Homefront multiplayer held hostage. Online pass code required for full access

If you’re playing a pre-owned copy of THQ's upcoming shooter Homefront, you’ll have to pay an additional $10 for an 'online pass' in order to gain access to the game's entire suite of multiplayer functions. Used buyers and renters will have limited access, meaning they'll only be able to progress to level 5 of 75. The single-player portion of the game will remain unchanged.

THQ is spinning Homefront's and their recently released UFC 2010's inclusion of the 'online pass' as a feature. You see, players who buy new copies will get the code for free as a ‘bonus.’

[Source Shack News]

Jan 6, 2011

Nearly 50% of GameStop’s profits come from pre-owned sales
Three-month trading report shows record sales of $1.9 billion for videogame retailer

Kotick shoots down EA’s online pass
Online pass system not in the best interest of gamers, reasons Activision CEO


  • dagamesarap1 - April 2, 2011 9:12 p.m.

    hi , how do i get the online pass ,i dwnloaded the battle code [xbox live]but still says i need to have a 25 digit code. thanx
  • NemoMan - January 8, 2011 7:33 p.m.

    @alphafour I don’t work for developers, but it might be interesting to. If you want me to clarify, your going to have to be more specific :) That is a good point, but it is also true that the first person still stays in the system, keeping track of their stats, rank, etc. Also, when someone is finished with a game, they stop playing it. This takes a bit off the servers. Give the game to someone else, and they extend the time that the server has to hold up for the replacement. It isn’t just a one time fee after all, it matters how many people play and for how long.Of course, AAA titles like CoD aren’t so affected by this. I’ll admit that my knowledge of servers on such a large scale is limited, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it had a decent effect. Games go down in price overtime, so used games are hardly necessary to make games more accessible. Also, another week of saving is often the difference between new and used games, so it isn’t that people can’t afford it, its that they can’t wait to save up or for the price to come down. And I never said that used cars were boxes of junk with wheels, I said that they deteriorate. You might be thinking of rust, broken windows, etc. but the difference is often more subtle. It already has miles on it, its an older model (since people tend to keep cars much longer than games), etc. There is some sort of compromise you have to make when buying a used car, and if you get a new model in perfect condition for used prices, then congrats; you just made a terrific deal. Anyway, that deterioration is what keeps the used car sales from rising and the new car sales from shrinking. Again, I wasn’t insulting anyone, but pointing out the prices of text books. Sorry for the confusion. I got 9, and then 10.
  • NemoMan - January 8, 2011 7:12 p.m.

