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Sony Confirms its Own 'Online Pass,' Starting With Resistance 3

No confirmation of branding or details on pricing structure and what's getting locked away.

If Sony's making the dive into the Online Pass initiative, will Microsoft follow?

Over the holiday weekend, there was growing evidence Sony would be starting an "Online Pass" program, a way of combating the rise of used game sales, with a similarly titled "PSN Pass."

The basic idea is locking some (or all) online content behind a code included with new copies of a game. When redeemed, that code's useless. If a consumer turns in that game to GameStop, whoever purchases it used will have to purchase another code to access the locked content. In general, purchasing a new Online Pass has cost $10.

Beginning with Resistance 3, Sony will have their own variation of this, the company has confirmed. The original rumor, based on some leaked packaging from overseas, dubbed it PSN Pass, but Sony made no reference to that name in today's statement.

"We are always evaluating new programs for our online offering," said the company, "and starting with Resistance 3 this September, we will be instituting a network pass program for PS3 games with online capabilities. This program will be game-specific. Games that are a part of this program will include a single-use registration code that grants the account holder redeeming the code full online access for that title. This is an important initiative as it allows us to accelerate our commitment to enhancing premium online services across our first party game portfolio."

There are some key phrases in this statement.

One, "game-specific." Right now, Sony's not willing to say this will extend to all of its upcoming releases, which include a multitude of multiplayer-centric games, like Twisted Metal and Uncharted 3. However, "instituting a network pass program for PS3 games with online capabilities" suggests it's definitely on the table.

Two, "full online access." That doesn't exactly detail what will or won't be locked away.

Three, "network pass program." Sounds like "PSN Pass" may not be the final name.

We also don't know how much a new code will cost, but given how this statement is reactionary, caused by an oversight on Sony's part, the lack of details is hardly surprising. If the company's willing to say something is in the works today, though, an official announcement should be coming soon.

177 Comments
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Posted by iDarktread
@ESREVER said:
I buy all my games new, so this doesn't really bother me.
I buy all my games used, so this really bothers me. :c
Posted by theredace
@Branthog said:

More "fuck the consumer" innovation. Have more than one gamer in the household? You get to pay us more money! You know, the same way you have to pay extra money for cable if you have two viewers in the household. Or how you have to pay double for a music CD or DVD if there is more than one person in the household.

This isn't "fuck the consumer", it's "fuck Gamestop". Think about it. Gamestop can't reasonably sell a used game that requires a game pass for $50-$55, so they simply have to lower the price or else no consumer will buy it. So the consumer pays less for the used game, and then makes up the difference by paying it directly to Sony/the developer and in the end the consumer pays the same price. This is great for both the consumer AND the developer:
 
1. Sony/the developer gets a portion of that used sale, so they care less about games being sold used.
2. The consumer gets the option of paying for multiplayer IF THEY WANT IT. If you buy a used version and you don't want multiplayer, chances are you just paid less for that game than if you bought it used under the old system.
 
I don't see any downside to this unless you're Gamestop.
Posted by copycatzen

@rndmtask said:

Sony, stop making these so goddamned complicated. Make PSN+ mandatory to play online, one price one service, for all games. Keep it simple, stupid.

LOL at this guy

Posted by imsh_pl
@VegasAceVII said:
@ESREVER said:
I buy all my games new, so this doesn't really bother me.
Same here.
Here as well.
 
But I don't like the idea either way.
 
Sony  - and every other publisher/developer -if you want to encourage your customers to buy a game new don't take away content from people who buy used games - give people a reason to buy a new copy of a game by adding additional content. Extra modes, weapons, skins, etc.
Posted by chadfx

another reason why pc is better

Posted by TechHits
@Oscrix said:
Completely gross. There goes another reason to tout the PS3 over the 360.
don't you mean the 360 over the ps3?
Posted by clumsyninja1

Hopefully this stops the used game sales, at least for a little bit. CHEAPOS!!!!

Posted by MordeaniisChaos

@theredace said:

@Branthog said:

More "fuck the consumer" innovation. Have more than one gamer in the household? You get to pay us more money! You know, the same way you have to pay extra money for cable if you have two viewers in the household. Or how you have to pay double for a music CD or DVD if there is more than one person in the household.

