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

Soulskill posted more than 4 years ago | from the gee-thanks dept.

Businesses 223

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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Competitive gaming and premium content (5, Insightful)

Decollete (1637235) | more than 4 years ago | (#32167106)

I hope this doesn't end up like those "free-to-play" online games where players can buy "premium content" for in-game advantage

Re:Competitive gaming and premium content (5, Insightful)

QuantumLeaper (607189) | more than 4 years ago | (#32167234)

I don't think so, it sounds like if you buy a New game you get a 'serial' number for DLC but if you buy a Used games, you have to buy the DLC for $10. It more to kill the used game market since they don't get a cut from it.

Re:Competitive gaming and premium content (4, Interesting)

delinear (991444) | more than 4 years ago | (#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.

Re:Competitive gaming and premium content (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32167316)

Uhhhh...

The games companys don't want the market for used games to survive at all..

THATS THE POINT!

Re:Competitive gaming and premium content (1)

poetmatt (793785) | more than 4 years ago | (#32167736)

how will the used market survive? Easily.

This just gives people more reasons to pirate a game again, as all those "online additions" are included in the pirated version.

Meanwhile, you can still buy the original(used) and get a crack/hack to add in the addons, which is even easier to obtain.

So what does this change? Nothing.

EA just doesn't like the used market, and they can't do anything about it. I hope they try to take someone to court over it so that a judge can prove they basically can't (and shouldn't) get rid of it.

Re:Competitive gaming and premium content (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32167930)

how will the used market survive? Easily.

Ebay can still be quite cheap.

This just gives people more reasons to pirate a game again, as all those "online additions" are included in the pirated version.

I buy the used game then bittorrent all the 'extra' bits that they didn't include on the original disk. Until they give me the option of keeping
a few ££ of the purchase price for all the extra parts they would include if they weren't being greedy I will keep doing so.

EA just doesn't like the used market, and they can't do anything about it. I hope they try to take someone to court over it so that a judge can prove they basically can't (and shouldn't) get rid of it.

They'll either win by outspending the poor guy who decides to fight back or they'll change the 'license' so that all you're buying is the game engine and all content is an extra download. $15 for the basic game then $20 for every game module. That way they can keep churning out add-ons and make more profit. Probably even bundle a few user created levels in there to bulk it up.

Even worse than it actually seems (2, Interesting)

TheReij (1641099) | more than 4 years ago | (#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.

Re:Competitive gaming and premium content (2, Insightful)

mwvdlee (775178) | more than 4 years ago | (#32167414)

I think it'll be more like buy a demo for the price of a full game which then requires the code not just for "premium" content but for "normal" content as well.

Re:Competitive gaming and premium content (1)

KDR_11k (778916) | more than 4 years ago | (#32167558)

I think EA is already doing "freemium" with Battlefield Heroes.

cheating the laws (4, Insightful)

KiloByte (825081) | more than 4 years ago | (#32167112)

Yay... a yet another attempt to work around the First Sale rules. All they're doing is relabeling part of the package, so instead it's an "add-on" now.

By "title updates" they really mean bug-fix patches. In other words, this "Online Pass" thingy is strictly negative.

Re:cheating the laws (4, Interesting)

redscare2k4 (1178243) | more than 4 years ago | (#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...

Re:cheating the laws (5, Interesting)

redscare2k4 (1178243) | more than 4 years ago | (#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.

Re:cheating the laws (3, Funny)

sakdoctor (1087155) | more than 4 years ago | (#32167186)

I would love to pirate some EA games, but unfortunately they just keep pumping out "YourGFXcardCan'tHandleThisShooter 4", and "MySims 3D, coke&whores addon-pack"

Re:cheating the laws (1)

Zaphod The 42nd (1205578) | more than 4 years ago | (#32167274)

Sure its "like" that. But when you have content, that is on a disc, that you legally purchased from someone who legally owned it and legally transferred that ownership to you, and then just because of the transfer, you cannot access part of the content on the disc unless you pay a third-party a fee, thats a violation of first sale.

Re:cheating the laws (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32167344)

except you're not being restricted at all from selling what's on the disc. however, the disc also comes with a license to use a service (online multiplayer servers owned by EA) which you cannot resell, which is perfectly legal. as much as it sucks, I get what EA is doing. the used game market keeps online games alive longer with more people playing, while not contributing any more money to run the servers.

