It's just Jon and myself this week as Carl was off investigating WildStar (stay tuned for some big articles on that very soon). We eviscerate Nintendo's depressingly meagre Wii U Direct this week and discuss the implications of Ninty's new deal with SEGA; we take a look at EA's abdication of Nintendo's ailing console; we dance on the grave of the Online Pass and delight in the news of GT6 and Putty Squad's return, 20 years after it was never released for the Amiga; and we take a look at the recent formation of DICE LA, and what it might mean for EA and Star Wars.
Parental Advisory: We've tried to keep it as conversational and informal as possible, and you should be warned that there may be some instances of strong language.
Click the banner or the title link above to play the podcast, or right click and select 'Save Link As' to download the file onto your hard drive.
I really liked the initial idea for Project Ten Dollar. Here was a forward thinking initiative that had everything we've been banging on about with regard to consumer relations:
It was a brilliant plan, and one that EA actually delivered upon to an impressive degree. Ok, so the free little extra bits of DLC that we were privy to in the likes of The Saboteur (boobs) or Mass Effect 2 (Zaeed) weren't mindblowing, but they were enough. Actually, in the case of Project Ten Dollar, the first game to utilise it -- Dragon Age: Origins -- provided us with one of the best characters of the entire series in Shale the Golem. She wasn't essential, but she was awesome, her storyline was meaningful, and she didn't cost us any more than we would have paid normally.
Contrast that with Mass Effect 3, where EA decided that new buyers could actually cough up an extra tenner to receive From Ashes. It doesn't make sense. EA screwed the pooch, and they only have themselves to blame.Click here to read more...
Insomniac Games has thrown up a quick Q and A on their website dealing with a few hot topics surrounding their upcoming FPS Fuse, answering questions regarding co-op play, different game modes, the game's shift in tone from the original Overstrike reveal, and whether or not it'll require an online pass.Click here to read more...
EA's regular multiplayer server culls are a matter of public record, and this latest sweeping list (dated for April 13th) includes games like Burnout Revenge, FIFA 10, The Godfather II, MMA, Need for Speed ProStreet and The Saboteur. We've got the full list after the break - and achievement hunters had better get cracking before the servers go offline.
However, for the first time, EA has announced that they'll be discontinuing multiplayer support for games that require pre-owned players to buy an online pass to access (such as MMA). They're legally entitled to do so as per the terms of service, but it arguably poses the first real test of whether the anti-used game system is viable in the long run. After all, since online pass revenue is supposed to go towards server support, can EA really justify switching them off anyway and leaving paying customers in the lurch? We'd love to get your take on it. [EA via Syzable @ HUKD]Click here to read more...
EA has confirmed that Starbreeze's upcoming Syndicate reboot will not ship with an online pass - and all multiplayer functionality will be unlocked regardless of whether you buy a new or preowned version. Apparently they're confident that players will enjoy the cooperative modes enough to not trade it in, which is actually rather refreshing logic to us. Full story after the break.Click here to read more...
EA seems to be wildly experimenting with the Online Pass concept at the moment. While singleplayer-centric Kingdoms Of Amalur: Reckoning plans to lock off solo levels if you didn't buy new, SSX will let you play its online multiplayer even with a pre-owned copy. Rather than unlocking content, the online pass will instead unlock in-game credits awarded for placing in the top three - which are stockpiled behind the scenes until you activate the code. It's an interesting idea that many players may find more palateable than past efforts, and we've got a full statement below.Click here to read more...
Okay. So this is happening.
D'Toid reports that Kingdoms Of Amalur: Reckoning, the anticipated RPG from Big Huge Games, ships with an online pass. This was no great surprise since we knew that the Mass Effect N7 Armour would be included as an unlockable bonus, but it also appears that an entire 7-level questline has been locked off as well. We're not actually sure what to make of this one at the moment - because it's either an acceptable substitute for launch DLC that makes more sense than Arkham City's outrageous content splurge... or an unconscionable, grasping, chiselling precedent that shafts a vast swathe of gamers including those who just don't want to connect their consoles to the internet.
What percentage of the online pass revenue will go directly to Big Huge Games, we wonder?
Head of Eat Sleep Play and Twisted Metal creator David Jaffe has suggested that he'd prefer it if Twisted Metal didn't come with an Online Pass system as, although it would seem like good business, keeping the good faith of its audience - particularly in light of the fact that it's a multiplayer-oriented title - is paramount in his mind.Click here to read more...
