Ah used games, such a double-edged sword. On the one hand, they provide at least a little help to the cash-strapped gamer, with being able to get at least a few bucks out of their old games and saving a few more on new ones. But on the other hand, they provide a way for companies like gamestop to make a ton of margin without giving the hard-working developers and publishers who make the games a dime, which some would say is a huge contributor to a lot of layoffs if not outright closing of doors. There have been some minor attempts at curbing the flow such as premium content for newly purchased copies of games, but EA has taken a major step towards trying to curb it, introducing the "online pass", which basically makes you pay a fee to enjoy their future sports titles multi-player modes or online play if you rent or buy them used. Now, long term effects of this are questionable, sports games come out annually and drop in price pretty quickly, so their overall effect on the used games market is fairly irrelevant. Though I guarantee if their isn't a clear warning label about this EA will be looking at a pretty big lawsuit from some not so savvy gamer. That being said, if it works, it could have huge implications down the line towards non-sports titles, i.e. not having certain access to features or downloadable content that everyone who bought the game new gets. I guess the real question is if it' fair to basically cripple a game because someone wanted to save a few bucks? And if so, how much? Do you just cut off any online content? There doesn't seem to be a clear cut line the wat EA is handling it. Arguably the best solution would probably be for Gamestop and other companies that deal in used games to actually give developers a cut of the market, but at the very least gamestop seems unwilling to budge on that end and being that they pretty much are the only major game store around, it's kind of hard to see why they would cut their bottom line when they really don't have reason to.
Of course the argument many are making is that with digital content becoming more of a thing, this will be moot in a few years, but even if that is the case, is strictly digital the best way to go? Sony tried that with the PSP go and it was an utter failure. A lot still has to be worked out on that end as to what's a fair pricing structure and availability of titles and whatnot.
As someone who is admittedly an avid consumer of used games, I'm honestly not sure how I feel. Everyone wants to peg this as yet another asshole move by EA, but it's hard to blame them for wanting to get some money out of a market that gamestop effectively controls and developers and publishers get squat from. I would probably be ok with measures like this on most games as long as it didn't cripple the game so much as I missed out on the core game itself. Although that causes other issues, potentially cutting off other streams of revenue for companies. The real answer is that there is no ultimate solution, no easy fix. Game companies and places that sell games will just sort of have to figure it out as they go along, constantly tweaking their policies until tghey come up with something that nobody will sue over. Granted, by the time that happens, games will probably just be downloaded directly into our brains...
That's it for today, but here's your TRAILER OF THE WEEK: Super 8