Warner Bros. May Join the Fight Against Used Games With Mortal Kombat

By  |  Wednesday, March 30, 2011 at 5:07 pm

Warner Bros. may be the next video game publisher to show its disdain for used games by punishing the people who buy them.

A memo from Warner to retailers, leaked to Joystiq, says Mortal Kombat will require an online pass to play over Xbox Live or the Playstation Network when the game launches on April 19. The pass is included with new copies of the game, but owners of used copies will have to purchase passes for $10, the memo says. Warner may also require an online pass for F.E.A.R. 3 and Batman: Arkham City, which launch in May and October, respectively.

This isn’t a new idea. Electronic Arts and THQ started requiring online passes for some of their games last year. But Warner will reportedly take a different approach: Instead of warning buyers about the online pass requirement on the game box, Warner is simply informing retailers of the used version’s limitations in hopes that retailers will pass that information along to their customers.

If true, it’s a subtle but important distinction. With the onus on retailers to tell players about the online pass, buyers may feel pressured to buy a new copy or the pass itself at the cash register. This wouldn’t surprise me, given my experience with paywalls while renting EA’s Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit and Dead Space 2. The two-day online trials they offer are ineffective lures, because you’re playing on EA’s time instead of your own, and the whole transaction comes across as a cold-hearted shakedown for more cash. Warner, which will also reportedly use a two-day trial within its games, would do well to encourage more sales up front.

That’s not to say I like the online pass concept. I prefer incentives to buy a game new than disincentives to buy it used, but publishers, it seems, are growing impatient with pre-order bonuses and free downloadable content. The online pass is sticking around for now.



6 Comments For This Post

  1. Dave Says:

    This makes me sick. They don't give a damn about excess waste. It's just about the money.

  2. eljerry Says:

    I guess I won't be buying those games regardless of how good they are. I will not support companies that like sticking it to the consumer. They are making record profits from their games and yet still want more. Gamers should unite and voice our disagreement and make them feel it where it hurts. Do not buy those games spend your money on companies that do not follow that system of business.

  3. Reaver Says:

    Okay.. so we PAY for Xbox Live. Then we PAY for the game. We PAY for any downloable content. Now we have to PAY to play the game with someone outside our house??? Isn't that what we're paying our Xbox Live subscriptions for? This makes me sick! I will NOT be buying these games. Period!

  4. Devin Says:

    I will say this, Dead Space 2 has an interesting additive. The game comes with two discs. You can effectively give one of your discs to your friend to play online and then all they have to do is pay the $10.00 for the online pass.

  5. The_Heraclitus Says:

    Ah, the Don Quixote school of revenue enforcement.

  6. YourMomsGrody Says: