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Sony Introduces 'PSN Pass' To Fight Used Game Sales

Soulskill posted more than 3 years ago | from the greedy-for-negative-pr dept.

DRM 291

Gamasutra reports that Sony has introduced "PSN Pass" — one-time codes that will unlock complete online access for certain games. "The company didn't offer details on how used and rental players would access online features in these titles, but did clarify that first-party use of the passes will be decided on a game-by-game basis." The initiative is similar to the "Online Pass" that EA rolled out last year, and to Sony's own experiment with SOCOM 4. Sony's explanation for the Pass will probably leave you wishing Google Translate supported marketing-speak: "This is an important initiative as it allows us to accelerate our commitment to enhancing premium online services across our first party game portfolio."

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online games (0, Troll)

cgeys (2240696) | more than 3 years ago | (#36692382)

I know such always get critized by customers and it's Sony here... But lets try to look at it objectively. Running online services costs money. Running online services that are constantly improved, have new items or classes or whatever rolled out and the game being balanced all the time cost a lot more money. These games don't have monthly subscriptions because that only works with mmo games. This means the game company is fully dependant on the income from game sales. When people resell their game the game developers get nothing, so they also have less incentive to support online games.

Now this leaves a few options for the game company. Valve is currently experiencing with the another one - make the game free to play and have a store where gamers can buy items or decoration (hats, different colors). This is also how Facebook games and the like work, and this has been the standard in Asian markets for a long time. This also gets criticized here on slashdot, but I think it works pretty well with TF2. Players get a truly awesome game for free and theres incentive for the players to buy from store (I want this item now), but they can also unlock them via achievements and playing the game. I bought TF2 (Orange Box) when it came out, but I've also bought a few items from the store after I started playing it again now. Items I felt would make my gaming nicer as I could customize my classes as I wanted to. Items I just got a little bit earlier.

The other one sadly is either monthly fees or things like this PSN Pass. As I've personally never resold a game (and I don't think it's so huge market with PC games, consoles yes) I really don't feel like paying a monthly fee to play some shooter game. Microsoft handles this by collectively collecting a monthly feel for the whole 360 service. But the truth is, somehow the company needs to get money to run the online services. I spend a lot for the game, so I don't like to subsidize freeloaders. It's only fair that they also pay a little to get online access, which is a recurring cost for the game company.

Re:online games (0)

Chrisq (894406) | more than 3 years ago | (#36692404)

I tend to agree. Restrictions on online access seem fair. Disabling the whole game for second hand buyers is not.

Re:online games (-1, Troll)

hlavac (914630) | more than 3 years ago | (#36692694)

Used games are like selling your movie ticket after you have seen the movie, and the person you sold it to demanding to see the movie too. It hurts the game developers by denying them a fair share of profit. It's the same as for-profit piracy. Disclosure: I work for a game development company.

Re:online games (4, Insightful)

ccguy (1116865) | more than 3 years ago | (#36692708)

Does this apply to books, too?

Re:online games (2)

JosKarith (757063) | more than 3 years ago | (#36693122)

Or cars?

Re:online games (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36692740)

Really!??!!

I'm sure what you meant to say was "Selling your hardcopy of game X is akin to selling your DVD copy of film Y"

Saying otherwise is suggesting - like all good *AAs - "we should get paid every time someone experiences our work, regardless of how it is transferred".

That's fine - you can say that if you wish - first, reduce your prices to that of every other "experienced" offering - anywhere between 99c and $10 - thanks.

Anything else and you're double-dipping - why should that be allowed again ? Nope ? Thought as much.

Disclosure: I buy my games - I don't rent them or get them second hand. (I'm also a software developer - so don't try the "you don't understand the process" argument here either).

Re:online games (2)

Molt (116343) | more than 3 years ago | (#36692750)

Surely it's more like selling a movie DVD after you've seen the movie on it, and the person you sold it to demanding to see the movie too?

Re:online games (-1, Troll)

hlavac (914630) | more than 3 years ago | (#36692852)

In fact, yes, I think that is as bad. You can't unsee the movie can you? You don't pay for the DVD disk, you pay to see the movie. In case of DVD, as many times as you like. Don't mix game creators with game distributors into the same bag. Game creators don't create games to sell DVD media thay are on. They sell you the experience of the game, and that is what they should be paid for. In that regard, only the first sale pays. Used game shops make money on each sale. But they didn't make the game. Game authors get nothing. That is why it's bad. Keep that up, and soon nobody will create anything anymore. Why feed the leeches? Can't you see that?

Re:online games (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36692900)

Don't be absurd. If you buy a DVD, you are purchasing the right to watch the movie AND THE RIGHT TO SELL YOUR COPY. Nobody is going to pay $60 for the right to play some game one time and then have no power to sell it or give it away. It doesn't work that way with reality (bicycles, computers, cars), it doesn't work that way with other forms of art (books, paintings), and there is nothing special about digital media that makes it somehow wrong to sell what is yours. I'm truly sympathetic that artists don't see checks each time their paintings change hands.

Re:online games (5, Insightful)

Effexor (544430) | more than 3 years ago | (#36692940)

So true. I remember when I was young and authors used to write books. Then the used book stores came along and now there are no more books. Will they never learn?

Re:online games (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36692946)

You are one dumb motherfucker if you think that's a rational position.

Re:online games (4, Insightful)

Needlzor (1197267) | more than 3 years ago | (#36692980)

Want to kill used market? Stop selling your stuff as if customers were made of gold, and stop with the "Keep that up, and soon nobody will create anything anymore" fear-mongering crap: the entertainment industry has been using this line with "piracy" for decades and nobody gives a fuck. My 2 cents.

Re:online games (4, Insightful)

Inconexo (1401585) | more than 3 years ago | (#36692988)

If the disk is mine, I can resell it as I want. It's like a book, and don't tell me that reselling books is bad. Once I sell the book, movie or game, I can't see/play it again. So, what's the problem?