    Sorry for the wall of text! @ FoxdenRacing I wasn't ranting, I assure you. If you felt like I was attacking you, its only because you read it that way. I only mean to dismantle your argument, and the only personal references I make are ones that you supply me with, with relevance to the topic. I never said that you don't pay for games, I said that your practice of spreading games around, or buying used games (as many others do) loses money for the creators and gives it to someone who has had no part in creating the product. This leads to many other problems. I'm happy that you pay for new games. My point is that when you, and others, don't the effects are more widespread than the bit of money you save. On one hand you critique the old business model, and on the other you bash the changes being made. Yes, used game sales are a "big red flag", and Pay-to-Play, access codes, etc. are the industry answers to that. Why do you call for change, and then express displeasure when it happens? And they are hardly abandoning the customer. The programmers, etc. haven't done anything to their customers. Used game buyers are not their customers; they are the customers of the game stores exclusively. Why do you think it is right for a party to leach so heavily off of another's effort? And why should they be expected to provide all of this service for people who don't pay anything to them? And I didn’t mean that you need to read text books. I was pointing out the (ridiculous) prices that text books have . The prices have dramatically risen for new text books in part because everyone buys used. If you want to look into it , here is an article I found with a quick search. Anyway I find the parallels are striking between each situation. Anyway, your argument of “games are already being paid for” assumes that all publishers have to do is ship as much as possible to warehouses, which gladly buy them up. That isn’t the case. Obviously, demand for a product highly impacts the number of units sold, and so the number bought by the warehouse reflects the demand. You buying a new game tells the store that other people will want it, and so they buy more from the warehouse to meet the need, which in turn buys more from the source. Used games don’t go through that warehouse, so when it is bought, it is isolated. So in a very narrow sense, they are already paid for, but the impact sales have on the money to the developer is more than any other factor. And you have already admitted that the current business model is broken. Why would you use it as an argument? And why is this a logical fallacy? The higher costing product needs to offer something more, or there would be little reason to buy it. Right now , the only thing new products have over used ones are unscratched cases, and maybe a cosmetic dlc code, which really aren’t important enough to consumers, as the large used market shows. You believe that the used game market is too large? Then what other way is there for developers to make more money? They can make the new product more attractive than the old (online passes, dlc codes, etc.), raise their prices (textbooks), in game ads, or pay-to-play. DLC could always work too, but I can’t see it completely covering the cost for anything other than AAA titles as MMOs have found it. Personally, I don’t care which one they with, as long as it isn’t raising the prices. All the other options keep the cost about the same, but shift around the way that you pay them, or keeping it optional by tying it to extra content. And I don’t think that they ship games expecting them to lose money. Is it a bad thing to take risks when you know you have extra money from successful endeavors. That is how things like Mirror’s Edge and Tom Clancy’s Endwar games are born.Some things fail, but there is no progress if risks aren’t taken. Just because Nintendo has been playing it safe recently by sticking to long proven icons, doesn’t mean that others shouldn’t make the gamble with new ideas, because they might not work. And for crappy games, they aren’t bought new or used, so that’s the developer’s’product’s fault, not the business model. “that for my money I'm going to get my money's worth...and if I'm not going to get my money's worth, I take my money elsewhere.“ But that is the point! (and it actually fits ‘Kapitalism’ quite well) The developers get zero money from used games, so they would rather you buy new or not at all. The new product isn’t affected by the measures that Homefront’s creators are making, but used games’ prices go up. This levels the playing field, making new games a better deal, while also providing the developers an extra source of income; used games. And arguments should justify laws, not the other way around.
  • alphafour - January 8, 2011 3:37 a.m.

    @NemoMan.. lol do you work for the developers or something? your view on this is very hazy.. as for your section online content not being free. let's say that 10 people buy game X and at this moment in time there are 10 people playing the game online.. person A sells his game .. at this moment in time there are 9 people playing the game. person B buys person A's game. Person B takes the game home and starts to play online. Note that there are now, again, a total of 10 people playing online. Please don't try to argue that the publishers are significantly losing sales to the used-market. I think you will find that a large chunk of the people buying used are doing so because they cannot afford to shell out £40-£45-£50 for a brand new game and so they are not, and never were, going to buy the game new even if you put a Ferrari inside the case. That puts them BELOW the demand curve at the price point of £40/45/50 and therefore, logically, cannot be factored into the equation at all. Next, if so many used cars are in the terrible shape that you described, why did 34% of US car consumers buy used in 2006? (check wikipedia for that reference) And I'm not sure what glasses you are wearing, but you should shop around for a car in a better condition. My car is used but it has no problems whatsoever, and it was fine like that when I bought it. Anyway I think it's you who needs to take a look at a textbook. While you're at it, do this calculation: 10-1.. and then 9+1 .. tell me what you get, ok ;)
  • Ell223 - January 7, 2011 6:56 p.m.

    I already pay a yearly xbox subscription so I can play my games online. This is retarded.
  • FoxdenRacing - January 7, 2011 4:47 p.m.

