Just like EA and possibly Ubisoft, video game developer and publisher THQ is getting ready to combat the 'threat' of pre-owned games. Speaking to investors during its recent Q1 earnings conference call, the company's CEO Brian Farrell announced plans to ramp up the output of "robust downloadable content and premium online play" in all of its major releases. The executive believes such a move will help THQ boost digital revenue, engage players with games for a longer period of time and reduce the impact of used games sales.
THQ had already trialed a form of this when it released UFC 2010 earlier this year. Similar to what EA is doing with its Online Pass feature, the game shipped with a one-time code that was required to unlock the multiplayer Fight Camp Mode option. This means users buying pre-owned versions of the game must buy access from THQ.
This is a model that several publishers have been quick to praise and looks to be the way forward for the industry, despite criticism by users. It also raises the question of how such a model would impact the value of services like Xbox Live, which unlike PSN requires a yearly subscription of around $50 to access online multiplayer functionality.