Why an Uncharted 3 Online Pass is a bad idea


Uncharted Online

Online passes are becoming so common that probably in time, there’ll be news for games that don’t have it.

Sony is backing and will actively be using online passes for its games from now on. Naughty Dog has also tried justifying the move, mainly stating how servers cost money, never mind the fact that uncharted 3 online will rely on Peer2Peer networking, which is already a very effective way of reducing server costs.


Now, what may happen when a mainly single player game such as Uncharted 3, employs an online pass? Since a LOT of people will be buying Uncharted 3 for its single player portion (Please, do correct me if I’m wrong in my assumption), the obvious division between online play and single player might lead to a few things:

  • It will form a barrier for people who might give the online portion a try. This will translate to less people trying out the online, potentially reducing people who might otherwise be hooked.
  • Second hand buyers not willing to pay up will lead to less people playing online
  • The lobbies will become deserted sooner as supply of gamers to play will be lower
  • Second hand buyers willing to pay up will less likely to pay for a deserted online portion.
  • Late potential first hand buyers of the game or people who are only interested will be less likely to buy it new, as they would be thinking they are already paying for the online, which will be deserted.
  • The smaller the number of people that play, even lesser will want to pay up, thus creating a vicious circle in the long run.

In the end, Naughty Dog and Sony will get what they want, this will reduce server costs indeed, but not by extra flow of money from online passes, but by having an overall deserted online especially in the long run, and it will hurt people who are actually willing to engage in Uncharted 3 online.

The middle-ground? Maybe a level / point cap for people without the online passes, but without any time restriction. Such an approach may balance the supply of new gamers to keep the online alive, and may even result in more online pass sales, if there has to be a pass for it at all.

At least with Uncharted 2 they realized that the online portion should NOT count for the Platinum trophy requirements, a trend that has made it to Uncharted 3 as well… for the most part. There are TWO online trophies in Uncharted 2 and Uncharted 3 pretty much copies the whole trophy list of the last game which means that those buying used won’t be able to get a platinum trophy UNLESS they pony up the $10 for the online pass. Maybe Gamestop will do something good for UC3 used buyers and include a code for the Online Pass on the purchase ticket which they’re already going to do for Arkham City buyers that go for the “not new” edition (which makes sense since Gamestop will probably buy the used Arkham City for $40 and sell it for $55 AND they’re sure to get the codes for the online pass at a huuuuuge discount as well which STILL leaves a considerable margin for profit.

After reading all this, what do you think of the whole online pass situation?


Written by: Emrah - News Contributor


  1. #1 by Pedro on October 17th, 2011 [ 39949 Points ]

    I particularly appreciate the idea of having a cap on the MP if there’s so much necessity to have the online pass.

    I didn’t know UC3 would have online trophies and that sucks for those who aren’t interested in multiplayer and were going to get a used copy.

    Finally, I believe that could really happen (fewer people online). I’ve seen some “trading markets” online around here and the #1 game on the lists (haves and wants) is UC2. This also means the game has succeed with the help of used games sales as well.

  2. #2 by Sakinah on October 17th, 2011 [ 26489 Points ]

    From what I played in the beta, the mp in U3 really didn’t impress me as much as the second game did. Looking forward to an epic single player experience but I may pass on the multiplayer.

  3. #3 by Dean147 on October 17th, 2011 [ 359 Points ]

    No!

    the industry loses far too much money through used game sales, at least this way some of it is recouped. And every new game comes with an online pass. So buy it new, no problem. it doesn’t cost you any more money.

  4. #4 by Kicks on October 17th, 2011 [ 559 Points ]

    They should use the Mortal Kombat approach. 7 days of play so that you can at least check out the action

  5. #5 by Eddie on October 17th, 2011 [ 44542 Points ]

    I’ve no problem with it really. I understand it, just don’t want to pay for it. I’m buying uncharted new anyways lol.

  6. #6 by EdEN on October 17th, 2011 [ 141871 Points ]

    @Pedro: Online trophies for the plat are easy and fast… but still require you to be online. Only need to do one co-op match and one online MP match and you’re set. Problem is used game buyers would HAVE to pay $10 to get at a platinum. Oh and the usual problem of “what happens when the servers are offline?”.

  7. #7 by Pedro on October 17th, 2011 [ 39949 Points ]

    @EdEN that was actually pretty clever, you know, making the players pay for the platinum. However, at this point in the franchise, I think most players interested in a plat will be getting the game new anyway.

  8. #8 by Emrah on October 17th, 2011 [ 7319 Points ]

    @Dean147:

    The main idea is not pricing (That last part was added by Ps3blog editors :) ) You should believe me when I say, VERY few people will buy the online pass for Uncharted, it is a mainly single player game, so the online will die quicker, it hurts me when I won’t be able to find people to play. If we think this online pass will not lessen the amount of people who play, we’d be in denial, and it affects me, who buy 95% percent of my games new.