    @Nemoman: Whoa whoa whoa there...Because I object to a new trend where core parts of the game being held ransom, that suddenly makes me some sort of ingrate mooch that doesn't pay for games...leap of logic much? Coming in here and ranting like that, flinging insults, you make yourself out to be a red-faced apologist, the type that would buy DLC to enable the left stick on a controller and see nothing wrong with it. I'm not saying you are, but that's certainly how you've presented yourself...and talking down to me like I'm some sort of kid isn't helping your case any. Something I'm addressing straight up: I have been gaming since the 1980s. I've spent well over $10,000 on this hobby, likely closer to $20k-$25k if you count computer hardware, peripherals and the like in there too. To say I don't pay for my hobby is disingenuous, and given my example in an earlier post about discovering game series I wouldn't given a second look otherwise, dishonest. Pay-to-play online is a new concept, a sign that the 'we don't have to care what our customers think' mentality is slowly but surely taking over., Parallax Online, World Opponent Network, Sierra Internet Gaming System, several games with dedicated matchmaking/ranking servers such as Tribes and Unreal Tournament: All free, all in a time where servers/bandwidth/etc were far more expensive than they are now. Over my lifetime, I've worked on all levels of a distribution chain...firsthand experience > Econ 101 textbook. I have experience in production, warehousing, logistics, wholesaling, and retail. I can say with absolute certainty that your purchase at the register sends exactly $0.00 to the original producer. The dev team gets paid while the game is being made. The publisher gets paid by the wholesaler...or possibly in the case of the largest publishers, by the retailer when they place the order...before it even hits the shelves, not when the customer makes the final purchase. Less pay for less product is a logical fallacy in this case. If the original producer made two with online included, one with online optional, that would present the option for less pay for less product. And typically, the '$20' version has any extras included, so you're getting more product for less pay. However, if they did that they'd find out very quickly that very few gamers are going to fork out for something that's been included in one form or another since Pong itself. But, I'm likely wasting my keystrokes; Used being as big as it is is a big, BIG red flag that something is wrong with the business model, not the customers or the product. I'm not saying I know what it is, or that it's the same for every gamer, but there is something wrong. The most basic tenet of capitalism from the supply side is providing the right product at the right price...the supply/demand/price curves. If potential customers are flocking to an alternative, it is on them to figure out why and make their product more attractive. Sabotaging the competition...even if they're selling legitimately-acquired bits of your called "anticompetitive", and many countries have laws against it. If gamers are balking at the price tag, then prices need to come down...smaller budgets, smaller bonuses, etc. If gamers are balking at the value [throwaway games like Eat Lead that provide 6-8 hours], then the price of throwaway games needs to come down or the concept of a throwaway game needs to go away. Their hands aren't nearly as tied as guys like Bobby Kotick want you to believe; if it's such a danger, why isn't the perennial big boy [Nintendo] whinging about it? Simple. Nintendo treats every product as standalone. They don't gamble on 1-in-X being a hit and making up for losses on the others. Meanwhile the 'Big Boys' in the west do the opposite; they don't treat every product as able to stand on their own two feet, instead gambling on a AAA smash hit to make up for a handful of bombs. Throw in some clever hollywood accounting, and the devs get screwed; rather than paying bonuses on 10 mildly successful games per year, they pay 1 bonus per year. I'm sorry that I don't fit into the modern definition of Kapitalism, where customers are wallets on legs that should be happy to pay for the privilege of being screwed; I'm old-fashioned in the belief that for my money I'm going to get my money's worth...and if I'm not going to get my money's worth, I take my money elsewhere. I cancelled a preorder for Homefront because of THQ's decision; this wasn't going to affect me personally one way or another, but I'm a man of principle...and one of those principles is that no gamer playing a legitimate copy [non-counterfeit, non-pirate] is a second-class citizen. Ever. THQ disagrees, ergo I'm not buying any THQ game with this 'feature'...not new, not used, not as a gift. That money will get spent on another game, maybe parts for my car, or even a couple good meals.
  • NemoMan - January 7, 2011 3:40 a.m.