This isn't "fuck the consumer", it's "fuck Gamestop". Think about it. Gamestop can't reasonably sell a used game that requires a game pass for $50-$55, so they simply have to lower the price or else no consumer will buy it. So the consumer pays less for the used game, and then makes up the difference by paying it directly to Sony/the developer and in the end the consumer pays the same price. This is great for both the consumer AND the developer: 1. Sony/the developer gets a portion of that used sale, so they care less about games being sold used. 2. The consumer gets the option of paying for multiplayer IF THEY WANT IT. If you buy a used version and you don't want multiplayer, chances are you just paid less for that game than if you bought it used under the old system. I don't see any downside to this unless you're Gamestop.

Yes and no. The only problem comes when you realize that these passes are tied to an account. It's not 20 bucks a console, it's 20 bucks a person who wants to use the game on a separate fucking account. That means If I want achievements, my brother wants an achievement, my dad wants an achievement, and to get it we need to play online, we each have to pay the price, or two of us will even with a brand new copy. It's not intended as a fuck you directly to consumers, but ignoring the impact on the consumers is pretty much a "fuck you". I don't want to spend 5 minutes struggling with some awful on-screen keyboard to type in a code just to play the game I just bought. Consoles are supposed to be that thing you play and things "just work." Not that thing you play where even after a lengthy and sometimes required install you then have to punch in code, making it no different from installing a PC game from a physical disc. Consoles are also far more often a shared thing in a home. I don't know anyone who's 360 or PS3 has only one active online account. Those consoles are used by everyone, and forcing people to pay on a per-account basis is just gross. Even worse is when you have to get a new account for whatever reason and lose all of that shit. It's a bad solution to the problem, end of story.

Posted by hoossy

to surprised... If I was in the industry I'd probably do that...

Posted by Kyle
@Branthog said:

@Kyle said:

I AM COMPLETELY SHOCKED AND ALSO OUTRAGED! RAAAAAAH! I will also now sit here in this comment section for the rest of the day, furiously arguing idiotic points with other idiots until we all pass out! Seriously though, whatever. People who make things and maintain them want to get payed for them. Go figure.

I don't give a fuck what they want. I already bought the game. I shouldn't have to pay $10 more so my roommate can play the game, too. The same way I shouldn't have to buy another copy of a book, movie, CD, cable subscription, internet subscription, or other service or consumable just because there might be more than one person in my household who might utilize it.

That's a good point, it does fuck you over if you have multiple people that want to use the game.
Posted by TEAMHOLT

@theredace: But this doesn't just affect Gamestop. It artificially devalues games across the entire second-hand market.

I don't like GameStop, but blaming them is silly. They're just a business that deals in used games. Their success doesn't excuse publishers trying to stomp all over consumer rights. There are better ways of getting money out of us. Maybe we should force publishers to find them instead of just rolling over for every stupid, abusive idea that comes into their minds. Publishers don't care about us, whether or not this is fair, nor how it affects the gaming industry, retail, or the second hand market, so we've got no business worrying for them. Worry about your own damn wallet like a consumer is supposed to.

Posted by Zirilius

How is everyone so pissed that Sony is doing this but not EA or any of the other publishers out there doing this? Is it really that big of a deal to enter a 12 digit code on PSN to be able to play online?

 
I for one think it's great idea because at least this way we don't get some bullshit DRM that requires to have an always on connection.

Posted by Kyle
@Claude said:

@Kyle said:

@Claude said:

Haha, and people bitched about friend codes on the Wii.

Right... Because friend codes are fucking horrible. ............. (??????)

Sure they are, but almost every game you buy today has some long ass code involved. Now when people buy a game, they'll have to enter their online pass code and some form of DLC code. I never understood how people could be so anal about friend codes when codes are everywhere.

Because an in-box code is something you can do once when you're not playing the game. They're not fun, but you can put it in once before you start and be done with it, and they only apply to you. With a friend code, not only do you have to go around continuously giving out your code and inputting other peoples' codes, it also makes it impossible to be dropped into a game with a person you enjoy playing with, and then add them to your friends list. Of course, all this applies to an imaginary universe in which there are any wii games that have online support that actually works, and that people want to play. And voice chat for more than 5 games.
Posted by nickux

Bummer, I was planning on getting R3 through Gamefly. So much for that.

Edited by xyzygy

Ironically, this works in MS's favor because it makes the 50$ you spend on Live more worth the money. The money you'll save buying used would probably add up to be more than 50$ a year anyway. 
 
@Zirilius said:


How is everyone so pissed that Sony is doing this but not EA or any of the other publishers out there doing this? Is it really that big of a deal to enter a 12 digit code on PSN to be able to play online?

 
I for one think it's great idea because at least this way we don't get some bullshit DRM that requires to have an always on connection.

