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Ubisoft Hops On the Online Pass Bandwagon 134

Posted by Soulskill
from the stop-pretending-this-adds-value-for-customers dept.
Joining the likes of THQ, Electonic Arts, and Sony, Ubisoft has now announced plans to launch the "Uplay Passport," a $10 fee charged to buyers of used games if they want to play them online. They say the program "will begin in the coming months and will be included in many of Ubisoft's popular core games. In each new copy of a Uplay Passport-enhanced game will be a one-time use registration code that, when redeemed, provides access to Uplay Passport content and features. The code can be found on the insert card inside the game box. Gamers can identify Uplay Passport-enhanced games by looking for the logo on the back of the box."
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Ubisoft Hops On the Online Pass Bandwagon

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  • Great (Score:4, Insightful)

    by click2005 (921437) * on Friday July 15, 2011 @05:53PM (#36780588)

    Another games publisher to avoid.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Everybody should avoiding Ubisoft since long ago.

    • Re:Great (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 15, 2011 @06:14PM (#36780782)

      I have boycotted Ubisoft since they started with the always on internet connection DRM.

    • obvious misnomer; more accurately be "U-Pay Passport." You don't pay, you don't play.

    • by Darinbob (1142669)

      It's becoming easier and easier to shop for games every day.

    • by dskzero (960168)
      Weren't you already avoiding Ubisoft? The only way I'd play one their games is pirating them. All these decisions piss me off and makes me wonder if they really want to stay in business.
    • by hairyfeet (841228)

      Where have YOU been? Everyone who cares at all has been avoiding them like the clap since the "Hey lets make them have an always on connection for single player!" DRM bullshit. the hilarious part is something like 3 weeks after that BS the "Reloaded" edition hit P2P where they managed to completely bypass their BS. Just goes to show you DRM only bites paying customers.

      Now as for TFA if the ONLY thing it does is require payment for a used game to play MP? I really don't care. After all they are gonna have to

    • by ShakaUVM (157947)

      >>Another games publisher to avoid.

      Same games publisher to avoid. Ubisoft has been the very worst in the industry when it comes to things like invasive DRM, requiring always-on internet connections and the like. If you get a burp in your connectivity (hope you're not playing on wi-fi), the game dies. Hope you saved.

      They don't even disable their evil DRM on Steam, which itself is pretty good.

      Shame, too. Some of their games look fun. But when I see that Ubisoft is the publisher of a game, I refuse to bu

  • by Anonymous Coward

    So on top of charging $59.99 for games, upwards of $50 to "enhance" your nerfed game through DLC, this too? I'm really starting to become disillusioned with the gaming industry.

    • You do know that it's free for new copies of games, right? It's only if you're buying a used copy do you get hit with that $10 fee for online access with that game.
      • by Seumas (6865)

        No, it's not. It's free for ONE PERSON who uses that new copy of the game. Let's say you you're underage and have siblings? Or you have a spouse who games? Or maybe you have roommates or live in a sort of "house of dudes"? Having to pay another $10 for each person to be allowed to play (not to mention, possibly charging separately for each piece of DLC *per person*, depending on the particular piece of DLC in question) is bullshit.

        Imagine if you bought Monopoly at the store for $10. You set it out and got t

        • If you're gaming in a communal environment, for games like this, use a public sign-in for the whole house. Everyone's pleased. This isn't rocket science. I already do it myself between me and my wife, so I know that this does work. And no, they're not short-changing the primary customer. They're short-changing the secondary customer, and I honestly couldn't care less for the secondary customer as I don't buy used games nor sell the ones I have and have also planned ahead when the concept of DLC came to frui
          • by mattack2 (1165421)

            Though one of the other recent stories said that the public sign-in wouldn't work, IIRC.. Didn't it prevent you from restarting the game from the beginning, once you'd finished it?

            • If it's a single GamerTag/PSN ID for the whole house, on one device in the living room, I don't see why it wouldn't work.
                • That doesn't really apply here since you can't put gamesave data on a DVD/BD-ROM. It's read-only, after all.
                  • by mattack2 (1165421)

                    Yeah, but couldn't they do the same thing with a "save game slot" on the internal hard drive on the console, or "in the cloud"?

                    Sure, it'd probably be get-around-able in some way, but effectively, it seems like the same thing.