And game creators do win with second hand sales. Because many people won't buy so many games if they couldn't resell them later and recover part of their money.

Re:online games (1)

ThePhilips (752041) | more than 3 years ago | (#36693004)

Don't mix game creators with game distributors into the same bag.

In that regard, only the first sale pays.

I suspect that you lack basic knowledge of how the market works. Game developers most of the time get very very limited premium from well selling game - most if not all profits stay with the publishers.

What you say applies better to the self-published indie games - "Game authors get nothing" - but not to the majority of games distributed by big publishers where game authors were already paid in advance for creation of the game.

Keep that up, and soon nobody will create anything anymore. Why feed the leeches? Can't you see that?

Nonsense.

You probably never being around creative people. People create not because of profits - primary goal is to express themselves, to be heard, to be seen. Desire for profit comes much much later.

Re:online games (2)

darksabre (250838) | more than 3 years ago | (#36693036)

In fact, yes, I think that is as bad. You can't unsee the movie can you? You don't pay for the DVD disk, you pay to see the movie. In case of DVD, as many times as you like.

Bzzt, wrong! When you buy a DVD you are paying to have a licensed copy of that DVD. You can watch it as many times as you like, you can watch it with other people, as many times as you like, you can watch it with different groups of people as many times as you like, you can lend it to other people as many times as you like. It is just like a book. I do not believe that the second hand book market stopped new books being published and neither will a second hand games market stop new games being created.

An experience is not a saleable commodity. You sell a licensed copy of the game. You do not sell the experience of playing that game.

Re:online games (1)

shentino (1139071) | more than 3 years ago | (#36692824)

You'd be making a better (but less effective) analogy if you compared it to renting a game.

A movie ticket is a consumable commodity that entitles you to a service, that of watching the movie. It's quite different from purchasing a hard copy of the DVD.

Hard copies enjoy the First Sale doctrine, and as long as the original buyer relinquishes all rights to the property, the next buyer should be entitled to the benefit of his bargain.

I suspect though that your own analogy is inherently weak because the position you are advocating is nothing but bullshit and you can't really defend it.

Re:online games (4, Interesting)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 3 years ago | (#36692862)

And selling your car used is like stealing cookies from the store. It hurts the guy on the line building a car. you should destroy your car when you are done with it.
Selling your home after living in it hurts carpenters, you really should burn your house down when you move.
Let me guess, inviting friends over to watch a DVD I bought is theft in your eyes. What if I play that movie again? is that also stealing?

I only buy used games and I resell my used games to others because new games are incredibly overpriced. If I am hurting you personally by doing that, than that makes me very very happy. And I will continue to ONLY buy used games from now on. If it makes your industry crumble and puts people like you, that have a horribly distorted sense of reality out of work, then that makes me feel like a hero.

Re:online games (-1, Troll)

hlavac (914630) | more than 3 years ago | (#36692938)

With this attitude, you will be back to watching TV soon, hero. There will be nothing to play :)

Re:online games (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36692916)

WOW, way to be intellectually dishonest with yourself. A movie ticket is for an event. While most people view a DVD as a physical object, its really a license to view, one that can be resold like anything else. But you know this, because you are smart guy. Way to argue for things you know not to be true because it benefits you.

Re:online games (1)

91degrees (207121) | more than 3 years ago | (#36692968)

So is playing a game twice like seeing a film twice using the same ticket?

Re:online games (1)

Slashdot Assistant (2336034) | more than 3 years ago | (#36692970)

Movie tickets are normally sold for a single performance, so it's expected to expire regardless of whoever attends the showing. It's more comparable to someone re-selling a DVD. Developers get their fair share of the profit when the title is originally sold and have no obvious right to take a cut in subsequent re-selling. If you're not making enough profit on the initial sale then rethink your margins and/or business model. It's like turfing someone out of a cafe for denying you a sale by sharing their chips with a friend. You can make sharing against the rules of your cafe, but it's intellectually dishonest to equate it with someone someone stealing chips for resale. By all means introduce terms and technical measures that limit a game to a single activation (I accept that with Steam titles, StarCraft II and WoW. It's completely asinine to equate the reselling of games to piracy for profit. This mentality is one of reasons why I rarely buy movies and games anymore. I'm tired of publishers treating us like shit in order to shore-up a business model that could benefit from a rethink. I'll only buy things that really leap out at me - particularly if I know that I won't be able to re-sell the game should it turn out to be less than enjoyable.

Re:online games (1)

SkunkPussy (85271) | more than 3 years ago | (#36693114)

No your movie ticket gives you entrance to one performance; you are basically renting that performance.

There is a difference between buying a film and renting a film - likewise there historically has been a difference between buying a game and renting a game.

Re:online games (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36692416)

"These games don't have monthly subscriptions because that only works with mmo games. This means the game company is fully dependant on the income from game sales."

Keep it in perspective: Sony (or whatever company involved for game X) will shut the server for that particular game down after X months or X years REGARDLESS of used or new game sales. It will be done. As such, this point you're making means nothing. They spend X dollars putting the server up. They base this off of new game sales, fine. BUT. In order for a used game to connect to this server, it means there's one less "new" game connecting to it. To put it simply, the total number of games bought will stay the same. The game will go offline after the same amount of time anyway so WTF screw with used games sales.

Re:online games (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36692422)

I remember a time when games where made to be fun in single player mode. Some of them had a multiplayer mode that didn't requre internet access.
I like that sort of games and that is the kind of games I will buy.

Re:online games (1)

SerpentMage (13390) | more than 3 years ago | (#36693022)

The problem here is that smart phones I think are killing the game vendors. Sure there are die hard gamers, but that market I would say is saturated. Those who became gamers became, and those who don't game don't. It's a binary thing. Though smart phones on the other hand are attracting a whole lot of people who might have played games and bought one or two games.

I am thinking of the Super Mario or sonic the hedge hog type gamers. Not the halo palyers here. With these restrictions all they will do is demolish their own businesses. It reminds me of the music, books, movie business when the realized that their business models changed. The first reaction and oh so predictable is to restrict! But like music, books, and movies restrictions does not get you very far. In fact it is just makes it that much harder...