Where the hell have you been? Last time I checked people are equally as pissed about ALL forms of online pass, not just Sony's.
Posted by louiedog
@TEAMHOLT said:

@theredace: But this doesn't just affect Gamestop. It artificially devalues games across the entire second-hand market.

I don't like GameStop, but blaming them is silly. They're just a business that deals in used games. Their success doesn't excuse publishers trying to stomp all over consumer rights. There are better ways of getting money out of us. Maybe we should force publishers to find them instead of just rolling over for every stupid, abusive idea that comes into their minds. Publishers don't care about us, whether or not this is fair, nor how it affects the gaming industry, retail, or the second hand market, so we've got no business worrying for them. Worry about your own damn wallet like a consumer is supposed to.

Stomping on consumer rights? Abusive ideas? Are you serious? I'm a very pro consumer person. I keep up to date with real issues that hurt consumers, both in games and other areas. Moves like Capcom's save bullshit fundamentally change the games. An online pass does not. It's not unreasonable for a publisher to ask you to pay for the upkeep of the service you are using that costs them money.
Posted by Protonguy

Least it's starting with Resistance 3! That thing won't sell well anyway, hopefully management will think it's because of the online pass.

Posted by lovecat360

I really hate this "double-dipping" that seems to be becoming standard in the industry just now. It's not as if pre-owned games are putting extra strain on servers or such cos if you bought the game used, then someone had to have traded it in first of all right? I don't see how publishers can take the moral high ground here. Just because someone buys a game pre-owned doesn't mean the publisher is losing out on a sale because more often than not, I refuse to pay full price for games so if I can pick up a second hand copy for £15 less then all the better and the publisher has already had the sale from when the game was bought originally. Although if you're only saving say, £2 or so and you still decide to buy pre-owned then you sir, are an idiot!

Posted by Claude

@Kyle said:

@Claude said:

@Kyle said:

@Claude said:

Haha, and people bitched about friend codes on the Wii.

Right... Because friend codes are fucking horrible. ............. (??????)

Sure they are, but almost every game you buy today has some long ass code involved. Now when people buy a game, they'll have to enter their online pass code and some form of DLC code. I never understood how people could be so anal about friend codes when codes are everywhere.

Because an in-box code is something you can do once when you're not playing the game. They're not fun, but you can put it in once before you start and be done with it, and they only apply to you. With a friend code, not only do you have to go around continuously giving out your code and inputting other peoples' codes, it also makes it impossible to be dropped into a game with a person you enjoy playing with, and then add them to your friends list. Of course, all this applies to an imaginary universe in which there are any wii games that have online support that actually works, and that people want to play. And voice chat for more than 5 games.

Can't argue with that.

Posted by get2sammyb
@xyzygy said:
Ironically, this works in MS's favor because it makes the 50$ you spend on Live more worth the money. The money you'll save buying used would probably add up to be more than 50$ a year anyway.
Surrre. I mean if you really want to convince yourself, sure. But I doubt you'd be buying Sony published games on your XBOX 360 in the first-place, so your point is completely moot.
 
It's only a matter of time before Microsoft implements this system anyway. Virtually all third-parties are doing it (on both platforms) anyway.
 
I tend to buy nearly all my games new, so it doesn't really bother me. As for people concerned with renting/borrowing, I'm sure there will be a trial period. A week seems reasonable enough.
Edited by Sooty
@DivineCC said:

@Oscrix said:

Completely gross. There goes another reason to tout the PS3 over the 360.

At least you don't have to pay $60 a year to be able to play online.

and that $60 is worth it because Xbox Live is a better online system than PSN is, especially when it comes to dealing with friends. I have both so don't let my green name fool you.
 
Oh and if you're paying $60, you're doing it wrong. You can get it a fair bit cheaper if you use your brain and Internet search skills.
Posted by WinterSnowblind

I don't usually buy second-hand games and I rarely play anything online.. but I'm still very much against this idea.

I can't think of any other product that could get away something like this. It's just as bad as charging for DLC that's already on the disc. If you paid for the game, you should be able to access all of it.. second hand or not.

Posted by xyzygy
@get2sammyb: With the money they're rolling in from Live I don't think they'd really need to incorporate an online pass.  
 
But yeah you're right about what you said, I didn't think of the fact that this will only affect Sony-published games.
Edited by HBK619
@xyzygy said:

Ironically, this works in MS's favor because it makes the 50$ you spend on Live more worth the money. The money you'll save buying used would probably add up to be more than 50$ a year anyway.

