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Sony Exploring Online Pass Options For First Party Titles

Sony is working on an online pass system much like those set in motion by EA and Ubisoft, according to Sony Computer Entertainment Europe president Andrew House.
Just after THQ's comments that used games are "cheating" the creators, Sony Computer Entertainment Europe president Andrew House says Sony is working on a solution similar to THQ's for first party titles. "On the principle of making online portions of the game available or unlocked from the disc-based release for a fee, we're broadly supportive of that," House told trade site Gamesindustry.biz [registration required]. "And we're exploring actively the same option for our own content." House also says that Sony still feels some reservation when it comes to charging for basic online play, saying, "We struggle with it a little bit because we feel very vindicated and base a lot of the success of PSN today - a 70 per cent connection rate across consoles - on the fact that we've removed that major initial barrier to entry." While basic PlayStation Network access does not have a cost, the recently added PlayStation Plus subscription service does, ranging from $17.99 for a 90 days membership to $49.99 for a year. EA was the one of the first developers to introduce the Online Pass concept back in May of this year, which packed in a one-time use code with new copies of EA Sports titles. Ten day passes are also available for users who want to try before they buy. Referred to as "Project $10" by EA, this new strategy packs new copies of games with roughly $10 worth of content (maps, armor, quests). Consumers can download the content immediately after the purchase, but buyers who go for a used copy of the title will be faced with a $10 charge to access the same content. The industry has been getting on board with the idea -- THQ and Ubisoft have put similar systems into play. Ubisoft CFO Alain Martinez commented back in May that Ubisoft was carefully watching the situation and would probably be "following that line sometime in the future."

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