EA Sports Says "Buy New or Pay Extra for Online Multiplayer"
Electronic Arts must have felt like they were on to something earlier this year with Mass Effect 2′s Cerberus Network, a series of downloadable content available for free to those who purchased the game new and cost $15 to those who bought used, because starting with Tiger Woods PGA Tour 11 in June, all EA Sports titles will come new with a code for the Online Pass for that title, which will be required to play the game online.
But what if you buy used?
You get seven days to play online for free, and if you want to keep playing online, then you’re paying, buddy. The price will be 800 Microsoft points on the Xbox 360 and $10 straight up on the PS3. In addition to online privileges, the Online Pass will give you access to “bonus downloadable content”; for Tiger Woods, that content is a special driver, and for NCAA Football 11, you get recruiting reports for dynasty mode and twelve TeamBuilder slots for downloading created teams. It is not clear if players will get any TeamBuilder slots without the Online Pass. Bonus content for other EA Sports titles has not yet been announced.
When you consider both the news from earlier today that retail gaming purchases now make up only about half of all gaming-related revenue and that publishers get jack from used game sales, it makes sense that EA would want to get a little something from used purchases. Where it differs from the Cerberus Network is that what EA is holding back is not merely extra goodness; this involves a feature that many gamers specifically buy the game for. What this will do, in all likelihood, is drive down the resale value significantly enough that more people will hold on to their new copies, and folks who only buy these games for the offline features will find themselves being able to save some money.
This is a pretty bold move by EA, and it will be interesting to see how it works out for them and what the implications will be for the industry moving forward. For everything you need to know about this, head over to EA Sports’ official page for the Online Pass.