EA to fend off used game sales with "Online Pass"

By on May 11, 2010, 2:15 PM
It's no secret how most video game developers and publishers feel about the second hand market, but it seems Electronic Arts has actually devised a plan to make up for the lost sales. Beginning with Tiger Woods PGA Tour 11, players will need an "Online Pass" to enjoy the game over Xbox Live or the PlayStation Network. These passes are included with new copies of the game, but second hand buyers will have to purchase another pass for $10.


The scheme will be replicated in all EA Sports titles going forward. As executive Peter Moore puts it, the move is all about accelerating the company's commitment to enhance premium online services to the entire robust EA Sports online community. In other words, it will help them rake in bigger profits. It may sound shady but for EA business is business, and it's not the first time something like this has been tried. Sony did something similar with SOCOM: U.S. Navy SEALs, while Dragon Age: Origins and Mass Effect 2 both included bonus content for new buyers only.

Used game purchasers will get access to a 7 day Online Pass trial, but after that you'll have to plunk down extra cash to get the full experience.




User Comments: 28

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TomSEA TomSEA, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

"In other words, it will help them rake in bigger profits."

NO...really?? :p

Guest said:

GAAAAAAAAAAAAWD like I needed another reason to HATE EA...I really wouldn't care if this remained exclusive to sports titles, but I wouldn't count on it...

Vrmithrax Vrmithrax, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Been reading about this in other sites as well... It's definitely a polarizing subject: either you love the used game market and feel EA is evil and greedy, or you side with EA and feel the used game market (and outfits like GameStop) are killing the industry anyhow. Not much gray area in between, really.

I guess I'm one of the few that can see both sides of the coin, but in the end I still side against EA on this one. Greed is greed. But, I do have to admire the tenacity and thought behind it... Rather than just switching to a "one code, one owner" policy (like we usually get with digital distribution), EA has found a method to glean a little money off the used game market, without stifling or destroying it and causing a massive backlash. I just think they are charging too much for the online privilege, and a $5 fee would be much easier to swallow (10% of the average MSRP of a new game vs. the 20% they want now).

Vrmithrax Vrmithrax, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Guest said:

GAAAAAAAAAAAAWD like I needed another reason to HATE EA...I really wouldn't care if this remained exclusive to sports titles, but I wouldn't count on it...

It won't... It will slowly spread to all multiplayer and/or online content. And, if enough sheep support the move, it will spread to other gaming publishers as well.

At least it only affects the used game market...

Guest said:

I have several friend who have multiple consoles in the same house. Now what do you do? Can you bring the game to a friends house to play now? Not just the used game market!

Chazz said:

I support this move. Simply because EA is not harming it's regular customers like they've done in the past(and current I guess) with DRM. I hope this is a success and it makes them look at DRM in a new light.

Vrmithrax Vrmithrax, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Guest said:

I have several friend who have multiple consoles in the same house. Now what do you do? Can you bring the game to a friends house to play now? Not just the used game market!

From the reports I've been reading, this move is tied to an online account that you must activate when you first get the product (either new or for $10 if it's secondhand). Once you've done that, you should have online privileges for that game no matter where you are playing from - you just have to log in to your EA account. Feel any better?

Vrmithrax Vrmithrax, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Chazz said:

I support this move. Simply because EA is not harming it's regular customers like they've done in the past(and current I guess) with DRM. I hope this is a success and it makes them look at DRM in a new light.

You know, I hadn't looked at it from a DRM standpoint... This is basically a $10 payoff to look the other way, if you think about it. EA doesn't care where you got the copy of the game, if it's legit, whatever - give them $10 and they'll let you in.

Kind of brilliant, in a twisted sort of way. Keep skimming $10 off a product as it skips from hand to hand, but only have to pay to package and distribute it once.

Darkshadoe Darkshadoe said:

I can't wait for the auto makers to adopt this. Just think of the money they can make too.

You buy a used car and can drive it for seven days then you have to send Ford or Chevy a $1000 fee to drive it after your seven days are up. What a money maker! Why stop there? we can create jobs with all this new found income. Companies can hire individuals to go to thrift stores and the Salvation Army stores and charge customers for buying secondhand products. I'm sure George Foreman would love the extra income when someone buys a used George Foreman Grill. (/sarcasm)

This isn't even about piracy..its about legitimate business. GameStop has the right to sell used games just like used car dealers sell cars. Software companies just want to be able to sell the same product as many times as they can.

mattfrompa mattfrompa said:

Hmm I wonder how the EA account will work...hopefully there will be a way to "illegally" pass along the account to the next owner, without giving away any real personal information, and just a login.

Burty117 Burty117, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

Darkshadoe said:

This isn't even about piracy..its about legitimate business. GameStop has the right to sell used games just like used car dealers sell cars.

GameStop is just as legit as EA are, you don't really have an arguement there.

Software companies just want to be able to sell the same product as many times as they can.

Well of cause they do! why would they want to stop making profit?

This is actually very clever for EA...Too clever infact, I bet Infinity Ward (or whatever the new company name is) had something to do with this! =P

mattfrompa said:

Hmm I wonder how the EA account will work...hopefully there will be a way to "illegally" pass along the account to the next owner, without giving away any real personal information, and just a login.

Good question! i guess you need to pay for it somehow and gets linked to you credit/debit card??

