If You Have To Do An Online Pass, Follow The Freemium Model

Online Passes are, to put it simply, ugly as sin. Buying a game used to be, dare I say it, almost romantic: come home, hands shaking, open the box, take the disc out and flick through the manual hurriedly whilst the disc did its work. These days, it’s all patch, patch, patch, with no paper manual to read. But that’s not why we’re here. Online Passes ruin what little is left of the romantic game purchasing experience with monotonous code-entering and further waiting times – remember the 500MB Cerberus Network download for Mass Effect 2 on PS3?

With Mass Effect in mind, it’s funny that the conversation should turn to EA’s next big sports game SSX which, naturally, comes with an Online Pass. But, hold your horses! It’s a good Online Pass! Sort of.

SSX‘s online pass, reports Destructoid, will not stop you from playing online should you buy the game used. Instead, the in-game credits used to buy upgrades, new snowboards and the like can only be earned offline. Playing online will be a reward-free experience, meaning all actual game progress will take place in the single-player mode. If you do have an Online Pass, you can earn credits online, meaning playing both with and without friends will feed your upgrade tree.

If it merits any comparison, it’s a little bit like playing free-to-play games like Farmville, Tiny Tower and Robotek. You can play the game and everything it offers without paying extra, but speeding up your progress is a minor investment away. It’s a horrible comparison at best because you’ve already sunk good money into buying the game itself, but it’s the only one I can think of that at least gives it some kind of gravitas. Not that it really deserves it.

At its best, SSX‘s Online Pass is, um, “generous”. At it’s worst, it’s a half-assed attempt at further encouraging the use of experience-ruining paper code sheets. If it were possible, it would be nice to have them exterminated. But until that hopefully happens, at least being able to play with your friends for free is the next best thing.

EA explains what SSX’s online pass will entail – Destructoid

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  1. This may prove to be an ineffective solution for SSX, but it is certainly one worth a shot. Consumers will never be happy when one of their avenues of consumership is taken away or made less appealing, but sometimes the realities of the industry set in. When a used-game reseller can make more money from a game than the original developer/publisher does, that’s when things begin to change.

  2. Tom The Guitar Guy

    I’m just glad that these online passes seem to be common only in EA games.. For now. I really don’t play sports games so thankfully I don’t run into them too often. Apart from Mass Effect 2 I think Mortal Kombat is the only game I can recall where I got screwed by a rental. Bought Saints Row The Third new so I had it made in the shade there 🙂

  3. Mearnsonator

    I’m dreaming of the day we finally just ditch the disc/cart and start riding the digital (and cloud) distribution… then we’ll be free of those pesky papers… and these arguments.

  4. peevmyster

    I don’t share that dream

  5. […] also Dubstep and mountains”. That game’s still got an online pass, though it’s not nearly as limiting; so clearly Syndicate’s lack of an online pass is an experiment to remind EA what new game sales […]

  6. lol – romantic? You essentially described the “anticipation” before having full blown sex. Not just a cozy night in with your special someone.

    “Hands shaking, I grabbed that manual with my bare hands and flicked its pages until I couldn’t flick no more. Then as the disc slid into the console’s slot I realised it was something special – Because that turned it on.”

    I don’t think there’s anything romantic about it. I don’t like that games are becoming more digital though – I prefer collecting and having the physical version of the stuff – manuals included. But yeah devs deserve to get paid for someone playing their hard work. for every legitimate copy bought that pays the devs, there’s another person buying it that doesn’t give them their money and the worst of it all is that those game stores get a bigger cut of money out of used sales – and all they’re doing is reselling games. Not even making them.

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