Gamestop joining publishers on EA's Online Pass for used games

The used game industry has taken some heavy hits recently. After EA announced that it would start charging second-hand users a $10 fee to play online, in the form of an online pass, gamers were wary. When Ubisoft and THQ jumped on EA's bandwagon, THQ releasing a game to feature the charge even earlier than EA, gamers who depend on used games to scratch their gaming itch were none too happy with the publishers. You would think that Gamestop and other game retailers would be on the gamers' side this time around, being that the whole used game deal is a win-win for gamers and retailers; publishers don't get a penny from those sales. Furthermore, according to the Wall Street Journal, Gamestop's used game revenue accounted for a whopping 42% of total gross profit in 2008. A hit to that market is a big hit to Gamestop. 

Nevertheless, Gamestop seems pretty gung-ho about the whole idea. According to Joystiq, COO J. Paul Raines likens the idea of the Online Pass, and its ensuing controversy, to the first growing pains of DLC (downloadable content). When the idea of DLC, in which gamers had to pay above and beyond the already steep price of a new game, came to market, people were wary of the pricing. Eventually, the prices settled at a point where both publisher and consumer were happy, and the DLC market continues to thrive. Raines says that the Online Pass situation will be very similar. At first, people will balk at the price of a feature that used to be free. However, as long as Gamestop can establish itself as the place where these Online Passes can be easily and conveniently bought, gamers will learn to live with the added cost after the price adjusts itself to a satisfactory level. he also emphasizes that the price of used games may have to decrease to allow Online Pass to be a viable strategy. He isn't worried about the consequences of that, as long as Gamestop is able to sell the passes, and the publishers would obviously be happy with that outcome as well. 

Whether or not you agree with the sentiment that gamers will learn to live with the cost, the fact that Gamestop is willing to put its immense retail weight behind Online Pass is one less hurdle the publishers have to clear to begin their campaign anew against used gaming. 

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The big squeeze will continue as long as we bend over... or until we get a good competitor out there that can make good games and doesn't want to milk the customer for every penny.

Yea this is garbage. The publisher doesnt need to get paid after they sold the game the first time. Its the same crap idea as paying sales tax on a car that you are buying used. The tax has already been paid for once when it was bought new, why pay the tax again? It should work the same for games. Enough with the greed!

sks447 said,
Yea this is garbage. The publisher doesnt need to get paid after they sold the game the first time. Its the same crap idea as paying sales tax on a car that you are buying used. The tax has already been paid for once when it was bought new, why pay the tax again? It should work the same for games. Enough with the greed!

100percent agreed.

and about the whole car thing... it's just the gov screwing us over as usual

ThaCrip said,

100percent agreed.

and about the whole car thing... it's just the gov screwing us over as usual

i thought the tax on a used car was because you dont pay sales tax when you purchase a car. i would rather pay the current tax you have to pay because it is way cheaper than sales tax. last car i bought was $15,000 and paid $500 for tags and title. Thats only 3%. Sales tax in my town is currently 11%. thats $1650. id rather pay the government 3% than 11% but maybe im alone in that?

This is the biggest crock of bull**** ever. I pay for a xbl, Internet connection, the used game and then $10.00 on top of that? F*** YOU game publishers and GameStop. Greedy A**holes. Time to boycott.

Klethron said,
This is the biggest crock of bull**** ever. I pay for a xbl, Internet connection, the used game and then $10.00 on top of that? F*** YOU game publishers and GameStop. Greedy A**holes. Time to boycott.

Lol your dumb. When you buy the new game you already pay for it so no extra cost. Used games will now be cheaper so when you pay the $10 youll have paid the exact same amount. Try and think a bit before you post or atleast read the article your posting to. THe market will adapt and used game prices will drop. Paying 30 for a used game now equals the same 30 when you have to pay 20 for that same game plus 10 for online access. It even saves you money if you don't want to play a game online at all. Then you just paid 20 bucks.

SputnikGamer said,

Lol your dumb. When you buy the new game you already pay for it so no extra cost. Used games will now be cheaper so when you pay the $10 youll have paid the exact same amount. Try and think a bit before you post or atleast read the article your posting to. THe market will adapt and used game prices will drop. Paying 30 for a used game now equals the same 30 when you have to pay 20 for that same game plus 10 for online access. It even saves you money if you don't want to play a game online at all. Then you just paid 20 bucks.

How am I dumb? The game publisher has already made they're money off of the game the 1st time around. Now I'm supposed to help compensate them further by paying an additional 10 bucks to play a used game online? That's BS. If GameStop lowers thier prices to compensate you can bet that the trade in value of games goes down. This just hurts gamers across the board.

