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Bev Chen
27 Aug, 2010

Sony to start charging for online play in pre-owned games?

PS3 Rumour | Say goodbye to your money.
Think buying a pre-owned copy of a game could save you a few extra bucks? This may no longer be the case in the future, with Sony possibly looking to implement the 'online pass' scheme.

The online pass scheme works like this: upon trying to access an online mode in a pre-owned game, the player will be told that he or she is required to pay a fee in order to play. Of course, people who buy these games brand new can still access all the online modes for free. GameIndustry.biz has reported Sony's Andrew House as saying the following:

"On the principle of making online portions of the game available or unlocked from the disc-based release for a fee, we're broadly supportive of that," says SCEE's Andrew House. "And we're exploring actively the same option for our own content."

There are already a few publishers who have started implementing the online pass scheme, namely EA Sports and THQ. Publishing giant Ubisoft are reportedly jumping on the bandwagon as well.

Should publishers be allowed to charge for online modes in pre-owned titles? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.

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56 Comments
3 years ago
daishogun wrote
I'm not really bothered by this, because pre-owned games are only $5 cheaper than the new copies, and I personally prefer to buy new copies anyway. Plus, this gives less reasons for gay micro-transactions, which have been justified by this whole pre-owned thing.
On Monday I went to buy GTAIV EFLC new from EB Games which was $70. The guy asked if I wanted a pre-owned copy for cheaper and I said ok. Instead of paying $70 I only paid $50.
3 years ago
Benza wrote
Why do games only have a week lifespan before people want to trade them in?

Maybe before punishing the people buying the games second hand, they need to make it worthwhile to keep the games so that they don't end up resold back to the store after a week?
Good questions all Benza. Unfortunately I'm not in the group that trades games in nor am I usually done with them after a week, so I'm not really the one to answer them.

If I had to hazard a guess though, it's probably to do with consumability. A movie only requires a time committment of 90 minutes. A game with single player will generally take at least four times that to complete. Although perhaps I'm getting away from the original point of used multiplayer games with that.
3 years ago
I think the question is esspecialy relevant for multiplayer games. I mean good multiplayer games are the last game I'd consider trading in. Something like Street Fighter or Blazblue would be the last on my list of games to trade in because they're games I still play.

So obviously the games being traded in have shitty multiplayer to start with. I mean the people that play multiplayer games arn't going to be trading in Halo or Modern Warfare because they're still playing them
3 years ago
grim-one wrote
Benza wrote
Why do games only have a week lifespan before people want to trade them in?

Maybe before punishing the people buying the games second hand, they need to make it worthwhile to keep the games so that they don't end up resold back to the store after a week?
Good questions all Benza. Unfortunately I'm not in the group that trades games in nor am I usually done with them after a week, so I'm not really the one to answer them.

If I had to hazard a guess though, it's probably to do with consumability. A movie only requires a time committment of 90 minutes. A game with single player will generally take at least four times that to complete. Although perhaps I'm getting away from the original point of used multiplayer games with that.
There's also the issue of deadlines vs. costing and the potential for returns on these investments; these aren't easy facets to balance given the amount of resources required for development in the current day.

Games fall into two major categories today; a lot of them are trying to copy the movie world more and more by injecting varying qualities of narrative (dependent on genre) into the medium; the problem is that a narrative doesn't always feature a drive for re-playability because you already know what's going to happen; these tend to be the sorts of games that get shelved or traded quicker.

On the other side of the coin, however, you have grinding games with addictive and/or repetitive mechanics that will entertain for a moderate amount more time. Though, without an injection of fresh content or goals into the game yields a lot less appreciation for the time invested as there's no real soul to the experience. The concept of DLC does remedy this to some extent which is why I'm a staunch supporter of it; MMO games also squeeze quite nicely into finding a good balance between the two mediums.
3 years ago
I'm not really surprised. In fact, I think many PSN users are still lucky we don't pay for subscription for online gaming. A server, especially for gaming and content delivery is a blackhole in the budget and of course if there is a way to reduce it, this is one of it. Already publishers have to pay to get their content hosted on the PSN store (which is why it is slightly more expensive in comparison to the 360 for the same content).
3 years ago
Not really a problem for me since I rarely buy pre-owned games, I like ripping off seals.

