You can thank Electronic Arts for the Online Pass phenomenon that’s now more common than not in games. It all started when the publisher decided to stick it to the second-hand sales market by launching “Project $10”.
Most of the time, the game’s online capabilities are hidden behind these Online Pass activation codes. Sometimes, as is the case with Batman: Arkham City and more recently the upcoming Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning, single player content his held ransom by these Online Passes. This is ordinarily not such an issue, but for first-hand gamers without a reliable internet connection, they effectively remain locked out of content they are entitled to.
EA’s upcoming snowboarding game SSX falls under the EA Sports publishing label and as such will have an Online Pass of its own. This time, however, it actually sounds kind of fair. You’re not going to be locked out of multiplayer if you buy the game second hand.
All copies of SSX, whether brand new or purchased pre-owned, will be able to access the multiplayer aspects of the game. The rewards for participating in online events, however, will be held back from second-hand purchasers until they fork out the extra cash online for an Online Pass.
Basically, winning online events in SSX nets you in-game credits, which in turn are used to upgrade your character, unlock new equipment and, from the sounds of it, buy your way into certain online events. If your game is second-hand, any in-game credits you win will be held back from you until you enter an Online Pass. Once the pass is entered then any withheld winnings will be handed over to you in the game.