SputnikGamer said,

Lol your dumb. When you buy the new game you already pay for it so no extra cost. Used games will now be cheaper so when you pay the $10 youll have paid the exact same amount. Try and think a bit before you post or atleast read the article your posting to. THe market will adapt and used game prices will drop. Paying 30 for a used game now equals the same 30 when you have to pay 20 for that same game plus 10 for online access. It even saves you money if you don't want to play a game online at all. Then you just paid 20 bucks.


Yeah, no. Second hand game sellers will use the Single player issue as an excuse to keep selling at the same price. Besides if a game isn't brand new it doesn't fetch much at all and used games don't have a large profit margin anyway...

Klethron said,

How am I dumb? The game publisher has already made they're money off of the game the 1st time around. Now I'm supposed to help compensate them further by paying an additional 10 bucks to play a used game online? That's BS. If GameStop lowers thier prices to compensate you can bet that the trade in value of games goes down. This just hurts gamers across the board.

YOU ARE NOT GIVING ANYONE ANYMORE. holy crap is that really that hard to understand. the games will be 10 dollars cheaper for you. then you buy the online pass and the price is exactly the same as it would have been with the old system. seriously. not a hard concept. your paying the EXACT SAME AMOUNT. Also, you do you really think gamestop would take off 10 off a game that already they only give you 10 or 15 for? that makes no sense on any level.

Derges said,

Yeah, no. Second hand game sellers will use the Single player issue as an excuse to keep selling at the same price. Besides if a game isn't brand new it doesn't fetch much at all and used games don't have a large profit margin anyway...

if they dont have a large profit margin, why is gamestop saying it is 42% of their profits...

Honestly, this is a load of BS imho. Once a game is sold, that disc belongs to the owner, and the publishers have made their buck from it, there is absolutely no reason they need to make more money out of it.

Also, the prices of used games are already high enough (i know they will level out a bit with this new cost) at the moment, a game that say is $100 Brand new, you might be about to get a second hand copy for $79-$89, depending on it's condition. Why would you bother saving that $20-$30 for a copy that may not even work?

I've bought a couple of used games in the past, and most of them never work properly anyway. Good thing i mostly play PC games, and nobody sells them second hand anymore at all, at least not anywhere i can find, unless you go to a market or something.

I'm not surprised it was EA that was the first to make this proposal, worst video game company ever, they buy small companies and destroy video games, and pump out as much crap as they can to make money, not that i'm saying there's anything wrong with making money, but it shows in the quality of their games, and they don't have a great deal of good ones.

I know that in the future on the rare occasion that I would consider buying a pre-owned game, i will be carefully considering weather or not it's worth it if i have to make a second payment to play online.

I don't see this so much as hurting the used game market as I see it a play from the publishers to make money on game rentals. Lets face it, as services like GameFly become more common, game sales decline. How do you make money from people who just rent a game? Charge for online play! Personally, I only buy games on the PC, and then I only buy games that can and will have community mods available. I haven't bought a Console game in 3 years, ever since I subscribed to gamefly. lol

This means lower trade-in values for used games. Gamestop will have to sell them cheaper and will want to make the same profit.

How will this affect renting games to play online? How do they decide that? If I rent a game and want to play online, do I now have to pay a additional fee to play it due to the key already being on another box?

Gamestop was the one that started me out on used games. But game playing for me isn't a real big deal right now. Due to a lack of money and net browsing and playing Blu Ray movies is more fun nowadays. Do wish they'd come up with a proper sequel to Painkiller, but only get improper rehash bug hell knockoffs.

The problem here is this is basically "unethical" in the sense that, when they make the game they factor the all the costs involved in the creation, design, programming, advertising and logistics of shipping into that $49.99-$69.99 price tag per game. This price also includes their pre-calculated cost to run the online servers. They don't COUNT on ever getting any additional incoming revenue, so the amount they charge for the game... will always cover all of their upfront costs, and generate a profit margin.

Now all this extra charge is for people buying the used game is just additional profit on top of their already cleared profit from the original sale.

It is 100% greed there is no other way to look at it. And don't try to say "oh well they have costs involved in blah blah after the sale"..... NO.. you don't get it, they don't sell games with expectations of "maybe we will make additional money later", all of that is taken into consideration and they are in the black financially as soon as you buy your copy of the game at the store.

DONE...

xendrome said,
The problem here is this is basically "unethical" in the sense that, when they make the game they factor the all the costs involved in the creation, design, programming, advertising and logistics of shipping into that $49.99-$69.99 price tag per game. This price also includes their pre-calculated cost to run the online servers. They don't COUNT on ever getting any additional incoming revenue, so the amount they charge for the game... will always cover all of their upfront costs, and generate a profit margin.