How so? If you're buying Sony's titles then you want them on Sony's platform, no? And let's not forget that there's other games from EA, THQ, etc. that are doing this (on each platform), so I don't honestly see the distinction between it somehow being worth the money for that online service vs this type (that you don't actually HAVE to pay for to get online).
Posted by UnrealDP

@xyzygy:

Theres also the draw that if you wanna buy used games then you would have to stick with Microsoft which could potentially be a sizeable increase in Microsofts consumers. Theres a small audience that mainly buys used games who would be forced into Microsofts hands.

Edited by get2sammyb
@lovecat360 said:

I really hate this "double-dipping" that seems to be becoming standard in the industry just now. It's not as if pre-owned games are putting extra strain on servers or such cos if you bought the game used, then someone had to have traded it in first of all right? I don't see how publishers can take the moral high ground here. Just because someone buys a game pre-owned doesn't mean the publisher is losing out on a sale because more often than not, I refuse to pay full price for games so if I can pick up a second hand copy for £15 less then all the better and the publisher has already had the sale from when the game was bought originally. Although if you're only saving say, £2 or so and you still decide to buy pre-owned then you sir, are an idiot!

The argument would be that Publisher X makes a game with online services. User X buys the game new and plays it for a month non-stop. Publisher X receives the entirety of the finances from User X's purchase. Publisher X has to pay server maintenance costs to store User X's data (leaderboards) and also host User X's matches. User X then puts the game on the shelf and ignores it. User X is no longer playing the game, so Publisher X's server maintenance costs drop. User X then decides to sell the game to GameStop for $10. GameStop resells Users X's game to User Y for $25. GameStop makes $15 profit. User Y gets home and hops online to play User X's game. Publisher X's server maintenance costs suddenly surge again, as it pays to store User Y's data and also host User Y's matches. However, Publisher X has received no additional finances from User Y.
 
That's the argument a publisher would make. It's a weird situation because the publisher is doing cost analysis based on the principle that no one will play a game for ever. I can see the argument both ways.
Posted by BusterBruiser

If you incorporate something like this I'm going to purposely buy your game used. I'm sorry but multiplayer isn't even a big deal to me, and I'd rather you not see my money if you do something along these lines. I know others will disagree with me, but it's my choice.

Posted by get2sammyb
@UnrealDP said:

@xyzygy:

Theres also the draw that if you wanna buy used games then you would have to stick with Microsoft which could potentially be a sizeable increase in Microsofts consumers. Theres a small audience that mainly buys used games who would be forced into Microsofts hands.

It wouldn't though, because third-parties are incorporating the same system on XBOX 360. Remember, this initiative only effects Sony published games. If you want to play Sony published games, you need a Sony platform.
Posted by ikwal

I don't see why people are bitching about this. This doesn't change anything for the people who buy games new. The developers needs to get paid for their work, and not get screwed over by used games sales.

Posted by Mats

Our online services are free my ass

Posted by YukoAsho

I don't really care about online passes, since I don't use online, but I get where publishers are coming from.  They have to maintain servers for however long the game stays popular, and not everyone can rely on map packs the way Activision can.  Ensuring that only new buyers or code buyers can access those services helps to ensure that they can at the very least cover costs. 
 
Besides, this is nowhere near as insidious as EA's initial efforts.  Remember when they were locking away single-player content such as characters in ME2?  The online passes are hella better than that, lemmie tell ya.

Posted by lovecat360
@get2sammyb:  Totally agree that publishers would see it this way but I think it's kinda dumb that in a way, they are banking on their title only having a shelf life of a month or so at most to cut costs. I just wish there was another way around this whole Online Pass system but unless developers and publishers can come out with some worthwhile DLC to expand the games lifespan and stop people from trading in their titles in the first place, (such as Rock Band and Red Dead Redemption in my case) then I guess there's very little that can be done. 
Posted by Winsord

I buy console games rarely as it is, but when I do they're new games; no concerns here.

Posted by RuneseekerMireille

It's been successful for EA, so I had a feeling one of the major companies would adopt it. Though the proposition doesn't seem too bad in and of itself, the principle behind it of "screwing over the consumer" is what annoys me.

