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In Defense of 38 Studios and the Online Pass Decision

Recently 38 Studios, the developers behind the forthcoming RPG Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning, announced controversial plans to launch the game alongside an online pass.

The online pass in question is set to unlock the House of Valor faction quest, which includes seven single player missions and a rather nifty Mass Effect 3 N7 Battle Armour.

Let me just make one thing clear. This is NOT a micro-transaction. Anyone who buys the game new, at any point, will have access to this content free of charge.

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gamingdroid2217d ago (Edited 2217d ago )

From the article:

"Second hand sales totally negate all of the above, allowing retailers keep 100% profit from something they had nothing to do with creating. "

Except the developer and publishers already got their profit!

What other industry get's money from second hand sales? This includes, movie, music and even software industry that all sell digital content on media (such as DVDs and CDs).

The reason why second hand game sales are so profitable, is because the high price tag and the lack of customers willing to hold on to their game.

Ironically, by creating this online passes they are actually reducing their community and even fewer might be interested in buying your game next time. There is a reason why sequels sell....

All I have to say is:

"Online Passes, which started as a way to pay for continuing online operating costs, are now used to lock used players out of small portions of the single-player game. As time goes on, what's to stop publishers from expanding the concept further, locking ever larger portions of a game behind a downloadable pass? Will we soon see a game that prevents used purchasers from finishing the single-player quest unless they pay to download a required mission? Where's the cut-off?"

http://arstechnica.com/gami...

Dlacy13g2217d ago

So i get the they already get their money argument. Fair enough... So if you decide to buy new then you get a bonus of the pass, if you buy used you know you get the game but no bonus content. Why do people feel its the publishers fault you dont get the code? Why arent we bitching at Gamestop and saying FU! You are selling me a used game that has no online pass code for $45 or $50...even $55! How about retailers drop another $10 when the game doesnt come with a valid code? Lets start putting blame where its really deserved.

gamingdroid2217d ago (Edited 2217d ago )

Because *new* game purchases affect me directly as I ONLY purchase new games.

As it stands, I can't say I feel good about purchasing a *new* game.

First publishers screw me over with nasty DRM on PC or Online Passes on consoles. They tend sell me often expensive DLC... and even withhold content to push their other products such as figures (I'm looking at you EA).

If I pirate, I don't have to pay jack squat, I don't have to put up with usage restrictions and I get all the content at my fingertips likely faster than I can get to the store....

I'm not advocating piracy, but I can't say it doesn't sound more appealing by the day.

If I bought it used, I increased the demand for the game....

I don't see any reason to complain about GameStop as they probably employ more people than EA. They provide a service that exist in almost all other industries. Even been to a thrift store? What about used car dealerships?

... well except for GameStops dirty/smelly @ss stores, terrible pricing and service.

Dlacy13g2217d ago

@gamingdroid. ... I fully appreciate what you are saying. I do agree that some passes and drm are over the top and too far. But how do you equate buying a used game as increasing demand? 1 game is sold new and is bought by 2 people, from the publisher side demand is 1. That could effect a decision to make a sequel if the publisher feels it didnt perform well.

And i have been to thrift shops and bought my car used, even gone to flea markets... and in all of those cases I never once had expectations that what i bought was going to be as good as new, or necessarily have all the parts or instructions in some cases. I was getting it cheaper because it was used and no longer in new condition. No warranties in most cases too. Depending on how used (missing parts, etc...) the lower the price i would pay would be. My expectation changed based on the quality. So if i buy a game used that has the instructions and codes in it my expectation on price is pretty high if its newer. If its missin that stuff i should see no less than $15 off the price or more depending on the game.

gamingdroid2217d ago (Edited 2217d ago )

@Dlacy13g

***I was getting it cheaper because it was used and no longer in new condition. No warranties in most cases too. Depending on how used (missing parts, etc...) the lower the price i would pay would be.***

The same applies to games. Missing manuals, scratched disc, damaged box art and so on. Older games also loose value, by just being old....

Doesn't change the fact that, I get the exact same thing from movies, music and software. Yet, none of those companies are trying to squeeze a profit from seconod hand sale.

***That could effect a decision to make a sequel if the publisher feels it didnt perform well.***

... and they might very well kill any chance of a sequel by putting up barriers for new gamers to enter.

I passed on quite a number of games due to online passes.

***But how do you equate buying a used game as increasing demand?***

I guess saying "increase demand" isn't exaclty the correct term. What I meant to say is that I took a used copy off the market and reduced supply. The demand to supply ratio is now increased not to mention, if I like it enough to buy it, I might just get a few more friends to buy it. Then we might just buy the sequel as well....

***If its missin that stuff i should see no less than $15 off the price or more depending on the game.***

The issue isn't just the price, it is in fact also the loss of freedom. A physical game, I can lend and even freely share it within the family. The license is tied to the media, with online/campagin passes the license is now tied to redeemer.

Dlacy13g2216d ago

@gamingdroid...
First off I want to say thank you for a spirited conversation that is civil and intelligent. You have made many good arguments and points and I just wanted to acknowledge that. Bubs+ to you.

Back to our conversation, one area many people refer to is the movie, music and software business as examples of areas where used product sales happen and you dont see "season" passes or the like.

1) Software is definitely changing in this realm and you are seeing more and more "licenses" to use the software being incorporated making "used" software almost non-existent once you get past the allowed # of computers. Sometimes its up to 3 devices, etc...

2) Movies... You cannot compare the movie industry to the game industry. Sure they both come on a disc..but after that the revenue streams for both are entirely different. Movies make money at the box office, in home DVD sales, TV Licensing deals and Rental business sales. They have a number of revenue streams and don't be fooled if they could find a way to create a season pass for used movies they would. There just isn't a viable way to do it for movies as 9 - 10 the movie really is the only content there.