Re:cheating the laws (3, Interesting)

Firkragg14 (992271) | more than 4 years ago | (#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)

Re:cheating the laws (1)

Zaphod The 42nd (1205578) | more than 4 years ago | (#32167550)

If thats how it is, then I'm more okay with it. But thats now how it read to me.

Re:cheating the laws (1)

KDR_11k (778916) | more than 4 years ago | (#32167580)

I believe the courts have already smacked down weasel-words like that, if it smells like a sale it is a sale.

Re:cheating the laws (1)

somersault (912633) | more than 4 years ago | (#32167756)

Nobody has managed to smack Sony down for removing the Other OS option, which was clearly a built-in feature and not a service.. I hope someone does though, otherwise software companies are going to be pulling this disgraceful sort of crap for years to come.

I don't re-sell my games, but I do often lend them to people. I think it's a joke that they shouldn't get to play the full game if I'm not using it at the time. We also have 2 PS3s in our household so I hope any games are locked down to actual PSN accounts and not per PS3. It's already a pain in the ass for games that don't authorise you to transfer your saved game to memory stick.

Re:cheating the laws (1)

cheekyboy (598084) | more than 4 years ago | (#32167850)

I dont mind the $10 fee, if that 2nd hand game is $10 cheaper.

ie $10 special, not $20.

Though it is a bit scammy since the original purchaser can no longer use the DLC, so in effect, they are charging for a service, not a good.

Re:cheating the laws (1, Interesting)

cybereal (621599) | more than 4 years ago | (#32167216)

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.

Re:cheating the laws (5, Insightful)

Zaphod The 42nd (1205578) | more than 4 years ago | (#32167288)

No. Anybody who buys the game from a vendor, first, gets the code and forever has access to the "service" for free. Anybody who then purchases that title legitimately from that first owner cannot access the same content, content WHICH IS ON THE DISC, not some DLC he "could" download, but actual data and code that is on the physical copy he purchased and is within the game for which the user licence is sold and has been transferred. This is 100% EA locking out people who buy used, and forcing them to pay up to them directly, or to go buy from a vendor and not used. I can't disagree with you more.

Re:cheating the laws (5, Insightful)

quantumplacet (1195335) | more than 4 years ago | (#32167358)

Anybody who then purchases that title legitimately from that first owner cannot access the same content, content WHICH IS ON THE DISC

really, the servers that host online multiplayer games are on the disc? that's an impressive disc.

Re:cheating the laws (2, Informative)

Zaphod The 42nd (1205578) | more than 4 years ago | (#32167544)

The multiplayer maps and game modes are on the disc. If you could host your own local server, then I'd be fine with this. But you can't; the only way you can access multiplayer, a feature which is advertised as part of the game, part of the package you're getting when you buy it, is if you buy it first.

Re:cheating the laws (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32167552)

really, the servers that host online multiplayer games are on the disc? that's an impressive disc.

You'd be surprised by what a disc can do. Believe it or not, back in the old days we used to be able to write to them. Now that was impressive. Ah, the good ol' days.

Re:cheating the laws (1)

crossmr (957846) | more than 4 years ago | (#32167796)

you could set up a server to run in a VM, not that impressive.

Re:cheating the laws (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32168140)

Don't know how many console multiplayer games are actually hosted on a server. But a number of titles host games on the console of one of the players. So.. no, not so impressive a disc.

Re:cheating the laws (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32167876)

It's just like that damn car I bought used. I can drive it anywhere I want to, but I have to pay the original dealer if I want the oil changed.

Re:cheating the laws (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32167904)

As long as this guarantees proper hosted servers on all EA games then I'm okay with it. Makes sense to for some help to upkeep them if none of the money you paid for the game has gone back to them. ONLY IF that goes with it then I say okay but otherwise, pretty much what this guy said. I've always said charging people for p2p on live is weak, but if they now want to charge twice for p2p then they can shove it.

Re:cheating the laws (1)

mwvdlee (775178) | more than 4 years ago | (#32167448)

It really depends on how they're going to market it. Will the box read "100 maps of online multiplayer action!" whilst 99 of those maps and the online multiplayer bit are only included as an add-on? The statement would be true for the first sale only.

Re:cheating the laws (1)

Registered Coward v2 (447531) | more than 4 years ago | (#32167400)

Yay... a yet another attempt to work around the First Sale rules. All they're doing is relabeling part of the package, so instead it's an "add-on" now.

By "title updates" they really mean bug-fix patches. In other words, this "Online Pass" thingy is strictly negative.

