Jimquisition: Online Passes Are Bad For Everybody

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Online Passes Are Bad For Everybody

In the first part of a series of Jimquisitions on used games and their place in the industry, Sterling tackles the most recent tactic used by publishers in the fight against traded products -- online passes -- and examines why they're bad for everybody. Be you a publisher, a used gamer, or a NEW one, online passes are bad news, and Jim Sterling will force the truth down your little lie gullet.

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Where do you get those wonderful weapons from?

I don't know how to feel about this. But I do know how to feel about online passes.

And that feeling is, "fuck 'em."

I'm in agreement with the addled mind of Jim Sterling, scary stuff.

My favorite bit is when stupid consumers make excuses as to why this type of stuff is a good idea. It's like Stockholm Syndrome. Don't defend the companies that don't give a shit about their customer base please.

Tune in next week to find out which weapon Jim will be shamelessly parading in our faces!

Damn it Jim! I'm a doctor I want a sweet sword too you know!

Just pointing out, that any american who complains about $60 games should come buy games in Australia.

I just don't understand why people are so against used games. The pump money into the industry and courts have upheld time and time again that we have the right to sell our licensed product to others. The publishers not seeing any money dosen't hold up either, because EVERY used game anywhere ever, was once a new game that was purchased.

The biggest problem I have with online passes, is what if I buy a game that's few years old, used, pay for the passcode and find out no one is online or servers are no longer active. This is going to happen eventually, and it's gona make lots of people very pissed off

I like how Mass Effect 2 handled used games. Hate how THQ and EA do

great stuff bang on.

Sucal:
Just pointing out, that any american who complains about $60 games should come buy games in Australia.

And any Australian who complains about game prices should try buying their games in New Zealand.
And any Kiwi who complains about game prices should try buying their games in Morocco.

MatParker116:
I like how Mass Effect 2 handled used games. Hate how THQ and EA do

EA published Mass Effect 2.

You know what hurts the game industry even more than online passes? Cheap people who wait a month after a game comes out just to get a used copy of a game, thus giving all their money to Gamestop, and not the creators or publishers of the game.

"Oh no, I can't play this shitty multiplayer without putting in a code. Oh woe is me."

This was a really good episode. It's true that many of us have fallen into some sort of complacency where we go "Isn't it fine?".

I can see the publisher base point of view in project 10 bucks, but this shit shouldn't happen in the first place.

Yeah, this is getting really annoying. I recently bought Mortal Kombat, and not wanting to miss out on the multiplayer I either had to buy the game new for 44 euro's, or buy it used for 40 euro's and pay an additional 10 euro's in order to access the multiplayer. I really don't understand why publishers don't try to reward people who buy their games new, rather than punish the one's that don't!

Sucal:
Just pointing out, that any american who complains about $60 games should come buy games in Australia.

Just saying, anyone in the "First World" who complains about game prices should come to any third world country ever.

Games are around 100 (American) Dollars here (Mexico), and the minimum wage is 3 dollars, per day. That's right, not per hour, per day.

So next time you're thinking about complaining how games are really expensive over there, just... think about it, really.

LOL! Nobody liked the Dead Space 2 multiplayer.

Ps.: Cool Chaoseater replica

There's some hilarious irony that the people releasing games are the biggest detriment to them.

But if DRM has taught us anything, publishers will likely just keep cramming it down our throats until we become more complacent about it.

Point number one I suspect would turn out to be rubbish when the maths is crunched. I don't trade in games, but lets assume that Game pays out 50% of the price they're planning to sell the game for, which is in turn 75% of the price of the actual game (both numbers are deliberately higher than my experience suggests)

And lets assume that 100% of that money gets reinvested into games, not only that but new games rather than more used games (which again, simply isn't true)

So for every used game sold we have 1/2x3/4=3/8 of the price of an original game going (well not to the developers or publishers but a share of that money going to them). So all it requires is 15 people out of every 40 who bought a game used, to buy a game new instead of buying no games at all and the developers are making more money by devaluing used games.

