The ignorance and stubbornness that is the online pass
The online pass or system pass is easily one of the most under thought ideas as far as video games go. It’s merely a quick stab at the used market, but does absolutely nothing nor does the online pass have any effect on its intended target. I mean, is the 10 dollar minimum for online play or unlockables really doing anything? Well no, of course not. Its almost as if it doesn’t exist. It’s a thorn in everyone’s side that hinders developers, publishers and consumers as well as the used and new market. No one benefits, not even the companies supporting the system.
Did they stop to think out the effects of such a pass before it went into action? We’ve all heard the statements before. They have server upkeep, maintenance, so on and so forth. Its true and from a business perspective I see where they are coming from. Its cost millions of dollars to make a game so who would want anyone playing on their servers for free? Definitely not me so I understand that aspect. Yet, when publishers or devs use this statement as a shield its only half true and we all know they don’t like gamers playing their games for free, plain and simple. Especially when they’ve spent so much hard earned time and money with no return on their work. This online pass that’s becoming the norm though is not an incentive like they try to sell it off as. It’s a deterrent for buying new not a deterrent from buying used and that’s where the mix up lies. They seem to be looking at it from the wrong perspective and as a consumer I don’t support it in any way.
Of course if you buy new there is never a problem. You can always play online and never be locked from the content within. That’s great and agreeable, but a lot of times publisher or devs are telling me to wait or buy used instead. Of course they aren’t directly telling me, but I find it hard to drop 40 or 60 dollars on a brand new game only to find out 6 months down the line there is a better version for cheaper than what I paid. This is by far the biggest issue for me and i know im not alone. Why is it that the publishers and devs are viewed as the sad victim while consumers of games get repeatedly screwed? I know they need to make money to put food on their table, but when you constantly back stab your 1st day or initial buyers you lose my money as well as others. If I so chose to purchase your games brand new don’t betray me with a better product for less than what I have paid you. Now not every company is as bad as capcom, but its hard for me to trust a company when they're always looking to resell their product. Its business so I understand in that perspecitve, but its also business if I choose to buy used, which I don’t feel guilty for in the least bit. If I can save 5, 10 or 15 dollars buying used then 9 times out of 10 I will buy used. Even with the pass I can save 5 or 10 dollars and still sell the game once the “ultimate” version comes out with all the dlc, unlocks, etc. There needs to be a reason to buy new if they want to use their online pass as an excuse which brings me to my next point.
Having content locked isn’t really gonna force me away from buying pre owned as I still save money with the pass. Why not have access to content that only new buyers can acquire? Lets say for instance I buy an fps, enter my code and im given 2 maps, which is great. The same person who buys used has to buy an online code to gain access, but buying the code will not give him or her any of that content. If they want consumers to buy new they have to give us a reason to buy new. As it stands, for the most part, they are giving me more reasons to buy pre owned and the online pass is one of those reasons. Even then, companies can still keep their online pass model in place and new purchasers will receive a reward or benefit unique to their code. There are more solutions to the issue than just flat out attacking the used market. They are treating the situation as if it’s a crime to buy used cause they don’t make double profit. So essentially companies are making 10 dollars off of every used game, but that’s not a guarantee. It’s a very hard headed approach to curbing used sales. As I mentioned im always nervous about initial purchases due to a lot of dlc policies. I would buy new if had access to partial dlc with a code. Lets say I buy an adventure game, then 2 months down the line an expansion pack is released for 20 dollars. Give me access to the first half of the expansion and if I like I could purchase the rest of the pack for 10. Users who bought pre owned don’t get the same benefit and would have to buy the entire pack for 20. These aren’t necessarily the best solutions to fix the issue, but like I have said there are better ways of handling the problem than just tacking on a worthless pass. Its even starting to leak into single player so lets move on to that.
Im sure some of you have read the recent news about rage and their own pass. If you haven’t it basically states that there are areas in the single player that will be locked until you verify your code. They also went on to state that the areas in question were minor and unimportant to the point that even with them unlocked you probably won’t play them or notice the areas. Great right? After hearing that I had to rush to my nearest gamestop and pre order my copy in full. Its just that amazing. Well no, its not. I mean come on. Its as if we cant be trusted and they have to force our hand at a sale. This is the glorious incentive for buying new? Please sign me up for all future installments of any games if thats the case. If its so unimportant then it would actually be smarter to buy used to save the extra 5 or 10 dollars on a few in game areas that don’t matter. Let’s be realistic here, you cant possibly expect your consumers to be thrilled with this news. Like mentioned above, if they wanted to implement a pass, but provided me with content only I could play with a new copy then im all for it. Yet statements like this feel more insulting than anything and im sure ID would be ok with me buying a used copy of rage at this point.
Truth be told I really don’t think used games are as big of an issue as they would like you to believe. If they were to somehow demolish all used game sales they would make far less profit in the long run. I cant even begin to count how many new games I have purchased with the trade value of old games. I know I am not the only gamer who does this on a constant basis. There are way to many triple a releases crammed back to back, the 65 dollar price tag is outrageous, dlc milking is getting out hand, cut content is the norm and I could go on and on. How can we possibly be expected to buy your games brand new when 1 if not all of those things are expected? Its not the pre owned games that are keeping you from monetary gain. As a whole I think pre owned is a very miniscule issue for profit. I seem to be complaining here, but there is more than 1 way to help us help you. Gamers seem to be extremely loyal to their favorite devs, myself included, and I wouldn’t mind keeping my favorite studio aflot to keep my favorite games on the shelves. Its just that I feel like the money grabbing is getting out of hand and im not getting a fair return on my investment into a product.
At the end of the day we’re the consumers. These companies rely on us to stay in business and i feel like there is an improper balance between some companies and the gamers. Im sure a lot of companies won’t be closing their doors just because I choose to take my money else where. Yet that’s the freedom about it. I can choose to vote with my wallet and as it stands with the online pass most companies will only get a measly 10 from me, if that. This post does come off rather upstanding as if im entitled to everything which im not. I just don’t support the pass and I believe there are other ways to bring in buyers without such a half way excuse as “the pass.” There are larger issues at hand than making a profit off a used copy of a game.
Of course I always appreciate all those who take the time to read these minor blog posts of mine. Feel free to share your opinion.