Why The Online Pass Is A Good Thing

For a little over a couple years, gamers have dreaded the online pass. It’s a shot to the heart of gaming, and with false excuses from companies, and more and more publishers taking on the practice, it seems unavoidable. But what if the online pass is one of the best things to happen to the gaming industry?

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StockpileTom1842d ago (Edited 1842d ago )

Alrighty then... tell me what percentage of that online pass revenue goes to the developers (not the publisher)...

Also player information takes up space on the database so while used games may not increase the server load it does use up storage space... but is that storage space worth $15? NOPE (I know a bit about how online games work since I am currently making one)

They then may argue that those buying used would have otherwise bought the game new but my stance on this is that a game is only worth what I am willing to pay. If I don't want to pay $60 for a certain game but am willing to pay $40 I will buy the best product available at that price. If a new copy of the game got discounted to that price I would gladly pay it, otherwise I may decide to get a used copy at with a target price at around $30 (as I value that particular game to be $40 when new...)

Not everyone buys that way of course but the other point I will make is that it should be the job of the developers to reduce the amount of used games available for resale... make a game that I would be highly unwilling to sell... If the game is fun, deep, and offers lots of replay value there will be far less used copies on the market. (or even make a game people would get emotionally attached to)

Too often this gen games have left me unsatisfied and they start collecting dust. The only notable exceptions for me are Demon's Souls, Dark Souls, Valkyria Chonicles, and SOCOM: Confrontation.

Last gen this list would have been much longer...

Ilovetheps41842d ago (Edited 1842d ago )

The thing is this: the game makers don't care if you dislike online passes or not. If someone buys a used game, no one that helped put the game on shelves is getting any money. I see a bunch of issues with piracy these days. And while I don't support piracy, the publisher probably doesn't see a huge difference between piracy and used sales (from a financial point of view). Either way they don't see a dime of the money.

If a game is $55 used and $60 new, you will probably buy it new if it has an online pass. The publisher and developer will get part of that money from the sale of a new game. Sometimes I think that's all online passes are used for. They encourage you to buy the game new. I'm not sure how effective it is though.

As for how much of the revenue goes back to the developer, I'm not sure. I don't know the numbers behind that, but how much of the financial risk is taken by the publisher? (That is an honest question. I don't know how much of the money is put up by the dev)

In the end, it doesn't affect me at all. I've always bought games new and have never traded in a game. I have no opinion on online passes, but I can see both perspectives, but in the end you have to remember that companies are making games to make money. They couldn't care less about the consumer as long as they get their profit. And online passes will continue as long as people support games that have them. You can complain as much as you want, but if people keep buying games with online passes, they don't care if you dislike the online passes. They got their share. People need to learn to vote with their wallets.

StockpileTom1842d ago (Edited 1842d ago )

Well of course the online pass buffers the value between new and used games by artificially lowering the value of the used copy. I do understand the purpose of the online pass but I believe there are alternative strategies that don't net you such negative PR.

I personally would consider a model with a low price and high sales volume due to the fact that digitally distributed products aren't finite. The price of course would depend on what the saturation point for the software is. (the max possible sales- people who want the product if the price wouldn't be factored in)

From there you use your target revenue and the expected saturation point to set the price and increase that by about 25% to account for possible inaccuracies.

Also just gonna point this out... most of the games that use the online passes get boring pretty quickly and the online is an afterthought as a cheap attempt to create replay value on a game that wouldn't have any otherwise... Knowing this I mostly AVOID games that use online passes completely... counterproductive for the publisher isn't it?

(A bit of an extra note... I would love to support the developers but the publishers treat them like shit and stifle their creativity in addition to hoarding most of the money because yes, the risk is on the publishers. They are too afraid to just let the creative directors do their job and create something new.)

MikeMyers1842d ago

They need to have different strategies than what worked 20 years ago or even 10 years ago. That's because production costs have gone up dramatically. So if we want to keep getting these AAA games like Grand Theft Auto that cost 10's or even upwards of 100 million dollars to make of course they will want to try and get as much revenue as possible.

