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Sony confirms “network pass program” PSN Pass for PS3

Wednesday, 6 July 2011 18:44 GMT By Johnny Cullen

Sony’s confirmed to VG247 that it’ll introduce PSN Pass, a “network pass program,” beginning with the release of Resistance 3.

It comes after Pass was spotted overnight on a hardware bundle packaging for the Insomniac shooter. Sony says that the program will “accelerate” its commitment to enhancing premium online services” in its first-party line-up.

The program is akin to that of EA’s Project Ten Dollar, as well as other publisher initiatives. You merely enter a code you get with the game to get access to the full multiplayer service.

Sony is keen to stress the new program is “game-specific.”

“We are always evaluating new programs for our online offering, and starting with Resistance 3 this September, we will be instituting a network pass program for PS3 games with online capabilities,” a SCEE statement reads.

“This program will be game-specific. Games that are a part of this program will include a single-use registration code that grants the account holder redeeming the code full online access for that title.

“This is an important initiative as it allows us to accelerate our commitment to enhancing premium online services across our first party game portfolio.”

It’s not the first time Sony has done something like. It did something similar with the PSP releases of SOCOM: Fireteam Bravo 3 and ModNation Racers.

Resistance 3 launches on September 6 in the US and September 9 in the UK for PS3.

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40 Comments

  1. stockops3

    Not Really the First Title, WKC 2 and Origins have this method…

    #1 4 years ago
  2. Gama_888

    I dont mind this, I always buy my games first hand anyway.

    I still think its bad that developers are trying to kill the second hand market though, but its completely fair when you think of how much profit the retailers make from the developers work.

    Shame they cant come up with some sort of compramise

    #2 4 years ago
  3. onlineatron

    It would be nice is PS+ members were allowed access to multiplayer regardless of the network pass.

    #3 4 years ago
  4. Fin

    I’ve no problem with trying to kill the second hand market – the difference between the price they buy it for and sell it for is pure profit. Developers get zero.

    #4 4 years ago
  5. FrankieDF

    @#4
    The game was already purchased once, now it is in the hands of the purchaser to do with it as they please.
    Would you ban used car sales?

    #5 4 years ago
  6. Fin

    You can’t compare used car and used game sales.

    A new car bought now can be resold in three years for 30% (pulled that number out of my arse) less than full purchase price. Chances are someone isn’t going to pay 30% more to have the car brand new, the manufacturer isn’t losing a sale (and makes money through parts, labour, servicing).

    A new game bought now can be resold (by retailers) for about £5 (~15%) less than full retail in one weeks time. That’s cannibalising new game sales. If the used copy didn’t exist, the person would buy the game new instead, for an extra £5, and the developer would get money.
    With the used game sale, the developer gets nothing.

    If retailers gave developers a cut of the preowned sales, that’s fine, but they don’t, they’re in it purely to make as much money as possible, and keep it all for themselves.

    #6 4 years ago
  7. Phoenixblight

    Sorry Cars =/= Video games stop trying to compare the two.

    #7 4 years ago
  8. xino

    what is this pass exactly?
    grants access to dlc for free?:/

    #8 4 years ago
  9. FrankieDF

    @#6.
    You do realize that in order for a thriving second hand market to exist there has to be a number of initial first hand purchases to introduce those now second hand copies into the wild, right?
    And that the retailer you are talking about also drives new sales since it serves their business?
    No one has ever been put out of business by a second hand market. If there are a ton of second hand copies of your product for sale then they had to have sold at least just as many new copies.
    Hell today developers even get to cash in further than they used to by releasing dlc for their games post release. Even people who buy a used copy of a game may buy DLC.

    #9 4 years ago
  10. DrDamn

    @6
    “With the used game sale, the developer gets nothing.”

    Bigger picture, to have that used sale someone came in and traded in a copy of that game. First off they bought it originally in the knowledge that they could trade it in within a week for a small loss on their part and that was part of their buying decision. Secondly the money they got for the game from the retailer was likely store credit, which they will then use to buy more games and some of that money going to developers. Publishers will also set retail prices based on all these things too. So while the situation is not ideal for them – they don’t have the control they would want – it is in some ways beneficial.

    The online pass thing I actually agree with. This is because supporting the online component is an ongoing cost to the publisher and if they have to continue to support resales of the software then I don’t see why they shouldn’t charge for it.

