So the online pass is a thing that's happening, and it seems that there really isn't a thing we can do to stop it. I usually buy my games brand new whenever possible, so the online pass doesn't really affect me that much. However, for older games for the PS2 or Gamecube, I obviously have to buy used. I may not want a certain game right now, but in 5 or 10 years I may say, "Hey, I never tried this one and always heard it was pretty good. I think I'll give it a try." So my fear is what happens when PS3/Wii/360 games are what PS2/Gamecube/Xbox games are now?
So, according to all the big publishers like Sony, EA, and Ubisoft, they're just losing too much money from used game sales. While I certainly don't doubt that they lose money from used games, I do find it hard to believe that they're losing as much as they make it seem. I find it especially hard to believe given that Gamestop's new game sales rose last year
when their used game sales stayed the same. But don't let something like a fact
confuse you. Never you mind that all used games were bought new, or that used games do NOT represent new space being taken up online. EA and Sony are going to go bottom up because used games are practically mugging them of their profits.
The Online Pass (or PS Pass if you're Sony). The publishers simply want to recoup some of their losses from the constant thievery that Gamestop and other used game retailers are performing. There's nothing terrible about that. If you buy a game used, they simply ask that you input a code and that you pay them $10 on top of what you've already paid. Oh, and if you don't pay up and put in that code, they're not going to let you play a major portion of the game that's already on the disk. Hmmm, that's odd. I don't remember reading about that on the back of the box... Wait, who's doing the mugging again?
First of all, there are better solutions already available. id's new game, Rage, offers a pass that, if bought new, gives the player access to a few extra areas on the map that has extra items like ammo, money, and engineering items. There's nothing major there like some sort of ultra-gun that kills giant mutants in a single shot, and the extra areas not only have to be found, but are also filled with mutants once you find them. They are completely negligible and the game can be played through without even accessing them. Instead of punishing players for buying Rage used, they're actively encouraging
players to buy it new.
Another better system is one that's been in place basically since the start of the current generation: paid DLC. When you buy a used game, all you get is what came on the disc. If you like the game, you'll want to play more of it, thus buying some or all of whatever DLC is available on the PSN/Xbox Live. However, in recent years, games that release GOTY editions have been coming with all the DLC on the disc. Perhaps the publishers should stop putting the DLC packs on the disk and instead give the new buyer a pass to download those packs for free. Just be sure to slap a sticker on the shrink wrap
(thus being removed by the new buyer and not seen by used buyers) saying that the game comes with a pass to download all the DLC and maybe just casually mention the DLC on the box.
I've also been seeing some gamers throw around the idea of packaging the multiplayer portion as completely separate games. While I, personally, think that the idea of packaging a separate retail copy of the multiplayer part of a game is kind of stupid, the seed of this idea isn't that bad. If Sony and EA are going to force used buyers to pay for the multiplayer experience, at least make them pay for something that isn't included on the original disk. To me, being forced to make an additional payment for something I already bought is insulting. Multiplayer is already on the disk, so I shouldn't be forced to pay just to unlock it. However, if multiplayer is akin to DLC, then I wouldn't feel as insulted. The brand new buyer can, once again, have the pass to download the multiplayer for free, and the used buyer can decide whether or not they want to pay to download it. Again, just put a sticker on the shrink wrap of new games saying that they can download that for free. The back of the box should mention something about how multiplayer is downloadable and only takes a small fee. Is it a perfect plan? Of course not. But I do think that it's better and far less insulting than what the publishers are currently offering.