This is what some people tend to forget. Back in the Playstation One and PS2 era a game like Gran Turismo cost a lot less than it does now to make. Software sales are also not on the same spectrum. So if past Gran Turismo games sold 10-15 million copies but only cost 5 million dollars to make as opposed to new games that sell 8-12 million copies but are 10X the investment something needs to give. That is still one of the bigger ip's out there. When we hear Square talk about Tomb Raider not selling well even though it sold over 3 million we should be worried.

What that means is one of three things. One is they will make less big production games, two is they will take even less risks moving forward (meaning games like Watch Dogs will be few and far between) or they will nickel and dime us to death with DLC and online passes. Two out of three of those is already happening.

The_KELRaTH1842d ago

OK so when you buy your NOT brand new house I trust you will be ok paying the seller AND the original builder too as you're saying it's fine for a game.
It also follows then that a patent no longer have a limited life and you should pay extra fee from an invention developed hundreds of years ago i.e. you buy a toaster and there's a fee for the invention of electricity etc etc.. you could just keep going with this absolute always active ownership model.

If you're happy to change the business model then it has to be fair for ALL and that means everything 2nd hand must come with an extra payment to the original manufacturer, inventor etc. etc.

Here's the thing, the publishers sell and make a profit from 1 item END. It doesn't matter if you keep using it or someone else does as long as no more than 1 is using it at any time.

Ilovetheps41842d ago (Edited 1842d ago )


If you read my post again, you will see that I wasn't saying I agree with the practice. I was just stating why the publishers do it. And as long as people keep buying games with online passes, they will keep adding them. If people want online passes gone, they have to vote with their wallets. That is the only way to make a business understand anything. It's hypocritical when people complain about a game having an online pass and then just buy the game anyways.

With DmC, people finally spoke using their wallets. People that were upset with the direction of the game didn't buy it. Ninja Theory kept on being rude to them saying that they don't care about the veteran fans and other things of that nature. Well, I'm sure they will think twice before they completely disregard fans again.

MikeMyers1842d ago (Edited 1842d ago )


First off from my own selfish perspective I don't like online passes. I want to get the best price like a lot of consumers. If Gamestop or whoever offsets the price on the online pass with the used price then who cares. My comments are merely from the publishers perspective and the platform supplier.

The house analogy simply doesn't work. The person who built the home got their money back and so did the landowner. How can a $60 product be compared that cost millions to create? You need so many sales just to break even. So to them used game sales are lost sales. So of all these car and house analogies simply don't work that way.

Legally you are allowed to sell your games and they are also within their legal rights to have online passes to help make up any losses that may have incurred. Sony has also adopted the online pass and perhaps that is to make up for their online service being free or just to try and get more return like EA does. Then again EA also hosts their own servers which could be why they choose to have online passes as well.

+ Show (2) more repliesLast reply 1842d ago
DragonKnight1842d ago

Oh yay, another article to bring down.

"For starters, the online pass encourages buying new."

No it doesn't. What it actually does is either encourage piracy (so the individual literally only pays $10 for a $60 game) or encourage no actual purchase. When people feel ripped off, they tend to not like it and avoid it altogether.

"Would you rather your money go to the people responsible for the game, or your friend, or Gamestop?"

Considering that the people who make the game aren't selling me the game (they sold it to Gamestop to begin with), I don't care who gets the money off a used sale. The publishers/developers were already paid for the one game they supplied, they shouldn't be paid again and again for that one copy.

"While this claim is partially correct, it has to be said that by buying used, you’re giving the developer 0 dollars and taking up server space."

I hate this lie. Look, if someone bought a game new, got sick of it and sold it to a friend, his/her space is being taken up on the server. Not a brand new space. It's not a new game that requires a new spot. It's a used game that already had a spot assigned to it. And in the off chance that it does require a new spot, what do you think happen to the old one? That's right, it's gone.

"While it does punish those without internet access who may buy the game new, it also makes sure that, again, the money goes towards the developer."