This is a logical move though, especially since EA have started doing it. It's just another part of the process, console gamers are edging close to what PC gamers have been doing for years; installing and serial codes. Who knows, it might even discourage piracy....unlikely but hopefully.

Anyway, I'll just keeping buying my shiny new new collector's editions like always. No super-glued JB stickers for me.
3 years ago
I tend to buy second hand games because my budget does not allow me to buy new games usually unless it is far past the release or an insane sale so this isn't good news for me but I can see why they are doing it.

My main concern is that I usually trade games or sell games to fund my next purchase. I never have more than 4 or 5 games at once. So if this means I will be stuck with a game that I can't sell because I have played the multiplayer I don't think I will buy the game in the first place.

Also does anyone else see companies tacking multiplayer onto their games just so they can potentially double dip. I do.
3 years ago
I don't why people bother complaining. You're all going to pay for it anyway. No one should be shocked that these companies aren't happy making hundreds of millions of dollars already. If you add fees that make used games essentially the same price as new, more people are going to buy less games. You already sold your product, covered your costs and made your money, so get your greedy mits out of my wallet.
3 years ago
Benza wrote
The games I've played through twice are Mass Effect, Saints Row 2 and Beyond Good and Evil.

Compare that to when I owned a Nintendo 64. I have no idea how many times I played the games I owned on that system. I've beaten Ocarina of Time like 6 times, I've seriously lost count of how many times I've played through Lylat Wars and Perfect Dark.
I hate to be "that guy," and I agree mostly with what you say, but I think it's more you that's changed, not the games. You were probably much younger when you had your Nintendo 64, and thus you got less games. So the ones you did have you played more. It has nothing to do with the quality.
3 years ago
But there are games comming out now that I play through multiple times just for fun that come out now. They give me that same feeling I got from playing games like Lylat Wars or Perfect Dark trying to get those perfect runs. I mean Saints Row 2 has really no incentive for replaying, but I've played that game from start to finish twice now just cause the game is a shitload of fun.

Hell all they really need to offer is unlockables for doing S level runs on levels. I mean fuck, i would have never spend 3 hours replaying through the Fecility in Goldeneye on 00 agent if there wasn't that imortality cheat at the end (Never did unlock that).


Hell, half the fun back in Goldeneye and Perfect Dark were the cheats. Were is my big head and paintball mode for Gears of War?
Hell playing with a mini Marcus against gorilla locusts that all shoot rockets would warrent another full play through of the game and extend it's life.

It was one of the things that put another playthrough of Saints Row 2 on for me, making it rain angry pedestrians as I flew around in my UFO.
3 years ago
one time fee id think ? but **** them just **** this is the only time iv ever felt like saying that bloody hell i do not want to pay sub fees or pass fees for every damn game i buy as simple as that every game iv brought has always been legit and i own well over 200 games , lucky i guess since alot of games still lack online it may not impact as much but just no not a happy chappy about this at all .

oh and just so you no EA charge for there online store not the game itself if i recall
3 years ago
Perhaps were missing the obvious - the steam model. You sell the game at a cheaper price point; but because of the digital nature of the product, they can't resell it on so thus your further sales are all 'new' sales. Probably would fail with consoles; but works brilliantly with PC's for obvious reasons.
3 years ago
^ ^ ^ ^

I think that sums it up, only issue are PSN's PSP games and Xbox Live's "Games on Demand" are the price is the same as their retail counterparts which is why they don't sell (and the abysmal failure that has become the PSPGo).

When you take into account the boxing, media (Blu-Ray, DVD) it may not be that much cheaper but when you look at resale and piracy you can afford to take a hit on the upfront cost of the title to make it a worthwhile download. All you need to really do is make the download title cheaper than the usual priced used (which isn't much).

The model not only works with Steam, but also proven to work with the iPhone/iPad market as an alternative to DS and PSP.

This 'punishing the player' approach is not the good way to go about it, especially since the consumer is only following the capitalist system they claim to love so much (when its in their favor) in the sense that consumers should always find the best value for money.