The doctrine of first sale is not universal nor all encompassing, in the US at least; there are a number of gray areas. In this case, they haven't prevented you from selling the tangible good you bought; but are not providing the same benefits that the original purchaser gets. Their only obligation is to you, the original purchaser; they do not have to provide the same level of support or access to subsequent purchasers. You could, of course, pass on to the subsequent purchaser they login credentials to give them access to the content but I doubt most people will do that.

What this will do, however, put pressure on used game sales as you now need to spend $10 more to get the same experience as a new game; narrowing the gap between new and used unless used prices drop to stay competitive. I'd guess resellers will offer less for games that have the $10 add-on, and would not be surprised if EA offers point of sale opportunities to buy the add-on. If used prices do drop, people who don't care about the additional features will benefit from lower prices, and those that wanted them but couldn't get them now have a way to get them. Those who buy new games will see lower trade in values; and have to decide if having the game when it comes out is worth the now higher premium.

Re:cheating the laws (4, Insightful)

WrongSizeGlass (838941) | more than 4 years ago | (#32167496)

By "title updates" they really mean bug-fix patches. In other words, this "Online Pass" thingy is strictly negative.

This will also give EA the option of "discontinuing" this "super duper premium content" that was "soooo hot, and toooo cool" to even put on the game disk. They'll kill off this $10 DLC when the next sequel of their game hits the shelves.

Re:cheating the laws (1)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 4 years ago | (#32168078)

Today this will be restricted to "premium content." Tomorrow it will be required for multiplayer. The next day it will be required to even play the game at all.

Hurray, you get to pay for updates (4, Interesting)

indytx (825419) | more than 4 years ago | (#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:Hurray, you get to pay for updates (1)

HungryHobo (1314109) | more than 4 years ago | (#32167184)

their attitude is literally
"You shouldn't complain about it.
Just pay us over and over and over and over.
We're sure you can afford it."

In another world (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32167312)

I wonder how much EA would have charged for GTA online levels (if they had made the game)? I know they really wanted to get a slice of the pie for such a big selling game - but the fans know what that would mean... a game that's been split up and sold in many parts to get £100's instead of £45. Also dodgy frame rates and games that are just boring to play.

I recon GTA would have cost £40 fo the game and £10 for each multiplayer (15 different levels), making quite a bit more profit and costing the average gamer much more... But I wouldn't have brought it.

Re:Hurray, you get to pay for updates (2, Insightful)

mwvdlee (775178) | more than 4 years ago | (#32167466)

Their attitude is "We're not getting sued, so it must be legal".

Re:Hurray, you get to pay for updates (4, Insightful)

HungryHobo (1314109) | more than 4 years ago | (#32167202)

Also- jesus christ.
They're retiring games less than a year old.

In some countries consumer laws would still put electronic good under warranty for that long.

Re:Hurray, you get to pay for updates (1)

Endophage (1685212) | more than 4 years ago | (#32167422)

Agreed. Warranty in the EU is a minimum of 2 years. I don't think they could withhold updates as an update (assuming we're talking about patches) is an admission that there was something in the original product that made it not fit for purpose. That would make it very difficult for them to justify making you pay for updates. I think the idea would be more like the premium rate would give you extra maps, maybe special items, possibly access to multiplayer (although that would make EA even bigger assholes if they withheld mutliplayer unless you pay).

Re:Hurray, you get to pay for updates (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32167764)

In some countries consumer laws would still put electronic good under warranty for that long.

Correct me if I'm wrong but that kind of warranty is for PCs and game consoles. I doubt that the videogames themselves are covered.

To bring the book industry into the 21st century.. (5, Interesting)

HungryHobo (1314109) | more than 4 years ago | (#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.

Better don't lose that manual! (3, Funny)

mvar (1386987) | more than 4 years ago | (#32167204)

"Please enter word 15 paragraph 2 line 4 page 23 of the game manual in order to proceed"

Re:To bring the book industry into the 21st centur (1)

Richard_at_work (517087) | more than 4 years ago | (#32167260)

Stephen King tried this - purchase a book chapter by chapter as an experiment. It failed, and the book was never finished.

Re:To bring the book industry into the 21st centur (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32167350)

I presume you mean The Green Mile [wikipedia.org] ? No , it didn't fail, and yes, it was finished. They even made it into a film.

