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EA Introduces "Online Pass" To Get In On Used Games Market 223

Posted by Soulskill
from the gee-thanks dept.
EA Sports has unveiled a new feature that they hope will help them get a piece of the lucrative used games market: the Online Pass. Each of their new titles will come with a one-time code that allows access to "premium" content and features. Players who buy the games used can get the same content, but will need to pay $10 for the privilege. "According to EA, the content can include anything from title updates and downloads to features like online leagues — and even online gameplay and multiplayer modes. ... EA will offer 10-day trials of Pass content so that users can see what they would be getting. So far, EA seems to be limiting the premium add-on experiment to its sports portfolio. ... The company has apparently gained the support of retailer GameStop, which has been watching with a close eye efforts on the part of publishers to discourage its thriving used games business. According to the retailer, encouraging premium content add-ons still benefits GameStop, since it sells PlayStation Network and Microsoft Points cards. It praised EA's Online Pass as 'forward-thinking.'"
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EA Introduces "Online Pass" To Get In On Used Games Market

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  • Re:cheating the laws (Score:5, Interesting)

    by redscare2k4 (1178243) on Tuesday May 11, 2010 @06:42AM (#32167150)

    I've already heard about this. Is not patches and bugfixes they're aiming at. Its more like "our new FPS comes with the incredible amount of 2!! multiplayer maps, and as a free DLC you get another 10maps!!". Of course if you got the game used, you've got to ditch $10 bucks to get those 10 maps. But they're totally optional, right? :D

    Seems game companies like Ubisoft and EA are keen on sending more ammunition to ppl defending piracy to be used against them. Oh well...

  • by indytx (825419) on Tuesday May 11, 2010 @06:44AM (#32167152)
    EA already uses "Service Updates" as an excuse to stop supporting online play after a certain period of time for many of its titles. http://www.ea.com/2/service-updates [ea.com] Now, it's going to restrict the ability to even update the game? FTA, "According to EA, the content can include anything from title updates and downloads . . . ." So, to paraphrase, if I want to play my game on another console, or my console croaks and I replace it, I might not be able to download the updates (and there will be updates because the title shipped will be buggy) without paying again?
  • Re:cheating the laws (Score:5, Interesting)

    by redscare2k4 (1178243) on Tuesday May 11, 2010 @06:45AM (#32167160)

    Also (and sorry about the double post), game companies seem to forget that people who sell their games more often than not use that money to BUY MORE GAMES. Game companies are already getting benefits from the used game market, but as they can't put a figure in their anual reports, they're blind and think they're getting nothing.

  • by HungryHobo (1314109) on Tuesday May 11, 2010 @06:45AM (#32167164)

    To bring the book industry into the 21st century I propose a system whereby printed books be changed such that instead of the second half of the book you get a code which will allow you to access the end of the story through the publishers website.
    The ending shall be a free add-on which you may only access through our online service.
    You will be prohibited from transfering access to the ending to anyone since it's a service rather than an item.

    If you want to know the ending after you've bought a book second hand you'll have to pay a 10 dollar fee to us.

  • They're all evil. (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 11, 2010 @06:48AM (#32167176)
    I don't get it when people say that EA "has changed" and that Activision is "more evil than EA". They're both just as evil as the other one is. They don't care about you, the consumer. Well they do care about gouging the consumer for all the cash that they can. We need to show them that we will not tolerate this. We have to stop playing games from these publishers. That means don't purchase it. That means don't play it at a friends house. And that means don't pirate it. Tell your friends about this and tell them to tell their friends. If word gets around, maybe they'll act less evil than they are now (not likely, but you never know).
  • Re:cheating the laws (Score:1, Interesting)

    by cybereal (621599) on Tuesday May 11, 2010 @06:57AM (#32167216) Homepage

    I have to disagree very strongly as someone who supports the concept of first sale doctrine in a highly service-oriented economy. All that EA is effectively doing here is representing what they offer in terms of a service that has classically been silently included in the price of a title. So, in effect, this action is making it clear that they are not just selling a game but additional service offered through the internet of some sort. Whether you feel it's worth the $10 or not is your choice, you still get the game to play and sell as you see fit. No violation or circumvention of first sale is made, and what's more, there is better transparency about what you are purchasing when you pay full price vs. used.

    If anything should come of this, it really ought to be stores like Gamestop selling used copies for greater than 5 stupid dollars difference from the retail price. Not that I would have before, but I certainly wouldn't pay for any used game with this sort of secondary service offering if it was not at least $15 cheaper than current MSRP.