    @FoxdenRacing It worries me that you feel so entitled that you think its alright to play any game you want, without shelling a cent out. Believe it or not, your family sharing of favorite games doesn't support the people who made them at all. Why would you complain if there was a $10 option for those games you shared that opened up more content (on a FREE game, I remind you) that helped support the people who made it. Didn't like the game? Continue to play it for free, and don't bother paying to extend the experience. Loved it? Then give up a whole $10 investment on a game you payed $0.00 for upfront. Its the exact same as DLC, an optional way to expand from the core game experience. You payed nothing and complain that you won't get the same product as someone who payed $60. Get over your self centered sense of privilege buddy, because capitalism doesn't take kindly to the word "free", even if you do. And used buyers aren't being punished. Why is it a problem when less pay = less product? Why should they get the same as someone who payed for more? $10 at least semi-balances that from the buyer's cost perspective (even though the game store would still get most of the profit from the game itself.) Besides, servers COST MONEY. So online play IS NOT FREE. Someone has to pay for it. So really, when you decided not to pay for an online enabled game (or pay the game store only), you cost the company money without putting any back in. If you can't see a problem with that, then I'm not sure you fully understand the situation. As for used game sales, I would like to revisit your example of cars. Physical stuff like cars deteriorate, often noticeably by the time they are resold. Maybe the seats are inexplicably and irreversibly sticky, or maybe the brakes don't work (well, sometimes that happens in new ones... but still, you get the point). In addition, certain types of warranties and that new car smell are lost with resales. Fact #2 - Video games are not bought for the case or manual, or even the physical disk, which aren't met with horribly abrasive conditions anyway (There are a few exception, such as limited editions that people find value in). This means that the used product is essentially the same as the new one. Don't believe me? Buy a used game and new game, play them side-by-side, and... surprise!!! They are the same game. So, you have one game that costs less, and one that costs more, but are essentially the same. See why used games are hard to beat now? This deterioration can be simulated through these sorts of initiatives, and they need to be present if there is any chance for the video game industry to stay reasonably priced. As if that weren't enough, video games need to be priced higher than other reasonably comparable sales such as books and movies to reflect the larger production teams/ effort/ whatever. Game stores can buy used games for whatever price they decide to set. So a game costs $60 to pay everyone's salaries, and then the game store buys it back for $10. It prices it as a $55 dollar used game (or whatever they put it at) and reap pure profit. Lets just ignore the fact that one party just made a HUGE profit off of another's efforts for the moment. Because of this, the new games are bought less often and so have to increase in price (down the road) to continue to pay the same salaries. See a problem here? There is no way for new games to win here without a significant advantage over the used. DLC bonuses have been used for the past several years... and they haven't had the dramatic impact needed. In comes these sorts of stories^^^^ And if you think that this isn't how the economy works, take a good long look at text books, an example that actually fits this scenario quite snuggly. One last thing. This: "They get paid for every copy that goes to a warehouse somewhere" is wrong in so many ways, I just don't know where to start. Can you just take my word that this is not how the world works?
  • SHOE1971 - January 7, 2011 3:28 a.m.

  • litaljohn - January 7, 2011 12:18 a.m.

    First, I absolutely agree it would be nice to see extra content for buying new. But with regards to the online pass anger from those who buy used and play online I think it would be important to know more information on what it takes for the online component. I think an issue here may be what console you use/ fairness. I may be completely mistake but as far as I thought i knew the 360 servers are kept by MS, which doesnt hurt the game makers online, but I thought the ps3 multiplayers had the servers based upon servers for the game makers. If this is the case than buying used would create an added burden of the devs using money to upkeep the servers, retain stats for everyone and the like and not getting anything in return for it.
  • SerpentineZERO - January 7, 2011 12:15 a.m.

    I prefer the Mass Effect 2 approach to bonus content when buying new, but i was getting this game new anyway
  • Zepaw - January 7, 2011 12:04 a.m.

    I almost never buy new. I'm still simply not in a place where I can afford it. I like playing multiplayer parts of games more than most main games (plenty of exceptions of course). I really hate this idea. Also more encouragement to tack on a crappy multiplayer to every damn game so they can charge a fee to used/rentals.
  • Bloodstorm - January 6, 2011 11:33 p.m.