Re:online games (5, Insightful)

jimshatt (1002452) | more than 3 years ago | (#36692426)

Maybe I'm not seeing the whole picture here, but what difference does it make, from the perspective of the game publisher, whether I play the game for 2 years, using the services provided, or I play the game for 1 year and someone else plays the game for another extra year? The game has been payed for, and that includes the 'right' to the services for however long I wish (and whichever corporeal body I reside in).

Re:online games (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36692452)

Well, the difference is that in the second case they didn't get their money twice as they would have if the other player had to buy a new copy, but only once. That is the entire problem.

It has zilch to do with running of the online services (the costs are the same) and everything with trying to milk out more revenue from players.

Re:online games (1)

Vanderhoth (1582661) | more than 3 years ago | (#36692492)

However the second player may never had bought the game until it was a used game because of the cost of buying the game new. So the original point still stands. I know I never pay $50+ for any game. I wait to buy it from a friend or from a used store. Doing so also means most of the bugs are worked out by the time I get it.

I've of the opinion the only reason game companies introduced online modes to games is so they could better control how and who is playing a game. I remember back in the day having a LAN parties, dialing a friends house or setup my own server to play. I also didn't have to deal with 13 year old prepubescent s screaming obscenities every time I wanted to have a match.

Re:online games (0)

cgeys (2240696) | more than 3 years ago | (#36692534)

If the original buyer sells the game, he is obviously bored with it. It's not a situation of original buyer playing two years or original buyer playing one year and other player playing one year.

The comment about single player/lan/multiplayer games in the old times is slightly wrong. The recent generation multiplayer games have a lot more content and gameplay than they previously had. Unlocks, classes, customization. Even FPS games are getting close to roleplaying/mmo games. I personally love it. The best aspect for example in CoD multiplayer for me has been the customization allowed. I also love that TF2 is adding more and more of it. It's a lot different than from the quake times.

Re:online games (1)

Vanderhoth (1582661) | more than 3 years ago | (#36692592)

If the original buyer sells the game, he is obviously bored with it. It's not a situation of original buyer playing two years or original buyer playing one year and other player playing one year.

This was the original point. However the second buyer wouldn't have bought the game at all if they had to pay full price. So either way the developer isn't making anymore weather buyer 1 plays for two years or buyer 1 plays for one year and buyer 2 plays for one year.

The comment about single player/lan/multiplayer games in the old times is slightly wrong.

My opinion that I prefer being able to choose who I play with is wrong? I'm so glad you pointed that out for me.

The recent generation multiplayer games have a lot more content and gameplay than they previously had. Unlocks, classes, customization. Even FPS games are getting close to roleplaying/mmo games. I personally love it. The best aspect for example in CoD multiplayer for me has been the customization allowed. I also love that TF2 is adding more and more of it. It's a lot different than from the quake times.

I personally find that being able to add content to the game after release has seriously degraded games. Instead of releasing a full featured great game, publishers are releasing shoddy half games. Then adding the rest of the content that should have been in the original later. Worse still in many cases they're charging you extra for the content you should have gotten when paid $60 up front.

Re:online games (1)

moronoxyd (1000371) | more than 3 years ago | (#36692604)

If the original buyer sells the game, he is obviously bored with it. It's not a situation of original buyer playing two years or original buyer playing one year and other player playing one year.

But it is neither a simple case of "without used games the developer would have sold twice as many games".

Not only my the person who bought the game used never have bought the game for full price, but the person who bought the game new might not have done so without knowing that he can get some of his money back by selling it to somebody else after a few months.

So used games help the developer (to some degree) by enabling more sales or keeping the price up.

Re:online games (2)

Chrisq (894406) | more than 3 years ago | (#36692814)

Not only my the person who bought the game used never have bought the game for full price, but the person who bought the game new might not have done so without knowing that he can get some of his money back by selling it to somebody else after a few months.

So used games help the developer (to some degree) by enabling more sales or keeping the price up.

That's certainly the way it works for most car buyers - they buy new and expect to recoup money on the sale or they by second hand. If motor manufacturers fitted a device so that it would be disabled on resale there would be an outcry, and it would probably reduce their sales anyway!

Re:online games (1)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 3 years ago | (#36692882)

"The recent generation multiplayer games have a lot more content and gameplay than they previously had. Unlocks, classes, customization."

and DLC, LOTS of DLC.... over half the game is missing in the box because the gredy Developers want ot charge us $12.00 a pop to unlock things that are actually already in the game.

Re:online games (1)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 3 years ago | (#36692874)

"Doing so also means most of the bugs are worked out by the time I get it."

Unless it's any of the crap from Lionhead Studios...

Fable II and Fable III are the most bug ridden turds I have ever seen.

Re:online games (4, Insightful)

delinear (991444) | more than 3 years ago | (#36692518)

It's also an incredibly blinkered approach that could well backfire. A lot of people only buy new games because they know they can resell them. A lot of people only buy used because they can't afford new. This scheme might have the desire effect of giving them a slice of all used games, but it might just as likely kill the used game market (because people who can't afford the new game definitely aren't going to want to pay the same price for a used game plus access) and eat into their new game sales (as people become more picky about what they buy in the knowledge there's no resale value since the used market just got gutted). It's a very risky strategy playing with a complex ecology like that, especially when it's one that generally works and this whole thing is just about greed and wanting to sell the same content more than once.

Re:online games (1)

malkavian (9512) | more than 3 years ago | (#36692788)

The worked out they could do it with the PC market, so they're moving that test case across to consoles now..

Few people play for 2 years (3, Insightful)

AwaxSlashdot (600672) | more than 3 years ago | (#36692482)

whether I play the game for 2 years, using the services provided, or I play the game for 1 year and someone else plays the game for another extra year

In theory, there are no difference.
In reality, almost no one plays for 2 years : most players stays only a few weeks or months and switch to a new game.

