It’s Come to This: Used Game Buyers Denied Questline in Kingdoms of Amalur

By  |  Monday, January 30, 2012 at 1:38 pm

Back when Electronic Arts started charging used game buyers $10 extra to play its sports games online, I figured that was just the beginning. Sure enough, over time the “Online Pass” concept has spread to multiplayer gaming in general, and to several other publishers.

Now, EA is taking the idea one step further with the Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning, an upcoming RPG that’s getting a lot of hype. People who buy the game new will get a voucher to download seven additional single-player quests for free. Folks who buy a used copy will have to pay extra for those quests.

Curt Schilling, head of Amalur developer 38 studios–and yes, also the former Major League Baseball pitcher–defended the online pass before a mob of angry forum posters, calling it a reward for early adopters instead of a punishment for used game buyers. He seems sincere, but regardless of how the news is spun, the end result is the same: If you buy used, you get an incomplete game. (Also, if you buy new, but don’t connect your console to the Internet, you get an incomplete game.)

I’ve seen no evidence that publishers’ crusade against used games will stop here. In the future, we may see meatier portions of single-player games withheld from people who buy used. We are, at most, a couple steps removed from having a game’s concluding chapters held at ransom.

This issue will eventually resolve itself, as future gaming systems emphasize downloadable or streaming games over disc-based content. But in the meantime, it’s going to get ugly.

Funny, though, how Schilling seems to understand the pointlessness of Online Passes, even as he argues in their favor: “We MUST make a profit to become what we want to become,” he wrote. “THE ONLY way we do that is to make games you CANNOT WAIT TO BUY!”

Bingo. Do that, and the Online Pass becomes irrelevant.



12 Comments For This Post

  1. qwerty017 Says:

    I wonder how long until they start requiring something you would never give out such as your credit card info to redownload for a given serial. Or your phone number where the code to download is texted to. Basically something you would never give away so anyone wanting the extra content would be REQUIRED to buy the game new.

  2. John Doe Says:

    I think it really all depends on us as gamers. If a games being released by EA have these passes that you must have to play on online and it doesnt sit well with you, then dont buy those particular games, or EA games in general. Thats the only way they would ever really get the message or even care for that matter what the consumer thinks. The problem is that nobody is going to do that, and honestly, i think its cause people either dont have the balls to walk away from there titles, or they really dont care enough in the first place and were only looking for a reason to complain about how crappy something is because they are unhappy with some other aspect of there lives.

  3. John Doe Says:

    As far as KoA: Reckoning is concerned I whole heartedly belive Curt because if you think about it with some logic and common sense they arent leaving anything out of the game for used game buyers. They main quest that basically tells the largest and most integral portion of the story will remain unchanged. The extra quests you get for free are a bonus for those who buy a retail copy, sure, but it will also pull in more pre orders. If you dont plan on buying a retail copy for whatever reason (unsure if its worth your 60 bucks to begin with, or just cant afford that price regardless) you will most likely wait to get the pre order when the price drops by 20 to 30 dollars. If by that point buying a game for 30 bucks and not getting the bonus 7 quests pisses you off, then stop playing video games because you insult true gamers with brains.

  4. John Doe Says:

    The pre owned gaming market is no better than the retail gaming market. Those who buy games NEW then bring them to Game Stop 2 weeks later for in store credit get completely raped anyways. Buy a game for 60, play for 2 weeks, get 13 dollars in store credit, and Game Stop re-sells said game for 52 dollars. Wheres the logic in that? You just spent 60, then took a 47 dollar loss on something still being bought brand new. Meanwhile Game Stop just made whatever amount they get from the retail sale then turned around and made another 37 dollars off some brain dead gamer. We the gamers (obviously I cannot point a finger at anyone specifically so take no offense please) are the ones stagnating the market. We BUY into the hype, we BUY games from publishers we constantly condemn!

    I have just lost faith in people to make smart decisions. Those who do are far to few. When the majority is uneducated, unmotivated, and gulible corporations can get away with whatever they please…. grrr internet rage

  5. John Doe Says:

    "If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and never will be." — Thomas Jefferson

  6. John Doe Says:

    P.S. – I am aware of my gramatical and spelling errors dont waste your time trying to inform me of them, this is the comment section of a news/blog article not a college exam.

  7. SirFatty Says:

    This would not be such an issue, and certainly the used game market would not be such an issue, if the cost of games wasn’t through the roof. $60 for a new game or wait a few months and get it used for half? Easy choice to make.

    If that option is removed, I wonder how the consoles will fair.

  8. Jared Newman Says:

    This is a major issue with all media content today, not just games. There's a sweet spot to be hit between pricing higher and selling more, but experimenting is a huge risk.

    For what it's worth, though, THQ tried to sell one of their ATV games for $40, hoping the larger installed base would lead to more sales downloadable content. The experiment was a flop:

  9. The_Heraclitus Says:

    A fool and his money are soon parted…

  10. @Asher8072 Says:

    What really irks me is when not buying new map packs for games like Call of Duty or Halo prevent you from playing certain game modes. I used to love Rocket Race mode in Halo 3. When they released a new map pack, they reconfigured the multiplayer mode options and folded Rocket Race into some sort of "Party Mode" which could only be played if you had all of the map packs. Why did Bungie decide to block access to the mode entirely and not just prevent me from playing on the maps that I did not purchase? I pretty much stopped playing the game after that and never purchased Halo Reach out of spite. It's bad enough that you have to pay for an Xbox Live Gold Pass just to access online play (sometimes I think I should have purchased a PS3), but then to lose access to game modes you have already been using seems like adding insult to injury.

    It's shifts in map delivery and content access like this that makes me miss the good 'ol days of custom made maps on Counter-Strike 1.3.

  11. pass4sure Says:

    Grouping who buy the business new faculty get a protagonist to download figure additional single-player quests for dis embarrass. Folks who buy a old create present someone to pay unnecessary for those quests.

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