Why an Uncharted 3 Online Pass is a bad idea
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?