    @FoxdenRacing And I'll agree with you, the online passes aren't my preferred way for the gaming industry to counter the used game market. I much prefer the DLC incentives, like Dragon Age's extra armor and companion for buying it new. That way, anyone borrowing it or buying it used didn't miss out on the meat of the game, just the potatoes. I'm just not condemning them because of this move, as I know they are just trying to make money, and when it comes down to it, there are average everyday people sitting behind that mega publisher name, and they deserve the money asked for a new game. They have families to fend for.
  • Crabhand - January 6, 2011 11:22 p.m.

    I don't intend to get into a debate about this subject, but I fully support incentives for buying a game new. Used games are usually a rip-off in price, and an actual depreciation in the value of a used game will help more people understand that. If there is a game that I'm not willing to pay full price for on release, I wait for the price to drop, it's that simple. It's not as if saving $5 on a new game and completely shorting the developer/publisher is even remotely fair. THQ's take on this is a little less extreme than the EA Sports pass, as it isn't completely preventing used buyers from playing online.
  • FoxdenRacing - January 6, 2011 11:17 p.m.

    Oh cripes, the stupid thing ate my original response. What's the deal, GR? @Bloodstorm: Rational conversation FTW...FR sent. :-D Dealers pay for the right to use the logos and such, but I highly doubt that Smiling Bob's Totally Trustworthy And Not Actually About To Die Used Cars in Nowhere, Wyoming a pays a royalty on every car he moves, nor should he. If he suddenly had to, where does the line get drawn? If you sell your car to a friend/relative/etc, should the manufacturer get a cut? What about if you lend it to a friend while theirs [made by someone else, for sake of consistent argument] is in the shop, do they get a cut then? I admit I scrambled the book one by omitting that I was talking about used. I had to tab out for IRL, and lost my place when I tabbed back in. Regardless...with games the delisting process is incredibly short...sometimes as short as 90 good luck buying a game new if you can't do it right after it comes out [such as having to wait for a Christmas or Birthday present]. A scant few will make Greatest Hits and linger for ages, but the others? Forget about it. Personally, I've called my FLGS and cancelled my order for Homefront. This wouldn't have affected me either way, but I am a man of my convictions...and one of those convictions is the belief that used gamers, friends/relatives getting hand-me-downs or borrowed copies, renters, 'late to the party' gamers, and the like are not second-class citizens of the gaming world. Publishers that engage in this sort of hostage-taking tactic [reward loyal customers? Good. Punish everyone else? Bad.] are shortsighted and foolish...they're trading a fortune in future sales for $10 today. I've personally spent well over $300 for Bungie stuff since borrowing Halo 1 from a friend, and several thousand total on word-of-mouth/borrowed/rented game purchases. Any game that would've presented me with 'Warning! You aren't the original purchaser. Enter your credit card now so we can charge you' wouldn't have gotten a second thought...and I wouldn't forget it for the company's future products. I highly doubt I'm the only person that's ever played a game at a friend's house, been lent one, or been given one. But when total sales go down due to cutting their own feet out from under themselves, the publishers will just whine some more. Game publishers are like countless other companies that deal in physical goods...and part of dealing in physical goods is competing against your own past products. Today's game has to be more attractive than yesterday's game. Besides...they don't get paid from your purchase, and have already been paid for the copy that's made its way to a used bin. You're buying from a retailer. The retailer buys from a wholesaler. The wholesaler buys from the publisher...that copy was bought and paid for long before you got your hands on it. Said and done, stunts like this are simply an end-run around the Right of First Sale. It's not right when any other company does it, and I won't stand for it from a gaming company just because I happen to like games. They get paid for every copy that goes to a warehouse somewhere. After that, it's none of their business what happens, especially 2 or 3 links down the line when it ends up in my hands. I paid for the physical widget, I can do with it as I please (barring illegal acts such as making and then selling counterfeits). I can use it for myself, write on it, lend it to my friends, give it away to a sibling, sell it to a stranger, wrap a christmas present in the pages from the manual, I can even destroy it if I want, and they have zero say in the matter. The used market being as huge as it is? That's a big red flag. They're doing something wrong and need to address the underlying problem. You don't cure strep throat with painkillers, and going after the used market won't fix the underlying problem, examples of which were in my first huge post. :) If gamers had reasons to keep their games, rather than flipping a 6-hour once-and-one piece of junk, the used market would be much, much smaller than it is. If the first reaction of the everyman [rather than the diehard] wasn't to go 'Ugh, $60? I'll wait for it to come down', more new games would be bought on an impulse. If used sellers weren't able to discount as deeply as they do, the financial temptation wouldn't be as deep. There's plenty of things the publishers can do to remedy the situation that doesn't involve punishing their customers, but since that takes time, effort, and integrity, they choose the quick and dirty way out. Anyway...thanks for the conversation, t'was a good one. I won't be able to check for replies until morning, though.
  • FatDarkPlace - January 6, 2011 10:57 p.m.