So, it is much more easy to find 2 players playing for 1 year than 1 player playing for 2.

The game has been payed for, and that includes the 'right' to the services for however long I wish.

And its price has been established on the statistical cost of usage. Ask Sony for perpetual right to resale your game without feature loss, and they'll be happy to give you a sell you a more expensive version.

Re:Few people play for 2 years (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36692636)

I know this is about consoles but bear with me.

The old way:

Create an entire game full of good content, tools for player created content, provide a server to find other players wanting to play, and provide users the ability to host their own games via lan/internet. Copy protection consists of a cd key validated on install and the need to have a cd in the drive the later annoyance being trivial for savy users to bypass. Players are free to sell their copy/pick up a used one etc.

New way:

Create half as much content, provide no tools for player created content and force players to connect to company servers to avoid piracy even when playing a single player. Provide second half of game as a combination of downloadable content and in game items you have to pay real life money for ensuring the rich are better than us in fantasy land as well as driving nicer cars in real life.

Meanwhile random drm scheme237 may or may not work with your system before or after joe average spends an hour yelling at dell tech support and reinstallling his OS and the decreased interest due to all of the above and the lack of a cheap used and or rental market may mean your game stops making money sooner rather than later at which point the servers shut down negating your ability to even play the game you paid for. At that point joe complains on the forums and is banned for life by one of the Indian tech support agents[game company] is using to save money losing access to the rest of his games. Phone calls to tech support are answered as follows Welcome to [game company] tech support my name is Bob how may I be helping you with your problem today sir in some barely comprehensible initiation of English. All further communication fails...

God damn the future of gaming looks bright!

 

Re:Few people play for 2 years (2)

digitig (1056110) | more than 3 years ago | (#36692704)

Or, put more simply... [duelinganalogs.com]

Re:online games (1)

jovetoo (629494) | more than 3 years ago | (#36692506)

First, they look at it differently: each second hand sale is a sale they earn no money from. They consider that a lost sale. This is debatable.

Second, you make the assumption that you payed for unlimited service for an unlimited time. In practice, however you have a limited amount of time you can play games and a limited amount of time you are willing to spend on this particular game. This is calculated into the price of the game. Each second hand gamer increases this particular amount of time per original sale of the game and thus increases service costs.

In the end, a second hand sale is not only a sale that does not bring in money, it actually costs them money.

Re:online games (1)

moronoxyd (1000371) | more than 3 years ago | (#36692648)

Reducing the resale value reduces the number of first hand sales.
People, who bought the game expecting to get some of the money back might not do so when there is no resale value.

To keep those people the developer would have to set a lower price.

In the end, a second hand sale helps the developer to keep a certain price level, so it earns money.

Re:online games (2)

hlavac (914630) | more than 3 years ago | (#36692754)

I don't know about your area, but here in Czech Republic old games get progressively cheaper. If you are a cheapskate and can't afford a shiny new game, you probably can't afford the beefy gear required to run the new games either. So you simply play older games on older hardware and you are fine, just say two years behind...

Re:online games (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36692976)

Obligatory http://xkcd.com/606/

Re:online games (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36692700)

But then they actually don't need to run the service. The reason they are running the service is to motivate this kind of crap. In the old days the community around the game took responsibility of running game servers and that worked great. I for one miss the old days when singel player where fun and multiplayer comminties ran the servers

Re:online games (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36693088)

Second, you make the assumption that you payed for unlimited service for an unlimited time. In practice, however you have a limited amount of time you can play games and a limited amount of time you are willing to spend on this particular game. This is calculated into the price of the game. Each second hand gamer increases this particular amount of time per original sale of the game and thus increases service costs.

The publishers should factor this is in when determining the sale price. It's the publishers' call to decide on whether or not they attempt to block re-sale, but they can't blame consumers if they fail to factor in losses due to re-sale if they don't take this in to account when setting the initial price. I'll happily accept a game being tied to me if I'm getting value from it, just as I do when I purchase stuff from Steam and iTunes.

Re:online games (-1, Troll)

somersault (912633) | more than 3 years ago | (#36692522)

The difference is that that guy submitted that (rather large) first post on a new account in the same minute as the story was submitted, ie he's a marketing shill. His language is better than that of the ones I've seen before, but look at all his posts and they're all very pro Facebook, pro MS, anti-open source.. there have a been a spate of these marketing guys for the last few months. I can't remember the name of the company that does them, but someone slightly more interested than I am was documenting it in their journal.

Re:online games (1, Insightful)

cgeys (2240696) | more than 3 years ago | (#36692664)

Seriously, this "omg he's a shill" shit on /. needs to stop.

I'm not anti-open source, in fact I use CentOS and Fedora on my servers every day and I love its scripting abilities. That's where open source software really shines. At the same time I also understand (and acknowledge) that open source software has serious problems on desktop and especially with usability, because that is the truth. Of course we could all just lalalala, but doesn't that do more harm than bringing the fact out?

Pro Facebook? I've just pointed out that normal people like to use it and the fear mongering and "I just don't get it" attitude on slashdot is getting tiresome. For an intelligent community this large the sheer amount of ignorance is sometimes astonishing. I've also noted about the Google+ love and Facebook hate here on slashdot, objectively, as again many people here on slashdot don't seem to be able to see past the google-love mindset and that they both violate privacy and common good. The difference is that Google takes a soft, psychological way to do this and it seems to work for geeks as well extremely well. Like the previously noted "Do you want to improve your browsing and install Chrome" marketing with no "Yes" answer but a soft "Oh I guess that's ok" button.

It's not some shady slashdot marketing, it's opinions that sometimes differ from your own. Learn the difference.

Re:online games (1)

somersault (912633) | more than 3 years ago | (#36692876)

I don't hate Facebook either nor do I care much about Google plus, but I always get suspicious when someone posts a large and measured first post in the same minute as a new story.