Its just going to turn people off, which when your launching an extension of your network service (PSN Plus) now is not the time to be doing it.
3 years ago
I'm not sure how well going to a downloadable only model is going to be. Esspecialy in Australia with download limits etc. I mean when you're dealing with games comming on blu-rays like the PS3 you're looking at a pretty significant download. Didn't Metal Gear 4 fill the blu-ray completly? So what you're going to download a 30 gig game? So what you can get like three games before your systems hardrive is full?

It isn't just a price point when you're looking at downloadable titles. You have to look at the difference in the hardware.

My PC has a 500 gig hardrive with another 120 gig and a 1 terrabyte external hardrive. I have room to store multiple large modern games on it. PS3's come with a max of like 320 gigs don't they? And even then those PS3's cost an extra 250 bucks or something to the standard ones. (Compare to a 1 terabyte external hardrive you can pick up at Dick Smith for 90 bucks) and it's just a completly unfeasable model.

I agree with you on the punishing the consumer thing though. When you're buisness model decides that your consumer is now 'the enemy' you're in a pretty fucked up situation. (See: The music industry) they really need to focus on rewarding the people that buy it new.

I liked the way Mass Effect 2 did it. Instead of punishing people for buying it second hand by removing significant parts of the game, they offerd bonus's for people that bought it new, but ones that really don't detract from the game if you didn't have them.

Or as I said before, just make a game that's worth keeping.
3 years ago
Camm wrote
Just an observation - if x amount of game is released; they will only ever have to cater to x amount of players - hence charging people extra for 2nd hand multiplayer is **** as they've already made that sale for the player slot.
Yeah they damn well know this, they just hope we don't figure it out.
3 years ago
Most people trade them in so the game they are buying right there is cheaper.
3 years ago
im glad they are doing this... most of these game stores rip kids off cause they dont know better, or they rip off mums and dads who dont know better.

new game - $25 developer $25 publisher $25 distributor $25 retail

preowned game - $30-$50 seller $50 retail

id prefer all my money go to the developer to be honest but if not new game is still better than preowned game
3 years ago
grim-one wrote
timmay33 wrote
Well yes I do have the option to not play the multiplayer. But where could this end? Imagine if they made you pay to replay a game? Or say charge you each time you advance a level in a game?
If a game starts doing that and you don't like it - don't buy the game. Simple.
Oh my god, thats only if one game studio does it, but if all game studios do it, what then, I have to give up the pass time I love.

I am fearing that all multiplayers will become what WoW is, charging on a monthly basis. Just so they can COERCE more money out of the players.

I feel that is the way the industry is going, and I am not liking it. What is being preposed here is a step in that direction.
3 years ago
doesnt bother me, but i see it as being to possible reasons why they would be doing it.
1. gets more people buying the brand new games, rather then second hand, even though the fee would probably only be small $5 or something (who knows? anyone?) which in most cases would still make it cheaper then buying a full game but people would probably still buy the new one for some reason.

did i just counter my own argument? i think i did but oh well.

2. alot of pre-owned games are probably being sold very late in the games life, so servers probably being close to being shut down, so if you pay the fee, this would help keep those servers alive.

but like i said it doesnt bother me, i almost always buy brand new (except rockband i got a couple of months ago)
and most of the time its cheaper to buy new from somewhere like jb or big w then it is to buy pre-owned from eb games etc.
3 years ago
timmay33 wrote
grim-one wrote
timmay33 wrote
Well yes I do have the option to not play the multiplayer. But where could this end? Imagine if they made you pay to replay a game? Or say charge you each time you advance a level in a game?
If a game starts doing that and you don't like it - don't buy the game. Simple.
Oh my god, thats only if one game studio does it, but if all game studios do it, what then, I have to give up the pass time I love.
Every single developer and publisher adopting this same model you suggest is highly unlikely. There's always someone else who sees profit in being different from the norm. Even if it's small indie developers or free-to-play web games.

