EA has been hyping up NBA Live 09 because of a potentially game-changing new feature, known as NBA Live 365. The data for the feature, licensed by EA from Synergy Sports Technology, is the same stuff that real NBA teams use to analyze their play and prepare for games. It provides the backbone for Dynamic DNA and NBA Live Rewind, two core gameplay features that are new to the NBA Live series this year (on PS3 and 360).
It probably cost EA a pretty penny to obtain this tech from Synergy, but they’re nonetheless including it in the sixty-dollar retail cost of NBA Live 09. There’s a catch, though: you only get it for free if you buy a brand-new, shrink-wrapped copy of the game. Retail copies will come with a single-use code redeemable on Xbox Live or the PlayStation Network to download the NBA Live 365 add-on.
I’m a bit relieved to hear this, because I went into the PlayStation Store yesterday and was bemused to find NBA Live 365 available in the Store for $9.99, even though the game doesn’t come out until next Tuesday, October 7th. My main problem with this is that people who buy the game next week might unknowingly re-purchase the NBA Live 365 functionality if they just see it on XBL or the PSN.
Of course, there’s a more nefarious side to these proceedings -- follow me to the jump for an explanation.
[Editor’s note: This post originally said that NBA Live 365 would cost $19.99 on the PlayStation Store and Xbox Live Marketplace. EA has since let us know that the price is actually $9.99, not $19.99. The article has been updated to reflect this. --Samit]
This is part of a recent rash of measures from companies like EA and Epic Games to try and cull some revenue from the used games market, from which they (until now) make no money. EA has put up the for-pay NBA Live 365 add-on for people who don’t buy the game new, so if you pick up NBA Live 09 used from GameStop in January for $40, you’ll still have to pay the extra $9.99 if you want to unlock the full potential (and the principal feature) of the game.
Similarly, Epic Games is including a one-time-use code for five Gears of War multiplayer maps in the Gears of War 2 case, but again, if you don’t buy the game new, you’ll miss out on those levels. The 20 extra songs that come “free” with a purchased copy of Rock Band 2 also count as taking something away from would-be used game buyers. And according to Shacknews, the recently-announced AC/DC Live: Rock Band Track Pack will come with its own redeemable code to allow you to export the 18 songs to your hard drive for use in Rock Band and/or Rock Band 2.
Frankly, I don’t have a problem with this; here’s the explanation from Marcus Stephenson, EA Canada’s Content & Community Manager:
This information and data is very valuable and it wasn't free for us.
T-Mobile is paying for it this year for all users who buy the game new.
This is a very expensive tool to use, and if you don't buy it new, then you'll have to pay for this. It isn't greed at all my man.
Makes sense, right? As far as I’m concerned, this is a perfectly fair incentive on EA’s part to try and steer people towards buying their games new. But, since this is the Internet, and forumites are wont to make a mountain out of a molehill, this has caused quite an uproar on the forums at Operation Sports, where Stephenson posted his view. What say you, Dtoiders?