Tekkaraiden Tekkaraiden said:

So older used sports titles that already don't sell well, will sell even worse. I can see retailers resorting to refusing to take them in on trade (which in effect would do exactly what ea wants).

tengeta tengeta said:

Haven't bought an EA game since 2005 and man, they keep making it easier.

Badfinger said:

EA hasn't been cool since like Archon/Mule/7 Cities of Gold were out, where's the 21st century upgrade on those games?

Guest said:

Gamestop is going to lose a lot of if used game market because essentially it will cost more than to buy new.

RealXboxMaster said:

I never liked EA and will never buy EA games.

RealXboxMaster said:

This message goes to Moore. Your a trader and a bulsh..er. You guys are doing this because , people like me know NOT to buy your crappy, shi..y overpriced games. So instead of customers buying it new, you want to charge the customer for a used game a $ 10 fee so they can play online. Total RIPPOFF! And for GameStop, They are another rippoff store that I stay away from. If you bring them few excellent games they will give you sh.t for it. They don't even give you cash, only store crdit. Take my advise, Sell it on Ebay and you will see for your self how much more you will get for your used games or systems.

RealXboxMaster said:

EA is just looking for a way to make more profit from customers. EA should focus more on retail stores like GameStop that sells used games and charge them that $10 fee ,then Gamestop can pass it along to customers if they decide to purchase their crappy Used or New games.

RealXboxMaster said:

EA is just looking for a way to make more profit from customers. EA should focus more on retail stores like GameStop that sells used games and charge them that $10 fee ,then Gamestop can pass it along to customers if they decide to purchase their crappy Used or New games.

Relic Relic, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

Not surprising in the least that EA is doing this as they've been talking about this project ten dollars for some time. This is by no means a pro-gamer decision or even consumer decision in general and I'm a little disappointed with them. Then again they are a business and making as much profit as they can even at some consumers expense is just the way it is.

I wasn't to upset with the day-one free DLC package as I didn't feel they would exclude game/story breaking material. But with removing features such as online play makes it pretty clear they want to devalue your game if resold subsequently also hurting others. Any company to me that tries to devalue my right to the first-sale doctrine I won't be happy with, even though I rarely buy or sell used games. Then again I'm a PC gamer and I'm rather familiar with this fight, and on the software side their have been some interesting legal battles.

Tomorrow_Rains said:

Whoa...Wait a second so Every used EA game i buy requires me to pay 10 dollars each game inorder to play each game online...So Xbox live is 50 a year, the used game is about 40, plus the 10 online fee (not including tax) multiply that by the amount of used games you decide to buy?

Looks like EA just lost a customer.

Richy2k9 said:

hello ...

i'll say no to this, go for it & i'll stop buying your games on any platform!

i made my point on another post here & even if i agree partly with the idea & reasons behind this, it will not be good if they don't implement it right, a bit like the Ubisoft DRM nightmare, it made me stop buying their PC games!

If EA want more money from second hand sale, must work harder & invest more to put forward a model that would take in consideration that people can have multiple accounts, gaming hardware & locations. So what will they check? an account (the EA account)? - this can be shared!, the machine ? - this can be broken & replaced, someone can have more than one!!!

no game publisher or developer should try to control what people do with their "own" purchased copy, I'm OK for a paid service that is free for a first use, but how would you know that it's not the same owner, just having new hardware or account!

Don't go that way, for we as gamers, won't follow you!

cheers!

nestorius said:

This would equate to me purchasing a book that I place on the table next to my sofa and everyone that picks it up to thumb thru it would be charged a fee. Nope Turds of EA, I believe the end users of your product will vote with their pocketbooks and just play the games without a surcharge. Go broke you greedy people!

Guest said:

This is ridiculous!!!!! It's like buy a music cd and the artist saying that only you can listen to it, and if anybody else listens to it we want more money... Just stupid.

Night Hacker Night Hacker said:

One word: GREED.... I'll be picking the software I buy very carefully from now on, especially if it is published by EA.

Guest said:

I think that EA is all about corprate GREED. If they did not want second hand copies to be sold then they should have made a blanket policy with game stores (ie. GameStop) and the like, to disallow second hand games(used) to be sold. Period.

I do not think I will purchase a game by EA anymore. That said if more people do this such thing, then they will listen. It will be a game changer, for them to get away with this. It wil also be a game changer for them, if we stand up and say no.

Boycott their games, So them who is boss, we the buyer, the ones that makes hard earned money to get these games in the first place.

At first it was DRM, and that sucks totally.

And now it is PassWall Pay an extra $10.00 for you to play the game on our network.

The games are already too high a price in the first place.

I have a genuis Idea.. Make the games $10.00 cheaper across the board, and then more people can purchase your $59.99 games and you will not need this.

Guest said:

so if i buy tiger woods 11 new. get a code, enter it i can play online for free! then if i buy a preowned copy of another ea title, will i have to pay? is it a 1 time fee? or a game to game fee? any help

Guest said:

"I have a genuis Idea.. Make the games $10.00 cheaper across the board, and then more people can purchase your $59.99 games and you will not need this."

It appears that companies like this do not understand the basic economic concepts like "supply" and "demand". They live in their own fantasy economic system, where they charge more money and add more restrictions and somehow have high profit.

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