Point two is fair, I've got no contention with that. It can be resolved by aggressive discounting of games that Valve are experimenting with, but is a perfectly valid thing.

Point 3 is rubbish again because people will get better at it, like how Steam was completely crud when it first released.

And one minute of time really isn't that much of an issue. Take a chill pill instead, the information age is ruining your patience and respect for others :D Games as they are are stealing any worth from your life, its not like its an experience that will transcend your death or help other people.

In general, your false points are made even worse by the fact that used games are now being sold within the first week of a game being released. Used games take a serious amount of money from devs, and considering online actually creates an expense, used games are costing money to the people who made them, even before you begin trying to work out whether sales they would have made otherwise are greater than the sales will may potential arise as a result of a sequel down the line.

Of course it's not even a long term problem. Digital downloads will have wiped out the used game markets before long and hopefully contest between the dd markets will lead to sales and tiered pricing, which is the actual solution as opposed to the used game stop gap

JustaGigolo:
You know what hurts the game industry even more than online passes? Cheap people who wait a month after a game comes out just to get a used copy of a game, thus giving all their money to Gamestop, and not the creators or publishers of the game.

"Oh no, I can't play this shitty multiplayer without putting in a code. Oh woe is me."

Yes, because everyone can easily afford to pay for every game they want new before the price drop or before used ones start appearing.

Whoops, sorry, I didn't mean yes. I meant no, no way, and if you can then you are very much in the minority and you shouldn't be blaming others for having less money than you.

This entire argument just seemed a little weak to me. I don't have a strong feeling towards having or not having online passes. I know its an opinion based show, but I'd like a little bit more support to one's opinion than what seems to be whining more about time, and help the financially poor gamer.

I am a poor gamer myself. I find steam deals a godsend, but I pick and choose my spots where I buy my games and not rely on returning the game for store credit so I can buy new games. If i know i'm gonna love a game, and play it enough to get value for my full purchase I'll do it, if its questionable, I'll either rent or just not purchase it simple as that.

I want figures not just conjecture from this argument. It did very little to sway me and I think Jim can do better than this.

Once again, this shows us the need to vote with our wallets. If a game with a new pass was released that was annoying and intrusive, and no one bought it because of that, don't you think they'd rethink what they'd just done? Same for intrusive DRM. Yeah, I may not get to play the game I want to for a while, but I try to send a message.

First point - Get a job, hippies! Games are not too expensive, if you're a smart consumer. This is true of all goods and services. I'm not going to spend sixty bucks on a 5 hour campaign because I do my research before I even enter the store. Even then when I do splurge on a full priced new release title, I do so with the help of Amazon / KMart / Best Buy incentive programs. The last full priced title I bought was Deus Ex 3 at KMart with the promise of $20 off the next game, and the next, and the next, and the next. And that game lasted me a solid month of regular playing with a reasonable expectation of coming back to it again. I can't think of any other form of entertainment with that level of value. The fact that Skyrim will be the same price, and I paid less than that to play Oblivion Game of the Year Edition (brand new copy, about two years after release) is mind boggling. If I can afford to sustain this hobby with a $9000 college loan and working three days a week for minimum wage, almost anybody can.

Also, this issue does not affect everybody. I don't buy used games. Ever. In my life I've probably only sold about two games, and I sure as hell didn't waste them by getting ripped off at a gamestop. Second, I barely play online at all. If a game is online centric in nature, my level of consumer interest goes way down, especially when considering the hassles and hidden fees already involved. Mildly interested in Dead Space 1, no interest in Dead Space 2. It just shows me they weren't crafting an experience with me in mind. I will concede on two points. It is utter bullshit to waste valuable customers' time. The potential technical hitches like the Dirt 3 situation are already evidence enough to end this bullcrap.

