Sony's European president said the company is "broadly supportive" of measures like EA Sports' Online Pass - which enables online features through a one-use code free in retail copies - and is considering them for titles like MLB The Show.
"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," Andrew House, president of Sony Computer Entertainment Europe, told GamesIndustry.biz yesterday. "And we're exploring actively the same option for our own content."
One-use codes that enable online components are free to retail buyers, but cost $5 or $10 for those who acquire a copy without one - typically as a used game. It's a means for a publisher to get a cut of the used-game sales pie.
Sony's first-party content would be more than just sports, of course. Electronic Arts' own "Project $10" online codes predate the "Online Pass" the sports division inaugurated with Tiger Woods PGA Tour 11's release in July.
But it is in annualized sports titles, with a larger catalog that is regularly traded in for newer models, where such a practice stands to generate the most revenue off the used market for a publisher. That said, recent numbers from GameStop suggest that it didn't suffer much in the first quarter in which it dealt with used sales that are, presumptively, lacking online access.
MLB 10 The Show is routinely praised as among the best sports simulations, baseball or otherwise, but its multiplayer is nowhere near as highly regarded. GameStop says only 25 percent of its used-games customers are interested in multiplayer, and I'd bet the number dips even more for a game like baseball, whose strongest modes are typically franchise and singleplayer career.
Sony Looking At Online Pass Equivalent For First-Party Titles [GamesIndustry.biz]