Blog: There is nothing ‘corporate greedy’ about online passes
A developer is trying to save a buck for himself. What’s wrong with that?
There have been lots of complaints recently about online passes being implemented in games from different publishers such as EA, THQ, and most recently Sony Computer Entertainment. If you didn’t know, an online pass is a code you get once you purchase a game new. You are required to enter this code on PSN/XBL in order to be able to play the online multiplayer portion of the game. This doesn’t change much if you buy the game new since you still get the same product with the only change being entering the code. However if you purchase the game used or borrow it from a friend you need to purchase the online pass through PSN/XBL in order to play the multiplayer. This sparked a heated debate on whether this is a proper step forward for the industry or a step backwards in that consumers who buy 2nd hand games get an incomplete product .
People who have been overly critical of this new implementation should take a deep breath and rethink about just how significant this addition is. Online passes is simply a way that publishers make sure that they can get something out of every consumer that purchases their game. Now this is not necessarily a bad thing; it’s simply a move to stop the used game market from getting 100% profit from every game they sell. You see, when you buy a used game from GameStop or whatever videogame shop you frequent the publisher and developer get nothing out of that purchase. Essentially all your money is going to the store you bought the game from. This is bad news both for the publishers and developers as their products are essentially being resold without them getting anything out of it even though they published or made the game respectively.
The online pass system is not a hit directed at consumers but rather at big evil corporations *hint* Gamestop *hint* who are getting HUGE profits out of the 2nd hand market. Publishers and developers are simply trying to protect their products because it’s them who made and, and it’s them who should get at least something out of it NOT the videogame stores out there.
The online pass system is really not as bad as it seems. If you buy a game used then you pay a small onetime fee to unlock the multiplayer portion of the game. This way you are actually giving your dollars to the people that make the game, rather than the store that just happens to sell it. It’s a good way to continue supporting the developers and it also hits the 2nd hand market well by forcing it to become not as significant than it currently is. Personally I support the decision by the publishers to use online passes and you should too. It’s a very small fee to pay if you get the game used, and it comes at no expense if you purchase the game brand new.