However, I believe there is a solution to this "problem" if gamestop and publishers work together. It's simple. When discussing Battlefield 3 with a coworker, I told him it would be on two discs on 360. He immediately assumed they would be separated by multiplayer and single player. And he only wanted the multiplayer disc because clearly they are two separate products. Sell the multi by itself at a discount (not even a large discount) and you will make a fucking killing. Mark my words, EA/Activision/THQ. This is the new business model. You won't have to worry about used games sucking up your money because you'll double your chances of getting a sale. Or maybe bundle them up at retail at first and let gamestop sell them piecemeal. It would work and you immediately get a bite at the apple, no matter what. And the used price of the multi disc would remain high because that's the one everybody will still be playing years later. "Well, I could pay $35 for this used copy or pay $40 for a brand new one." And this would have to be said aloud by someone who entered a gaming retailer that even offered used games, a service most retailers don't even bother with.

Yeah! Fuck you too Imhotep! You're supposed to build pyramids, not summon an army of the dead!

The problem with believing that used games are a good way for gamers to test new IPs is that publishers require the sales of the new IP to judge if a sequel is worth it. If everyone buys a new IP used, then it simply isn't going to get a sequel because the publisher doesn't consider it worthwhile since the first game just didn't sell. If someone made a great new IP, but most people bought it used because they are afraid of that fact, then there wouldn't be a chance to BUY a sequel because a sequel wouldn't happen.

EDIT: Also, why do people expect companies to trust them? Do you know the first rule of fucking business? It's that you NEVER trust your customer. When you give a customer trust, even just a little bit, then they will find ways to exploit that trust and fuck you over because of it. Not trusting your customer is good business. It isn't being a dick or being rude. Stop being entitled and expect publishers to trust you, because it isn't going to happen.

I hate the entitlement of so many gamers nowadays.

Jim Sterling is the greatest man who ever lived, and an inspiration to us all. I kind of want him to impregnate me.

In all seriousness, Jim voices his opinions very well, and I agree with him wholeheartedly. I've declined to purchase games in the past or even rent them due to this "online pass" system to which I strongly object, and I'd like to point out to the "Call of Duty is ruining gaming" hordes that nobody is making you buy their DLC. I know that kind of came out of nowhere, but it's something to think about. People love to bitch about Activision, but they aren't doing this shit.

Jim Sterling:
Online Passes Are Bad For Everybody

In the first part of a series of Jimquisitions on used games and their place in the industry, Sterling tackles the most recent tactic used by publishers in the fight against traded products -- online passes -- and examines why they're bad for everybody. Be you a publisher, a used gamer, or a NEW one, online passes are bad news, and Jim Sterling will force the truth down your little lie gullet.

Watch Video

I'm shocked you didn't include the biggest reason (in my estimation) that online passes are bad for new purchasers: If you put another barrier in the way, you'll have fewer people online to play with.

Your used customers may not be paying you money directly, but they are providing extra heads for online play. They pad your servers, or at least ensure that your paying customers aren't sitting there for 20 minutes waiting for enough people to get a game going. That ensures more repeat business from these happy customers.

If you're going to use some kind of pass system like this (and I mean if you absolutely must), I wouldn't choose multiplayer as the sort of content you would be gating. Instead, offer things more akin to those pre-order bonuses. Or better still, why not offer some of the early DLC at a discounted price (or free) to folks with the "new game" code?

Online passes are good for games.

They fight used sales (and often times the cost of the Online Pass + Used Game is still almost $10-$20 cheaper than the new game) and don't actually do any harm to new customers. Rental customers are such a small part of the base and by their very nature don't plan on having the game very long so the multiplayer is likely not a terribly important part of their experience.

However, the only change I would make to the idea is that instead of totally locking people out of the multiplayer, you instead do what games Homefront and Space Marine do;

Let people play the multiplayer up to a certain level/point and then either don't let them advance anymore or let them use MM.

This way renters could still get a taste of the MP for their short time, and it gives Used Buyers/Borrowers the option to try out the MP before deciding if they want to buy the Online Pass.

NinjaDeathSlap:

JustaGigolo:
You know what hurts the game industry even more than online passes? Cheap people who wait a month after a game comes out just to get a used copy of a game, thus giving all their money to Gamestop, and not the creators or publishers of the game.

"Oh no, I can't play this shitty multiplayer without putting in a code. Oh woe is me."

