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

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

Considering the direction DRM is going, a "one step forward, two steps back" isnt all a bad thing.

Cognimancer:

With the advent of the pre-owned game market, developers have come up with a few tricks to stay profitable.

I think you've got this twisted. It's not a way to stay profitable, it's a way to gain more income if anything. Often it's just a way to try and strong-arm people in to buying new instead of used.
If the game was considered "not profitable" it wouldn't even have been made. Simple as.

This specific instance is really strange though. It's just forcing people to jump through hoops for no reason what so ever.
People who buy the game new have to jump through hoops just to play online. Why the fuck would you do that to your paying customers!? (Jim will hopefully have a friggin field day with this one)
The customer is being inconvenienced just for the sake of. How bizarre.

Weird and expensive for no reason.

I don't mean expensive to us, but expensive to Square, having to manage and distribute passes through an online store.

Though it COULD all just be a promotional thing. Getting people to sign up to the store.

How dare they give something for all players to enjoy for free? Do they seriously expect me to pay zero to get what I should have for nothing? Unbelievable. I won't spend so much as a penny for this free pass, mark my words! It's completely overpriced.

How do you keep track of your customers? Through sales (where you have income that shows how many copies of the games you sold) and through information acquisition (where the customer tells you who he is and where he is).

Folks, Square and Io just found a way to see how many unique players are using online mode and, since the infrastructure to do a global check cost extra, they passed the cost onto the consumers outside of North America.

Effectively, this is a video game census. The codes are a system that's already in place so consumers don't get confused by a new system. It's no more inconvenient than any other game out there and it's a one-time hoop to leap through.

What are Square and Io going to do with this newfound info about their customer base? That's what we should be asking ourselves. My money is on getting concrete stats on just how big the used game market is and determining the viability of long-term server commitment.

Something else to think about: Given that Absolution's online mode is players posting "kill x, y, and z on map 4 using only a chainsaw and without being seen and don't tell me you can't do it because I did it already" and variations on that theme, the strain on servers is going to be a good deal less than for games with multiple players interacting in real time on maps, as you'd get in COD or FF. Wouldn't it be interesting if Square could hold up something concrete that says, "We can save server space and keep our customers happier by changing the format of our online content and we'll make a better profit if we do." at it's next shareholder meeting? That would be lightning in a bottle for them: happier customers and higher profits simultaneously.

Some one balls'd it up somewhere, i smell a late quick fix of free BS :P

So simply put its a pain in the ass to get free content that everyone preowned or new can have? its too much effort to link a facepalm image but seriously yay and wtf all at once :)

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

This allows them to find out the exact number of used copies that are being played online.

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?

If I had to guess it is actually being used to see how many "lost sales" they are getting for each copy of the game.

So they sell say 50K copies, then see this purchase online done 70K times (I'm pulling numbers out of my ass here) that would give them info that the games have been traded around X amount of times.

Little Gray:

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

This allows them to find out the exact number of used copies that are being played online.

Darn you little gray ninja >: (

Honestly, if you think having to download and enter a pass code is an inconvenience and "jumping through hoops", then you really need to take a good, long look at your life.

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 bet the non NA copies were pressed first and then they decided to get rid of online passes but it was to late to do so in Europe, AU, ect. And you are in no way being "shafted". The multilayer passes are free and it will likely be patched at some point. I also think that future copies in non-NA regions will be free of online passes.

Iron Criterion:
Honestly, if you think having to download and enter a pass code is an inconvenience and "jumping through hoops", then you really need to take a good, long look at your life.

You sir/ma'am, are a brilliant human being.

OT: Go home, Square-Enix, you're drunk.

Having played the game extensively...it was annoying to get the code...but really...it took 35 seconds.

Contracts mode is pointless anywho. See: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YNrs3QtMZ_g

So is the war on used games going to over any time soon? I mean, I know that the second hand industry brought about the current financial crisis, but fair is fair.

Uh, that's...well, okay. Not sure what to think about this.

I bet it's a trap. A trap to deceive us into a false sense of security before the Xbox explodes, executing half of the U.S. in a cleverly designed hit on the U.S. from the Illuminati.

Bhaalspawn:

OT: Go home, Square-Enix, you're drunk.

Square-Enix, give me your keys.

Iron Criterion:
Honestly, if you think having to download and enter a pass code is an inconvenience and "jumping through hoops", then you really need to take a good, long look at your life.

It is if the code is absolutely useless, since all it does is unlock something you've already purchased, and the only aim behind it is the illegal spying on users by collecting their personal information and tracking them.

Frostbite3789:

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.

Uhm, did you read the article? They decided not to do codes, but to list it as something you'd purchase and make it free to purchase it. So no codes, just a little extra work.

OT: Someone in this post made an excellent point about this being a way to find out how many plays it without paying for it and it makes sense. If I have to "purchase" it they will be notified when I go through with it and thus being able to see how many used/pirated games there's out there. This might not be the case, but it's an interesting thought.

Still, Hitman online doesn't make sense to me... so why should buying things for free make sense?

To get an idea on the state of the used games market without being assholes about it maybe? Sounds like a last minute realisation that online passes are a dick move.

Bhaalspawn:

OT: Go home, Square-Enix, you're drunk.

Nah Square Enix shouldn't be driving home. They are too drunk. They should just crash here tonight.

Maybe they're doing it to try to gather data about how many copies of the game get pirated, by comparing registrations to sales numbers?

Although that wouldn't really explain why it's only outside the US.