No surprises there, then. DICE designer lan Kertz has officially confirmed that Battlefield 3 will use the online pass system via Twitter, meaning that pre-owned consumers will need to spend some extra money in order to access the online multiplayer functionality. "Servers cost money, and used games don't make developers any money," apparently.
This ties in with comments made by Patrick Bach earlier this year [thanks, Gamerzines], who was unclear about exactly whether online passes would be used - but laid out the reasons why they probably should.Click here to read more...
After confirming that Mass Effect 3 will feature cooperative missions in the wake of yesterday's magazine reveal, BioWare has gone one step further and detailed how it will work. The Galaxy At War system stands alone from the singleplayer campaign - but completing cooperative missions will increase your "Galactic Readiness" level. You'll also be glad to know that it hasn't impacted on development in any negative way. At all. So there. Full details after the jump.Click here to read more...
Well, we can't say that we're surprised. Following the announcement that Uncharted 3 will require a pass code to play online (which comes with new copies of the game, but will have to be bought separately if you plump for a pre-owned copy, Sony have confirmed to Destructoid that the PSN Pass initiative will be rolling out across all future first-party titles that have a whiff of online play.
'Online Pass will be incorporated into Uncharted 3 and future Sony Computer Entertainment Worldwide Studios (SCE WWS) games with online functionality,' read the statement. 'We will provide further information in the future.'
Pre-owned games take yet another hit.
With Xbox World promising to deliver a reveal of Mass Effect 3's 'killer new feature' in their October edition, a South African retailer has published an advertisement for the Collector's Edition that mentions the dreaded phrase 'online multiplayer pass'. Could this mean that multiplayer is coming to the final chapter in Commander Shepard's tale?Click here to read more...
Talking at the Citi 2011 Technology Conference on Wednesday, EA's CFO Eric Brown acknowledged that the revenue stream from EA's anti-pre-owned initiative - the Online Pass - hasn't set the world alight: 'The revenues we derive from that haven't been dramatic. I'd say they're in the $10-$15 million range since we initiated the program'. However, he did also mention that it is all 'found revenue', monetising an area that was previously filled with users who "consumed bandwidth for free." [Gamasutra]
Whoops. After Driver: San Francisco's Uplay Passport (an online pass by any other name) caused a huge amount of controversy on the build up to release, numerous players have reported that their bundled codes simply don't work. Ubisoft has now confirmed that this is down to a massive printing error... and in a stroke of what can only be described as wonderful generosity and feverish desperation, they've opted to offer a free Uplay passport to all players. For the time being.
Here are the details direct from Ubisoft themselves:
There are two ways to access [Driver: San Francisco's] online features:
1. Select Start My 2-Day Free Trial, which will not expire, OR
2. Select Purchase Uplay Passport, which will be provided at no charge.
Either option will unlock the 11 multiplayer modes and the Film Director feature on console titles with Uplay Passport.
We'll keep you posted about whether Ubisoft decide to reinstate the Uplay passport payment after another print run, but for now, it's awesome news. However, I daresay that many gamers will feel cheated out of a few quid after buying a new copy specifically for the multiplayer functionality.
We recently reported that Ubisoft are the latest major publisher to implement online passes in an attempt to curb used games sales. Today, they've confirmed that the codes will cost £7.99 on the Playstation Network and 800 Microsoft Points on Xbox Live - and will unlock both online multiplayer and "exclusive features."
It's also technically more than a pound cheaper on the Xbox 360 at the normal exchange rate (£6.80). Worth bearing in mind when you're weighing up the used vs new costs.
Naturally, new copies will ship with a Uplay Passport, and only pre-owned customers will need to fork over the asking price. The scheme is set to begin with Driver: San Francisco when it releases on September 2nd - and we'd really like to get your take on it.
Yesterday, some eagle-eyed gamers spotted a strange logo on a packshot for Resistance 3's special edition. The "PSN Pass" seemed to suggest that Sony were going to implement an online pass system for multiplayer functionality, and they have since confirmed that Resistance 3 will indeed include this pre-owned purchasing deterrant. Project Ten Dollar has a lot to answer for, and we have the full story below.Click here for the full story...