    What a utter complete joke. I'm buying this game new, however, I do not like this idea of buying online passes. GGF
  • farsided - January 6, 2011 10:40 p.m.

    "This isn't just targeted at used game buyers though, but also those that rent. I know many people who do nothing but rent, never buying anything new or used." I concur. A couple years back I was renting single player games for around 4 bucks and completing all their content within the week. That's only a missed meal for me in exchange for a full piece of work from a developer without them seeing a dime of it. While that was swell and all, I stopped doing it out of principal. Now, I don't mind being told, "hey, you want to enjoy 20+ hours worth of content, you're going to have to fork out a little more to the people who originally created it." Just going to see a 2 hour movie costs me 8 bucks by comparison.
  • Bloodstorm - January 6, 2011 10:01 p.m.

    It's not like the PC market hasn't been dealing with this for 10 years now. Its an old concept moving to a new platform.
  • Bloodstorm - January 6, 2011 9:59 p.m.

    @ FoxdenRacing To those defending THQ on this one, I ask: - Would you feel cheated if the only way to see the last 20 minutes of a movie was on opening weekend? Bad example, it's no where the same. It's not punishing people if they don't buy it the first day it comes out, just if they buy it second hand. Developers make no money on second hand sales. To expec them to sit by as they loose money to Gamestop and other second hand stores is just being in denial. - Would you feel cheated if you bought a used car, only to find out it won't start until you pay the manufacturer? Again, bad example. Most dealerships pay royalties to the manufacturer they represent, and therefore the manufacturer is still making money. - How about ripping pages out of a bookstore, scribbling permanent marker on CDs, or the like? Again, its really not the same. Buy it new at 60 bucks, buy it new at 20 bucks, you'd still receive the code for free to play it online. Plus, at least THQ isn't taking the EA approach, letting you have limited online capabilities instead of the outright no online. This isn't just targeted at used game buyers though, but also those that rent. I know many people who do nothing but rent, never buying anything new or used.
  • FoxdenRacing - January 6, 2011 9:27 p.m.

    @Thornstein: I'm ok with giving swag for a new game. Give 'em a shirt, a keychain, the first DLC pack for free, etc. That's a good thing. I own several 'Limited Edition' games, because like some guys I can't resist a shiny widget with my game. Where I draw the line is punishing used buyers. My family passes games around when we're done with them. I lend them to my friends, my friends lend them to me. If I like a game, I'll go out and start looking for its prequels for the whole experience [good luck liking Splinter Cell Conviction, then finding a new copy of the previous games!]. I remember the days of, and wish for a return to, local coop [or post-N64, local 4-way]. Online gaming is not the same experience as being able to trade insults and elbows on the couch. Used is not an enemy. The used market being so big is a giant red flag saying 'You're doing something wrong!'. Used turns interest into fans if done right. Treating used gamers like dirt turns them away.
  • FoxdenRacing - January 6, 2011 9:21 p.m.

    Typo alert. Used gamers get worn out equipment, scratched discs, and the like.

Showing 1-20 of 29 comments

Join the Discussion
Add a comment (HTML tags are not allowed.)
Characters remaining: 5000