Battlefield 3 will likely charge secondhand gamers for online warfare
“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.
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Its just another way to wring a buck outta the customer! Server space?! Please! Storage is cheap, and there is no increase to existing server capacity if one user sells the game and a new repurchases it. Back-end processing?! Please! If it’s not automated, someone should be fired. Assume it is automated, because it’s massively inefficient and costly not to, and they’re in the business of making money.
No, I see now reason for this other than we need to make more money for us and our shareholders. If they aren’t making enough money from selling new games, then change the business model and sell it for less to get higher volume. There is no other reason to do this than them looking at the resale market and asking themselves, “How can we get a piece of that action?” And you can take that straight to the bank!
Another price to pay for being a console gamer.
The 2nd hand market is killing game developers. Yes by buying second hand, the owner changes so you’re not adding anyone really (well, you are actually as they take up space with their own ID and therefore stats), but DICE dont get any more money for it.
So their argument is sound.
If we want developers like DICE to keep producing top quality games, buy them new, not second hand. Yes its cheaper and you get to play the game, but we’re too short-sighted by buying it 2nd hand.
You could argue it’s EA sucking gamers dry, but Activision and Infinity Ward have been doing that since Modern Warfare 2, so why cant EA do the same?
Hmmm, I appreciate that there would be some additional process although this could easily be managed automatically with minimal effort. A second hand game does not mean there is an additional user online it simply means that the user has changed.
This sort of thing does also bring into question the fact that Sony supposedly offers online access and likewise what exactly are you paying for with the Xbox subscription model.
Saying that, I for one will be buying Battlefield 3 on the PS3 the second I can get my hands on it 😛