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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 MrBlastman on 5/11/2010 11:55:30 AM , Rating: 2
What is the point in paying 55.00 for a used game? Heck, even 45.00... There's no point. I know I won't nor have paid it. The most I will pay for an older game is 10 - 20 bucks and that is all. By your accounts, there must be quite a few suckers who are buying used games at absurd prices.

Then there is the premise of resale revenue, EA obviously wants a cut of it. The thing is, when you sell anything else secondhand, be it a car, knife, furniture, television etc., the manufacturer never sees a dime of the secondhand purchase. This is how buying and selling on the secondhand market works. What EA is doing is filthy and going against how the world works. When you sell something, you are not entitled to all transactions involving that one single item, in this case an individual game, in perpetuity.

EA needs to drop their primary game prices if they want to compete. If they drop them to a less sensitive level, they may actually see more firsthand sales revenue.


RE: Why?
By SeeManRun on 5/11/2010 12:30:24 PM , Rating: 2
Because when you normally buy a used good it is a used good. Think a car, a lawn mower, anything that is not a set of digital bits. Digital bits are exactly the same good as the new purchase. If your CD sounded worse on the second purchase, then there is a loss of quality associated with a used purchase, driving new sales. For games and digital media this does not exist, which is why the sale of used games approaches price for new games, it is the same good.

EA is just making the sale of used games depreciate like all other goods. I think you can do this with some cars now. Buy a used Toyota, give Toyota some money and they will give you a bit of a warranty.


RE: Why?
By JediJeb on 5/11/2010 12:39:57 PM , Rating: 2
Not entirely true. If the game is a year old, then it is not the new and exciting product of a year ago. Would you give the same price for Windows Vista, or Windows XP now that you would give for Windows7? They are exactly the same product they were when new. Games are really no different, especially online games since it becomes harder to find people to play online with than when the game is new. I purchased Star Wars Battlefront when it dropped to $15, but could only play it as single player since most of the servers had already shutdown by then.


RE: Why?
By porkpie on 5/11/2010 12:47:06 PM , Rating: 2
Faulty logic. It's still the exact same game, regardless of how your perception of it has changed.

In fact, there are (a few admittedly, but some) games that actually appreciate in value after they've been out of print a certain period ... a situation analogous to a antique piece of furniture or a painting by an old master.

Why should a game be any different? Most games exhaust their playability in a few days. If a game is good enough that it still has playability value years later, why shouldn't EA be able to collect a small surcharge to ensure you can still use its servers for it?

Personally, rather than a "transfer fee", I think a much more consistent option would be to simply sell the same with, say, one year of unlimited online time. Sell additional year's for a flat rate, whether you still have the game, or you've sold it to another person.


RE: Why?
By SeeManRun on 5/11/2010 12:59:48 PM , Rating: 2
Well said. As a sidebar to this, once the servers are sunset by EA and online play is no longer supported, the 10 dollar fee will cease to be a factor.

The problem may be buying Fifa 08 right now, having to pay 10 dollars to play online (which doesn't apply for Fifa 08 because it didn't have this feature, just using as an example) and then the servers are sunset in 30 days due to lack of users. That would be a bad deal for the consumer, that hopefully EA is addressing.


RE: Why?
By The0ne on 5/11/2010 1:47:27 PM , Rating: 4
lol no, what Porkpie said is poorly thought out.

If companies has the free will to charge for their goods that is now considered "used" all hell will break loose with other companies possibly following suit.

The REPLAY, not playability, value of the game does not give the company the right to go ahead and charge the consumer. Seriously, if this was the case the market would/could be manipulated so the product would do well, thus allowing them to charge. I can even go as far as saying the company can blankly state that above 50k copies sold the game is considered popular and they have the right to charge additional fees for the use of the game.

There are plenty of games out there that don't require any fee's to play on the company servers. How long has battlenet been going on for free? How long has Guildwars been going on?

If this was allowed, I would probably invest heavily in Nintendo and Sega :) Those damn pokemon gameboy games alone can make me rich.


RE: Why?
By porkpie on 5/11/10, Rating: 0
RE: Why?
By seamonkey79 on 5/11/2010 4:18:21 PM , Rating: 2
battle.net also has a World of Warcraft pimp keeping it up and running...


RE: Why?
By jeff834 on 5/11/2010 7:56:12 PM , Rating: 2
Do the sports games have dedicated servers? CoD and Halo use a matchmaking system but the multiplayer games are actually played on one of the player's 360 or PS3. I was under the impression that was the same for pretty much all console games nowadays, but I didn't bother looking it up so I'm not 100% on that. As for how long battlenet has been free it was not long before the used game market was big as a matter of fact the used game market has been at least somewhat big business since the early 90s. Granted back then you had options, since then Gamestop has purchased every single one of those options out from under you.


RE: Why?
By zxern on 5/11/2010 2:11:47 PM , Rating: 2
Would you be willing to pay an extra 10 dollars when you buy a used blu-ray movie just to use the bd-live features?


RE: Why?
By SeeManRun on 5/11/2010 3:33:12 PM , Rating: 2
For me that is a bad example. I don't buy anything used. And those blu-ray live add ons so far seem like gimmicks to me to make you shell out a large amount of money for what is essentially a nice DVD.

There is very little to compare the used game market to, because 99% of goods are self contained. If the blu-ray had to download new dynamic data off the server, and i felt it was a value, i might pay. But I would expect a discount if i didn't get that content when buying used.


RE: Why?
By BailoutBenny on 5/11/2010 4:29:49 PM , Rating: 4
Most games distributed over physical medium will lose value due to wear and tear on the media, regardless of the fact that the "bits" remain the same. Physical media deterioration actually does changes the "bits" anyway.

As for charging for the use of their servers, I'd have to say that the cost for using the server was included in the original sale. When ownership is transferred, the cost of using the server had already been covered by the original purchase. If the seller buys a new game, their new purchase pays for their renewed use of the server. If the seller doesn't buy another EA game, they can no longer log in, and the net load on the server hasn't increased. Support and lifespan aren't guaranteed, so maintaining the servers is a moot point anyway.

This is a move purely based on the desire to stifle the secondary market to make more first party sales. That is where all the profit lies for EA. Many people will look at Madden for $60 brand new, or Madden for $50 used but with a $10 activation fee and just buy it brand new. Besides, EA's lack of competition in licensed teams mean that they are the only company with "official" sports products, which will also make it easier for them to crush the secondary market.


RE: Why?
By sprockkets on 5/11/2010 5:54:33 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Faulty logic. It's still the exact same game, regardless of how your perception of it has changed.


Human perception sets the value of all things. Where have you been?

Try getting $300 for a retail copy of Windows XP Pro, even when new on ebay.


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