Hitman: Absolution May Require "Purchase" of Free Online Pass

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Hitman: Absolution May Require "Purchase" of Free Online Pass

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If you don't live in North America, you'll need to jump through some hoops to play online.

With the advent of the pre-owned game market, developers have come up with a few tricks to stay profitable. One of the most common is the online pass, which provides the game creators with a few bucks even when someone buys their game used. Square Enix is continuing this strategy with Hitman: Absolution's multiplayer Contracts mode. Customers purchasing the retail version of the game will find a code to unlock this game mode for free, while those who get a pre-owned copy will have to buy it online ... for free.

North American players will find it easy to access Contracts - it's already there, unlocked from the start. Anyone in other regions will be restricted from playing the content without entering a code, which is included with boxed copies of the game. If you buy a used copy in any country, you'll have to download an online pass, which will be available gratis from the console's digital marketplace. In no scenario will players be forced to pay any additional money to access the game mode.

"We'd actually planned to have this mode accessible via a code in the game's box," says an official statement on the Hitman blog, "but we really want to make it available to anybody that plays the game - so we want to take a new approach."

"If you're in North America you'll see the mode automatically appear in the game menu. If you're elsewhere, you can redeem the code inside the box, or you can simply select the BUY CONTRACTS PASS option. From there, head to the store where CONTRACTS will be free to access."

With the game only days from launch, this is likely a last-minute decision. The end result is strangely obtuse: all the obstruction of DRM with none of the benefits to the developer or publisher. Still, it's a generous move from Square Enix, and it's nothing a post-release patch couldn't fix. We'll find out if it's worth the hassle when Hitman: Absolution hits shelves on November 20.

Source: Hitman Blog

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Another blow in the war on used games.

It'll be interesting to see how many used-copies register.

All of my curiosity for this game just diminished. Why exactly are they doing this?

Cognimancer:

"We'd actually planned to have this mode accessible via a code in the game's box," says an official statement on the Hitman blog, "but we really want to make it available to anybody that plays the game - so we want to take a new approach."

So by "new approach" he means "how it used to be?"

Works for me.

Progress friends, progress.
Though this would be backwards progress....

this policy seems strangely specific to non-NA regions

almost if it were some sort of trap

I.. I don't understand,

They've implemented an online pass system that you have to input to play online, but the codes are completely free, and it doesn't have to be input with first-buy sales in North America.

No money is being moved about by anyone, it doesn't restrict or serve any purpose of supporting the multiplayer, so why does this exist. Say whaaaaaaaat?

CardinalPiggles:
All of my curiosity for this game just diminished. Why exactly are they doing this?

To not piss off consumers? That seems as good an idea as any. :P

OT: Good to see they have changed their minds. A bit late, but any company that abandons anti-consumer policies gets an A in my book. :P

Hero in a half shell:
I.. I don't understand,

They've implemented an online pass system that you have to input to play online, but the codes are completely free, and it doesn't have to be input with first-buy sales in North America.

No money is being moved about by anyone, it doesn't restrict or serve any purpose of supporting the multiplayer, so why does this exist. Say whaaaaaaaat?

They probably originally planned on having on online pass system, but changed their minds really late in the game (so late, in fact, that the game had already shipped to retailers, codes and everything). :P

CardinalPiggles:
All of my curiosity for this game just diminished. Why exactly are they doing this?

Well it's obviously because they thought that they would have people who bought pre-owned pay extra for access to this content, but then at the last moment decided that they wanted everyone to have access to it, even if they bought a copy without the code.

I'm not entirely sure why you now need to donwload it, but only outside the US, though. But hey, they decided to go back to not having online passes, so it's a step forward( Backwards, really)

DVS BSTrD:
Another blow in the war on used games.

A blow to who, exactly? I mean, Square are the ones that decided to do it, so it's not a blow against publishers, and it's not a blow against used game consumers because the decision has been made to give them stuff for free...

razer17:

CardinalPiggles:
All of my curiosity for this game just diminished. Why exactly are they doing this?

Well it's obviously because they thought that they would have people who bought pre-owned pay extra for access to this content, but then at the last moment decided that they wanted everyone to have access to it, even if they bought a copy without the code.

I'm not entirely sure why you now need to donwload it, but only outside the US, though. But hey, they decided to go back to not having online passes, so it's a step forward( Backwards, really)

DVS BSTrD:
Another blow in the war on used games.

A blow to who, exactly? I mean, Square are the ones that decided to do it, so it's not a blow against publishers, and it's not a blow against used game consumers because the decision has been made to give them stuff for free...