    Of course if they wanted to cut out the second hand market they could always sell digital copies at sensible prices. They don’t though. Sony – Infamous 2 at £50, MS Halo Reach at £50, THQ Red Faction £57!

    #10 4 years ago
  11. DrDamn

    @8
    It’s the same as the EA pass, THQ pass thing. Free with new copies of the game as a redeemable code which lets you play the online side of the game. If you buy second hand the code will like have been used so if you want to play online then you need to pay for the pass separately.

    #11 4 years ago
  12. Fin

    @9

    The second hand market does not drive new sales. Games will be bought regardless.
    If the preowned market didn’t exist (or wasn’t pushed as hard as it is by retailers), there would be more new purchases of games and developers would make more money.
    Simple as.

    If you can claim nobody’s been put out of business by the second hand market, I can claim nobody’s been put out of the business because of piracy.
    That’s not the point.

    #12 4 years ago
  13. Fin

    @10

    The amount of people who buy games because they know they can trade them in, and wouldn’t buy them otherwise, must be tiny.
    My problem isn’t with the players anyway, it’s with the retailers who see preowned games as a way to make a lot of extra money, push it ridiculously hard (I’m often told “You know you can trade that in?” when I buy a new game on day of release), and in turn are knowingly depriving developers of revenue.
    http://www.gamefront.com/half-of-gamestop-profits-come-from-pre-owned-sales/

    #13 4 years ago
  14. FrankieDF

    @12.
    Might want to reread what I wrote.
    “And that the retailer you are talking about also drives new sales since it serves their business?”
    Gamestop pushes new sales. Gamestop pushes used sales. Both are good for them.
    In fact, a used sale at Gamestop can lead to the reservation and purchase of a new game in the future.

    You act like the second hand market is hurting developers, so your reaction is to remove consumer freedoms and put all control of their product in the hands of the developer. Unless a consumer practice is destroying a market, and in this case where that second hand market exists alongside an industry that is growing, then there isn’t any reason as a consumer to support strengthening the businesses control over the market.

    #14 4 years ago
  15. DrDamn

    @12
    Games won’t be bought regardless. People have a limited amount of cash. See my point above – what do people spend the cash/credit they get from second hand sales on? Games! Some of them news ones! :O

    @13
    If there are so many second hand sales then of course people take it in to account. If they couldn’t trade it in then they may still buy it, but they wouldn’t spend so much on it. You cunningly avoided all the other points too.

    http://www.eurogamer.net/articles/2011-06-30-pre-owned-mercenary-editorial_0

    #15 4 years ago
  16. Phoenixblight

    “Of course if they wanted to cut out the second hand market they could always sell digital copies at sensible prices. They don’t though. Sony – Infamous 2 at £50, MS Halo Reach at £50, THQ Red Faction £57!”

    They can’t with Mom and Pop shops holding digital sales by the balls. They can’t bite the hand that feeds just yet maybe when hard drive space is not a huge thing and with bandwidth not being an inhibitor to digital sales they will.

    #16 4 years ago
  17. Gigabomber

    ..and down goes Gamefly! Down goes Gamefly! At least Sony is admitting they are going to do it officially now.

    #17 4 years ago
  18. Phoenixblight

    Never used Gamefly to get Multiplayer games. Though this will have an effect on Gamefly no doubt for those that do.

    #18 4 years ago
  19. DuckOfDestiny

    @5 People who buy used cars still have to pay road tax.

    Companies pay a large amount of money maintaining servers more or less for free, where most only get money for said servers from new game sales. Like it or not people who buy second hand and then play the game online are doing damage even though they don’t know it.

    #19 4 years ago
  20. sg1974

    I think some people are getting very carried away with this. No-one is trying to stop used game sales so the “would they ban used car sales too?” argument is plain dumb. This is about providing an online service (no equivalent in the motor trade). Now, one can point out that the original buyer playing say for a year uses the same amount of services, generates the same income for the publisher and requires the same overheads (e.g. servers &c) as the game being played by five different owners over one year, but how about actually dealing directly with that – rather than make some silly claims?

    The point of view from the developers/publishers is probably this: when calculating their model they will – among other things, of course – specify target sales. They will also assume, based on data and feedback, for how long a buyer will play online. They will factor the server and associated online costs. Once they have finished all the other data they will have their business model. Now you might say, they could increase the numbers for online play volume to compensate. Yes, but that will affect something else – maybe marketing budget, maybe dev costs, maybe the profit margin after that original costs figure. Might not be a huge figure, but, particularly now, any numbers count. If you ran a business in the business of making money, which would you choose?

