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Just about every major release this year is going to have some sort of weapon in-hand to battle used game sales, from locking out online multiplayer to keeping game modes blocked behind a pay wall. Comparatively, id’s upcoming Rage features an online pass that is remarkable light. In fact, they claim that it’s such a small feature that there’s a good chance most players won’t even know it exists.
Throughout the barren wastelands of Rage, players will occasionally come across sewer hatches. To those who purchased the game used, these grates will appear to be simple bits of detail among other bits of detail in the game’s massive world. Those who buy the game new, however, will be able to download an update that lets them delve into the hatches, finding even more content lying in wait.
Rage’s creative director Tim Willits believes that most people never even see them. “I can tell you, some people will buy Rage, download that, and still never set foot in those things. They just won't. I think that's fair. It's cool. It's outside the main path. We're not detracting from anything. But I know some consumers, when you can't avoid it, then you get a little touchy subject."
It’s a strange way of handling the online pass, but it’s likely the least offensive way we’ve seen so far. That it’s off the beaten path makes it so the game won’t rub it in the player’s face at all times - something that can hamstring the experience of those who want to rent or buy used games. One of the biggest arguments in favor of the second-hand market is that it helps build the brand and the franchise, and mocking players who buy used can backfire if developers handle first-hand DLC poorly. We hope moving forward we’ll see more handling it like this, and fewer pretending like buying a used game is a crime against the industry.
Aug 15, 2011