Re:To bring the book industry into the 21st centur (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32167852)

No, he's talking about "The Plant". He was putting it out chapter by chapter, and it was on a "pay what you think it's worth" system. Not very many people paid.

I did see an article where King said that he would never do the book-by-book experiment of "The Green Mile" again; as of a few years ago you could buy the book whole as it hit the next printings.

Re:To bring the book industry into the 21st centur (2, Insightful)

Firkragg14 (992271) | more than 4 years ago | (#32167378)

A book is a terrible thing to use this approach on. It takes me all of 30minutes at most to read a chapter assuming its a long one. Then your gonna make me wait a month or so for another one. Theres no way im gonna bother reading a book like that in such a stop start manner. It does work for games though as there have been a few successful episodic games.

Re:To bring the book industry into the 21st centur (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32167530)

Sounds like a normal television show to me.

Re:To bring the book industry into the 21st centur (2, Informative)

quantumplacet (1195335) | more than 4 years ago | (#32167384)

umm, he released The Green Mile serialized, and serialized novels have been around for a few hundred years. The book you're referring to is The Plant, but the experiment there was not serialization, it was some weird bastardization of the honor system where 75% of readers had to pay for him to keep writing.

Re:To bring the book industry into the 21st centur (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32167602)

75% of the readers had to pay, at a time when less than 5% of the internet population had ever bought anything online (and no where near 75% had access to a credit card at all). It was an experiment designed to fail.

Re:To bring the book industry into the 21st centur (2, Insightful)

Zaphod The 42nd (1205578) | more than 4 years ago | (#32167304)

Yes, this is exactly like saying that if you sell a book to somebody, then they're not allowed to read the last chapter until they pay the publisher $10. Its COMPLETELY LUDICROUS, and I hope people realize it.

Ugh, I'm already boycotting Ubisoft for its draconian DRM, now I've gotta boycott EA for its content locking out and violation of property rights? The way video game studios are going, soon everything's going to be owned by either one of those two, or Activision. At least they aren't doing anything terrible right now, right? (*reads about lawsuits with infinity ward*) Agh!

Re:To bring the book industry into the 21st centur (-1, Flamebait)

Dog-Cow (21281) | more than 4 years ago | (#32167548)

Actually, it doesn't sound anything like that. I think you're a bitter old piece of shit. I hope you suffer endlessly for your imagined slights.

Re:To bring the book industry into the 21st centur (1)

HungryHobo (1314109) | more than 4 years ago | (#32167728)

Care to in any way elaborate?

If I were to sell a book as described how would it be different from this scheme?

Re:To bring the book industry into the 21st centur (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32167734)

I think you're a bitter old piece of shit.

I don't know about that, he sounds more like a bitter 15 year old piece of shit.

Re:To bring the book industry into the 21st centur (1)

Pharmboy (216950) | more than 4 years ago | (#32167446)

I would have to disagree, and add that this might actually be a good thing. They are offering extra content for the $10, not requiring it to buy the used game. You can still play the game without the extra content. Obviously, this system can be abused, but the idea itself isn't bad and may be a way where games are offering MORE to the original purchasers, and re-buyers can get the same extras for a small fee.

Keep in mind, that they owe patches, updates only to the original purchaser, and technically, they don't even owe that. Support isn't free (downloads, hosting servers, etc.) and when a game is sold to someone else, it effectively doubles the amount of support they had built into the original price. If done right, this would be a reasonable way to offer longer support and *still make a profit* while not mucking up the used market, since the used games are still 100% playable without the extra support.

The key to this is the buyer understanding what they get (EA is offering a free trial) before they plunk down an extra $10. For some, it will be worth it, for others, not so.

Re:To bring the book industry into the 21st centur (1)

Threni (635302) | more than 4 years ago | (#32167514)

> Support isn't free (downloads, hosting servers, etc.) and when a game is sold to someone else, it effectively doubles the amount of support they had built into the original price

Uh.. how do you work that out? One person using it at a time, one set of support costs.

Re:To bring the book industry into the 21st centur (1)

Pharmboy (216950) | more than 4 years ago | (#32167564)

Uh.. how do you work that out? One person using it at a time, one set of support costs.

Updates downloaded twice, not once, doubling the cost for bandwidth. If they provide a server, Player #1 plays for 6 months and gets bored, sells it, Player #2 plays for 6 months, effectively doubling the server load if only a single person had bought it. (using averages, the effect is literally 100% linear increase in load) Not all support issues are doubled, but their net cost to support (depending on the game) is higher when the game is resold. While these expenses are not tremendous, neither is the $10 fee, and the games would still be single player playable without the extra support. Again, this *could* be abused, but it could also be done to provide good value, depending on how it is implimented. EA's method seems pretty reasonable since it includes a trial period and the price is relatively low.