I know, it's like the war on used games itself: utterly pointless.

CardinalPiggles:
All of my curiosity for this game just diminished. Why exactly are they doing this?

Someone didn't read the article it seems like.

"We decided not to do online pass, everyone gets the content." "ZOMGWTFBBQ?!"

Frostbite3789:

CardinalPiggles:
All of my curiosity for this game just diminished. Why exactly are they doing this?

Someone didn't read the article it seems like.

"We decided not to do online pass, everyone gets the content." "ZOMGWTFBBQ?!"

I read it thoroughly enough, and I'm pissed off because they decided not to bother taking away the now utterly pointless DRM for anyone not in the US. So now if I wanted to play online after getting a pre owned copy I have to get the pass and enter the code, even if it is free it's still a pain and at this point COMPLETELY useless.

I'm really a bit sick of getting shafted because I don't live in the US. If they can make it all available in the US, why not anywhere else? Two steps back one step forward is still a move in the wrong direction.

Oh you almost had me there for a second, was a bit curious to be honest. Did not fit in with their recent way of doing things. Phew. Thought EA and Actiivision had been over for dinner and given off a few too many ideas.

Square Enix, at the moment, seem to be the closest we have to a big time industry paragon company. At least if you go by their buisness decisions, practices and communication with their actual consumers.

Even though I still feel like I am in an abusive marriage with Final Fantasy / Square, all power to them in all honesty, hope to see more of that kind of attitude in the future. Keep on the path you are currently on Square... do not start stumbleling now!

CardinalPiggles:
Snip

You...you poor unfortunate soul! Having to type in a few numbers/letters to access some content. I feel for you. I really do.

Oh God. Gaming is developing bureaucracy! D:

CardinalPiggles:

Frostbite3789:

CardinalPiggles:
All of my curiosity for this game just diminished. Why exactly are they doing this?

Someone didn't read the article it seems like.

"We decided not to do online pass, everyone gets the content." "ZOMGWTFBBQ?!"

I read it thoroughly enough, and I'm pissed off because they decided not to bother taking away the now utterly pointless DRM for anyone not in the US. So now if I wanted to play online after getting a pre owned copy I have to get the pass and enter the code, even if it is free it's still a pain and at this point COMPLETELY useless.

I'm really a bit sick of getting shafted because I don't live in the US. If they can make it all available in the US, why not anywhere else? Two steps back one step forward is still a move in the wrong direction.

I know you're trying to aim at the principal of the thing, but if we don't consider the "principal of the matter", you're coming across as bizarrely spoiled and needlessly petty, and it's badly damaging your point.

Also, how is giving you something for free a step backwards at the cost of three minutes "one step forward and two steps back"?

Pick your battles.

Maybe it's an attempt to see how much this game is sold used outside of the US.

That is the only reason I would see for them to want foreigners to get an online pass for this.

CardinalPiggles:

Frostbite3789:

CardinalPiggles:
All of my curiosity for this game just diminished. Why exactly are they doing this?

Someone didn't read the article it seems like.

"We decided not to do online pass, everyone gets the content." "ZOMGWTFBBQ?!"

I read it thoroughly enough, and I'm pissed off because they decided not to bother taking away the now utterly pointless DRM for anyone not in the US.

Well, it could be that the game was already sent to the manufacturers and out to stores when they changed their minds, meaning that they couldn't change any of the game's code to accommodate it. That might be a distinct possibility...

What exactly is contracts and how gutted is the game without it?

And...it's already cracked. I betcha'. Really, this is stupid. You know nobody wants to deal with this shit, and that there's a million folks out there waiting to undo what you poured money into. And it'd REALLY be ironic if the game turned out to be bad or something. So...why not just make the game better?

CardinalPiggles:
All of my curiosity for this game just diminished. Why exactly are they doing this?

To get a clearer count on how many people are playing without paying.

"See? n people have played this and we didn't get a dime for it! Release the DRM hounds!"

JEBWrench:
To get a clearer count on how many people are playing without paying.

See this? This is bullshit.

If someone buys a used copy, they're not playing 'without paying.' They're not even playing without the publisher being paid.

That copy, that license, HAS been paid for, and the company doesn't lose anything for someone else using it.

The idea that they are means that they're not at a war with used game-players--they're at a war with their primary customers as destroying the resale value of a product is actually an attack on basic consumer rights. If I own it, I can sell it, and if you sabotage the resale value of something I have bought from you, then you might actually be engaging in something illegal.

Hitman online with other people?

