EA has launched an Online Pass system in an effort to slow the sales of used games – a significant market from which retailers make money but games publishers don’t. But these new initiatives aren’t a threat to US retailer GameStop, apparently.
Online Pass gives purchases of new games a one-use code to get full access to its online play features. For second-hand buyers to access online features, they need to purchase a new code of their own for $10.
This threatens the sale of used games, from which GameStop makes a pretty penny, but it’s not worried. In fact, the retail giant seems optimistic about it, with the firm’s COO Paul Raines saying in a recent earnings call: "We are pleased to participate in the launch of Electronic Arts online pass and sales of DLC on new titles.
"We support the creation of added downloadable content for popular franchises, as we see that as extending the life of titles and broadening the base of game players."
He went on: "We do not anticipate an impact to our used margins due to this program. The amount of used game buyers currently playing online is low, and as it grows, our proprietary models will manage trade and sale pricing to reach margin goals.
"Lastly, we believe that the Online Pass process will allow publishers to better leverage their IP content through DLC sales to both used players and new game buyers," added Raines, saying GameStop is leading the charge for the sale of DLC in-store via code cards.
EA’s Online Pass system has already been emulated by THQ, confirming today that UFC Undisputed 2010 will come with a similar one-use code for access to multiplayer, with additional codes on sale for used buyers.
Ubisoft has also said it’s ‘watching closely’ EA’s strategy and plans to adopt a similar code system eventually, indicating that it may go so far as to making portions of its games available as downloadable content which’ll be free to new game buyers, and paid-for to second hand customers.