Now if they made it where you had to pay the $10 to even PLAY the game, then that would be an issue. And it might be with multiplayer only games.

Re:To bring the book industry into the 21st centur (2, Insightful)

HungryHobo (1314109) | more than 4 years ago | (#32167718)

Those are crosses they choose of their own free will to bear.

They include DRM to stop you from passing on the patches along with the game when you re-sell it.
They tie multiplayer to their own servers rather than allow players to host their own.

They shoot themselves in the foot and then charge their customers and the owners of second hand games for the medical bills.

Re:To bring the book industry into the 21st centur (1)

HungryHobo (1314109) | more than 4 years ago | (#32167648)

In the context of my hypothetical book:

The ending of my book is also "extra content". I am offering "extra content" for the $10, not requiring it to buy the second-hand book.
You can still read the book without that "extra content".

Keep in mind, that I owe proofread copies and endings only to the original purchaser, and technically, I don't even owe that.
Proofreading and providing corrected and finished copies over the net isn't free.(Staff, hosting servers, etc.)
and when a book is sold to someone else, it effectively doubles the amount of proofreading I had built into the original price.

My book is still 100% readable without the spelling corrections or ending.

Re:To bring the book industry into the 21st centur (2, Interesting)

pandrijeczko (588093) | more than 4 years ago | (#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?

Re:To bring the book industry into the 21st centur (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32167704)

Nonsense. They are doing it do devalue the product you bought. They are simply labelling parts of the game as "free bonus" to screw you out of your ability to resell the game.

If you really think they'll add more stuff, I would love a hit of whatever you are smoking.

But I guess with enough marketing they can sell this as beneficial to the consumer. It obviously already works on some.

Re:To bring the book industry into the 21st centur (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32168054)

They are not "offering extra content for $10". They are doing exactly waht BioWare did for Mass Effect 2. They are attempting to fuck the first-sale doctrine in the ass by forcing all people who buy the game used to pay THEM as well. (ME2's is called cerberus network and bypasses XBL DLC)

Not very forward thinking really (2, Informative)

Redlemons (1313923) | more than 4 years ago | (#32167170)

With online distribution (like steam) they could stop second hand sales altogether, and as a bonus you don't need a silo for your discs. Pretty awesome in my opinion.

Re:Not very forward thinking really (1)

Rockoon (1252108) | more than 4 years ago | (#32167230)

Agreed.

I have a silo of old games (10+ years old), but only a handful of new games with physical media.

I play those old games exactly never.. hell, most wont even run on any of the rigs I have set up now, and even if I set up the rigs to run them, I would be immediately displeased with them. My expectations are higher now.

Re:Not very forward thinking really (1)

Verunks (1000826) | more than 4 years ago | (#32167600)

With online distribution (like steam) they could stop second hand sales altogether, and as a bonus you don't need a silo for your discs. Pretty awesome in my opinion.

but this is aimed to console rather than pc gaming, because on pc the used market is almost non existent due to the cd key, I wouldn't trust anyone selling me his used key hoping that he wouldn't reuse it with a copy of the game, as a matter of fact battlefield bad company 2 had the vip key only in the console version while the pc version had the extra content for free without any extra key
on console the online distribution is still very limited and it's mostly used to sell small or old games

Re:Not very forward thinking really (2)

Setheck (1317019) | more than 4 years ago | (#32168014)

I totally agree. I don't understand EA's thinking. They should do like blizzard or steam, where you are effectively buying a CD key that is tied to your account. Then you can download and play the game any time you want, and if you sell your account your selling all your games. This "$10 used game service charge" is totally absurd. you won't catch me buying any of these games, new or used...

They're all evil. (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#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:They're all evil. (4, Insightful)

HungryHobo (1314109) | more than 4 years ago | (#32167220)

They'll attribute any lost sales to piracy whether you pirate or not.

Re:They're all evil. (2, Informative)

Ant P. (974313) | more than 4 years ago | (#32167428)

EA _has_ changed. 15-20 years ago, they were one of the biggest game developers. People would put down $50 a piece all the time because they made games worth that much.

Today they're just a games industry MPAA imitation. And they deserve to go under just as much.