  • EA Sports (Score:5, Interesting)

    by lyinhart (1352173) on Tuesday May 11, 2010 @07:08AM (#32167270)
    It's interesting that they're trying this experiment out with their sports video games. Sports video games released on an annual basis go down in price faster than any other genre. You can find a full boxed copy of a sports title from just a few years ago for under 5 USD. So by the time really cheap used copies hit the market, the sports season for that particular title is already over and EA is prepping for the release of the next year's edition.
  • by delinear (991444) on Tuesday May 11, 2010 @07:10AM (#32167286)
    That's what I thought. I've stopped even bothering to go into Game/Gamestation here in the UK because of the already ridiculous prices of used games (often you only get a couple of quid off the new price, occasionally the used price is more than the new price, and considering the gamble of a used, possibly scratched disk, it's just not worth it anymore) - add another £5-10 onto the price and I don't see how the used market can survive.
  • by Secret Rabbit (914973) on Tuesday May 11, 2010 @07:20AM (#32167352) Journal

    When I bought Bad Company 2 it came with a VIP code. A one time only VIP code. What ran through my mind is what if I have to format my PS3, or a firmware update requires "servicing" (see former), etc. What happens then? What about going over to a friends house to play? Etc.

    This is nothing but a money grab without any consideration for the needs and *rights* of the legal purchaser.

  • Re:cheating the laws (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Firkragg14 (992271) on Tuesday May 11, 2010 @07:22AM (#32167364)
    It isnt though. When you buy the disc you get the game and 2 maps say. This is the bit that is an item and the bit you can transfer under first sale. With the game though you also get "free" access to a "service" which allows you to download another 10 maps. Now because its a service it doesnt need to be transferable. While im not saying i approve of what they are doing i cant see it violating first sale (although if they already have the 10 maps on the disc and restrict access to them for anyone except the first person to use it i can imagine that as being a possible violation)
  • by TheReij (1641099) on Tuesday May 11, 2010 @07:25AM (#32167382)
    From what I've heard regarding this, you'll need to pay the $10-15 just to be able to play the title online.

    What's really crappy is that people still sell used games to GameStop and people still buy their used games. Granted, sometimes you will find a decent deal on an older game. Example, found a copy of Guitar Hero III for PS3 yesterday for $10. That's not bad if you've not dipped into the music games. But most newer games are only going to be $5-10 lower than retail. Glyde http://www.glyde.com/ [glyde.com] or even Ebay are much better options than selling to GameStop. The seller will get more money for the game and in most cases the buyer will get the game at a better price.

    Something I think is fishy about this is that GameStop may use this to justify giving less credit/money for titles that use this system while still charging out the wazoo for the resale of the same title. Either way, there are better options for buying used. Hopefully the public will vote with their wallet and choose not to purchase these titles.
  • by Aceticon (140883) on Tuesday May 11, 2010 @08:06AM (#32167572)

    One of the comments on the site with TFA is from someone that keeps his sports games for a long time because of the replayability that online playing gives.

    Consider for a moment that with the "Online Pass" at any point EA can drop (or sneakilly slow down to a crawl) all multiplayer, user created content and online community features on a game "we don't support anymore" so as to pump-up sales of the new version. What EA is doing here is to try and control the lifecycle of a game after the sale way beyond just second-hand sales.

    Basically they're doing the same as Ubisoft but with a bit of carrot, not just the stick.

  • by pandrijeczko (588093) on Tuesday May 11, 2010 @08:24AM (#32167690)

    They are offering extra content for the $10, not requiring it to buy the used game.

    Does it not strike you as slightly suspicious that a major complaint of many modern games is that you only get 6 hours of play for a £35/$50 game but can *PAY MORE* to extend the life of that game?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 11, 2010 @11:47AM (#32170126)

    Let's see at GameStop any random used game is about $2 to $5 less than new (except for the few cases when a used copy costs more for no reason as delinear points out) so to get the "full game" used would cost you $5 to $8 more than new... "Okay EA the shotgun is aimeded at ours foots we do did pulls on the trigger now?"

  • by Clandestine_Blaze (1019274) on Tuesday May 11, 2010 @12:59PM (#32171320) Journal

    Why would you need to do that, since you and your friend could play online together...online. One of the plusses of online play is NOT having to take the time to go over to a friends house.

    I agree that this is a plus for some people. But other people like social gatherings and want to play multiplayer in the same room as their friends, so it also has its disadvantages. One game that comes to mind is Little Big Planet -- you can have several people in the same room play a multiplayer game together with others online.

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