First Online Pass Enabled Game in Stores

June 8, 2010 -

The first test of EA's Online Pass begins soon, with Tiger Woods PGA Tour 11 in stores nationwide. Of course the real test won't begin until first-time buyers dump their shiny new copies of EA's golf game back into retails stores like GameStop and used game buyers either buy it or boycott it. In case you haven't been following EA's Online Pass, it is a serial code based system for Xbox 360 and PS3 sports games from EA Sports that charges used game buyers $10 to access online play.

While the industry and angry consumers await the results of this little experiment, Joystiq's Law of the Game points out that game publishers maybe playing with a fire they can't put out: government regulation. Here's a sample, though there are more points worth reading in the rest of this article:

Many of you may recall that I've mentioned the FTC's lingering desire to regulate more online content, as we've talked specifically about DRM and EULAs in the past. If the FTC is really looking to make a splash, all it needs are a few complaints about the Online Pass, especially related to multiplayer. Why multiplayer? The box will almost certainly list that as a game feature, and one of the things the FTC always focuses on is misleading advertisement or labeling. In fact, if anyone at EA is reading this, proper box text could be the difference between the FTC looking into the issue and choosing not to address the issue. Like so many other things, if other companies choose to start making similar systems mandatory for certain content and play types, then the probability that regulators get involved goes up significantly.

The one other important point made in the column is that Tiger Woods is not the real test for Online Pass; it is going to take a game like Madden to see whether or not Online Pass will fail and chances are that - if the FTC does look into this - it will be because some high profile individual or a player somehow connected with someone at the FTC will get burned by a used game.


Comments

Re: First Online Pass Enabled Game in Stores

I thought golf games would be hard enough to sell in the first instance, let alone second hand. The only thing worse is watching golf on television. Although I think it's a perfectly fun sport to play IRL.

Re: First Online Pass Enabled Game in Stores

As if tiger woods' name being on it was enough reason to not purchase it.

Re: First Online Pass Enabled Game in Stores

Yeah, who in their right mind would want to play a game starring one of the most elite sportsmen of the modern era, a man who was named athlete of the decade by the Associated Press, especially now that it's come to light that he's sunk enough hole-in-ones to take a run at Wilt Chamberlain's record?

Do you find the oxygen gets a little thinner up there on your high horse? ;D

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Fangamer

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Fangamer

Re: First Online Pass Enabled Game in Stores

There's the rub: the best way to avoid an FTC smackdown is to prominently print, on the box, that online play requires an extra $10 -- which is exactly what you DON'T want to do if you want people to buy your game.

Re: First Online Pass Enabled Game in Stores

A self imposed catch 22. Either they don't put it on the box and get in trouble wit hthe FTC, or they face the wrath of customers who take the time to read the box.

Re: First Online Pass Enabled Game in Stores

They'll probably put it on the box, in small print, somewhere near the bottom.  Lost amidst a sea of other legal notices they feel they have to put there to cover their butts.

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Chris Kimberley

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Chris Kimberley

 
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Big PermI think the obvious difference is this isn't a site that deals with the banking industry. While Gamasutra may be aimed at devs in particular, a provocative article being in the ecosystem of gaming virtually guarantees it's circulation among those people.07/31/2015 - 1:26pm
Infophile(cont'd) their audience of almost-entirely-non-bankers?07/31/2015 - 1:15pm
InfophileIt's frankly an implausible belief that the original title was meant to offend gamers. It appeared on Gamasutra, which targets the industry, not gamers. If you saw a title like "Bankers are dead" on this site, would you think they were trying to offend...07/31/2015 - 1:15pm
Infophile@Big Perm: I agree; calling out hypocrisy within your own ranks is a good thing07/31/2015 - 1:11pm
Big PermI definitely agree that yes, the titles alone were meant to provoke people who identify as gamers. It also worked07/31/2015 - 12:59pm
Infophile@Matt: I'm talking about people I've seen on this site arguing that the title alone justified the reaction to the article, that it was deliberately offensive. Not even a new YouTube video by a risen-from-the-dead Albert Einstein would change that.07/31/2015 - 12:52pm
Big PermI just didn't care for the wording. I don't think it should be changed or anything.07/31/2015 - 12:46pm
james_fudgeIf I am misunderstanding your point expand on it in the comments and i'll talk about it in there.07/31/2015 - 12:23pm
james_fudgeIt's clearly part of a broader internal fight against people like Sargon.07/31/2015 - 12:21pm
james_fudgeBig perm: fair point. On the other hand that's its origins and not saying that in some way would be a disservice to our readers07/31/2015 - 12:21pm
Andrew EisenMatt - What is the argument that Sargon supposedly debunked?07/31/2015 - 12:06pm
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E. Zachary KnightMatt, That the whole stink over the articles is a bunch of BS? Because that is the only part that is BS.07/31/2015 - 8:29am
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MattsworknameInfo: thats what you call clickbaiting to the highest level07/31/2015 - 5:43am
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