Re:online games (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36693066)

Open source is bad on the desktop? I take it you have never used compiz, which is better than MS's window manger? Or perhaps KDE, which is stable and feature rich while not forcing users to spend hours setting things up? How about Firefox or chromium, the 2 most popular web browsers?

Re:online games (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36692924)

You buy a game brand new, the publisher / developers get a cut as well as the game system manufacturer if any. You decide to sell it to gamestop, gamestop buys your $60 game for $25 and sells it for $40. Someone comes in, see's that game for $60 NEW or $40 USED, they see no difference in the two, they pay gamestop $40 and gamestop see's all the profit to themselves. Meanwhile, game devs / publishers could have seen some kind of profit if the game wasn't sold used thanks to the lack of royalty laws for supported games. Game companies lose money even more from used games than they do from pirating, which is why their attention is less on pirating and more against used games. If you want more affordable new games, you'll have to get rid of the used games factor, which will be coming very soon, however this may trigger an up-rise in pirating.

Re:online games (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36692428)

But lets try to look at it objectively. Running online services costs money. Running online services that are constantly improved, have new items or classes or whatever rolled out and the game being balanced all the time cost a lot more money.

Mentioning that is just a sugarcoated lie or wishful thinking.

You want to be objective? I haven't played a major-publisher game who either improved or added anything after release in a LONG time. They usually give up any kind of support very few months after release.

Do you want to know what you'll actually be getting? Increased game prices (What you thought they will lower the initial game price? Hah!) and online communities will die off much faster (Who's going to pay extra to play an older game for which the developer has given up support a month after release? Plus fewer people will buy the game in the first place because they simply lack the money as they can no longer resell their old games.).

These passes are a scam.

If you really think you'll get your money's worth for these passes, you're a chump.

Re:online games (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36692444)

Well, this is exactly the bullshit what companies such as Sony like you to think, there is no nothing free in this world etc., that is. However, I refuse to buy shitty games, games with shitty DRM or shitty execution or licensing terms (I don't believe you can actually own games today). The latter is exactly what this PSN Pass thing is: Pay us more bacause the only thing we care about is money.

So, have fun paying more as I'll be spending my money on some other things. And oh, don't bother even writing to your game makers (as it would cost money for them to read your letters; At least you should include some sort of reading fee to cover the costs) after they decide to shut down servers and keep every implementation detail themselves "because we might reuse the franchise after 20 years or so and it would suck if there had been some (quite possibly very low activity) community driven, "free as in free speech" service available at some point".

Re:online games (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36692458)

These games don't have monthly subscriptions because that only works with mmo games. This means the game company is fully dependant on the income from game sales. When people resell their game the game developers get nothing, so they also have less incentive to support online games.

Thanks for the astroturfing, man, but your argument doesn't even make sense. The game developers also get nothing if the original owner continues to play the game.

Do I get reimbursed if I buy a game and stop playing after three months? Of course not, so why should the game developers get to double-dip if people play it for longer than anticipated?

Or consider books. I also own books I haven't finished even once. I don't pay more for the former, and I don't get money back for the latter, and in either case, if I resell a book, the publisher gets nothing. Or how about cars (we love car analogies)? I got a Ford, and if I resell it, Ford doesn't get anything, despite the fact that it costs them an opportunity to sell a new vehicle. Should I really be allowed to resell an object, for no other reason than that it is MINE?

And all that hand-wringing about how running servers costs money (not to mention things like security - and we all know how much money Sony invests into these things, right)... if game developers have a problem with that, let them charge a monthly fee. That's fair and transparent, and people can decide whether to buy a game or not then.

Re:online games (1)

delinear (991444) | more than 3 years ago | (#36692566)

Hear hear. The whole point of PSN was meant to be that it's free - if developers are now introducing hidden costs to cover the online play features, that's completely missing the point. Besides which, I'd be interested to know what these running costs are - apart from match-making servers, I was under the impression most console games were peer hosted (i.e. one of the players is also the server) specifically to minimise running costs. If it really costs so much to run a server to match player A to players B, C and D, then outsource it to a third party and let them show ads or something - multiplayer has been free forever in the world of the PC and that's still profitable enough that games get made - imposing a hidden tax on every resale is nothing to do with covering costs, it's just about wanting a slice of a market that's nothing to do with them. I'd have less of a problem if the industry were forced to put a big, clear message on the front of every box explaining why it had dminished resale value so at least customers can make an informed choice.

Re:online games (1)

Gideon Wells (1412675) | more than 3 years ago | (#36692474)

I spend a lot for the game, so I don't like to subsidize freeloaders. It's only fair that they also pay a little to get online access, which is a recurring cost for the game company.

But you don't pay extra as a customer to keep with the upkeep of the game. In fact, this all sounds like the battle with RIAA and music piracy. How many used game buyers would buy the game used anyways? Should the people who buy the game on sale also be counted as free loaders? They didn't pay the full price. What about game monitoring, I buy the game and play it a few times and forget about it for two years. Should I get reimbursed since I didn't utilize the services?

Yes, there is an ongoing cost with keeping servers and whatnot running. The problem with the access being tied to the first sale of the game is that Sony is admitting they don't expect everyone to play the game online. This is even more benign than music piracy. It is a person giving up access to a game they legally bought to another to play in their place. Saying this puts undue hardship on the online portion of a game is saying anyone keeping a game and playing it thoroughly is putting undue hardship on the company.

I usually miss something small and stupid. I can see the argument, though I don't like it, of using this tactic to counter perceived hurt sales due to the resale market. I just don't see how rentals and resales hurt a company's upkeep unless they are taking advantage of casual players and thus the "hard core" are the free loaders.

Re:online games (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36692496)

I know such always get critized by customers and it's Sony here... But lets try to look at it objectively. Running online services costs money. Running online services that are constantly improved, have new items or classes or whatever rolled out and the game being balanced all the time cost a lot more money. These games don't have monthly subscriptions because that only works with mmo games. This means the game company is fully dependant on the income from game sales. When people resell their game the game developers get nothing, so they also have less incentive to support online games.

