Monday, December 18

Sony Exploring Online Pass System For Used Games

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Sony is considering a price block for online content in used games with a system much like EA’s Online Pass, SCEE president Andrew House told GamesIndustry.biz.

“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. And we’re exploring actively the same option for our own content,” House said.

The casual announcement may stem from the apparent success of PlayStation Plus, Sony’s recent PSN subscription model, which House admitted is proving more profitable than he imagined.

“What I would say is that subscriptions are tracking at or above where our higher expectations were. Which is a way of saying in essence that we’re pleased,” House said. “I have a sense that there is a second tier of PSN users that are almost ready to sign up that are in something of a wait-and-see mode because they want to see a bit more of the roadmap and how it flows out and is it meaningful to them? Which is absolutely fair enough.”

For Sony, this indicates an obvious money pool that could just as easily be spent on online content for used games. However, House is not prepared to charge for everything. Yet.

“In terms of just a charge for basic online play, that’s something that we have to talk about a lot more and we struggle with 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,” House said.

House added Sony is exploring “a range of different monetisation options that fit consumer needs,” which could roughly translate to a “wait-and-see” approach for Sony as well, as they try to find our pockets’ breaking points.

What does Sony’s active exploration of a used game price block mean for the industry, and for us? EA, Ubisoft and THQ are all on board already – is this the next great trend in used gaming and how will it affect your own shopping habbits? Let’s hear it all in the comments!

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