Maybe you should be more worried that every bakery in the world is now going to charge $1000 for a loaf of bread!

timmay33 wrote
I am fearing that all multiplayers will become what WoW is, charging on a monthly basis. Just so they can COERCE more money out of the players.
Coerce
1. To force to act or think in a certain way by use of pressure, threats, or intimidation; compel.
2. To dominate, restrain, or control forcibly: coerced the strikers into compliance. See Synonyms at force.
3. To bring about by force or threat: efforts to coerce agreement.

No one is threatening or forcing you to buy or play games - or even used games, as this article relates to.
3 years ago
grim-one wrote
Maybe you should be more worried that every bakery in the world is now going to charge $1000 for a loaf of bread!
What I am suggesting as a possible near future is very plausible. I'll let you worry about bread.

grim-one wrote
timmay33 wrote
I am fearing that all multiplayers will become what WoW is, charging on a monthly basis. Just so they can COERCE more money out of the players.
Coerce
1. To force to act or think in a certain way by use of pressure, threats, or intimidation; compel.
2. To dominate, restrain, or control forcibly: coerced the strikers into compliance. See Synonyms at force.
3. To bring about by force or threat: efforts to coerce agreement.

No one is threatening or forcing you to buy or play games - or even used games, as this article relates to.
I want to play games. If all developers take the same stance, then they are controlling the market, coercing me into accepting the new fees if I want to play any on the big games. FORCE does not need be physical!
3 years ago
Quote
doesnt bother me,
It doesn't bother you that they've decided to treat there consumer as the enemy, and are now coming up with ways to punish them?

Quote
most of these game stores rip kids off cause they dont know better, or they rip off mums and dads who dont know better.
How is selling a pre-owned game cheaper then a new game ripping any customer off? Random kid buying the game, or random mum buying the game for there kid. they don't give a shit

At the end of the day, in a capatalist society the consumer has the right to shop around and find a better deal. This is the system that's worked for every single form of media since forever.

Suddenly game publishers are realising this and it's suddenly not ok?
Um sorry but fuck them. If I can buy a game cheaper second hand, then I'm going to buy a game cheaper second hand. I'm under no obligation to keep game publishers afloat. If they are doing so badly that the second hand market is killing them, then they need to become a better fucking buisness.

You don't see ford saying that if you buy there cars new they'll give you a code that unlocks the wheels. There is a massive second hand market for cars and always has been and car manufactures have somehow managed to survive.

And here's the kicker.

it doesn't fix the problem

Having to pay an extra 10 bucks to unlock content in second hand games isn't going to stop second hand sales. It isn't going to stop people feeling games only have value for there first week then selling them again. It isn't going to stop shit. It's just going to piss off consumers.

The game industry is looking similar to the music industry at the moment, a flailing giant that can't realise the way they're doing things is wrong and instead is blaming the consumer for doing things differntly, now trying to punish the consumer into playing ball there way.

Fuck it.

Let em die.
3 years ago
timmay33 wrote
If all developers take the same stance, then they are controlling the market, coercing me into accepting the new fees if I want to play any on the big games. FORCE does not need be physical!
As I already pointed out you are not being forced, you are merely choosing to continue purchasing. Ferrari is not forcing me to buy cars I cannot even remotely afford, but still desire.

And again, all developers doing what you're suggesting is approaching the ridiculous. There is always going to be someone who does not follow the others as they see profit in not doing so.
3 years ago
I almost only buy pre-owned games these days. For now I don't want to spend $100 or more on games unless I really want them. Maybe when I've saved up a good amount of money or get paid more than I currently do (hoping to get a job for that reason) I will start buying more new games but atm I will mostly not buy a PS3 game for any more than $70.


fullmetal_adam wrote
You're all going to pay for it anyway.
I won't.


I don't play online much and when I do, I usually play a few mathes then never touch online again. So I wouldn't pay to play online in the chance that I will actually commit to playing online for an extended amount of time.
3 years ago
^Same, I only ever play with my other half. I come across so many annoying people I learnt to not like playing online often anyway.

Even if I do plan to play online, it will usually be like 1 out of every 10 games I own, so I won't mind.

Most of my games these days isn't from Australia anyway, I found that it is cheaper to import a lot of the time than it is to buy it pre-owned, especially when I am seeing a lot of PSP and PS3 games in gaming stores these days have a classification sticker on it anyway.
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