Assuming that the cost of the online service is set when pricing the original release (a number of servers running for the planned lifespan of the game divided up by the number of copies + profit), this shouldn't be a problem. Each original sale adds a player to the number of people using the servers. A second hand sale means that one player stops playing and another one starts playing, there's no change in the number of players the servers have to support in this case.

Re:online games (0)

cgeys (2240696) | more than 3 years ago | (#36692590)

That would be true if we all had just one game and we never lost interest in it. But the fact is, you don't usually continue playing that long and at least not so often. If you do, good! But if you now sell the game to new player, he has all the interest in it like a new customer, except that he didn't pay a cent to the game company. Your theory is nice, but it fails in practice. These costs have been calculated statistically when defining the price of game and how much they can spend on online services. Resold game is basically allowing freeloaders. Now, as Sony is a business it's not off from them. They just shift that cost to other customers. But is that fair to the others?

Re:online games (1)

Geraden (15689) | more than 3 years ago | (#36692836)

I would suggest that Sony and other developers base their statistical analysis on game time, etc. on the TRUE lifespan of a sold copy, including used sales, instead of solely on first-sale plays. Then they can come up with a true pricing model based on the very legal practice of the sale of used games, instead of trying to circumvent gamers' rights.

Re:online games (1)

Vanderhoth (1582661) | more than 3 years ago | (#36692848)

So you're saying it's ok for the company to slack off in what was promised in the later years of a game because the original owners aren't interested anymore?

Boy have I got news for you. I have lots of old games I love replaying. Every time I pick up an old game and play it, I show the same interest in it I had when I first bought it. By your logic after the first couple weeks/months I've owned the game I should have lost interest so the company shouldn't have to support the game anymore because I've already gotten board of it. I couldn't imagine the out rage I'd have if I tried to play Starcraft, Warcraft, Kings Quest, any of the final fantasy games or any of the other games I bought first hand and had a message pop-up. Sorry we're no longer supporting that game better luck next time.

How do you differentiate between and second hand player and a first hand player playing a second time! You can't.

Re:online games (2)

conares (1045290) | more than 3 years ago | (#36692568)

Most games AFAIK the gamers them selves pay for the online services. TF2 or basically any other Valve game are always on dedicated servers (are there official servers that Valve pay for?). BF:BC2 also, MW2 has that fuckup one player has to host. Someone is definitely paying for online services, but its not the makers of the games.

Re:online games (1)

X.25 (255792) | more than 3 years ago | (#36692580)

I know such always get critized by customers and it's Sony here... But lets try to look at it objectively. Running online services costs money. Running online services that are constantly improved, have new items or classes or whatever rolled out and the game being balanced all the time cost a lot more money

So, your logic is that it costs SONY more to run servers when someone purchases a game off me and wants to play it online, than when I play it online myself?

Brilliant.

Re:online games (1)

MaxBooger (1877454) | more than 3 years ago | (#36692618)

The other one sadly is either monthly fees or things like this PSN Pass.

I believe you are mistaking PSN Pass with PSN Plus. Plus is the service that extends free PSN with free-to-play titles, discounts and other such junk. Pass appears to be the standard lock-out-the-used-game-buyers methodology used by Electronic Arts.

Re:online games (1)

poetmatt (793785) | more than 3 years ago | (#36692894)

when you need more money from consumers, you don't take it from them by lowering the value of your games and basically forcing people to pay more.
you earn it from them by increasing their value.

Do you understand why this is so fucking backwards?
All sony has to do is start pricing games in the $20 range and they'd sell enough to get 3x-5x the profit they get off selling them at the $60 range. This isn't mystery math. Making a game a one-time use, and killing resale value, means the games have less value overall. Less value overall = less people buy.

Re:online games (1)

paul_metcalfe (2252790) | more than 3 years ago | (#36692930)

Why don't Sony make it possible for people to run their own server? Then there is no issue if Sony doesn't want to keep funding server space for multiplayer. The fans will solve the problem themselves. This is not ideal, since we're talking about a console not a PC. And even in the case of TF2 there needs to be a central server that keeps track of who bought which hats and gained which stats, because if you can run your own server and set your own hats for free, why would anyone shell out money for them? Oh by the way ever tried to sell your steam games? It's just as bad as this crap.

Re:online games (1)

stealth_finger (1809752) | more than 3 years ago | (#36692974)

Unless most or all of this PSN pass payment goes onto the devs then this system is worse than pre owned. It's the devs that need the income to keep making games not sony.

generator (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36692398)

This is an important initiative as it allows us to accelerate our commitment to enhancing premium online services across our first party game portfolio.

is there a generator to make that kind of text? who the hell comes up with things like that, do they believe it themselves?

Re:generator (2)

RivenAleem (1590553) | more than 3 years ago | (#36692434)

I think that such a generator would break one of the Linguistodynamic Laws, it being a perpetual drivel machine.

They plan to use this on all games (0, Offtopic)

geekrule (2354768) | more than 3 years ago | (#36692448)

Really in this press release [aeonity.com] , they say to use such system on all online games released in 2012...
Fucking sony...

Foot, Trip, *BLAM* (1)

undulato (2146486) | more than 3 years ago | (#36692472)

I didn't miss PSN much either really when it disappeared. Am I core gaming market or disposable fuddy duddy?

Single Player Access (1)

TheSpoom (715771) | more than 3 years ago | (#36692478)

Game company using this technology to restrict any access to the game whatsoever to the first buyer in 3... 2...

Re:Single Player Access (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36693002)

I believe you are late and this was already done, look up the latest Capcom controversy about a permanent save that you cannot delete and that prevents you from playing the game from the start...

Translation (2)

MadTinfoilHatter (940931) | more than 3 years ago | (#36692494)

Sony's explanation for the Pass will probably leave you wishing Google Translate supported marketing-speak: "This is an important initiative as it allows us to accelerate our commitment to enhancing premium online services across our first party game portfolio."