  9. #9 by bas on October 18th, 2011 [ 115 Points ]

    So first of all, I made an account which took me like 20 minutes (I’m on my phone) just to comment here. You’re welome.

    Second, why the hell would anyone get it used? They HAVE to get it ASAP, the day it comes out, and unless I’m mistaken, I don’t see any used copies of games on release dates.

    But my main point is I believe this is all gamestop’s fault. They started and pretty much “control” all the used games sales and they are the reason there are online passes. They are the “first cause” and all these actions taken by publishers are the effects. So guess who should solve the problem?

    When I heard about Gamestop giving the codes on the receipts for Batman, I thought that was awesome. I actually liked gamestop at that minute. So why can’t they, (unless they just haven’t announced it yet), do the same thing with UC3?

    Otherwise, if Gamestop are douches as usual, then Sony should do one of these options:
    1. What THQ did with Homefront. You could get up to level 8 or something in that game then you would stop earning xp, then when you entered the pass, it would be normal

    2. What Mortal Kombat did (although that was “accidental” bevause of the PSN outage I think)

    3. Do what BC2 did, where they had an VIP pass for many many dlc maps, which
    were free if you got it new. Sony could just take out several maps (similar to Killzone 3) and everyone would have to pay $10 if they bought used.

    But you’re right, the main problem with online passes is that they don’t let you at least try the multiplayer. I am against used games (mostly because I believe gamestop shouldn’t earn a penny on those games when the only thing they did is sell it to the consumer,) but even I think it has gone too far. And yes I know best buy does used now too, but they give you much more for trade ins at least.

    Thanks for reading guys

  10. #10 by Eddie on October 18th, 2011 [ 44542 Points ]

    Emrah: You should believe me when I say, VERY few people will buy the online pass for Uncharted, it is a mainly single player game, so the online will die quicker, it hurts me when I won’t be able to find people to play. I

    I completely disagree with this. I think the online will be just fine. I also find it hard to believe that a 9 hour long single player game is the main reason pay for it.

  11. #11 by Pedro on October 18th, 2011 [ 39949 Points ]

    Eddie:
    I completely disagree with this. I think the online will be just fine.I also find it hard to believe that a 9 hour long single player game is the main reason pay for it.  

    I don’t know if I’m one of the select few that may think this way (though I know other people who will agree with me), but UC multiplayer isn’t such a big deal. I really enjoy the single player part of the game but the mp is average at best. If I was going to get the game used I’d be very doubtful about the online pass, paying U$10 for something I’d rarely use…

  12. #12 by Emrah on October 18th, 2011 [ 7319 Points ]

    @Eddie
    UC2 Sold 4.9 million, if I recall correctly.. The peak amount of players at any given time when I logged in didn’t surpass 10 000. UC has always been mainly about the single player experience. The restrictive nature of a pass will always mean there will be less players online as compared to when you don’t have such a pass. Like in Pedro’s case, if he somehow got hold of a used copy, he’d not care to play it online. Same goes with me, although I’ll play quite a bit of UC3 online myself, if I got the game second hand, I wouldn’t bother to pay that extra.

  13. #13 by Squirtbot on October 18th, 2011 [ 115 Points ]

    I think for UC3, you’ll never have to worry about deserted online lobbies. But, when this practice becomes common place… a lesser title will fall to the waste side like you described.

    My real problem is… Who buys used at gamestop? They’re used games are over priced and if your buying Arkham City used to save $5… you’re the world’s cheapest human. But hey, I understand. They cater to kids and people in the city who don’t have the means to travel far and who most likely do not have a credit card… so five extra dollars buys lunch at McDonalds. I get it.

    Companies complaining about second hand sales… don’t partner with the company that is undercutting you by giving them exclusive pre-order DLC. It’s like your begging people to shop there and creating the problem of used games.

  14. #14 by wolfkin on October 18th, 2011 [ 6633 Points ]

    i see Squirtbot has hit the nail on the head right above me. The problem is not and has never been second hand games sales. The problem is completely and totally GameStop. If you cut out GameStop the problem is fixed. Dear Publishers/Developers/GameCompanies whatever stop supporting GameStop so hard when they are the ones stealing your potential profits.

    Stop treating your customers like they’re the problem. If you want to give a pawnshop a few copies fine.. but game publishers PUSH sales to GameStop. Don’t. Simple things like never give them a pre-order incentive until they do things like guarantee the game will be there and not say sell it off if you’re a day or two late. Stop pushing used copies of games. I mean really? Why the **** do they have plans in place for an Arkham City used copies when the game hasn’t even been out for a month. Noone should be buying used copies of Arkham City yet.

