A few years back now, there was a bit of worry creeping through game publisher camps regarding the pre-owned gaming sales business. How could publishers regulate one-off sales when fickle gamers were actively trading their games in for other new games, leaving publishers out in the cold with no remuneration for selling
their game in the first place (please imagine a sarcastic tone in my voice while reading this).
"I know!" someone, somewhere, proclaimed. "We'll create an online pass for first-time owners and a one-off digital fee for used games buyers to be able to go online and play the multiplayer portions of our games."
This happened, much to the chagrin of gamers, who clearly believe that once an item goes on sale, and is subsequently bought, it no longer belongs
to its publisher. That's surely the free-market at work, right?
Wrong. The online pass system is spreading through the gaming industry like widlfire, with Sony announcing plans to adopt it last week, and today Ubisoft, who plan to introduce it properly with the release of Driver: San Franciso later this year. It comes as no surprise as the model, popularised by EA, is proving lucrative enough which even prompted Ubisoft CFO Alain Martinez telling investors last year they'd be "looking very carefully at what EA is doing regarding the $10 solution, and will probably follow that line sometime in the future" (thanks EDGE