    #20 4 years ago
  21. FrankieDF

    @#20
    He was decrying the second hand market as a whole, not really discussing the online pass.

    #21 4 years ago
  22. Xanthene

    Person A buys game new for $60 and uses online pass code. Sells game back one month later. Can no longer play the game.

    Person B buys game used for $40 and spends $10 for a pass to play online. Sells game back one month later. Can no longer play the game.

    Person C buys game used for $30 and spends $10 for a pass to play online.

    Total money to developer: $80
    Total money to second hand: $70
    Total units of games used : 1

    For 1 unit of the game they were able to push up 20% more profit for the developer.

    Result: 2 additional online passes were bought to play online despite only 1 game unit having been purchased originally. In other words, they found a way to make you buy a portion of the game 2 more times despite only one disc being produced and used at any given time. End user gets screwed.

    #22 4 years ago
  23. Phoenixblight

    @22

    You fail to realize that the person buying the game second hand is still getting it cheaper than the original. No one is getting screwed if you wanted all the content than you buy the game new. There is a choice.

    #23 4 years ago
  24. sg1974

    “they found a way to make you buy a portion of the game 2 more times … End user gets screwed. ”

    No they didnt. Different person every time. No-one gets screwed – just like wht 22 said. Yoiu still get your used game cheaper, just not as cheap as before if you wnat to play MP.

    #24 4 years ago
  25. OlderGamer

    You guys are smarter then that.

    There is ZERO good way to spin a second hand sale at retail. Zero.

    Remove all of the factors that cloud the issue(and cloud is great foreshadowing), and your left with greed. Simple as that.

    Retail chains like Gamestop want to give you store credit(and you have to understand they didn’t exactly give you cash, they gave you a chance to buy something with store credit – somewhere there is a chart that could show this better then me, but if a 20usd store credit is spent towards a 20usd used game, the store didn’t give you 20usd, they gave you 6usd, because thats what they gave someone else store credit for on the game you bought for your 20usd credit in the first place.) So for 6usd actual value they get your game, then they place it on the shelf. The game sells for 40usd. Invest 6usd, get 40usd. Thats a better ratio then buying from a vendor for 44usd and selling for 60usd.

    Far better.

    I know for a fact that my local gamestop will only buy one or two copies of a game over the preorders. This is why they do preorders btw, its a gauge for them. Then they count on returns. I have gone into stores and wanted new release games to be told that they were “sold out”, in truth, I found out later from a gamestop manager, they do this on purpose to drive second hand sales. Some stores are even taking preorders on used games….what the hell is up with that?

    You guessed it, greed.

    If you think second hand sales drive the industry in anyway shape or form your a fool. the industry leaders know exactly what they are doing, and they know exactly what is going on.

    if second hand sales drove sales of new games, why the EA Pass, the Sony Pass, the Whatever Pass? Because the industry knows.

    If new game sales are just as good as used games, why have second hand sales at all?

    Why are companies shifting to digital games?

    What is Cloud? Why?

    Retailers that sell second hand games are leeches and are feeding off of someone elses hard work. Don’t fool yourself into thinking you can have it any other way.

    The Pass idea is a good one, but has some flaws that need to be worked out. Its a kind of a band aid till fully digital streaming services get here.

    The real losers are in the short term game devs, if your game studio can’t outsell the second hand margins your sunk – key here is large preorders and a hype machine to make Halo proud.

    The losers in the mudium run will be brick and mortar stores. Just like Blockbuster, Gamestop is driving itself right out of bizz. They are just to blinded by greed to see it.

    Long term it will be gamers. Cloud type services are great … till your internet goes down, or maybe you can’t afford to keep paying for your isp or can’t afford the stupid caps they impose.

    But take from an old bastage, Second hand sales are bad. And yes we all use second hand games, most of us anyways. Like we know Walmart is evil, but you have to shop somewhere and you need to streatch your budget as far as you can … thats why second hand sales work in the first place.

    Some 20 years ago now, while my wife was still in the US Air Force, I helped open a retail store. It was a national/northern chain. I saw what second hand sales really are. And I am telling you once again, they are evil.

    #25 4 years ago
  26. ruckus

    You supply a code then why not allow me to do a full install.
    Having to fetch a disk each time I want to play something different is such a drag. :/

    #26 4 years ago
  27. OlderGamer

    @26, thats why I often buy games via Steam and even on Games on demand for XB360. Not needing a CD that can get scratched or an Optical drive that can wear out is fantastic.