I'll save the $10 (2, Insightful)

mvar (1386987) | more than 4 years ago | (#32167178)

and give it to independent studios and offers like that of wolfire's "humble bundle indie" . As if awful DRM and little re-play value wasn't enough for today's games, now this. Pass..

Artificially created need is... (1)

Merakis (959028) | more than 4 years ago | (#32167200)

artificial.

This should be titled (4, Insightful)

masterwit (1800118) | more than 4 years ago | (#32167208)

This article should be titled:

EA games does yet another thing to piss me off...

hummm.... (2, Funny)

Tei (520358) | more than 4 years ago | (#32167268)

Is all about fight the First Sale doctrine. Make games a "not transferable account", so you can't re-sell the game you have buy (only part of it, here).

I wonder we will see the ones like General Motors, fighting the user car industry.

Re:hummm.... (1)

Arancaytar (966377) | more than 4 years ago | (#32167556)

Sure. New cars will come equipped with a cellular connection, and every command you give to the electronics (accelerate, steer left, steer right, brake, etc.) will first have to be confirmed via the "always on" connection.

In order to prevent pirates from driving an unauthorized copy or second-hand car, the electronics will shut down immediately if they cannot get a connection to General Motors' license server, leaving you careening down the freeway at 100. Piracy kills! :P

EA Sports (4, Interesting)

lyinhart (1352173) | more than 4 years ago | (#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.

Re:EA Sports (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32167506)

If EA were smart they would charge $60 for the game and you'd have to buy all the players on your team, a la micro-transaction, and build a team in a digital (or E- if you prefer) league instead of licensing the intellectual property of the NFL, NHL, NBA, etc. and re-selling their characters.

Re:EA Sports (1)

TheReij (1641099) | more than 4 years ago | (#32167536)

You can use micro-transactions to purchase player abilities and upgrades already, so this wouldn't be too far from the current system. This is also why I don't play online with their sports titles.

Re:EA Sports (1)

je ne sais quoi (987177) | more than 4 years ago | (#32167586)

It's not just sports games, they already did this with Dragon Age: Origins. If you buy the game new you get a code to go get an alternate party member and there's a nice piece of equipment that you can find along the way. If someone's already used that code, you have to pay $10 to get the alternate party member and the nice equipment.

I bought the game new so it didn't affect me, but my solution to DLC in general is not to bother. Maybe I should but I why should I shell out another $7-10 for just another mission, it isn't worth it.

Re:EA Sports (1)

hansamurai (907719) | more than 4 years ago | (#32167942)

But they turn the servers off of sports games as fast or faster than other titles too. Madden 2009 was going to be shutdown a few months ago but public outcry stopped that, but every iteration before that is already down.

Incentive to piracy? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32167300)

Doesn't shit like this just piss of people more and give them a greater incentive to pirate the games, instead of paying for these terrible extra fees?

Mass Effect 2 (1)

shooteur (1559845) | more than 4 years ago | (#32167324)

This was in Mass Effect 2 - Called the Cerbus Network card, basically you'll get a heap of DLC with it, which expands the game by a great length. It costs IIRC 1500 Microsoft Points on XBOX Live to buy a code with it, obviously for people who purchase the game second. The bad thing is EA is now releasing DLC that require you to use MS Points regardless if you have the Network Pass card or not - (See Alternative appearance/Weapons packs, which dubious value to the game compared to the network pass content anyway).

Re:Mass Effect 2 (1)

IBBoard (1128019) | more than 4 years ago | (#32167482)

Ditto for Sims 3. My wife wanted it, bought it, got a "free download" code that gave her about £6 in the shop and an extra town to play. If they're going it that way ('extras' that aren't necessary but provide benefit to first-time purchasers) then I don't have a problem with it and it is good to see them doing an "encourage legit purchases" effort that actually benefits the legit purchaser instead of DRM harming them. If they start putting vital parts of the game (like final levels or vital equipment) behind this kind of system then they're taking the mick and just crippling a legitimate purchase so that it is more of a "rental" license with a one-time fee that you haven't actually bought so you don't own it.

EA sports not the best choice (1)

T Murphy (1054674) | more than 4 years ago | (#32167342)

Their sports games already lose their multiplayer after a year or two, yet they expect people to buy used copies and spend extra money to get a bit of content that still won't address the lack of multiplayer. I don't expect this to go very well.

