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Game makers' take on used game sales unclear in wake of Xbox One policy

Earlier this week, Microsoft announced that it would leave it up to game publishers to decide how and if used games could be bought and sold for the Xbox One. But Activision, EA, Take-Two and Ubisoft all either declined to comment on what their policy will be or said they hadn't yet decided.

Activision officials acknowledged the question but didn't respond with an answer. A Take-Two official said the company wasn't commenting yet. Ubisoft officials said they were still examining Microsoft's recently announced policy on used games.

"We’re just now getting more information about Microsoft’s plan and starting to examine what it means for our games," a spokesperson told Polygon. "We don’t have anything new to share right now, but rest assured we’ll continue to focus on providing the best experience for our customers no matter how or where they buy our games."

Electronic Arts officials declined to comment, saying that they too were still examining Microsoft's recently announced policy. EA's Frank Gibeau did confirm that their "online passes" won't be returning for Xbox One or PlayStation 4 games.

EA's online pass was a one-time code required to access certain online features like multiplayer first introduced to the publisher's games in late 2009. The system was designed to curb used sales of video games and generate revenue from players who purchased games secondhand, requiring them to pay a fee to get a new code.

Gibeau did say that EA's online pass was "dead. We deep sixed it."

"For gen 3 [PS3, Xbox 360 and Wii], for all products from Electronic Arts, we have discontinued online pass for our new titles as well as eliminating it for existing games," Gibeau said. "The feedback from players was not great. It was something that we've been looking very carefully at over the last 10 weeks or so about all of our policies and practices as a company and how they're being received, and we're evaluating each one of them and making changes accordingly. In the case of online pass, our assessment was that it was a business practice that frankly our fans didn't like and it wasn't serving a purpose so we discontinued it."

What remains unclear is if the publisher will be using the Xbox One's built-in capabilities to somehow charge for used game sales.

And EA wasn't the only company to toy with different concepts that would allow them to receive some form of payment tied to used game sales.

Sony notably attempted to stem piracy on the PSP with an online entitlement voucher for 2010's SOCOM: U.S. Navy SEALs Fireteam Bravo 3. Publishers Warner Bros., THQ, Ubisoft and others followed suit, and online passes became a common practice for console and handheld games.

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