                    • With gamesaves on a local drive, I don't see that happening. With cloud stored gamesaves, I only see that possibly happening if the data is stored on the publisher's servers. Even with XBL moving so that a gamertag lives solely in the cloud, your data is still going to be on Microsoft's servers and rather difficult for a publisher to get their hands on and edit.
        • At least on Xbox - I don't know about Playstation - this isn't a problem. The player who "owns" the pass can play on any console, and all players using the owner's console can play too.
  • Good games just aren't profitable enough.
  • Enhanced? What is it enhancing? What is this $10 buying besides a spot in their wallet and not mine. Thanks but no thanks.

    • by hedwards (940851)

      That's the thing. If they were providing any value for the money it probably would work, but as it is they're taking away value unless you pay them $10.

      There's all sorts of services they could provide that would be worth $10 to the consumer without costing them $10 to provide. And yet they go the lazy route and just raise prices on their games. Hardly as brazen as the 60% that Netflix managed, but it's still pretty insulting to suggest that they're entitled to something for nothing.

  • Seriously, I think this is good - as long as it's clearly marked on the box/digital 'packaging' so that people can make informed choices, let them. They'll lose customers, they'll also gain revenue - and they (and the market) can decide in the end if the revenues gained from second-hand sales make up for the revenue lost in first-hand sales.

    I think it will more than do so - most people are basically inconsiderate in the end. If they get their gameplay out of it, they're really not going to worry about wh

    • by Hatta (162192)

      I think it will more than do so - most people are basically inconsiderate in the end. If they get their gameplay out of it, they're really not going to worry about what the second-hand purchaser is getting when they go to gamestop to make their trade-ins.

      There's a selfish motive for not buying games you can't resell at a high price. If I buy a $50 and resell it at $30, I've only spent $20 in that transaction. If I buy a $50 game and can only resell it at $10, I've spent $40. In either case I get the sam

      • by rjstanford (69735)

        However, in terms of enjoyment-per-hour, games are still remarkably cheap.

        Still hard to beat the $0.99 Tiny Wings or Angry Birds, though.

        • I dunno, I think Angry Birds causes more frustration for people than enjoyment. No one believed me when I told them I'd beaten the original, Rio, and almost finished Seasons because most people find them so hard to complete the more challenging levels.
    • by click2005 (921437) *

      Seriously, I think this is good - as long as it's clearly marked on the box/digital 'packaging' so that people can make informed choices, let them.

      How visible is this logo going to be on Ebay, Playtrade or any online marketplace. You can bet ebay sellers wont advertise the "you have to pay another $10" part.

    • by Intropy (2009018)
      That all makes sense. But take it a step further down the chain. "I suspect we'll see the second hand games resellers lowering both their purchase and resale price for these games over time." That means that people who buy the game new will get less for their trade-ins. Not everyone trades games in, but that will yield a lower average value to the new game since some proportion of the buyers counted on defraying the purchase price with a trade-in. That will yield lower sales and/or lower prices on new game
    • by h4rr4r (612664)

      If the resale price goes down, then less people will be willing to buy the game new. As they will have less of that resale money to spend. They will lose customers and revenue. I now know to avoid them, but I don't buy games when they first come out anyway. On the other hand I do tend to buy the first version and the GOTY editions of really good games. I just wait until those products are available at the reasonable price or get them used. They need to realize they are not only competing with new games but

    • Come on guys, it's only the price for two latté....

      • by h4rr4r (612664)

        Guys don't drink lattes. Not only is it a stupid measure of value, it is a product the MBA that came up with that idea drinks and not the end users.

      • by toriver (11308)

        If you drink latté - and write it like that - then you are an iPhone + iPad user, and only pay $0.99-$4.99 for your games anyway...

  • by Anonymous Coward

    * For certain unconventional definitions of "enhanced"

  • Another attempt to kill the secondary market.

    I'd say I'd stop buying Ubisoft games, but I have mostly stopped buying games except thru Steam anyway.

    • by Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) on Friday July 15, 2011 @06:08PM (#36780734)

      Another attempt to kill the secondary market.

      I'd say I'd stop buying Ubisoft games, but I have mostly stopped buying games except thru Steam anyway.

      Isn't steam the wet dream of those trying to kill the secondary market?

      • by h4rr4r (612664)

        It is, but it is a three edged sword. Used sales disappear, customers gain convenience, and as economic theory would suggest game prices are lower and must be to make up for lost value.