You haven't explained why the developer deserves multiple payments on ONE copy. Why should gamers be punished for greed? The developer didn't do anything to earn that extra payment, so why should they get it?

"the developers and publishers just want to be paid for what’s rightfully theirs."

Which they are every time they sell copies to Gamestop.

"If you enjoy something, you should support those who make it if you want to see more of it."

Which they are every time they sell copies to Gamestop.

"The online pass may be, at first glance, a horrible idea. But upon further inspection, all it is is a request from publishers and developers to be paid for what they’ve put hundreds of hours of their life into."

Nope, it's still a horrible idea. Again, they haven't done anything extra to earn extra payment. In any other industry in the world this is a clearly understood concept. In the gaming industry, publishers and developers believe they are entitled to more money they didn't earn because they didn't provide anything additional to what is already on the disc that was bought and paid for.

"And that, my friends, is why the online pass is the best thing to happen to the industry this gen."

And you just went Full Retard. Never go Full Retard.

MikeMyers1842d ago (Edited 1842d ago )

Why are you so offended by someone else point of view? There's no reason to say full retard, it just makes you look childish.

These online services aren't magically created. So when you buy a used game the system is still keeping track of your username id and history. The servers also cost money to maintain.

You also talk about how they already got their revenue from Gamestop. Yes, the first sale. Can you name one music artist that plays a concert and then allows the attendees to pass the ticket over to other people and they play the rest of the tour for free? There is a flaw in your argument, it is Gamestop who gets the revenue over and over again. The consumer buys the initial game for $60, maybe $5 goes to Gamestop and the rest is divided between the publisher and the platform holder. Then that game is sold back to Gamestop and they pay a lot less for it and sell it again for $50 or whatever. You keep repeating that cycle and the only revue the platform holder and the publisher get are on the original sale. So you could have 20 people who have played the game and the publisher thinks it only sold 1 copy.

"In the gaming industry, publishers and developers believe they are entitled to more money they didn't earn because they didn't provide anything additional to what is already on the disc that was bought and paid for."

What does that even mean? You bought the game, you didn't buy the access to online servers. If you did lawyers would be all over this.

StockpileTom1842d ago (Edited 1842d ago )

Exactly, people seem to forget that used games don't increase active server load but they DO use up storage space for player data.

It would also be foolish to believe that used games don't lower the amount of potential new game sales.

Online passes are a way of mitigating the potential loss of new game sales caused by used games.

Personally I think there are some better ways to do this that benefit both the publisher and the consumer. That's because I'm a competitive type of guy and if I were in their position I would be doing everything I could to make a product people wouldn't even want to resell.

MikeMyers1842d ago

There's a lot they can do but choose not to. Why don't these publishers have their own reward policy? If I buy Call of Duty for example and keep buying them why am I not treated better than someone who is a first time buyer or worse, a used customer? Why don't they offer rentals on the platform? Why don't they have a return policy of their own or do they expect us just to keep collecting games forever?

I also think without used game sales that those who buy new are likely to buy less. If they can't unload games and get revenue to put towards new games they will become more conservative.

There simply needs to be a better relationship between the consumer and the publisher. Online passes don't help the consumer from their end. However I do understand why the publishers support them. Nobody gets to ride for free and from their end you are a freeloader because the used gamer going onto their servers are just that.

ScubaSteve11842d ago

online passes SUCK when you rent your games

DarthJay1842d ago

I'm not quite sure why the developer is supposed to care about rented games? I would think renters are probably one of their exact reasons for an online pass. I guess that's kind of what you get when you rent a game? If you don't own it, no one owes you anything.

Gamesgbkiller1842d ago

I assume Always-Online will be a good thing after a couple of years , right ?

gamegenieny1842d ago

The only justification for online passes is greed. The initial sale is all they should get. I don't understand how people can say its not supporting the dev. I guess buying used cars isn't supporting the car makers. Or a house thats not new............ you get the picture.

The issue here is that companies like EA see the money gamestop makes on used games, and have now tried to find a way to get in on it. And THAT is why online passes exist.

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