Yes, because everyone can easily afford to pay for every game they want new before the price drop or before used ones start appearing.

Whoops, sorry, I didn't mean yes. I meant no, no way, and if you can then you are very much in the minority and you shouldn't be blaming others for having less money than you.

And people wonder where the self entitled, gamer brat stereotype came from.

Fucking economics, how does it work?

NinjaDeathSlap:

JustaGigolo:
You know what hurts the game industry even more than online passes? Cheap people who wait a month after a game comes out just to get a used copy of a game, thus giving all their money to Gamestop, and not the creators or publishers of the game.

"Oh no, I can't play this shitty multiplayer without putting in a code. Oh woe is me."

Yes, because everyone can easily afford to pay for every game they want new before the price drop or before used ones start appearing.

Whoops, sorry, I didn't mean yes. I meant no, no way, and if you can then you are very much in the minority and you shouldn't be blaming others for having less money than you.

Given how little difference there is between GameStop's new and used prices, I'd hazard a guess that if you can afford the used price, and have a machine that can play the game (and the free time to do so), you can afford the new price.

The only way round this that I could see working for me is this:-

Pay full price for a new online focused/enabled game that I want in order to play it (MW3, BF3, FIFA ect)
Buy pre-owned for games of the more the single player oriented (Final Fantasy, Ratchet and clank, Yakuza ect)

Could work until, and heres the silly part, they get wise to this and start charging people 10 to enter their own house in order to play their "dirty copy"

JustaGigolo:
You know what hurts the game industry even more than online passes? Cheap people who wait a month after a game comes out just to get a used copy of a game, thus giving all their money to Gamestop, and not the creators or publishers of the game.

"Oh no, I can't play this shitty multiplayer without putting in a code. Oh woe is me."

If games were reasonably priced, I would buy them from the developer. I will pay 10 for a game, 20 absolute maximum if I am really interested. 40 is twice my absolute maximum, so I will wait a bit and buy it used.

(Edited for grammar)

Here in Enland we userly pay 45-60 for a brand spanking new game... which is about $60-$70 dollars... bad timez... I havnt bout a new AAA game in about a year, I mainly only play XBox live arcade now... to be honest, its been really fun... except for Clash of Heros, YOU JUST GOT 5 LINKS IN A ROW RANDOMLY?! BOLLOX!!!

Mouse_Crouse:
I just don't understand why people are so against used games. The pump money into the industry and courts have upheld time and time again that we have the right to sell our licensed product to others. The publishers not seeing any money dosen't hold up either, because EVERY used game anywhere ever, was once a new game that was purchased.

They're money grubbing bastards that can careless about a happy fan base compared to lining their pockets with more money they'll never spend because they're afraid of taking risks. The funny thing is that Gamestop and other places that sell used games uses the money from said games to buy newer games, stock all those nice things gamers want and publishers want sold as well. They love gamestop when they're stocking their NEW stuff but wants them to burn in napalm the moment something used of theirs is for sell.

Mouse_Crouse:
The publishers not seeing any money dosen't hold up either, because EVERY used game anywhere ever, was once a new game that was purchased.

That's just wrong. The point people make when they say that is that the publisher could have sold TWO games, not just one, because two different people bought it. If you couldn't sell used games, some of the people who bought it used WOULD buy it new. Meanwhile, that person who first bought the game which was later sold as used is fairly likely to still buy it - hence two new sales instead of just the one.

Jim is right on the money, though - it's entirely possible that used games are actually making developers money, but it's not because someone already bought the game once - that's a sale they probably would have had anyway. Instead, they make money through more indirect means like bringing people into the franchise so that they'll buy a SEQUEL new. However, unless someone actually does the research on that it's hard to say that with any measure of certainty, which makes Jim's argument a bit flimsy. The point he's trying to make is "it's good for both developer and consumer," but half of that is relying on an assumption that these means through which developers make money off used games are making them more than they're losing. It's undeniable that consumers experience some great benefits by having the option to buy used, but unless you can show conclusively that the developers also stand to gain, it's hard to say that they should just accept it.

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