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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.

Patrick Klepek on Google+
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Posted by patrickklepek
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.

Staff
Posted by Teeknuts

Not that surprising really.

Posted by Oscrix

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

Posted by IgnisPhaseOne

As expected.

Posted by Cincaid

@Oscrix said:

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

Hope you're wearing flame-proof clothes, soon the blue names will arrive. :(

Posted by Rincewind

More penny pinching from the industry :(

Posted by Claude

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

Posted by WilliamHenry

@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.

Posted by buft

after the recent troubles im sure some of the money from this will go back into innovating new security measures and ensuring that your playstation experience is everything it could be. 

Posted by Kyle
@Claude said:

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

Right... Because friend codes are fucking horrible. ............. (??????)
Posted by iAmJohn

They already did this with the last Socom for PSP, though, and I'm pretty sure ModNation PSP had something similar. It's not exactly new, just something they haven't done on consoles before.

Posted by hollitz

Oh no, I hate buying games that haven't been scratched up and shat on that comes with an instruction manual that's always been dunked in fruit punch.

Posted by PerfidiousSinn

Great!
 
Everyone loves online passes!

Posted by ESREVER

I buy all my games new, so this doesn't really bother me.

Online
Posted by TwoOneFive

w/e

Posted by Branthog

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.

Posted by Branthog

@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.

Posted by Grilledcheez

Kinda lame

Posted by HBK619
@ESREVER said:
I buy all my games new, so this doesn't really bother me.
It really shouldn't bother many.
 
If you're willing to be cheap and wait for a game to be pre-owned price to play the game, then you deserve to be paying $5-$10 extra to access the online functionality. Buying a game new, means you don't pay anything extra on top of that new game price. It's fair.
 
I do feel for those who share games between friends, but generally you don't do that for the online parts of the game, it's more for the single player or story aspect.
Posted by JoeyRavn

@hollitz said:

Oh no, I hate buying games that haven't been scratched up and shat on that comes with an instruction manual that's always been dunked in fruit punch.

You should change the place you buy used games from ASAP. I've never had any problems like those you mention.

Also, pro tip: before giving your money to the store clerk, check the back of the DVD to see if it's scratched and the manual (oh, so important manual) to look for fruit punch stains. If any of those two conditions apply, don't buy it.

Posted by RobertOrri

@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.

No, but if you're one of the many folks who buy their games used all the time, you're now forced to either buy the games you want to play online at a premium new or buy these passes alongside each used copy of the games.

This won't apply to all PS3 games, of course, and Sony is just testing the waters... but this is the shape of things to come.

Posted by Homeslice

Seeing this as "fuck the consumer" is so black-and-white...

If piracy wasn't so rampant (across several platforms, not just Sony) and if the Used Game market wasn't so lucrative, online passes wouldn't exist. This idea exists to plug a hole, not purely to add a new revenue stream.

Posted by daviddoel

The Sony published SOCOM 4 already had something very similar to this, it was called SOCOM Pro. If you bought the game new you got a code that allowed you access to the Custom room playlists, and the first DLC pack that came out (3 new maps and some weapons) free.

Posted by falserelic

Yep more Sony bullshit.

Posted by dragonzord

@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.

The company brown noses like being fucked in the ass.

Posted by StingingVelvet

I've been used to this on the PC for like 15 years now. I don't have an issue with it, online services and maintenance are exactly the things companies should make sure they get paid for. DRM on an online title is also not an issue, since being online is an inherent part of playing an online game in the first place.

I am totally against DRM and this kind of stuff on singleplayer titles though.

Posted by bassman2112

My god, all of you people are fucking jaded and rude.

This is good for publishers and game makers, it means their work is actually making them some money and they won't be destroyed by the used market. Is it really going to kill you if you pick up a used game to pay $5 extra to support the people who made the game?!

I seriously don't get why you all are being so vehemently against this! I'm 100% fine with it and think it makes perfect sense.

Posted by Claude

@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.

Posted by Krampus

It was only a matter of time for this to happen. I don't blame Sony for trying to make up or lost sales.  As long as they are around and continue to offer better products than Microsoft at about the same price then I am happy.

Posted by coakroach

Pre-owned games have been around for how long now? 
This is absurd, an ugly swipe at a benign aspect of the games industry.

