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Mortal Kombat Developer Defends Online Passes

Jonathan Lester
Games news, Mortal Kombat, Netherrealm Studios, Online Passes

Mortal Kombat Developer Defends Online Passes

Mortal Kombat is the first fighting game to adopt the deeply controversial online pass model - and though you'll get a code included with a new copy (two free taster days of online multiplayer regardless of version) many gamers will be outraged at the extra expense after buying it preowned.

NetherRealm boss Ed Boon has stepped up to defend the measure, stating that online passes are "necessary for games, period."

When we sell a game, we need to recuperate the cost of development. These games cost many many millions of dollars to produce. If somebody is re-selling our game and cutting us out of the sharing of the profits of the game, to pay for our games we need to do something to protect our investment.

The people who only rent games or people who only buy used games probably go through a lot more games in a shorter period of time. We feel like in order for us to continue to make games, we need to get enough back to pay for it. That’s the motivation there. - NetherRealm's Ed Boon to EG

Your thoughts?

Add a comment13 comments
Steve  Apr. 19, 2011 at 20:10

Not a fan of these online passes, especially on the 360 where I pay a yearly fee to play them online in the first place. Sadly it seems to be a common thing with recent games.

Alpesh  Apr. 19, 2011 at 22:15

Just because it is becoming a common thing it doesnt mean its right. Some of the newer games are arent very good and arent worth buying new. I say consumers should boycott some of these games to teach the publishers that us gamers wont put up with this online pass nonsense. Just like the drm protection on some games. Mass complaints is the only way they will listen.

Martin  Apr. 19, 2011 at 23:51

Publishers should reward those who buy new, not punish those who buy used. If I buy a used car I don't expect to have to pay the manufacturer extra cash to use the sunroof! I liked the Mass Effect 2 / DA:O approach of giving additional content to new purchases.

I don't understand why publishers seem to think they deserve to be propped up with cash from used sales when virtually no other industry has this luxury. Make something people want to buy and reward them for buying it! Approaches like Day 1 DLC, online passes and draconian DRM simply make customers feel as if they are being ripped off.

Jerec  Apr. 20, 2011 at 07:22

I can see where they are coming from and although I begrudge paying more money out, its not really a bad deal when you think in a years time when MK is £15 used in Blockbuster, an extra £5 for the online features isn't a bad deal.

For me its when they are newish and you still pay silly money for them like it GAyME or whatnot and its still £30/£35 used and then its still estra for online, but then you are a fool for paying that mmuch if thats teh case, never buy used in Game.

MR1123  Apr. 20, 2011 at 08:29

Was thinking of purchasing this but had doubts, now NetherRealm boss Ed Boon gave me a reason not to purchase at all, thanks saved me £30 will spend it on something useful

Jerec  Apr. 20, 2011 at 08:42

And Jon you might want to re-word the story as it makes it sound like you only get 2 free days with a new copy, where in fact you get a full online pass with a new copy and a free 2 day pass with a used copy before you have to pay, so game rental folk will at least have a taster.

Jonathan Lester  Apr. 20, 2011 at 10:00

Done, thanks Jerec. :)

DBN  Apr. 20, 2011 at 11:00

Didn't UFC 2010 have an online pass? It was a fighting game. As d

DBN  Apr. 20, 2011 at 11:07

Damn iPod that comment is unfinished lmao

As did EA's recent MMA title. I'm not a big fan of these online passes, I totally understand the thinking, the 2nd hand purchaser has not contributed to development costs etc and it's a small kickback to the publisher and developer etc that helps the game industry.

However, and I've made this point elsewhere, if it's about server load and provision, say 1,000,000 people buy it brand new, that's 1,000,000 potential server slots required. If 50,000 people sell their copy to someone else - its not suddenly 1,050,000 slots required like they make out -that's still 1,000,000 potential server slots that the developer has been paid for.

Jonathan Lester  Apr. 20, 2011 at 11:22

re the first point: I think those are technically sports licenses, though yeah, they're all about fighting.

As far as Online Passes are concerned, you're right, the reasoning is transparent and easy to understand in raw business terms. That's a good point about server costs, though.

As Martin said above, maybe the carrot would work better than the stick?

To be honest, we reckon that fighting games are all about local multiplayer anyway. If you can't reach over and punch your mate after he spams some low kicks,it just isn't the same.

I3eastu  Apr. 23, 2011 at 02:50

Online passes should be banned. I rent alot of games and the good ones I do buy new. If they want to put a stupid online pass to get a piece of the used sales thats a joke. Honestly EA started this trend when they repackage the same crappy sports game every year, do you honestly think the people who buy them used are going to pay $10 to play online when everyone has already moved on. IT hurts rental companies more than gamestop who their actually pissed at. They need to get rid of the online pass entirely and focus on a positive reinforcement to buying new. If you gave more extra characters or bonus content for new rather that a hindrance like an online pass they wouldn't have caught backlash buy gamers for their actions it would just be a little treat for buying new. If thats not good enough for them then they should sell them on their website for a price that beats out gamestops used prices all the time. Or they should make it an instant download on the dashboard at a cheaper price by cutting out the middle man. Online passes are bad for the industry no matter what developers want to say to reassure themselves that they are making a "good" business decision. They should take a few Econ classes and realize their full of shit. That's my piece for all of you who support this never buy the online pass and boycott EA I'll do the same.

Valmanway +1  Apr. 23, 2011 at 12:34

Every game should come with a one time use code, it should then be locked to your account, so you're unable to trade or sell the game.

people would then think about what games they buy, and only buy decent well made games.

As for the one line pass, sure why not, just wait for it to go in a sale, then buy it. I mean, who pays full price for games anymore when they go in a sale a month after release.

aseddon130  Apr. 26, 2011 at 16:17

I haven't had a problem at all with online passes at all, I don't blame them for doing it and it at least makes sure u get a little something from the minority that pirate the games.

Plus, if u wait a few week nine times out of 10 you'll end up with a brand new copy of these games for less than a preowned copy from your local Game or Gamestation.

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