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EA Sports, the hottest sports gamemaker around, is setting a new trend, saying you'll have to pay double to play your used games fully. You'll first have to buy the game at the store, and you'll then have to pay EA $10 to reactivate multiplayer services.  (Source: Daily Radar)
GameStop will be helping Electronic Arts implement its scheme

Electronic Arts is the king of the sports game market with hot upcoming titles including NCAA Football 11, NHL 11, Madden NFL 11, NBA 11, FIFA 11, and EA Sports MMA.  Now it has made a controversial decision concerning all of those titles -- it will lock players who buy used copies out of online multiplayer.

When it comes to sports games, a multiplayer mode is one of the chief draws.  And now that the internet allows playing with fans all over the world, online multiplayer provides massive amounts of fun.

Purchasers of a used game get locked out of that goodness.  "Online services, features and bonus content" will all be covered by a one time code, that won't work for the new purchaser.  EA describes, "You will be unable to play multiplayer online game modes or use your downloaded content in online game modes."

Used purchasers do gain access to a 7 day trial, but they will have to purchase a $10 pass if they want to continue to play online.

EA claims its all about offering its customers more, "This is an important inflection point in our business because it allows us to accelerate our commitment to enhance premium online services to the entire robust EA SPORTS online community."

Ultimately, the slick move is likely designed to help it rake in bigger profits, though.  Many purchasers will likely pay the $10 fee to renew their online access.

Retailer GameStop is partnering with EA to implement the plan.  States GameStop Corp. Chief Executive Officer, Dan DeMatteo, "GameStop is excited to partner with such a forward-thinking publisher as Electronic Arts.  This relationship allows us to capitalize on our investments to market and sell downloadable content online, as well as through our network of stores worldwide."

GameStop recent landed itself in a bit of trouble when it was caught selling used games which it claimed they were new.  Hopefully it doesn't try that again, this time around.



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RE: Why?
By porkpie on 5/11/2010 10:22:19 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
It's not like someone buying a used copy of Madden is going to increase their server load -- it's already been accounted for with the original purchase
Come now, surely you see the fallacy in this. Their server load is *not* calculated on the basis that each and every player will continually play the game daily and forever, as often as they did when they first bought it. Selling the game to new users does increase the server load.

Personally, I think a $10 transfer fee is a bit steep, but the market sets the price, not us. If EA is charging too much, competitors will step in with better values. If they are charging too little, they'll lose money and stop offering the service.


RE: Why?
By Kurz on 5/11/2010 10:54:41 AM , Rating: 2
The Funny thing is its accepted that used games can play online for years. Now EA wants to start a new pricing mechanic.

Though you forget the popularity of playing the game online goes down with time. As more interesting/modern games come out, the amount of time spent on the older games goes down. So their server load continues to decrease even though people are buying the used game and playing it online.

From what I see in the market is that this seems like an excellent way to acquire another revenue stream. Still they'll see a decrease in Used game sales since you'll have to factor in the 10 dollar extra fee. I honestly don't think other competitors are going to go about this.


RE: Why?
By porkpie on 5/11/2010 12:30:03 PM , Rating: 2
"Though you forget the popularity of playing the game online goes down with time"

Yes it does. But by definition, a person doesn't buy a used game unless he wants to play it. And a person usually doesn't sell a game unless he has little or no interest in continuing to play it. So the transaction itself works to counter that declining popularity.

Does it counter by ten bucks worth, though? Probably not.


RE: Why?
By Pneumothorax on 5/11/2010 11:27:05 AM , Rating: 4
quote:

Personally, I think a $10 transfer fee is a bit steep, but the market sets the price, not us. If EA is charging too much, competitors will step in with better values. If they are charging too little, they'll lose money and stop offering the service.


That's the problem. EA has a Monopoly on officially licensed sports games.. They've either driven out or sued the competition out of the business.


RE: Why?
By porkpie on 5/11/2010 12:34:56 PM , Rating: 2
I've never played one of these games, but its my impression that the only difference between "officially licensed" sports games and their competitors is the names and images of the players and teams involved. In other words, cosmetic differences, not substantive ones dealing with gameplay.

Define any market narrow enough and you'll eventually wind up with a monopoly.


RE: Why?
By The0ne on 5/11/2010 1:32:36 PM , Rating: 2
When consumers buy the game because of the names and EA is, have actually, putting other companies out then it's a monopoly. When EA realizes this and purposely goes out to essentially eliminate the competition for these very names then it's a monopoly. I don't see how it can be any other way.


RE: Why?
By jeff834 on 5/11/2010 7:47:36 PM , Rating: 2
What competition? What other football games have come out in the last 2 years? Blitz? That's a completely different type of game. Frankly if someone else made a football game that was similar in gameplay to Madden but had made up players and names I would be happy to play it. This is just a ploy to get the less dumb people who would be happy with Madden 09 or Madden 10 to buy Madden 11 instead, perpetuating the ridiculous yearly game conveyor belt that is EA. This is very similar to what's going on with the PS3 recently. They used a software update to disable a feature that wasn't absolutely necessary but was used by a decent amount of people for no apparent reason. How can it be legal to remove or charge more for features that are listed on the box as included for free? Come on lawyers EA is a multibillion dollar company let's get going on a class action lawsuit here.


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