    #27 4 years ago
  28. Christopher Jack

    Doesn’t affect me, if I like the game enough I’ll buy it new within the first month or so. The only time I buy preowned is if the game is 1+ years old & I couldn’t find the new copy on the shelf or at a reasonable price- I would have bought Halo 3 new in early 2009 if they weren’t still charging $50+.

    #28 4 years ago
  29. HighWindXIX

    For what its worth, I totally support this. I saw a statistic once for Dead Space that showed it had sold about 750,000 units on 360 but that about 1,500,000 people had played it on a 360 that was connected to Live. Twice as many people as bought it. Sure lots of those people might not have bought it new and maybe buying it used introduced them to the game and they got the 2nd one but still, how can you look at that as a business and not want to do something to change that.

    #29 4 years ago
  30. madpuppy

    Developers and publishers will never be happy, if they kill used game sales, what will happen is lower first day/week/month sales. more people will wait for a dramatic price drop before purchasing. I know that I am very patient, I will get a used game if the opportunity presents itself and the price is right but, I really have no problem just waiting for a really great deal on a new copy. I can guarantee that developers will bitch and cry about low initial numbers for their triple A titles. They are never happy, I am waiting for publishers trying to push the price tag of games again, whats next? 70.00 min retail for new console games? and some pathetic excuse why it is so important to raise the price.

    #30 4 years ago
  31. Aussie

    What happens when you want to lend your game to a friend?

    #31 4 years ago
  32. DrDamn

    @OG
    It’s really not that black and white though. It’s a lot more complex and interdependent than “Second hand is bad m’kay”.

    If they do an online pass then why not a pass of sorts to activate the game in the first place? No pass, no game. That would kill second hand sales completely wouldn’t it? As above why don’t they price digital downloads sensibly? It’s not just about keeping retailers sweet because the sell for less than the RRP and offer a better value proposition in terms of being able to sell on or trade in the game.

    Yes some of the practises chains use with second hand sales are very bad, and retailers do take a decent amount of profit from it. The bigger picture is a lot more complex though, second hand sales do help drive the market somewhat. It’s within publishers control to eliminate it completely – but they don’t. Why not?

    Did you read this I posted earlier? Editorial piece on EG centred around the ResEvil 3DS game save thing, well written and thought out. http://www.eurogamer.net/articles/2011-06-30-pre-owned-mercenary-editorial_0

    @29
    A fair number of those will also be people trying a friends copy, more than one person in a house playing the game, rentals.

    #32 4 years ago
  33. OlderGamer

    Fair points DrDamn, and a good read on the link.

    But keep in mind that digital prices reflect the platform holder more then the publishers to begin with. MS would never want to see a game released for a lower price for download then the MSRP and set standard. Doing so could be seen as a hostile move by retail chains to undercut their profits. Keeping in mind that systems and gadgets don’t bring in profit for said chains. Also there is the profit margin on used products to consider. If Games on Demand undercut the stores that would force the brick and mortars to drop prices on new of course, but doing that also drops their used prices, and they don’t want that.

    Look at Steam for how it should be done and done right.

    Valve doesn’t need retail chains at any point, and there fore they aren’t a consideration at all.

    Think back to the 16bit days. I would walk into an EB(now gamestop), and could easily find a couple of shelves worth of older games at 20usd or less. New of course.

    Between preorders and agressive used game marketing(preordering a used game???), retail chains won’t carry new games unless the game is a recent release. My local GS has one small shelf of new games per system, then at least 2 or 3 massive shelves of used games. And instead of prdering new copies of a game, they will redistribute used copies by shipping them from one store location to another.

    The only reason to sell new game is to create circulation for used games. And like a friend of mine working retail has told me, they would just as well see you buy it from walmart, then turn it in at said GS store.

    I fully disagree that second hand sale have any value or benifit for the industry. Its a plague, imo. And like I said because of the need for platform holders to use chains for hardware, and the publishers need to use retail chains for hyping/marketing things stay the same. DLC is one tool of the industry to fight back. And pass codes are part of that strategy.

    Someday I fully expect brick and mortar chains to be gone. And I see it being their own fault. A balance must be struck. Pubs need retail, platforms need retail, but not as badly as retail chains need them. And as Apple has proven, as steam has proven, and as Onlive is showing, gamers don’t need retail chains.