Let me do the honors: "Bend over suckers."

What a crock (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36692514)

There is a vast difference between running an mmo and constantly creating new content and experiences for players and putting up a server that serves to tell player A player B just hosed him with a railgun.

The cost of hosting a server to allow players to connect with each other and player is a cost of doing business associated with convincing joe blow he would like to fork over $60 for the game $20 for DLC and $5 for some imaginary property within the game. Not only that but having active online gaming going on entices others to play and pay as well. Suck it the fuck up and move on.

If Sony manages to effectively kill/damage the rental/used market within their little ecosystem the net effect will be to convince people they really ought to try to xbox 720 or whatever the fuck they end up calling it.

We seem to be transitioning towards an increasingly consumer unfriendly game market that I just am not interested in.

easy solution (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36692516)

Switch game consoles and do your voting with your wallet.

RIP First-sale doctrine (5, Insightful)

PSVMOrnot (885854) | more than 3 years ago | (#36692524)

Yet another stab at consumer rights.

Up until about 2010 games were considered sold since they weren't expected to be returned, and as such were subject to the first-sale doctrine. Of course then the US courts go and decide that it's all fine and dandy for EULAs to remove this right. *grumble grumble* [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/First-sale_doctrine]

In my day you had a disc, and that was your game. You could play it, lend it to a friend, sell it, turn it into a shuriken (though that was mostly done with AOL cds). I miss that.

Re:RIP First-sale doctrine (1, Interesting)

StormReaver (59959) | more than 3 years ago | (#36692658)

They're just games, so don't buy them. There are far, far better ways to spend your time. Odds are that you've already played every game on the market, anyway, just under a different name or brand.

Re:RIP First-sale doctrine (0)

asylumx (881307) | more than 3 years ago | (#36693054)

There are far, far better ways to spend your time.

Like posting on Slashdot?

Re:RIP First-sale doctrine (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36692902)

Then buy DRM-free games and support the developers who think like you.

Re:RIP First-sale doctrine (1)

blahplusplus (757119) | more than 3 years ago | (#36693100)

"Then buy DRM-free games and support the developers who think like you."

Morons and ignorant people out-number discerning members of the population by a large margin. You can't change a society that is completely moronic/ignorant and simply doesn't care.

Play on lan? personal servers??? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36692528)

Well, fine, It's ok if they allow gamers to setup their own servers, play a game online doesn't mean to play it in the publisher's servers. If they put online servers is because they increase their profit doing so.
It's ok, but I buy a game to be able to play it as long as I want and if I have to throw it away after a couple of years because the publisher closed their servers, then I'm not going ot buy it.

These Things Never Make Sense To Me. (2)

gaderael (1081429) | more than 3 years ago | (#36692552)

To me it seems like they are trying to double dip. If I buy a game, go online and play it for a few months, and then sell it to omeone else and they go onnlie to play, there is no difference in the server cost beyond adding that [lyers tats to the game. I'm simply giving up my reserved slot to someone else.

It's like the Other OS fiasco again. Whe they came out with the PSN, it was free. You have the game, you go online, no fees, you just enjoy it. Now they're saying "Oh actually, now you have to make sure it's a new gamely purchased game or you're out of luck." If they were so worried about the cost of maintaining servers and the like then they should have factored tht in to the cost of the console or the should have made the service into something like Xbox Live. As for the markeing speak, how is decreasing the number of players available forplay enhaning the experience?

Re:These Things Never Make Sense To Me. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36692666)

ah but on PAPER for them this looks like they can raise their revenue predictions, which is what allows them more "commitment" - as if money was the issue on their commitment or quality.

They can do whatever they want (1)

lul_wat (1623489) | more than 3 years ago | (#36692558)

I'm just going to dust off this ball and go play outside.

Tax on Resale (1)

StoneyMahoney (1488261) | more than 3 years ago | (#36692600)

It is possible to argue that resold games do have a longer online lifespan than ones held by a single owner. It's also possible to argue that resold games actually have a considerably shorter first-owner online lifespan and that the quick resale comes from the fact the original owner disliked it. There is some discrepancy here because if you are the original owner of a resold game then you still own the original "license" to play it online but you don't actually have the game anymore so it's value to you is zero. This highlights a difference between online console gaming, MMO gaming and traditional PC online multiplayer gaming.

- Consoles connect to 1st party servers run by the publisher, so the publisher is paying for the bandwidth and server farm to support this online game. Seeing as how bandwidth is cheap and servers can be repurposed for other titles or even run concurrently, I don't see any reason why the bandwidth cost couldn't be absorbed in the original sale price.

- MMO's also use 1st party servers but players can often rack up an awful lot more hours on them and expect continual releases of new content, hence the need for in-game stores, expansion packs, monthly fees, whatever. They also have rather more specialised servers that have less scope for reuse afterwards and tend to require the entire effort of a major publisher, usually meaning there's no side-projects that can slide in alongside it.

- PC multiplayer games used to (and to a wide extent still do) depend on user-hosted servers that cost the original publisher nothing but add huge value to their titles. They still need to run some servers themselves, usually login and stats servers and the like, but as the majority of the cost is being eaten up by the game's users anyway, running an online multiplayer game like this doesn't really cost anything noteworthy.

None of these is really better than any of the others, they all have their upsides and downsides and I'm just looking at the economics here. The problem I would like to highlight is that the price of console gaming with 1st party servers appears to be rising at a much faster rate than the either of the others and that charges for subsequent users of a single copy of a game means that either someone got their pricing really badly wrong or someone is making a cynical move to take a cut from preowned game sales. I wouldn't want to bet either way myself but giving the original owner the non-transferrable right to play a game online is actually a neat way of decreasing the value of a preowned game to the next person and doesn't add any value what-so-ever to the original owner.

steam (1)

SkunkPussy (85271) | more than 3 years ago | (#36692606)

so i'll be sticking with steam then - the games are much cheaper on there anyway

translation from marketing (1)

juenger1701 (877138) | more than 3 years ago | (#36692630)

We screwed the pooch with the original PSN and the PS3 now Microsoft and Nintendo are severely whipping our asses and we can't afford to build out a LIVE competitor for the same fee Microsoft charges so now we will continue with the delusion that people want to buy every game we make at full price forever. (i'm looking at you Games on Demand)

How??? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36692638)

How does Sony and others keep getting away with this? This violates consumer rights and laws in may countries.

play the waiting game (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36692640)

Those who don't want to pay full price will just wait it out for Sony to naturally drop the price, which will be months later. Then by the time they get the game no one will be online so the value of online playing will drop encouraging those same people to say screw it I'll just buy it used then.