Edited by VilgeDuin
@MordeaniisChaos said: 

Yes and no. The only problem comes when you realize that these passes are tied to an account. It's not 20 bucks a console, it's 20 bucks a person who wants to use the game on a separate fucking account. That means If I want achievements, my brother wants an achievement, my dad wants an achievement, and to get it we need to play online, we each have to pay the price, or two of us will even with a brand new copy. [...] Consoles are also far more often a shared thing in a home. I don't know anyone who's 360 or PS3 has only one active online account. Those consoles are used by everyone, and forcing people to pay on a per-account basis is just gross. Even worse is when you have to get a new account for whatever reason and lose all of that shit. It's a bad solution to the problem, end of story.

Any EA game I've gotten (from recent memory NHL 11, EA MMA, NFS:HP and Mass Effect 2) that came with an online pass of some sort can easily be used equally online by my wife despite all of them being tied primarily to my account. Same goes for THQ. We've not had to pay for her to have any additional use out of downloadable stuff (in ME2s case) or online capabilities. If the pass is on your PS3 anyone with an account on it is good to go. I see no difference with Sony doing this either. Your point is moot, at least in regards to Sony, as it is primarily based on how Microsoft handles Live accounts. 
 
This doesn't affect us any way we don't buy any used games. I do see how this bothers the fuck out of people though, yet I also see the publisher's point of view. So either way,, for me at least, eh. 
Posted by GhettoBond

To those saying this is unfair to households with multiple users, I'm not sure what the concern is. There are two PS3s in my home, with three users. We've got a few games that had Online Passes, the most recent being Mortal Kombat, and none of us have had problems playing online with our own accounts. Not sure how it is with SOCOM 4, but the games I've got, it's never been an issue with multiple users.

Posted by Z3RO180

online passes are really gay

Posted by JakeLogan

*tiny voice in the back of the crowd* 
 
Beeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeew 
 
*goes back to playing his PS2 titles and single player PS3's*
Posted by Consaw

@z3ro180: Excellent critique. You are a poet.

Posted by Akeldama

Buying games used is bad for the industry anyway. All you guys complaining need a little perspective.

Posted by Surkov

For most games, a used copy at Gamestop is more expensive than a new copy on Amazon. So buy your games new on Amazon like I do. 

Posted by geirr

Well, alright then Sony, sell the games for $10 less and make the whole online pass an optional addon/DLC.

That could actually make this fair to the consumer who doesn't give a shit about PSN.

Edited by Tennmuerti

EA online pas + PSN online pass
 
REJOICE!!!!!
So now when you by an EA PS3 game you will have to pay $20 extra! 10 to EA and 10 to Sony. Woooot!
Fucking LMAO

Posted by Pinworm45
@Akeldama said:

Buying games used is bad for the industry anyway. All you guys complaining need a little perspective.

Of course it is, that's why the gaming industry has suffered year over year, as opposed to dramatically increasing.
Posted by jmrwacko

EA combated used game sales by giving premium content only to owners of new copies. Other third party developers should follow imo. It's a nice system that rewards purchasers of new copies without punishing used game owners. Unlike this online pass business which prevents used game owners from even playing the online component.

Posted by onimonkii
@Tennmuerti said:
EA online pas + PSN online pass  REJOICE!!!!! So NOW when you by an EA PS3 game you will have to pay $20 extra! 10 to EA and 10 to Sony. Woooot! Fucking LMAO
sick hyperbole dude
Posted by yakov456

Hope they don't think this will push new game sales, they are sadly mistaken.

Posted by Binman88

Don't give a fuck. I've never bought a used PC game in my entire life because of serial codes, so I don't see the problem buying my PS3 games new (or buying them used and paying a bit extra for the locked content). 

Edited by ProfessorEss

Don't care. 
Publishers are free to do whatever they feel they need to do to get my money. 
Meanwhile, I will continue to do whatever I feel I need to do to keep my money. 
 
I don't know how these companies expect all their games to sell four or five million copies each when they're collectively releasing five to ten games a month. Videogames are a bloated industry that just simply releases too much product - and I've never seen an industry garner so much support through bumming, bitching, begging and painting their customers as villains. 
 
...oh, and as a direct result of this bloat, I never had any intention of buying Resistance 3. 

Edited by HBK619
@pepsimaxofborg said:

Well, alright then Sony, sell the games for $10 less and make the whole online pass an optional addon/DLC.

That could actually make this fair to the consumer who doesn't give a shit about PSN.

If you don't want to pay the extra money, then wait for the game to be $10 less.
 

@Tennmuerti

said:

EA online pas + PSN online pass  REJOICE!!!!! So now when you by an EA PS3 game you will have to pay $20 extra! 10 to EA and 10 to Sony. Woooot! Fucking LMAO

You're doing it wrong.
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