Now all this extra charge is for people buying the used game is just additional profit on top of their already cleared profit from the original sale.

It is 100% greed there is no other way to look at it. And don't try to say "oh well they have costs involved in blah blah after the sale"..... NO.. you don't get it, they don't sell games with expectations of "maybe we will make additional money later", all of that is taken into consideration and they are in the black financially as soon as you buy your copy of the game at the store.

DONE...

+1

They'd have their heads handed to them on a platter if they didn't plan ahead and price to make their money on the original sale.

This is like me buying an old Escort, and then not being able to drive it until I pay Ford x amount of money. Completely stupid.

Pauleh said,
This is like me buying an old Escort, and then not being able to drive it until I pay Ford x amount of money. Completely stupid.

It's more like you buying an old Escort and not being able to drive on their privately owned roads somewhere.

the biggest gripe i have with this is sharing games with friends/family. its the same with dvd's and cd's the publishers see this as something to combat and we have to suffer for it. why shouldnt i be allowed to share a game with my brother if we split the cost at retail? (have a 360 each so would have to pay more?). greedy sods.

the biggest gripe i have with this is sharing games with friends/family. its the same with dvd's and cd's the publishers see this as something to combat and we have to suffer for it. why shouldnt i be allowed to share a game with my brother if we split the cost at retail? (have a 360 each so would have to pay more?). greedy sods.

Its a smart move by game publishers in some ways, no longer will people be able to pirate Xbox 360 games and play online without paying some money at least.

I'm not saying I agree with the system, i think its terrible to be honest... just stating pirates will no longer be getting a 100% free ride all the time.

InsaneNutter said,
Its a smart move by game publishers in some ways, no longer will people be able to pirate Xbox 360 games and play online without paying some money at least.

I thought they couldn't anyway?

To play pirated games means having a modded console. Modded console = Ban from live when you connect it.

TCLN Ryster said,

I thought they couldn't anyway?

To play pirated games means having a modded console. Modded console = Ban from live when you connect it.

With flashed DVD drive most people can play on live for at least a year before getting a ban in the yearly ban waves (as long as there careful to play verified backups). I know some people who simply play until there banned, then go out a buy another console and repeat the process. I dont agree with it myself, however it would mean they have to pay something to play the next Modern Warfare game online for example.

If the 360 is modified to run unsigned code then your pretty much banned right away.

Edited by InsaneNutter, May 23 2010, 11:13am :

It isn't insta-ban. Microsoft releases new checks every so often and if you're unfortunate enough to be playing during that time, you get banned. New undetectable firmware is released the next day and the cycle continues.

Edited by nub, May 23 2010, 4:45pm :

Shannon said,
What about rental companies?

We renters are screwed by the looks of it for now. We'll have to wait and see how that's gonna work. I know Blockbuster is gonna be ****ed if they can't work out some kind of deal.

dogmai said,

We renters are screwed by the looks of it for now. We'll have to wait and see how that's gonna work. I know Blockbuster is gonna be ****ed if they can't work out some kind of deal.

I see two possible solutions. Renter keys that last a few days or renter keys that last until you bring the game back. Maybe something that gets printed on your receipt when you rent?

I don't have a problem with this since I do not play multilayer, never buy used, only buy after the price has gone down to $20 or less and never ever buy DLC. l do however download all of the DLC there is for a game since it should have came with the game in the first place.

"At first, people will balk at the price of a feature that used to be free. However, as long as Gamestop can establish itself as the place where these Online Passes can be easily and conveniently bought, gamers will learn to live with the added cost after the price adjusts itself to a satisfactory level."

What? DLC is an extra product that you pay for because you get something new. Online passes are simply simply a way of taking something away from the consumer in order that they can charge more for it.

M4x1mus said,
"At first, people will balk at the price of a feature that used to be free. However, as long as Gamestop can establish itself as the place where these Online Passes can be easily and conveniently bought, gamers will learn to live with the added cost after the price adjusts itself to a satisfactory level."

What? DLC is an extra product that you pay for because you get something new. Online passes are simply simply a way of taking something away from the consumer in order that they can charge more for it.

My thoughts exactly. DLC and these passes are no where near the same. I can't say it much different than you did. Just taking away or holding ransom until we pay to get it back.

M4x1mus said,
"At first, people will balk at the price of a feature that used to be free. However, as long as Gamestop can establish itself as the place where these Online Passes can be easily and conveniently bought, gamers will learn to live with the added cost after the price adjusts itself to a satisfactory level."