Its a weird move, and I'd love to know the reason for it. If I were to guess: from what reviews I read the game hasn't been scoring too well as a hitman game (still a good game the reviewers said, but takes steps back from the last good one), and maybe this is a last minute price change to not piss off even more people. IDK, just specululation, but I'm sure the reason will come to light eventually.

Well none of this matters, because who the fuck is going to play Hitman for the multiplayer?

Entitled:
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.

I think you're missing the point here.
If person #2 bought a used copy from person #1, person #1 is no longer using it.

That's what the conversation was about. The used copy was bought by someone, and only 1 person at a time is using it, so it's no different from a used car.

So... this serves no purpose except to be a hassle to both programmers and customers, while failing to provide you any security?
Escapists! Join me as we dance the dance of incompetence.

lacktheknack:
Oh God. Gaming is developing bureaucracy! D:

yep, bureaucracy expands to meet the needs of expanding bureaucracy.

To those who say this is a way to determine the used sales market:

Although the argument is enticing, this just wouldn't be a good way to do it. Purchasers of online passes have to be

a) from outside the NA region
b) interested in the multi-player mode of the game

Point a means that they would be cutting out one of the largest and most important demographics from the study, and point b means that they would, again, cutting down the usefulness of their data because not everyone who buys the game second hand cares about playing online. On top of that, you have the possibility of people buying the game, only playing the single-player, and selling it with an unused code. In the end, you end up with a large number of second hand gamers not buying a pass.

Any data gathered with this system would be at best heavily biased, and at worst completely useless. I can't imagine anyone with the intention of measuring used games sales designing such a flawed system. Further, I'm sure game stores have plenty of ways to track used games sales. Though that data isn't perfect either (you could sell a game directly to a friend) it's readily available and more complete than anything that could be generated by this system.

I think it's best to go with Occam's Razor here, and chalk this up to plain incompetence. They were probably planning on charging but had a change of heart at the last minute. If the decision came after units were shipped, then it's possible that this "feature" stayed in the game because the only other alternative would be an expensive mass recall. I wouldn't be surprised if this gets patched out eventually.

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

It seems like they were going to do the 'project $10' aproach of having to either put in a code or pay to play online, however they have changed their mind (probably recently) and decided to just give it away for free to everyone, but without time to remove the coding in the program that asks for the key. Honestly its actually a good sign that they did decide to dump the EA system, I for one have just had my intention to buy the game asap boosted by this move. Good move Square Enix.

So its free...and it isn't just included on install... sigh.

the statistic they get better be worth this silly hassle.

My guess is that it's some technicality for game ratings. The ESRB does hold publishers accountable for mods (see Hot Coffee and the "Oblivion Nude Mod"), so "it technically isn't on the disc" wouldn't fly with them. Thus, they don't bother with the whole rigamarole in the US. Maybe whoever rates games for Europe objected to Contracts mode but isn't willing to ban the game based on features not physically on the disc? It wouldn't be the first time something has been made downloadable instead of included to get past EU restrictions; copies of Windows 7 sold in Europe didn't include Internet Explorer, IIRC.

Entitled:

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.

What does piracy (which is morally analogous to counterfieting) have to do with resale of your own property? If you sell a used copy, one person is using it. If you make a copy and distribute ot, two people are using it. 1 != 2, no matter how much bullshit rhetoric you try to attach to it.

If you pay for a product, you get to sell that product.

If you pay for a license, then limitations on resale must be included in the contract.

Video game packaging does not inform the consumer that it is a license, nor does it include resale limitations. The point of sale similarly does not have you agree to any licensing or resale limitations. Therefore, any attempt to damage resalability is a sabotage of consumer rights.

The onus is on the publisher to communicate these things, and the publisher repeatedly fails to do so. Therefore the consumer cannot be expected to relinquish any of their rights.

It's actually very black and white here.

This sounds like an attempt to monitor used games purchases in a meaningful way. Either that or they planned to include DRM and then realized it would piss people off.

Also, game companies don't have to find a way to stay profitable with the used games market, they're doing better than ever already, even with used games.

And it seems nothing happened after all?... I started playing yesterday, my account is north-american, but I'm playing the game from Brazil. They KNOW my IP is in Brazil, after all, there are many contents (ok, not that many anymore) that they keep me from accessing because they can trace my IP; in other words: it seems Hitman has no such requirement to play online. Just to make sure I also went in the MS Store but found nothing of the sort for sale, only a BIG BUNCH of weapons and clothing for 47 o.O

DracoSuave:

Entitled:

DracoSuave:

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.

What does piracy (which is morally analogous to counterfieting) have to do with resale of your own property? If you sell a used copy, one person is using it. If you make a copy and distribute ot, two people are using it. 1 != 2, no matter how much bullshit rhetoric you try to attach to it.

If you pay for a product, you get to sell that product.

If you pay for a license, then limitations on resale must be included in the contract.

Video game packaging does not inform the consumer that it is a license, nor does it include resale limitations. The point of sale similarly does not have you agree to any licensing or resale limitations. Therefore, any attempt to damage resalability is a sabotage of consumer rights.

The onus is on the publisher to communicate these things, and the publisher repeatedly fails to do so. Therefore the consumer cannot be expected to relinquish any of their rights.

It's actually very black and white here.

Exactly, it's the very definition of "property" (to be able to use, enjoy and DISPOSE). As gaming company logic goes, no one should be able to sell their used cars, because that means someone else will use that car and the given dealer will "lose a sale" which means an impact on the automaker. See, the logic is actually SOUND, but you don't see VolksWagen saying you can't sell your car to someone else, because doing so goes against the principle of PROPERTY, it turns property into mere "possession" (mere right to use, and, to some extent, enjoy an item, but NEVER DISPOSE)...

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