        • by Darinbob (1142669)

          Except that prices don't really go down. They go down much faster in retail stores than in online stores. Eliminating the middle man of the retail stores just means they pocket the difference, they will not pass that on to the customers (well, Steam is a new middle man here too, taking their own cut). So I can get cheaper games retail AND give them away to a friend when I'm done (legally!) OR play the game a decade after the publisher has gone bankrupt.

          • by toriver (11308)

            Prices sort of go down if you stick to only buying games on Steam when they are on sale at reduced prices.

      • The nice thing about Steam is that everyone knows you have no resale, so (admittedly, sale) prices reflect that. Most people wouldn't care if they couldn't resell their console games if they sold for $15-20 instead of $60.
        • by captjc (453680)

          With a vow to never spend over $15 and some patience (maybe as long as a couple of years), there is no reason why you can't get any game on there for cheap as hell. Usually by waiting for a major holiday.

          However, for non-sale prices, Amazon (new and used) is usually cheaper, sooner.

          • by 0123456 (636235)

            With a vow to never spend over $15 and some patience (maybe as long as a couple of years), there is no reason why you can't get any game on there for cheap as hell.

            $15? I don't remember the last time I paid more than $5 for a game that was tied to Steam.

            • by hedwards (940851)

              I rarely if ever will spend more than $5 on a game from Steam. The only exceptions have been when the alternative was buying from somebody I hated even more than Valve and didn't have the patience to wait for the price to drop to next to nothing. In practice that's happened like twice.

              • by JMJimmy (2036122)

                I have the same deal with Xbox - my average price is $5.19 (excluding DLC). The highest price I'll pay for a game is $15 because they're so short and I usually only like about 20% of them.

          • by Darinbob (1142669)

            I can not purchase a game from Steam, I can only rent a game from Steam. They retain full rights because of the DRM and my right to transfer ownership is denied.

        • Egg meet Chicken.

          The reason console prices haven't dropped is in part because of the 'vibrant' secondary market. Steam proves that publishers are happy to drop prices with a captive audience.

          The used games market on the consoles is bad for everyone. It artificially inflates retail prices and it denies publishers revenue and instead hands it to useless organizations like Gamestop.

          • by Darinbob (1142669)

            This is backwards. If there are inexpensive second hand sales this will drive down the costs of the first-sale products to match. Games are cheaper on Steam only when they're older, and even then it seems to take much longer for games to fall into the $9.99 bargain bin prices on Steam than they do in a brick and mortar store. Competition should reduce costs overall, which is why publishers strive to eliminate competition so that they can keep the profits high.

            The comparison though is hard to make because

        • by mattack2 (1165421)

          console games if they sold for $15-20 instead of $60.

          But a lot of them DO sell for that. Greatest Hits get down to the $20 level.. and as I mentioned in another thread, there's an Amazon sale of buy 2 get 1 free. There were some $20 or less games there too, so if you can find 3 you want, that's effectively $13.33/game.

        • by gl4ss (559668)

          you can always sell your entire steam account. hah. as if you couldn't sell your wow accounts too.

      • by Intropy (2009018) on Friday July 15, 2011 @06:16PM (#36780816)
        Steam doesn't allow a secondary market; that is true. But they make up for it by selling games much, much, cheaper than other retailers (I don't have figures, but I assume that their deeply discounted games greatly outsell the others). The ability to resell a game has a value to me. If you discount the new game by an amount greater than the amount of the resale value, I will happily prefer buying your cheaper, but non-resealable version. Go low enough and nobody cares about buying used either since nobody buys a used game because they prefer used to new; they buy used because it's cheaper. The losers are the stores that specialize in reselling used games since they can no longer profit off of arbitrage.
        • by paziek (1329929)

          Steam has one of the highest prices I have EVER seen. They drop them not that often, so you can buy some older games for still full price. And well... each new one goes for around 50-60€, while local retailer will sell it for around 15-30€ - boxed! Even if Steam puts something on sale its still often more expensive than my local retailers, tho I must admit sometimes its cheaper or shipping costs and me having to watch for mail makes Steam a bit more convenient. But overall its very expensive, espe

          • Drop me a note when you find a "local retailer" offering new games for 30 bucks, I seem to only hit the overpriced ones, as does everybody I know.
            Oh and fyi: I live in Luxembourg
            • by paziek (1329929)

              I figure that your retailers match their price to earnings of their customers, so it could be hard to find something as cheap as here. Problem with Steam is that (from what I can tell) they have the same price for everyone in Europe. If new games for PC would be priced at 50-60€ at retail in Poland, then almost no one would buy. There are people here who need to live out of 300€ a month, and families with 3+kids that have "just" 600€ in total. 30€ for a game is already a hefty price + ha

          • While you're correct, you're in a bit of an edge case (albeit a bit one) since you have to deal with that whole $1=1€ thing on steam.