3) Music... again, there are mulitple revenue streams happening for music beyond the disc sale. Radio licensing, Sound track licensing, Down load apps like iTunes...which the music industry is pushing hard for because...you can't really resell an iTunes MP3.

4) Games... we have 2 revenue streams right now for games. Disc & Digital sales... thats it. Games don't get licensed out for reruns on network TV, they don't have a box office showing, you don't hear them on the radio.

What I truly feel should be happening is that the Gamestops of the world should be creating a deal with the Publishers to given some small cut to them. That ultimately would help quell this trend of trying to squash used game sales. But sadly I think we are past the point of return on that.

gamingdroid2216d ago

I enjoyed discussing with you as well! I'm looking forward to more discussions in the future! :D

***Software is definitely changing in this realm and you are seeing more and more "licenses" to use the software being incorporated making "used" software almost non-existent once you get past the allowed # of computers.***

I'm sure software makers would love to institute a "pass" as well, but there is so much competition that I don't think developers would be successful.

That said, as of late, software licenses are as flexible as ever. Student and home versions of software are abound, and often times they include multiple licenses as you mentioned. That isn't the norm yet, but it seems it will soon.

***They have a number of revenue streams and don't be fooled if they could find a way to create a season pass for used movies they would.***

I think any company would try to get additional revenue stream after all it is capitalism. However, games like movies and music do have additional revenue stream from licenses to toys, books, comics, merchandises and in some cases even movies.

Heck, games often time get remade for a fraction of the cost and sold at a huge profit. So additional revenue stream in my opinion is not an issue.

I'm for the most part fine with increased cost (although many can't afford it), but I'm not fine with loss of freedom.

***What I truly feel should be happening is that the Gamestops of the world should be creating a deal with the Publishers to given some small cut to them.***

I do not believe in that model and believe that once an item is sold, it is SOLD. Have you heard of the "first sale doctrine"?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wik...

There is a reason why it is there and it is to protect consumer interests. Unfortunately, it is still unclear if the doctrine applies to software.

That said, I do understand that as a gamer you want more games and thus want to support it. However, I don't think the large publishers/developers need your support. These are billion dollar companies and NOT indie developers here....

+ Show (2) more repliesLast reply 2216d ago
kevnb2217d ago

What other industry has 75% 2-3 month old used games for $5 less than new? not to mention they rip ppl off when they trade in.

SilentNegotiator2217d ago (Edited 2217d ago )

I've already explained it a million times, but here it is again;
why passes aren't fair to people like my self, who ABSOLUTELY BUY NEW.

#1: It's inconvenient to new buyers who have to set up their pass on every system they intend to play on (possibly having to switch access around, be limited to a # of systems, etc).

#2: Publishers claim that they need $10 passes to maintain servers but each copy only occupies one place on the server no matter how many times it moves around.

#3: Passes make my copy of the game nearly worthless (especially in this ever increasingly multiplayer-focused world of ours).

#4: It directly contradicts the worth of the game. The multiplayer is the focus, and yet they allow people to play with a used copy and a $10 pass....so, what, as a new buyer, did I really pay $50 for that crappy campaign in BF3?

Oh, and 38 studios probably SHOULD be afraid of used sales....that demo displayed a major yawn-fest of gameplay. But passes are easier than making a good game with enough longevity for few to sell it, aren't they?

badz1492217d ago

online pass for SP game? Get out of here!

MadMax2217d ago (Edited 2217d ago )

This whole online pass nonsense should be banned!!! Havent we given these people enough of our money already? Jesus!

badz1492217d ago

You ain't giving them nothing if you buy used!

MadMax2217d ago (Edited 2217d ago )

Yea, obviously lol. I buy new and used, its ridiculous! Not my problem if someone wants to sell the game after buying it new. How many times can they wanna cash in on all this? Gamestop should be shut down too.

SilentNegotiator2217d ago

They don't own my copy of the game once I buy it. I should be able to sell MY copy of the game along with MY spot on the online servers.

I shouldn't have to spend $10 to use MY copy of the game on more than their allotted amount of systems.

Ducky2217d ago (Edited 2217d ago )

^ ... but you only own the disc. You don't own the actual game software, and as such, you have to follow the rules stated by the software publisher.

The online portion of the game is a service, and services aren't usually transferable.

Also, are online passes tied down to a system? I would've figured they'd be tied to the user account. (Referring to the 'allotted amount of systems' bit)

badz1492217d ago

"I shouldn't have to spend $10 to use MY copy of the game on more than their allotted amount of systems."

this has been around for long! try telling THAT to M$ if they will allow you to install YOUR copy of windows on more than 1 PC!

+ Show (1) more replyLast reply 2217d ago
r212217d ago

im being way off topic but i was confused, 38 studios is the name of the developers? or is it actually 38 studios :O

r212217d ago

hahaha, ok thanks man :D

Raider692217d ago (Edited 2217d ago )

They think everybody can buy games at $60,what EA and others dont get is that people that sell there used games normaly is for buying a new released one,if they keep this kind of screwing gamers (I personaly think its going to get worse!)people will just end up stoping buying the games and will begin pirate even more!Theres a bunch of people that buys more than 3 games for month especialy if does games are rate AA or AAA this kind of move thats been set once more by EA is just going to get people to buy less games chose the ones that dont come with this kind of BS or get to pirate them!Theres no reason what so ever to lock SP content in any game its just imoral and shows the lack of confidence the developers have on the game.I hope it bombs|

kevnb2217d ago

Then wait until its cheaper, used is 55 dollars...

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