Where this is headed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32167348)

This is just the beginning. What the big game publishers REALLY want to do is get rid of the used market entirely so that new game prices never have to go down to compete with used ones. As they build acceptance of this "You get more of the product when you buy it new" model and as people's capacity to download and store more data increases they will gradually move more and more of the product off of the disc and into the "DLC" bucket. Or they might just do what BioShock did [slashdot.org] : ship the content on the disc but make you pay for part of it. Either way, you'll eventually have to pay full price to get access to the content whether you bought it new or used -- and with no used market to compete with, the price won't drop nearly as fast over time as it does today.

Already ran into this BS (2, Interesting)

Secret Rabbit (914973) | more than 4 years ago | (#32167352)

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:Already ran into this BS (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32167714)

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?

On PS3 your downloads are tied to your Playstation Network account. I think you can redownload it at will as long as you use the same login credentials.

Re:Already ran into this BS (1)

GTarrant (726871) | more than 4 years ago | (#32167824)

I do not know about the PS3 (I recall an article that said that a PSN purchase usually allowed 5 downloads, so people were sharing them?). On the Xbox 360, any content you purchase is "tied" to you in two ways - one, to the account (gamertag) that purchased it, and two, to the console on which it was originally purchased.

If you are on the console on which the content was originally purchased, then anyone can use it. It is on that console, and the purchaser does not have to be signed in to access that content (games, addons, whatever). If for some reason you upgrade the hard drive or re-originate the console, that doesn't change the embedded serial number or hardware code or whatever, and Xbox Live will let you redownload it to that same console at no cost (if you had to send in your console for RROD issues, as many of us did, if MS sent you a different console back, they usually remembered to add that new console's hardware code to your account so it would "count" as an original console for your purchases).

However, if you're not on the original console, you are still able to download any content that you have purchased. When I'm at a friend's house, I can download, for example, Peggle to his console if I log in with my gamertag, and we can play to our heart's content. However, because it won't be also tied to his console, as soon as I log out of his console, he will no longer be able to play it (unless he too purchases the game).

I'm guessing this would be similar for these VIP codes - at least, that's the way it has worked with some of the various one-time use codes I've had so far. Perhaps someone with the PS3 can say whether it's similar there (I hope it would be, as I'm looking to pick up a PS3 in the not too distant future).

Project Ten Dollar (3, Informative)

Clovis42 (1229086) | more than 4 years ago | (#32167388)

This is just EA's "Project Ten Dollar" and it is not limited to just he sports games. It has already been featured in Dragon Age Origins and Mass Effect 2. Both games included content that you got for free with a code that came with the game, but you had to pay $10 to get if you bought it used.

The EULA Strikes Back (1)

TheReij (1641099) | more than 4 years ago | (#32167402)

This system tells me even more that my $60 just bought a license to play a game owned by a publisher. Ownership, as we know it with video games, is dying a slow death.

But these are a good thing (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32167418)

I, for one, am grateful for all these DRM systems and DLC schemes and such as they helped me make the decision of stop buying games and the money I’m saving with that!

OMFG!!! (whatever) (1)

TDyl (862130) | more than 4 years ago | (#32167524)

If they ever dare bring this into tic-tac-toe on my EDSAC then I shall be rather angry and I may growl once or twice.

More than just second-hand sales (2, Interesting)

Aceticon (140883) | more than 4 years ago | (#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.

I read this another way.... (3, Insightful)

pandrijeczko (588093) | more than 4 years ago | (#32167614)

The $10 voucher allows you access to stuff that 5 years ago, before DLC existed, would have been included on the original game CD.

Sorry, but as an old man in my mid-40s with a quarter century of gaming history, modern gaming and most modern games are *CRAP*!!!

Games used to be about entertainment that lasted a lot longer than 6 hours, was actually challenging and was fun when you got a few friends round to LAN party with you.

Now it's all about leeching more money out of parents by encouraging kids to always buy some piece of DLC that they can brag about to their friends because they're the first "on the block" to get it - this is why morons queue at midnight for the latest game release, Harry Potter book or overpriced Apple gadget.

Still, I've more than enough old games to play through again, load mods into or play via an emulator, as well as few nice free/Open Source games... the rest of you rabid fanbois have brought this on yourselves by buying the crap in the first place, and you're all welcome to it.

Re:I read this another way.... (3, Informative)

Totenglocke (1291680) | more than 4 years ago | (#32167754)

this is why morons queue at midnight for the latest game release, Harry Potter book or overpriced Apple gadget.