What? DLC is an extra product that you pay for because you get something new. Online passes are simply simply a way of taking something away from the consumer in order that they can charge more for it.

Well if Gamestop does it the way I hope they do it, they just lower their used prices by $10. Then there wont be any change in price for the gamers. They will have to do this for new "used" games that just got released. Selling a used game for 54.99 wont work anymore when the used is 59.99. This will actually save some of us money when we buy a game we don't plan on using online.

what said,
I don't see why they would limit it to the US...

Wel, different countries do have different laws and this might infringe on them.

Edited by sviola, May 24 2010, 1:42pm : typo

somehow I see Gamefly and other game rental companies fightning this, as they'll basically be unable to do business.

sao123 said,
somehow I see Gamefly and other game rental companies fightning this, as they'll basically be unable to do business.

Yeah, I have no idea how they're going to do it. I won't rent for almost $10 and then have to pay $10 just to have the game for a week. Hopefully if this sticks, they'll have some kind of weekly passes or something for like $0.99 or $1.99.

dogmai said,

Hopefully if this sticks, they'll have some kind of weekly passes or something for like $0.99 or $1.99.

Maybe a renters key that expires after the game is returned?

He stated that the price of used games would have to decrease as well, but I think what he meant was the used games will still vary in price but 10 bucks or so of that will go to the greedy *******. So if a game is 17.99 gamestop will make 7.99 back etc etc with the different prices of used games. Wouldn't you rather just buy the used game and have the gamestop employee go and here is your online pass for this used game. I don't know how its going to work but that's the way i would do it

killez said,
He stated that the price of used games would have to decrease as well, but I think what he meant was the used games will still vary in price but 10 bucks or so of that will go to the greedy *******. So if a game is 17.99 gamestop will make 7.99 back etc etc with the different prices of used games. Wouldn't you rather just buy the used game and have the gamestop employee go and here is your online pass for this used game. I don't know how its going to work but that's the way i would do it

I would think that they are going to increase in price a bit after the pass included. Gamestop is going to advertise with the two prices combined and then it's up to use to say we don't want the pass if you don't want to play online. So if it's $17.99 now, it'll go up to something like $19.99. I don't think Gamestop is gonna take the whole $10 off the price of used games.

dogmai said,

I would think that they are going to increase in price a bit after the pass included. Gamestop is going to advertise with the two prices combined and then it's up to use to say we don't want the pass if you don't want to play online. So if it's $17.99 now, it'll go up to something like $19.99. I don't think Gamestop is gonna take the whole $10 off the price of used games.

They have to take the price off at Gamestop. Otherwise Gamestop would have to be capable of generating the keys which is not likely. Also, I wouldn't be surprised if it is something tied to your actual gaming account. For instance, buy $10 of points on Xbox and buy your online key through the Xbox system. That insurances the game is tied to your xbox account.

freak180 said,
So what happens if you buy a new 360? WOuld u have to buy the 10$ passes again?? Failed..

No.
Downloaded content can be used on any xbox 360 as long as you are signed in to Xbox live. This is only for multiplayer so if you are playing multiplayer on live, you are signed in to live.
Also, Microsoft allows you to relicense all your DLC to a different xbox once per year. I doubt your xbox will break more than once per year.

mrp04 said,

No.
Downloaded content can be used on any xbox 360 as long as you are signed in to Xbox live. This is only for multiplayer so if you are playing multiplayer on live, you are signed in to live.
Also, Microsoft allows you to relicense all your DLC to a different xbox once per year. I doubt your xbox will break more than once per year.

To play online, you have to have an EA account. I'm thinking they're just gonna link it to that account. I don't use the 360 anymore for most games. PS3 for me. I know that's how it is on the PSN.

I'm surprised they haven't figured out a way to charge users to play single player as well when they buy the game secondhand.

Billus said,
I'm surprised they haven't figured out a way to charge users to play single player as well when they buy the game secondhand.

greedy *******, they'll bring the industry to the ground.

I got this figured out already, make a new account with a new email account made just for the new game you bought when its time to sell it to someone else just sell them the new account and email info where they can redownload any dlc already downloaded since it is tied to the new account, then these money grubbing game companies that already sell you crap for wwwwaaayyy to much to start with wont get anymore of your hard earned cash simple

dlc is tied to the console's id as well as the account and it's a one time use code so it doesn't matter if you make a new account. That account won't have a code available.

macrosslover said,
dlc is tied to the console's id as well as the account and it's a one time use code so it doesn't matter if you make a new account. That account won't have a code available.