BLASPHEMY!

Cognimancer:

Customers purchasing the retail version of the game will find a code to unlock this game mode for free, while those who get a pre-owned copy will have to buy it online

Standard affair, not sure why this is news, ME3 did the same thing, it's a good job that I don't care about multiplay-

... for free.

Wait, What?

Huh.

Um... Go us? Maybe? Is Square Enix trying to guilt-trip pirates or something? Or are they just being deliberately obtuse?
I'm confused.

They must be getting people used to the idea of online passes without annoying them too much so they are doing it for free.

Maybe also a good way to monitor used copies.

I wouldn't mind a small reasonable fee to unlocked a small online portion of a used SP game. If I don't have friend's with the game to 'social game' with then I just won't pay it.

Sounds likely to me that they may have changed their minds in the last second or so about wanting to use online-passes.

Good for them AND the consumers I guess.

Although what sounds a little worrying about this is that the article seems to suggest that this was only going to be implemented in copies outside of North America, I mean what the hell?
This might be them realizing what a terrible idea this is and are making it free for everyone buying it to avoid the backlash it would cause.

DracoSuave:

JEBWrench:
To get a clearer count on how many people are playing without paying.

See this? This is bullshit.

If someone buys a used copy, they're not playing 'without paying.' They're not even playing without the publisher being paid.

That copy, that license, HAS been paid for, and the company doesn't lose anything for someone else using it.

The idea that they are means that they're not at a war with used game-players--they're at a war with their primary customers as destroying the resale value of a product is actually an attack on basic consumer rights. If I own it, I can sell it, and if you sabotage the resale value of something I have bought from you, then you might actually be engaging in something illegal.

I'm not sure if you're calling me on as bullshitting; but if you are, I was merely assuming the perspective I think the publisher has.

It's pretty likely that this is somewhat connected with all the controversy and flack they got with the pre-generated paths and the nun incident. The game was already made so instead of having more people storming their offices with torches and pitchforks or going to all the time and trouble of reworking game codes, they just handed out the passes for free.

Another great example of how DRM and anti-piracy, anti-used sale moves are not even about "games have to be profitable", but about publishers expecting to have total control over anyone who uses their "property", just because they can.

I guess they gave jobs to some code guys then even though what they did was pointless as fuck

CardinalPiggles:
Two steps back one step forward is still a move in the wrong direction.

Pretty much this, assuming that this whole free online pass thing happened because they planned to make people pay for them but ducked out too late to actually remove the passes (as opposed to the game developers having all lost their minds). It's better than the alternative of having to pay, of course, but the fact that this occurred at all is symptomatic of the state the gaming industry's in right now; in this specific case, it's a dumb annoyance more than a problem, but it's very much a problem in virtually every other case of the online pass system due to that system owing its very existence to the monetary exploitation of consumers. So while my first instinct may have been to hesitantly applaud Square Enix despite my head being cocked at a ninety-degree angle, I can't quite bring myself to grant them even that much credit upon reflection. Like someone almost cheating on their significant other before deciding against it, you can hardly criticize the act in itself, but at the same time you shouldn't really give that person credit for refusing to do something that common decency dictates they not do in the first place.

DracoSuave:

JEBWrench:
To get a clearer count on how many people are playing without paying.

See this? This is bullshit.

If someone buys a used copy, they're not playing 'without paying.' They're not even playing without the publisher being paid.

That copy, that license, HAS been paid for, and the company doesn't lose anything for someone else using it.

Treating IP as real physical property, will only lead to faulty reasonings.

If a game would only consist of a finite amount of "copies" that a liciense can "give" to you, then even piracy would be entirely harmless, since no copy is being taken away from the publisher, just a new one made. And that's what copyright forbids. It's not about "taking away" something, but a monopoly that says that only a certain company is allowed to create or sell you more copies.

If you "buy" a piece of music, and then play it loudly in your restaurant, the IP holder can persecute you for not paying the extra licenses that you would have to pay for public performances. Because you don't OWN that piece of music, the IP owner does.

Or rather, the problem is, that NO ONE can "own" data, once it is out in the public. Creators can demand more copyright monopolies that allow them to make you pay for certain activities, consumers can demand more rights to share it, the public can demand Fair Use rights or lower Public Domain limits, but neither of these is about exclusive ownership of the data, they are all just lobbying for their own benefit.

ExtraDebit:
What exactly is contracts and how gutted is the game without it?

It's essentially make a custom hit. You finish a mission and then challenge others to do better. Pretty nothing is taken away without it.

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