I talked about this issue before. It is not an easy issue because it is all about money. Companies wants more money and gamers don't want to spend more money. It is just about this. It is not about some kind of inherent right. It is about money.
First, on-line passes have several flaws. Each is attached to account, so if you have several people using the same machine, not everyone can't play on-line with one pass. Second, it is susceptible to fails, like printing errors. Third, you can't buy them outside the on-line stores. If they solve those problems, like allowing game stores to sell the codes or to buy family passes cheaper, the pass will become less troublesome.
Now, let's take a look in the arguments used against the passes. First, the argument that multiplayer was free before so why we should pay for it now. It is the most flawed argument I heard. It is like complaining that a pizza parlor gave free bread sticks before but now they don't give them free anymore. It is their product, they have the right to sell it or give it. Being free before does not create some kind of rule that once free it must always be free. Food can be free if you want to go hunting or harvesting yourself. But because it was free before, you can't just take food from the market without paying. It goes for gaming too.
Second, the argument that they cover the server costs with DLC. DLC have their own costs so it is not the most effective way to cover the expense. And there is the fact that not the majority of the players buy the DLC anyway.
Another argument is that used buyers are costumers too. Yes, they are costumers, but not of the publisher/developer. See, if you buy a brand new car at the saler and it come with a defective AC, you can go back to the saler or even the manufacturer and demand repairs. But if you buy the 5 year old car from your neighbor and the AC is not working, it is with your neighbor that you need to talk. If you take your car to the manufacturer, they have no obligation to repair it. The same goes for games. If you go to GameStop and buy a second-hand game and getting at home the disc does not read, it is GameStop obligation to solve the problem, not the publisher.
The last argument I hear a lot is how troublesome is to input the codes, instead of allowing the player to go directly to the game. Yes, that one minute, tops, you lose inputting the code is very precious, apparently. The funny thing is that PC gamers have being doing it for years and just when consoles start doing it is that it become a problem.
Now, many people suggest that publishers must 'reward' people buying new instead of 'punishing' the used market. Good, right? Except that when publishers decide to give free DLC with new games, it become 'holding content at ransom'. Yes, giving things with new games is not a reward, it is extortion. So, what publishers can do? Oh, yeah, nothing.
Because that is what the gamers complaining about on-line passes wants. The maintenance of the status quo. They don't want to spend on single dime more than what they are used to spend. The gaming media, being all for their readers, will never put themselves against their public's opinion.
The true is: on-line passes does not affect the people buying new, the publisher/developer consumer. They still pay the same amount of money for games as before. They have no reason to change this policy because a bunch of gamers who buy second-hand don't like to spend more money for the games.
But hey, of course I am in the wrong side here. Because every time you are against the 'little man' and for the 'big evil corporation' you are wrong. It does not matter that you can see the reason they have to do it and after analyzing the situation, coming to the conclusion that it is not a problem to you.
In the end, it is not about the rightness of the practice, it is all about money. Nobody likes to lose or expend more money. Neither the consumer, neither the companies. On-line passes, at my eyes, are not a violation of consumer's rights or an evil to be fought. And if you are really against it, do not buy games with a pass. It shouldn't be that hard.