We all know by now that the new trend in gaming where a player has to use an online code found in the new copy of recent titles just to play with their friends on the net seems to be taking the industry by storm. The real question here however is whether or not this can be considered good for gaming as a whole. For those of you who don’t know, when a person buys a used game all of the profit goes to the store they bought it from. No money goes to the publisher and certainly no money goes to the developers that worked so hard to make the game. This has caused developers to take action by punishing those who don’t buy new copies by way of denying them a key feature to many of today’s games. It seems like a smart, albeit dirty, move on their part but there are some things that might have been over looked by doing this.
One thing devs didn’t think of is how much smaller the online community will be for some games. Now a game as big as Call of Duty might be able handle such a backlash, but what about the smaller gems out there? Can you imagine how dull Demon Souls would be due to the online community being cut in half due to some people not being able to afford new games? Not to mention there are many out there that do buy new copies of game but would refuse to buy a game with online pass enabled out of principal alone. Lets face it people don’t like feeling forced to buy or do anything, even if they would have already done it on their own. Lets also not forget a large group of people that have no problem buying a new game, but rent the game first to see what they are spending their money on. If they can’t test a key feature that they may be interested in how are they to know that they are getting their money’s worth? Are they supposed to simply put blind faith into a well advertised title like Brink just to have it flop on them? In today’s current economy, I highly doubt it.
Another thing these devs didn’t think about is how much money they are actually losing by doing this. If the people who buy used games or use a service like game-fly can’t afford to buy the game new anyway, chances are they just won’t play that game. If you factor that in with the number of people that wouldn’t buy the game new out of principal alone it would seem that even less new copies of games are being sold than before. Now we all know the drop in copies sold wouldn’t be enough to totally kill most titles, but settling for even slightly less revenue when the whole purpose of this strategy is to make money is just ludicrous. Furthermore you have to consider what happens to the people who are so disgusted by the strategy that they do a personal boycott of the developer/publisher just to prove a point. When you think about it that way, they are even hurting the sales of possible big offline titles as well. Again it probably wouldn’t be enough to kill the game off, but they would be defeating the purpose of the online pass altogether.
All in all the online pass is nothing more than the developers trying to get compensation for all their hard work, which is rightfully deserved. However the online pass is the wrong way to go about trying to get it. For one it hurts the customer, which is really what any industry thrives off of. Without anyone to buy these games, they would have no purpose. Secondly they are hurting themselves. Not only are they potentially hurting the sales of the game and thus defeating the purpose of this method, they are also hurting the sales of any other game they make in the near future. And finally they are indeed hurting the industry as a whole. While the blow may not be enough to take it down, any damage done to the consumer will bring nothing but negative consequences in the end.
Note: This article is based on the views and opinion of Jason R and do not speak for the entire staff