“I’m not sure I want to call our system an Online Pass,” said EA DICE executive producer Patrick Bach on the way Battlefield 3 will charge secondhand gamers for online play. But that’s exactly what it sounds like; it seems EA’s biggest title of the year may be shooting itself in the foot in its war against Activision’s rival FPS Modern Warfare 3 by making those who pick up the game through secondhand channels pay for the online components that come as free for those who buy it new.
Though not yet confirmed, Bach said to GamerZines that used gamers will “probably” have to pay for a code to activate the game’s online multiplayer components. It sounds very similar to EA’s unpopular Online Pass initiative, which saw new games ship with one-use-only codes to access online elements.
“The whole idea is that we’re paying for servers. If you create a new account there is a big process on how that is being handled in the backend,” continued Bach.
“We would rather have you buy a new game than a used game because buying a used game is only a cost to us; we don’t get a single dime from a used game, but we still need to create server space and everything for you.”
“We want people to at least pay us something to create this because we’re paying for it. It was actually a loss for us to have new players. Hopefully people understand why. It’s not to punish people. To us, it’s compensation.”
Bach poses a reasonable argument, particularly considering the vast numbers of gamers expected to pick up Battlefield 3, secondhand or brand new. However, gamers have been buying second hand titles for years with full access to online play; has the market changed so drastically that they can no longer be accommodated? Or is this just another money-spinner to suck more cash from gamers pockets?
Let us know what you think in the comments below.