A growing number of games are locking out preowned customers from certain content -- usually online multiplayer -- unless they purchase an online pass-equivalent from their respective publishers. This allows publishers, who normally make no money on preowned sales, to at least get some revenue from the active second hand market.
DICE has half-confirmed to Gamerzines that Battlefield 3 will be shipping with some form of online pass system, but seemed somewhat shaky on the details. EA also closed the door on the discussion, asking the site to pick up the conversation at another time.
"The whole idea is that we're paying for servers," explained Battlefield 3 executive producer Patrick Bach. "And if you create a new account there is a big process on how that is being handled in the backend. We would rather have you buy a new game than a used game because buying a used game is only a cost to us; we don't get a single dime from a used game, but we still need to create server space and everything for you. We want people to at least pay us something to create this because we're paying for it. It was actually a loss for us to have new players."
If Battlefield 3 does end up shipping with an online pass system, it gives Modern Warfare 3 everything to play for. Whatever you may think of Activision's other business practices, one thing the company hasn't done -- yet -- is incorporate an online pass system. If Battlefield 3 ships with an online pass and Modern Warfare 3 doesn't, that may be enough to send a few people who were on the fence between the two rival military shooters in the direction of Activision's title.
"It's not to punish people," said Bach. "To us it's compensation."
Does this sound fair to you? And if Battlefield 3 does ship with an online pass system -- which is yet to be confirmed -- will it affect your decision of whether or not to purchase the game?
This story, "Battlefield 3 Will 'Probably' Feature an Online Pass" was originally published by GamePro.