Why do you buy Sony products? (3, Interesting)

Pharmboy (216950) | more than 3 years ago | (#36692718)

Seriously, why do people buy Sony products anymore? I quit when the rootkit scandal broke, and all they have done since is prove that I made a good choice. While every corporation exists to make profit, it should be symbiotic, yet Sony has clearly demonstrated they don't care about their customers, only their profits, by their deeds and their words, many times over.

You can actually get by just fine without Sony products, many of us have for many years. We don't need Playstation (plenty of other choices), we skip buying music on their labels, we have none of their hardware, we don't buy blu-ray. It isn't that hard to go Sony-free. The only "vote" you have in the way Sony treats their customers is with your dollars. Vote for someone else.

Re:Why do you buy Sony products? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36692786)

+1

For me, the rootkit scandal was actually my first confirmation that I made the right choice. I quit when my Sony miditower refused to play Sony (BMG) copy-protected discs. The only way for me to play the content on the discs I legally bought was to make a copy first...

Soon, RIP Sony. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36692802)

I wonder how many feet they have left to shoot themselves on.

Here is a proper translation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36692826)

I'm pretty fluent in marketing speak.

"This is an important initiative as it allows us to fuck you in the ass."

What could possibly go wrong! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36692856)

.. sounds like problems waiting to happen with that 1 time only pass thingy

Sony Still Hasn't Learned I Guess (1)

Zerohm (1942216) | more than 3 years ago | (#36692920)

Dear Sony,

On paper it might appear as though you are incentivising new game buyers. To me, however, you are calling buyers of used games (aka gamers) second class gamers that don't deserve the benefit of your full content. I'm sorry you lost $3.2 Billion this year, I know that's a LOT of money, but stop trying to milk every penny out of your fans and customers. That's why you've slowly been losing them for the past 10 years.

Do you know what people (and even many pirates) are willing to pay for? Convenience. Make your games easy to buy and play and ,yes, reinstall on a new machine and people just might return for more games.

Z

That marketing speak is actually a lie (1)

erroneus (253617) | more than 3 years ago | (#36692936)

To accelerate means to make something faster. This is billed as something to accelerate something for the first-party somehow. Who is the first-party? While it does inhibit other parties, it does not accelerate anything and would seem to inhibit even first parties.

We get it. Game companies seek to block after market activities such as rental and used sales. The success of the new PSPgo proves that their initiave is effective... right? Oh wait, isn't the PSPgo mostly rejected by the masses? I know I haven't seen many PSPgo devices outside of at stores... in fact, I still see more PSPs in public than I have ever seen PSPgos. So has Sony been ignoring the fact that the public generally rejects their "improvements"? Seems so.

In this case, I hope Sony and Sony's customers get what they deserve. At some point, Sony customers have been victims, but with all the crap about Sony these days, anyone who keeps with Sony is no longer a victim, but a willing participant.

Re:That marketing speak is actually a lie (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36693072)

Sony may be the first party in this case. It would make sense that they would consider themselves first before their serfs^H^H^H^H^Hcustomers anyway.

WTF (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36693048)

Sony is already hurting in sales and they decide to follow EA in implementing an online pass. That went over very well for EA. The price of those games dropped like a stone knowing that people couldn't resell them. I wouldn't even buy them simply because you can't resell them. Their only saving grace will be MK9 and Battlefield. If they are worried about not making money for online services, they could charge a fee for premium and not for standard...sound like Gold and Silver XBL accounts to me. People complain about the price of those but if they charged $10 a month for premium services (prices of an online pass each money) they would make tons of money. $10 is nothing for most people considering Xbox crazy online costs. I don't understand why companies have it out for used games. Somebody had to buy the first copy in order to resell it. I know they don't make money on the resale but perhaps that is what they should be attacking. If I were a used game store such as GameStop or someone who rents like GameFly or Netflix. I would join forces and sue EA and Sony for trying to put them out of business. I can see it coming and I hope the used game stores win.

I'm curious... (1)

Syberz (1170343) | more than 3 years ago | (#36693090)

I've translated the marketing speak into layman's terms, but I don't understand something:

How does preventing second-hand purchase people from using online components allow SONY to more quickly make the online experience/contents better for the people who initially bought the game?

It's not like the tech people maintaining and unclogging the tubes actually work on creating the contents...

Translation (1)

Registered Coward v2 (447531) | more than 3 years ago | (#36693092)

Ha, I new my MBA would come in handy. This has two main points:

"This is an important initiative ...

Point 1:

"We think this will make more money for our shareholders and executive's bonuses ..."

"...as it allows us to accelerate our commitment to enhancing premium online services across our first party game portfolio."

Point 2:

"...We can also make the resale market less lucrative since you won't get a full game experience so a used game is worth less. We can then sell you a pass to unlock those features, which gets us back to Point 1."

Left unsaid was:

"If we can drive some of the used game dealers out of business that's just a bit of lagniappe."

Sony is hostile. (1)

andydread (758754) | more than 3 years ago | (#36693124)

At this point people who haven't learned and are still purchasing Sony products and are still giving Sony their heard earned dollars truly deserve the shafting that Sony delivers. Sony is a company that has become downright hostile to consumer rights and to their customers. Their arrogance even in the face of the PSN being down and all the hacks is simply breathtaking.
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