"We Have To Pay For Servers"
Sony confirmed last week that Naughty Dog's upcoming action spectacular, Uncharted 3, would be using the much-maligned Online Pass system for its competitive multiplayer. When you purchase a new copy of the game, it will contain a code you must redeem online before you can hop into matchmaking. Pick up the game secondhand, however, and you'll be forced to purchase an Online Pass at a price, with publishers working hard to sway fans from the burgeoning used games market. And according to developers Naughty Dog, such a system is a necessary evil to ensure the team can work on further games to such a high level of quality.
"We give literally thousands of hours of content in our online stuff and on top of that we give you not just competitive, but an entire co-op experience as well," explains game director Justin Richmond. "Part of the reason for the online pass is that when that stuff goes online, it isn't free. We have to pay for servers and all this different stuff to maintain it, and so at some point, you know, games have to make money."
Richmond explained that Naughty Dog agreed to the Online Pass system in service of their fans, who wouldn't want to see their beloved studio shortchanged and forced to work on their next title at a lower budget because Sony made a loss on their previous effort. "We want to be able to maintain the level of quality of the product that we're giving out," he added.
As for whether there was an alternative to the Online Pass, Richmond suggested the only other viable option was splitting Uncharted 3 into two packages; one with the campaign, one with the multiplayer. "It's either that or we offer online completely in its entirety also, so we have a complete offline package as well, so if you want to play the co-op with a friend, you can do that offline."
Richmond was candid in his hopes that fans pick up new copies of Uncharted 3 straight from a retail outlet, rather than veering towards the pre-owned shelves and hoping to find an early adopter who returned the game. "We don't get a single dime from a used game, but we still need to create server space and everything for you." [The Sixth Axis]