OF TWO for PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360
ARMY OF TWO Demo for Xbox 360
Battlefield 2142 Demo for PC
Battlefield 2: Modern Combat for Xbox 360
Battlefield 2: Modern Combat Demo for Xbox 360
Medal of Honor Airborne for PlayStation Portable
Medal of Honor Heroes 2 for PlayStation Portable and Wii
NASCAR 09 for PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 (North America)
NCAA Basketball 10 for PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360
NCAA Football 10 for PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360
Need for Speed Most Wanted for PC and Xbox 360
Need for Speed Undercover for PlayStation Portable;
SKATE for PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360
Tiger Woods PGA TOUR 10 for PlayStation Portable, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 and Wii
Tiger Woods PGA TOUR 11 Demo for PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360

From October:
Madden NFL 10 for PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360
NHL 10 for PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360

A lot of people will probably be quite annoyed with certain titles on that list such as 2007’s Skate. Demo’s you can understand but shutting down full games is something pretty inexcusable. Yes, the reason is usually because of not many people playing the title and EA wanting to shut down the servers to save money, but there usually are still people playing these games. When I tried Medal of Honor: Heroes 2 back when I wrote my article on the PSP being dead in the West, there were still many people online and I was able to jump right into a match.

You’ve then got titles like Madden and NHL 10 which came out two years ago, and whilst there’s a constant annual reiteration of the games, that sort of short life span is ridiculous. With sports games, people often grab an older version because they are cheaper so they can see if they like the core game mechanics before shelling out full price for the latest title. I suppose the previous versions wouldn’t be as cheap when factoring in EA’s Online Pass which in turn raises quite an interesting point. Online Passes were brought in by EA to wring money from second hand sales, but why should people buy the title and the pass when a year or two later you won’t be able to play what you just paid the surcharge for?

Last month I started playing Mercenaries 2 on the PC, a three year old game. It has an online mode but, to my surprise, the servers had already been closed. Most of the closures can be seen to make sense with a sequel superseeding the title, but that’s not the case for games like Mercenaries or Medal of Honor Heroes, at least for the Wii and PSP platforms.

People have, in the past, described games as rental. You don’t really own the game because of how you can be banned or locked out of the system. I used to think people who said this were idiots, but with EA’s increasingly limited online service I think they might be onto something.

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