The online pass that EA will include in SSX at the end of February is a little unique. In fact, it's a lot unique compared to what the company has done in the past. Today, EA told gaming sites what to expect when they get their games.

Here's the statement EA Sports sent out regarding the online pass included with the new SSX:

As you know, all EA Sports games for the Xbox 360 and PS3 have included a game-specific EA Sports Online Pass since June 2010. This is a one-time use registration code with each unit sold new at retail that allows access to online services and features, as well as bonus game content.  Once activated, additional passes will be available for $10. Thus, all new copies of SSX will include a code for Online Pass. EA Sports has made a significant investment to offer immersive online services and features.  We want to reserve these online services for people who pay EA to access them.

In SSX, players without an Online Pass are able to compete and play in both of SSX's online game modes, Explore and Global Events with no restrictions. In Global Events, the top finishers from each event are awarded with in-game credits. These in-game credits earned during play will not be awarded to the player if they do not have an Online Pass; these credits will be stored so that at any time, if a player redeems an Online Pass code, all the credits that they had previously earned in Global Events will be immediately awarded to them.

Economy balance makes it possible to unlock all available content and allows you to participate in all event drops across both Explore and Global Events, with credits earned solely in Explore.

Join me in saying, "wow, that sounds totally…fair."

I hate online passes. In fact, I wrote an editorial for this site regarding what online passes take away from brand new games. But, in EA's history of bringing these things to fruition, the way they're handling the process with SSX is actually okay from where I stand. Gamers can still play online if that's what they want to do right out of the gates, and their progress will even be saved for whenever they do choose to use their code.

Even better, those that rent the game will be able to play online without spending $10. If they just rent the game for a few rides and then return it, they'll have no need for the credits that the pass unlocks. They save scratch and get the same experience they would have without the online pass.

SSX will launch for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 on February 28th, 2012.

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