    Its just the Netflix way of doing things works a lot better in this techie world of ours. But the old ways won’t go quietly, the old ways make too many people too much money for them to just stop. They will be replaced unless they adopt.

    Again Netflix vs Blockbuster.

    Sometimes even complex situations are indeed black and white.

    #33 4 years ago
  34. Telepathic.Geometry

    The keys to this not pissing me off are’

    1) Not 10 bucks to buy back online, but say 5.

    2) Stores selling 2nd hand games knocking down the price by that much (those that is really up to the punters).

    3) It being easy to do. I hate putting fucking codes and shit in for EA pass. It basically takes us straight back to the Nintendo Wii friend-codes bollocks.

    #34 4 years ago
  35. DrDamn

    @33
    Maybe it’s a little different here in the UK but you can still find plenty of older games in retail stores. Many in 2 for £30 type deals too.

    I believe at least on PSN it’s the publisher who sets the price. They should be able to price it lower than a retail box as it’s obviously a different product – no resale, no box, no manual, lower distribution costs. Consumers expect to pay less for a digital copy and for good reasons.

    “I fully disagree that second hand sale have any value or benifit for the industry.”

    Net benefit? Debatable, but not a simple or obvious answer, some benefit – absolutely. I’ve given a couple of concrete examples of some benefits to the industry. We are in a transitional period in gaming though. The aggressive tactics to maximise profits on second hand sales by retailers is in desperation to hold on to profits. It’s not like they are raking it in. Game the biggest specialist retailer in the UK posted significantly lower profits this last year, HMV who made a big play into the second hand market over the last year or so have reported big losses and associated those partly with the gaming sector.

    I think the publishers are feeling their way towards a digital future, but I’d like to see them cry less about a second hand market which has always existed and be more innovative in winning consumers around. I agree with online passes, I also agree with good value DLC – even if they are unlock codes for content on the disc. I just think second hand sales are something which has been factored in to sales for sometime and it’s an integral part of the eco system. You can’t just lop it off because you don’t like it anymore.

    #35 4 years ago
  36. OlderGamer

    Maybe things are different across the pond then? Over here used games are a towering monster, and a sales leader.

    http://www.trueachievements.com/n2298/gamestop-sales-figures-released.htm

    http://www.joystiq.com/2008/02/05/gamestops-used-game-sales-data-in-beautiful-chart-form/

    http://www.tampabay.com/features/popculture/article1108992.ece

    #36 4 years ago
  37. uubji

    I read through all these comments and jeez. I am really surprised that so many people think that this fee is a good idea. I have been a gamer since snes days when games were polished more so than now anyway. Now they rush them to market and have tons of DLC at release. Poor developers my ass how much of these New game sales end up in the publishers hands vs the greedier investors especially for this “PASS”. This is just another ploy to improve profit margins this is not going into the developers pocket. Just like COD maps 3 new crappy maps 2 old maps for $16.

    I buy new games and a lot of used games and I think the only thing keeping games from being $30 more than they already are that the second hand market keeps the industry in check. Personally I buy new games when I have a discount or a giftcard. I do this because of DLC why should I buy Fallout DLC for $10 for each expansion when I can buy the GOTY for $30 used. I bought the regular game for $60 minus gift card, but I feel that the game industry bends us over every chance they get. This is just the first of many more BS costs they will impose on us. If this story is true I will definitely give Resistance 3 a pass. I enjoyed the first two, but I will not be supportive of this type of price gouging. Next we will have subscriptions for individual games per month because the publishers can’t afford the server costs. The game industry is a mult-billion dollar a year “BUSINESS” and as such it will do only what will benefit the investors the most, not the gamers.

    #37 4 years ago
  38. Telepathic.Geometry

    The cost of a SNES game and the cost of a modern age game are incomparable.

    #38 4 years ago
  39. deathgaze

    Sooo… how much is it going to cost to jumper a used game on to the network?

    @38: Not necessarily. Nintendo charged license fees out the butt during that generation of games. Most of the cost associated with developing for SNES was license fees and the per-cartridge fee. Nowadays, dev kits, licenses and pressing fees are much more competitive.

    #39 4 years ago
  40. OlderGamer

    @39 agreed, plus there are other viable less expensive options for games ranging from Mobile to Indie/”Aracde” for both PC and console.

    We can’t assume that all games need to be triple A big budget games. Infact many of my favs that i play daily are small games from small teams. That really wasn’t possible during the 16bit days.

    #40 4 years ago

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