            The rest of us paying in USD generally get games cheaper on Steam.

        • by Darinbob (1142669)

          Steam has bargain games, but retail stores have bargain bins. When you look at new games Steam is not selling at a bargain.

          I have even gotten one of my only Steam games from a retail store _cheaper_ than Steam was selling it online!

      • Yes, but they already have me hooked. Prices are low, selection is good...

      • by Pharmboy (216950)

        Granted, you lose the ability to sell your games, but you get a lot in return. Install on many machines, including at work, laptop, desktop, etc. You can only play one at a time, but thats ok, and fair within the idea of buying "a" game.

        You can forget about losing the disk, or scratching it. Installing is pretty painless and reasonably quick. They have great sale prices if you shop a bit. You can still play games many years after you buy them (I'm playing games I bought in 99, ie: HL1, TFC, which was e

        • by Darinbob (1142669)

          Steam isn't perfect true. It's also evil. DRM should be boycotted by anyone with a brain who does not want to give away their rights merely because they're drooling over a game. It's not as restrictive a DRM as some other places, but it is still DRM and they have control over the game you paid money for. They're not doing this to stop piracy, but to stop second hand sales which is a right you should have as a consumer. But most people don't care because they no longer think about owning a game anymore

      • by Darinbob (1142669)

        Yes. It's sneaky, get people to object over "bad" DRM and have the cozy up to "good" DRM and even go so far as to defend the DRM. To some people Steam is convenient so they conveniently overlook the fact that their rights are being removed. As long as a publisher has a game that someone wants, you can make them jump over flaming hoops to get it.

      • Steam's amazing sales go beyond the need to buy used. Nowhere else can you get a used copy of BFBC2 for console for $5.
        • Steam's amazing sales go beyond the need to buy used. Nowhere else can you get a used copy of BFBC2 for console for $5.

          What do you think will happen if steam should become some dominate that there is no longer a functioning used market?

    • by vux984 (928602) on Friday July 15, 2011 @06:10PM (#36780748)

      I'd say I'd stop buying Ubisoft games, but I have mostly stopped buying games except thru Steam anyway.

      Wait you'd stop buying ubisoft because they are trying to kill the 2ndary market, because you buy on steam where they already did?

      Hell.. on steam... you can't even lend or give a game away, never mind resell it.

      • I lend quite often. It's called I switch my password to something temporary to let a buddy play, or just signin once to their machine, download the game, and put the hack on to put Steam into permanent offline mode on their machine.
        • Gaming industry insider says, "THIS IS NOT LENDING!1!1!!! THIS IS STEALING!!! How am I supposed to feed my family with your friends stealing MY PROF1T!!"
        • by vux984 (928602) on Friday July 15, 2011 @09:03PM (#36782092)

          I lend quite often. It's called I switch my password to something temporary to let a buddy play...

          This is in blatent violation of the Terms of Service you agreed to.

          And while your buddy is playing an online game, you can't login. Even if you own 20 other multiplayer games and wish to play something that is not in use....

          or just signin once to their machine, download the game, and put the hack on to put Steam into permanent offline mode on their machine.

          Effectively cracking the system to let your friend play it. Why not just have your friend torrent a cracked copy? How is what you've done any better?

          Plus this method ensures you can't lend someone an online game, and/or that the lendee can't do any multi-player.

          • by aekafan (1690920)
            That's ok, i couldn't care less about their TOS. Hell, my friend and I share a steam account (about 200 games now), and we just D/L the game, and the go into offline mode. Have never had a problem with it, and we get to share each others games. As for multiplayer, I never buy a single player game for the multiplayer aspects. That is what MMOs are for, they do much better at it. I am loving steam ever since i bought Half-Life 2 years ago. Many of the older games and MMOs dont even require steam to work
          • by binkzz (779594)
            you are right and Valve's ToS is draconian. It's new technology and no laws are in place for it yet, which I hope there will be soon. Until then I create a new account for each game that I buy, so I can easily sell or lend games to other people.
        • by Darinbob (1142669)

          So you can give away a Steam game by cheating to get around Steam's rules. Seems to me that Steam has some restrictions in their model that you don't like.

          I'd rather have a game that I can give away publicly without hacking or cheating the system.