You're right about two of the three, but you're wrong about Harry Potter release parties - people go to those because they want to start reading the book ASAP because they love the story and can't wait to see what comes next (you also typically get a discount if you pre-ordered). I know what their reasoning is because I went to a couple midnight releases of it and talked to the people there - I've yet to ever hear anyone brag about being the first to have a book; I've only heard people who were excited to read a new book and were glad to get it the minute it went on sale so they could stay up all night reading it.

Still, I've more than enough old games to play through again, load mods into or play via an emulator

Me too - that's why I have no problem boycotting games with DRM, because out of all the games I've played, I still have stacks that I never got around to beating.

Re:I read this another way.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32168018)

So true. The first time I played Asteroids it sucked me in for damn near the total mission length of your standard FPS of today. Video games are a way to waste time. Most games do nothing legitimate for your life, unless your life goals are to somehow make a living as a "pro" video game player.

Someone earlier mentioned an allegory to the used book market and how it would be if every person who read a book would have to pay a $10 fee to read the ending. Obviously this isn't how books work. I would argue in that case, that video games, despite their appeal, have in many cases managed to thwart that appeal with the negatives of corporate greed to the point that it is far better to read a book, ride a bike, fly a kite, or garden.

If the rules of baseball are changed so that no one may score, it's time to pick up a new hobby.

The 'updates' thing is scary since you MUST update (1)

Assmasher (456699) | more than 4 years ago | (#32167770)

...to play multi-player on XBox Live. What a bunch of greedy bastards. The only thing this type of behavior does is make me more selective about the games I play, for example, I'll never buy another Ubisoft game while they have that 'always online' DRM. I stopped playing Company of Heroes when they went this route until you could play with the disc installed again. Greedy bastards.

FTFA (1)

HaZardman27 (1521119) | more than 4 years ago | (#32167800)

"We actually view the second sale market as an opportunity to develop a direct relationship with our consumers, and with Online Pass everyone has access to the same premium online services and content regardless of how and where you buy the game."

No, you dumb twat, that's how the old model worked; this new model just sucks. If you're really that worried about making more money off used games, just add more advertisements to your sports games; I'm sure most of your fans will just find this more "realistic." "Develop a direct relationship with our consumers?" What kind of relationship would that be? The kind where they bend over and you **** their brains out?

Walled Garden (1)

BlueBoxSW.com (745855) | more than 4 years ago | (#32167902)

Funny, I couldn't find one reference to "Walled Garden" in the comments here.

Wonder why that's such a popular thing to repeat about Apple's iphone/ipad/ipod touch devices, but not console games?

Re:Walled Garden (1)

Dorkmaster Flek (1013045) | more than 4 years ago | (#32168170)

Possibly because there's no free/open alternative in the console market. The PC is an open platform by comparison (depending on your OS/hardware obviously, but there are standards like USB HIDs, OpenGL, etc.) The console market has never been like this. One advantage is that it's a simpler platform, because it's fixed. This is the downside.

Capitalism (2, Insightful)

jlf278 (1022347) | more than 4 years ago | (#32168048)

In capitalism, companies are given a financial incentive to compete for consumers by producing a superior product at a streamlined price. When innovation or increased productivity is no longer forseeable, the mandate for growth costs consumers by giving companies the incentive to create an inferior product.

1. Make a fridge that lasts 30 years
2. Expand company on sales of superior product
3. Reduce costs and add features
4. Eliminate remaining competition
5. The 3 remaining fridge brands can now last 5 years
6. Further reduce costs and trim features and quality
7. Massive profits!

This is how EA would like the video game industry to progress. Just as fridges that last 30 years eventually hurt sales rather than boost sales, so do used video games. Small companies compete with other companies for sales. Large companies compete with themselves.

Mixed Feelings (1)

Jawnn (445279) | more than 4 years ago | (#32168092)

On the one hand, part of me is pissed off by this sleazy attempt to wring (extort might not be too strong a word) more money out of a product that was sold, fair and square, to the original buyer. No, it wasn't "licensed". It was sold. "Here's a game. It's cool. Give me $50 and it's yours." ...sold. Demanding another piece of the value I paid for, should I choose to sell my game to someone else is symptomatic of the screwed up view that software developers have of their customers.
On the other hand, if people are stupid enough to pay $50 for a game that the next guy will get to buy for a fraction of that, there's at least a small amount of satisfaction that both buyers are allowing themselves to get reamed.
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