Battlefield 3 is not yet confirmed to be using EA’s ‘Online Pass’ scheme, but DICE employees are already laying the PR groundwork for just such an announcement.
When asked recently if Battlefield 3 would use an Online Pass (a unique code that comes free with new games but costs $10 USD to purchase in conjunction with a used title), Executive Producer Patrick Bach said “I think we are”.
Bach went on to justify the Online Pass scheme on the basis that it covered server costs. “The whole idea is that we’re paying for servers … we don’t get a single dime from a used game, but we still need to create server space and everything for you. We want people to at least pay us something to create this because we’re paying for it. It was actually a loss for us to have new players”, Bach said.
This seems to be a rather disingenuous argument. No matter how you feel about the Online Pass scheme, EA and DICE’s server space will clearly not cost $10 USD per head.
Also, if a game has been purchased used, the original owner of the title is no longer playing it online. His name and profile may still exist as data on the server, but he is not putting any additional strain on the system through playing the game, as he no longer owns the game.
While developers understandably feel threatened by used game sales, it would be far more honest of them to admit that the Online Pass scheme does nothing for consumers and exists solely as a method of generating some revenue from second-hand sales.