          • by aekafan (1690920)
            And I would rather have ponies and be surrounded by buxom blondes, but we have deal with the system we have. DRM free games are a pipe dream, unless you don't mind only playing ancient games from GOG.com, or freeware, open source crap
            • by ShakaUVM (157947)

              >>DRM free games are a pipe dream, unless you don't mind only playing ancient games from GOG.com, or freeware, open source crap

              Ooh... shouldn't have gone there on Slashdot. =)

              Even though it's kind of weird to say it, console games are more "free" (as in protection of first sale doctrine rights, not as in beer) than PC games these days. For a long time now, retail copies of PC games come with a one-time code to register it online, and once you've registered your copy of, say, Diablo II, nobody else can

      • If Valve wanted to stop that they could make installing the game on multiple computers a massive pain in the ass. But they don't. I think they know that lending doesn't kill the market.

  • Where they didn't have multiplayer done in time, so they released it as a standalone FOR FREE?

    Yeah, I miss that too.

  • Most I have discussed this with have talked about this being their last "console generation" if even half of them follow through and go back to pc gaming how do you think the publishers are going to explain away lost sales. Back when I was still console gaming a few years ago I would occasionally buy used games and when good they usually enticed me to buy the next title when it was released. Most that I know that buy used do so because they aren't willing to pay $60 for a game so they wait until it hits a

    • by dcollins (135727)

      "how do you think the publishers are going to explain away lost sales"

      Piracy & hackers.

  • Seriously, do companies need to profit on everything we do? They're as bad as the government. Tax when you get paid, taxes on the things you bought, taxes on the money you give, taxes on money you save, taxes on property you own. A single dollar gets taxed for like 50% of it. Gaming companies are trying to do the same! Pay money when you buy the game(I support that) Pay money to keep playing it (I understand it, content updates, servers, you know, mmo stuff) but now money when you sell it to someone else?
  • "Uplay Passport-enhanced games"

    Or rather: Uplay Passport-crippled games.

  • I wont touch a ubisoft game because of their retarded DRM stunts
    fuck sony
    THQ? what do they make aside from crap wrestling and movie games, and the occasional total shit port to another system (road rash 64 pops to mind)

    And yes EA I am still pissed that nearly 10 years ago I bought Tiger Woods Golf for my pretty new palm 5 (and it was a great game), but you stole from me around 6 months later. (there is a cd key but it does not work with the game, you go to a long dead website, enter that seed, and get the c

  • Whether this movement is a good thing depends on one major factor: the price of used games.

    If, because used games have less value thanks to not being able to go online, resellers drop prices, then I actually like the idea a lot. For me, who doesn't give a shit about most multiplayer components in games, I'd much rather get a single player-only game for cheaper. Mark down the prices by ten bucks and let me decide whether I'll get the MP component or not. In fact, that kind of modularity would be nice even at

  • Uplay hacked and now redundant as using the hack is undetectable as they can't tell the legitimate from the illegitimate codes. Queue restart of used games market. It is kind of like having a stick with a carrot on the end of it except your stick can be hacked :P
  • Enhanced for who??? CERTAINLY not the user.... Marketing ploys suck.
  • by Seumas (6865)

    The thing I love most about gaming is ENTERING FUCKING LONG CODES and dealing with complex registration and login bullshit (UBI and EA tend to be the most fucking convoluted).

  • by Cruciform (42896) on Friday July 15, 2011 @08:11PM (#36781766) Homepage

    I love that the big publishers are doing this. It alienates consumers and makes small indie products even more attractive.
    Keep digging those graves, you greedy bastards!

  • Enhanced (Score:4, Informative)

    by Legion303 (97901) on Friday July 15, 2011 @08:51PM (#36782026) Homepage

    This word works great in other contexts as well:

    Hurricane Katrina flooding = enhanced swimming.
    9/11 = enhanced travel services.
    rape = enhanced snuggling.
    concentration camps = enhanced lodging.

    Now of course I'm not comparing Ubisoft to the holocaust. That would be absurd. Ubisoft is worse than the holocaust.

  • used products but as someone who has multiple XBL accounts in the house. I'm not paying the publishers extra money just because my son, my daughter and I like to have separate achievements. Figured this out when I went to play the latest NFS... worse, I own it on my PC but there's no way to go, "Hey, I own two copies of this, let me play!"

    Fuck the people who do this. The games are already shoddy pieces of crap which are unimaginative, buggy, and overpriced - now you want more? I'll just stop buying - for

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