It’s hard to argue with the notion that this generation of consoles has brought online gaming to the forefront of multiplayer. It’s gotten to the point that most big games these days have some sort of online multiplayer component built in to increase replayability and to further discourage people from selling the game once they’re done with the main campaign.
In saying that, the popularity of online gaming has also seen the advent of a scheme by publishers to eat away at the lucrative second-hand market pie that GameStop and other retailers have cornered in recent years. Yes, I’m talking about the Online Pass.
The Online Pass is being called by different names by different companies but they tend to do the same thing – and that’s to lock away a game’s online multiplayer component if you buy a game used. If you did buy your game used to save a couple of dollars, expect to pay around $10 to be able to “activate” the game’s online multiplayer component and play online.
This scenario has understandably angered a lot of people all over the world. Heck, if there was one thing gamers hate nowadays above all else from this generation I’d suspect the Online Pass would be the top choice or at least in the top three.
What I’m about to say next might upset some people or call me a corporate shill, but I don’t have a problem with the Online Pass system and I’m going to explain why.
If I’m eagerly expecting a game whose main selling point is the online multiplayer, I just do what’s sensible – and that’s to buy the game new. No mess, no fuss. I just enter the code included in the game and dive right in to frag people from across different continents. However, if I’m getting a game solely for the single player campaign or something similar, I just buy it used — it’s that simple, really.
There’s a lot of truth to it when publishers say they don’t see a single cent from a used game purchase. Granted, people might say that the company already earned something from the initial purchaser of the game and thus should be content with it; but people need to realize that servers, moderators, file hosting and other things cost money. I’d rather buy a game new and deal with an Online Pass compared to paying a monthly/annual subscription just to play online.
Another reason I don’t mind this that much is because when I do buy a game brand-new, it’s my way of showing support to the publisher/developer who went through a lot of sleepless nights just to bring me my favorite sequel, or to provide me hours, if not months, of enjoyment. Yes, petty as it may sound, this is their “reward” for all that hard work. Truth be told, I’d rather pay $10 if I buy a used game for its online multiplayer component rather than see a studio I adore close down.
Obviously, the Online Pass isn’t exactly a bed of roses and I’m going to talk about why I hate where it’s going… but that’s something we’re going to discuss at another time.