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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 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.


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