Hmmm, not exactly, the DLC (at least on XBL) is attached only to the gamertag, so, if you have your gamertag in a memory unit you can download and use any previously bought DLC on any number of consoles. However, it may only be used if youre logged in.

ReznorX said,

Hmmm, not exactly, the DLC (at least on XBL) is attached only to the gamertag, so, if you have your gamertag in a memory unit you can download and use any previously bought DLC on any number of consoles. However, it may only be used if youre logged in.

DLC is also attached to the console it was purchased on (or a code redeemed on).

So if I have my xbox 360 and I buy an arcade game
*ANYONE can play the arcade game on MY xbox 360 no matter if you are signed in to live or not
*I can play the game on ANY xbox 360 as long as I am signed into live

mrp04 said,

DLC is also attached to the console it was purchased on (or a code redeemed on).

So if I have my xbox 360 and I buy an arcade game
*ANYONE can play the arcade game on MY xbox 360 no matter if you are signed in to live or not
*I can play the game on ANY xbox 360 as long as I am signed into live

On the PS3, it's tied to your account. You can have your content authorized to be used on up to 5 systems. If you want to put it on another system, you just go create your account, sign in and you're good. Anyone on an authorized system can use the content. When it comes to the passes, I think EA has it linked to your EA account though. I don't know if they have that tied to your system or your PSN account. If it's the account, you should be able to do what Jughead is saying. Good idea or at least hopefully it is. Lets not let it get out though. Hopefully they're not reading this or else they'll probably try to put some kind of fix for it. I'll be buying my NHL 11 new anyways though. I haven't missed a year since NHL '90 on the Genesis lol I wish I would've collected them all instead of throwing them out after a couple years.

mrp04 said,
*ANYONE can play the arcade game on MY xbox 360 no matter if you are signed in to live or not
*I can play the game on ANY xbox 360 as long as I am signed into live

That is until you get a new console (rrod's happen). Then the latter is true.

dotf said,

That is until you get a new console (rrod's happen). Then the latter is true.

You can do a DRM transfer once every 12 months which then all you have to do is re-download the license data (initiate a new download) for all items purchased so they can be used offline and on other profiles for that console.

freak180 said,
Someone from ebay could sell the passes for 1$ Lets just hope. Arh I hate gamestop!

I'm hoping the clever chinese did what they did to apple to EA; find out how the IDs are generated, crack it and sell them en massé for a very low cost.

n_K said,

I'm hoping the clever chinese did what they did to apple to EA; find out how the IDs are generated, crack it and sell them en massé for a very low cost.
I don't think they actually managed that. They're either stolen gift cards or bought with stolen credit card details.

Edited by protocol7, May 23 2010, 10:28am :

protocol7 said,
I don't think they actually managed that. They're either stolen gift cards or bought with stolen credit card details.

No, they did 'manage it'. It only lasted a few hours once it was all over the net, though.

protocol7 said,
I don't think they actually managed that. They're either stolen gift cards or bought with stolen credit card details.

you are wrong

Its ok to me, usually the games that I play online (CoD and such) are new...

On the other hand, the only way to avoid this is to boicot by stop buying games either new or used, however this will never happen, so be prepared to pay those extra $10 if you plan to play a used game online.

ReznorX said,
the only way to avoid this is to boicot by stop buying games either new or used

Stopping buying used games is exactly what they want you to do.

DARKFiB3R said,

Stopping buying used games is exactly what they want you to do.

It's what the publishers want. It's not what the retailers want. If enough people stop buying used games and only buy new, than it would hurt the retailers and then they were jump ship and start fighting against it.

It benefits the people who don't play online the most. The cost of the used games are gonna go down. I know a few people that don't like playing online so they'll just pay the lower price and be happy.

I'm still not happy with it because I like to rent before I buy. I'm not gonna go pay almost $10 to rent a game and then have to pay $10 to get the pass just to play for a week. Hopefully the rental companies have something for their renters or else they might as well stop renting games.

dogmai said,

It's what the publishers want. It's not what the retailers want. If enough people stop buying used games and only buy new, than it would hurt the retailers and then they were jump ship and start fighting against it.

It benefits the people who don't play online the most. The cost of the used games are gonna go down. I know a few people that don't like playing online so they'll just pay the lower price and be happy.

I'm still not happy with it because I like to rent before I buy. I'm not gonna go pay almost $10 to rent a game and then have to pay $10 to get the pass just to play for a week. Hopefully the rental companies have something for their renters or else they might as well stop renting games.

agreed, they are shooting themselves in the foot and the head