    There’s a difference between making a profit and raping my wallet and selling a used copy of a big blockbuster game that’s been out for less than a month for -$5 is beyond profit.. that’s wallet rape.

  15. #15 by Emrah on October 18th, 2011 [ 7319 Points ]

    I agree that Gamestop is kind of abusing the system. Casual second hand selling wouldn’t affect as much as rampant and systematic sales by actual dsitributors. Maybe they should indeed give incentives to companies that do not sell second hand.

  16. #16 by Isli on October 18th, 2011 [ 45235 Points ]

    @Eddie, @Pedro: I largely feel the uncharted mp is one of these multiplayers that is tacked on at the end. The mp in UC2 (and the beta for 3 so far) to me has just felt like it has no polish whatsoever. I bought the first game for the story, and if they kept it just single player, I would have still bought the second game as well. Honestly, I just do not enjoy it very much unless I’m playing with a group of people I know.

    I expect later down the line, if online passes become popular, we will see all mainstream games using the passes. Lesser known titles will probably ignore the online pass in order to give their game more of a chance in a saturated market.

    I am curious how many people actually buy used games still. Recently when I went to gamestop (just an example, it’s a coincidence it happens to be gamestop, but that doesn’t matter) I saw that they had 3D Dot Game Heroes used for around 15 dollars. That’s a pretty good deal-but Amazon had it new for 12 dollars. There aren’t many places where used prices are competitive enough to justify buying them around here.

  17. #17 by wolfkin on October 19th, 2011 [ 6633 Points ]

    for me it’s not even about being competitive with the price anymore. I got backlogs son.. I can afford to wait for most games to hit $20 and even then I got oodles of games to play I’ll get Saint’s Row 2, The Conduit and Batman AA when I got time or when they’re leaving stores.

  18. #18 by MAINEiac4434 on October 19th, 2011 [ 3494 Points ]

    Online passes are the epitome of anti-consumer behavior. I mean, does Sony not have enough money?

    Anyway, if you support this, I highly recommend these three videos from Jim Sterling from Destructoid and the Escapist. Even if you don’t like Sterling (like me), they are the best argument against online passes I’ve heard.

    http://www.escapistmagazine.com/videos/view/jimquisition/4568-Online-Passes-Are-Bad-For-Everybody

    http://www.escapistmagazine.com/videos/view/jimquisition/4720-Used-Games-Have-A-Right-To-Exist

    http://www.escapistmagazine.com/videos/view/jimquisition/4745-Fighting-The-Problem-Of-Used-Games

  19. #19 by wolfkin on October 20th, 2011 [ 6633 Points ]

    well that’s the first time I’ve seen Jim Sterling he’s chubbier than I imagined and is he really not American? never imagined.

    I made it thru the first video and I actually don’t like some of his arguments.

    I think rather than “think of the trade in credit” argument we need to as an industry reevaluate a release and pricing schedule that forces the average consumer to pawn their old games to get new games. I could write a 3 page paper on the many problems caused by there simply being way too many games nowadays and the prices being so insanely high but the whole idea of “but they have to use TIC to buy new games” just stinks of more “the industry has to support GameStop” and I’ve already stated how much I disagree with that policy. It’s like gamestop is the FinancialGiants and the games Industry is the US Govt refusing to let it suffer no matter the cost to itself.

    Also a weak (albeit heartfelt) argument is his used games are rentals argument. The idea being that gamers “Rent” (i.e. buy used then trade in) games which helps build awareness. As if the only way to try out a game you’re unsure of is to buy it used then trade it in. The root of that argument is that if in a month 10 games come out. A gamer can only afford to buy three of them. But the current model allows them to played 7 via the BuyUsed-TradeIn cycle. That’s putting on a band-aid and not fixing the internal bleeding, and again promoting GS. If games weren’t $60-70 a pop at launch this wouldn’t be an issue.

    I do respect his “it’s annoying” argument. It would be nice if games didn’t take up time from booting up. to loading the menu screen, publisher splash screens, developer splash screens, online developer splash screens. It was a nicer experience when you powered on a game and the first thing you saw was: Push Start. InFamous did a very very nice job of this.

    One of my big issue with vouchers and online passes and pre-order DLC codes is that codes expire. I may not play Viewtiful Joe 2 for another 2 years but I know that when I do my pre-order guide book will still be good and the game is all still there.

  20. #20 by famousbill on November 22nd, 2011 [ 110 Points ]

    A Majority of gamers out there now adays are either trophy or achivement hunter “not saying we dont enjoy the games”. this is proven by the fact that every game coming out now has them now, what i dont understand is that if they knew they were going to put this online pass on it why did they put online trophies in it?????. this is why i believe that they are just after money. I LOVED uncharted 1 and 2 platinum-ed both of them, but i am NOT going to spend $5.00 for a bronze trophy….. srry UC1 and UC2 looks like there wont be a family reunion


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