Zipper Interactive, developer of the upcoming PS3 shooter Socom 4, has taken the Project Ten Dollar concept to the next level, with a single-use code in new copies locking second-hand buyers out of a host of multiplayer features.
Writing on the PlayStation Blog, the developer explains that the use of a code printed on the back of the game’s instruction manual unlocks Socom Pro, which gives players access to four ranked playlists which Zipper Interactive says will be “updated regularly over the entire lifespan” of the game. Pro members will also be given exclusive access to two assault rifles: the M-16 and AK-47, two of the most popular weapons in contemporary shooters.
The developer also promises that over time Pro members will be given access to “exclusive multiplayer maps, various co-op additions, dedicated leaderboards, and lots more.” Second-hand purchasers can, of course, buy Pro membership through the PSN Store for a one-time fee of $14.99.
EA first introduced the model of withholding gameplay features from those who buy second-hand copies of its games with Project Ten Dollar, later renamed Online Pass, which required buyers of pre-owned games to cough up a one-time fee to be able to play online or access bonus content. THQ built on that concept with the recent release of Homefront, with those with second-hand copies only able to rank up to level 5 in the game’s multiplayer component unless they paid $10 for a THQ Online Pass.
This is just the latest evidence of the growing split in priorities between publishers and retailers. While those in the business of making games continue to seek ever more creative ways to discourage customers from buying cheaper second-hand games, those in the business of selling them are doing quite the opposite.
Game, the UK’s biggest specialist retailer, has begun offering pre-orders of pre-owned games, available for a slight discount one week after release. It also guarantees high trade-in prices for new releases, provided they are traded in within two weeks of release, effectively converting new stock into pre-owned, enjoying the higher margins that second-hand sales give retailers.
Source: PlayStation Blog