Posted by onarum
@HBK619 said:
If you're willing to be cheap and wait for a game to be pre-owned price to play the game, then you deserve to be paying $5-$10 extra to access the online functionality. Buying a game new, means you don't pay anything extra on top of that new game price. It's fair.
Posted by Bloodgraiv3

Not too sure how I feel about this.
Posted by amir90

It is basically because of the used games market. 
Don't really mind tbh.

Posted by louiedog
@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.

Do many people actually pay $60? A year of gold goes on sale for $35-$40 all the time and there have been a ton of deals on the dashboard like $1 for a month, sometimes letting you buy up to 6 at a time. Paying $60 for gold is like paying the sticker price on a car or mattress. It's a silly thing to do.
Posted by Da_Madness

Makes good business sense to me.

Posted by CosmicQueso

@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.

Part of your initial investment pays for the online servers for your expected online play time. That doesn't mean that everyone else can use it for free. A DVD, CD, Book, etc don't cause the producers of that content more when your friend borrows it. Here there's an additional cost. Key difference. Oh, and yeah, anyone can play the game all they want. Just not the online. But, hey, rage on internet!

Posted by MightyDuck
@ESREVER said:
I buy all my games new, so this doesn't really bother me.
Same here, if it's a new release that I want, I usually buy it new.  This doesn't affect me really.  
Posted by SomeJerk

Sweet, thanks for making this happen GameStop who turned used game sales into their greatest source of income.

Posted by rndmtask

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

Posted by onarum
@Branthog said:

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.

Yes I agree, your roommate shouldn't have to pay 10 extra bucks to play online, he should get another copy of the game altoguether.....
 
your logic makes no sense, if you mean you'd share a copy of a game to play with your buddy in 2 different PS3s, well, that's obviously impossible with or without online passes, if you mean you'd just lend the game to him and he's your roommate it means he can play the game on your PS3 meaning another online pass won't be required, simple.
Posted by Altersparck

This doesn't really surprise me, given the relative acceptance EA's own online pass program has seen. And if anyone's to be blamed for the rise of online passes, it's Gamestop and the publishers. Gamestop pushes used games so hard that online passes became inevitable and publishers keep pricing at or near $60 for so long that consumers gravitate towards any used copies. 
 
But for Sony's part, an online pass program is probably more of an attempt to give themselves another revenue stream for PSN. Bandwidth ain't cheap, folks, and the games need to keep playing.

Posted by onarum
@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.

That wouldn't do absolutely anything to help with the used sales problem.
Posted by TehFlan

I don't really play games online, so whatever.

Posted by laserbolts

If I do buy a game used it's always like a year or more after it came out. 90% of the time there is no one even playing the game online anymore anyways so this makes no difference to me. The only thing that sucks about it is having to put in a code every time you buy a game which really isn't a big deal.

Posted by smithz2

I feel like people over react or misunderstand things like this a lot. If you buy the game new it will not change your experience at all. If you buy it used, then ~$10 for multiplayer isn't that big of a deal if the used price was low enough.

Posted by RE_Player1

These passes don't bother me. I buy my games new all the time, at full price or on sale, so this pass, the MK pass or EA's passes don't effect me.

Posted by Shivoa

Welcome back CD keys, you've been less than everywhere for too long.

Posted by laserbolts
@rndmtask

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

I don't see how this is at all complicated. Also that is a terrible idea.
Posted by VegasAceVII
@ESREVER said:
I buy all my games new, so this doesn't really bother me.
Same here.
Posted by Apollo87
@onarum said:
@Branthog said:

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.

 if you mean you'd just lend the game to him and he's your roommate it means he can play the game on your PS3 meaning another online pass won't be required, simple.
Isn't the online pass account specific? I only own 1 game that uses online pass (NFS:HP) and I haven't tried to log on other accounts. 
  
Anyway I also buy all my games new so I'm not really bothered by this and I think it makes perfect business sense and as long as games also have a 2 or 3 day trial so when you borrow or rent a game you can check out the online aspects. 
 
Case in mind,  recently I rented Dirt 3 and wasn't able to go online since it didn't have one of these trials, I was pretty much on the fence for this game but eventually decided not to buy it, I don't know if the online could've turned this the other way but it was a part of the game I wasn't able to experience to make my mind.
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