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 DC Universe Online  PS3 Discs Locked To Single Account
DC Universe Online PS3 Discs Locked To Single Account
February 14, 2011 | By Eric Caoili

February 14, 2011 | By Eric Caoili
More: Console/PC

Sony Online Entertainment has disclosed that copies of its PS3 MMORPG DC Universe Online can only be linked to a single account, effectively preventing users from reselling, trading, or renting the game.

Video game publishers have long sought to limit secondary sales of their titles, which cut into the profits generated by new sales. Some publishers, with Electronic Arts perhaps the most notable, have battled the practice in recent years by packing new purchases with single-use codes for unlocking features and content.

SOE is taking this practice a step further by allowing DC Universe Online's PS3 discs to work with only one user account. "Once the PSN key has been consumed with a disc, it cannot be resold/replayed with the second user adding a [subscription]," an SOE representative told consumer site Lazygamer.

"Only the original consumer can use that [account]," the SOE representative continued. "Disc and account are one." The publisher currently has no system in place to offer activation codes for consumers who have bought a second-hand copy of DC Universe Online.

Launched in North America, the UK, and Australia in mid-January, DC Universe Online is SOE's fastest selling game ever. Standard edition copies of the MMO are priced at $60 for PS3 and $50 for PC, and come with a 30-day trial -- after that, players will need to spend $15 for a monthly subscription.

Users with the PC version can still transfer their account between machines.

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Edward Green
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Eric, anyone familiar with MMOs could tell you that pretty much every MMO with the traditional model does exactly the same thing. Nothing is being done here that hasn't been done for years. The only exception I can think of is Phantasy Star Universe for 360, which is a weird one in a lot of ways.

If you go and buy a boxed copy of Age of Conan, Warhammer Online, EverQuest etc, you get a single use code which allows you to register an account or upgrade a free account to give access to the game + 30 days of game time. The same thing happens if you buy an MMO on Steam etc.

In practice almost all MMO client software is freely distributed, you just have to pay to be able to log into it. When I bought Lord of the Rings Online direct from Codemasters, they sent me a code to make an account with and a link to download the free trial client from fileplanet.

Jason Greenwood
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Well, I'd argue that it's not EXACTLY the same as every other MMO out there, in the fact that it's tied to the media itself, and the media is $60. That right there is 4 months worth of subscription fees, and the user is only getting one month "free", so it's definitely more money in the pockets of SOE.

This could go two ways, in my opinion: either people will shy away from the up-front cost, being used to the "free media" games they've grown used to, or it will be successful and have a large up-front retention rate, as people try to justify the cost of getting on board.

Daniel Piers
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I never even entered the PSN code in my box... just popped in the game and it worked.

If this is true, then this game + unused code are going straight to Craigslist. I don't like being tricked into buying non-resellable console titles.

Ethan Smith
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How were you tricked into buying the game exactly?

Daniel Piers
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I saw it in the store and bought it in a buy 2 get 1 free sale... I figured it would be a bit entertaining and I could enjoy the free trial month before selling it off. I viewed it as a novelty purchase, an interesting diversion from the norm, not a non-refundable investment in a game I don't really care about.

I don't have a problem buying non-transferable games... my +150 game Steam account can attest to that fact. What I don't like is buying a console title with the reasonable expectation that I will be able to resell it, only to find the publisher decided to use the online component to inhibit second hand sales.

Shawn Heidingsfelder
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No, you bought an online MMO game (every one of them either requires a monthly sub or microtransactions to play) that just happens to also be playable on the PS3. The hardware you're using to play it doesn't matter.

Greg Wilcox
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Unless there are a LOT of new DCUO users new to MMO's who don't read the manual or understand how the MMO model should work in the case of a console release as opposed to a standard game, this isn't a big deal. Funny thing is, I'm more annoyed at retail PC games such as Killing Floor that not only require a Steam account to even RUN, you can't resell the game at all because it's linked forever to your account (even if you uninstall and delete both the game and your account).

I remember getting a copy from a friend who didn't like the game and after I couldn't get it to run and found out why, I decided to take a peek on ebay where, yup, there were a number of retail copies up for bid or already sold. I spent about a week contacting ebay sellers and telling them to pull their auctions because those used copies were going to give them grief once people started rightfully bitching.

Anyway, back on topic: Phantasy Star Online on the Dreamcast locked you into not only ONE account per game disc, it was also tied to your specific console! If your DC died and couldn't be repaired, your save data on that VMU was instantly rendered useless. I found this out the hard way after my system got mangled during a move and couldn't be repaired. Imagine having to replay around 110 hours of the offline version of a game just so you could get into Part 2 with the character data... That was a royal pain.

The enhanced Xbox port was WORSE, as you couldn't even play the damn single player OFFLINE game without an Xbox Live account, which doomed the game to low/zero sales in areas where people couldn't get/afford broadband access (or hell, didn't want it). Good move, Sega!

Oh, and no one is being "tricked" into buying the game - this is a case where if you're a big enough DC fan, you'd want to keep the thing for as long as expansions were released (at least, that's what WBIE and SOE hope)...

Also, my calls to a few GameStops showed that they're not buying used copies of the game, so I'd say ebay is where a lot of folks will be burned by sellers trying to get rid of pre-owned copies of the PS3 version.

Eric Geer
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Was sort of interested in this game..but now...

probably going to skip.

Tomiko Gun
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Duh! It's an MMO, all of them are like this. The more you know...

Daniel Piers
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Console games aren't typically bound by a single-use license.

Shawn Heidingsfelder
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This isn't a typical console game.

Mathew Doolan
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I don't even own a Playstation 3 and this is a bit offensive on two fronts. Again the resale value of even being out of store credit to return a game you realize isn't worth it and should be played on a computer anyway do the best experience an MMO is going to give. Did no one learn this about Final Fantasy XI and now XIV, aside from the latest being so sadly put together MMO anyway. DC universe is fun, but at least the PC version if I wanted to sell my copy of the game I could sell the account with it and not care what the other person does with it. Hard to sell off your whole console system because you didn't like one game, so people are out 60 bucks all together where they could have saved ten on the PC version. And yes, know MMO's before hand, I've sold EVE Online accounts before and you can download that game for free, well used to, not sure now that they have a dedicated boxed game for sale. Been a couple years since I played, but also play World of Warcraft and Warhammer online, and have the collector's edition for both, so it is about being a fan and knowing you are going to keep those games forever, jsut like the original Crescent Hawk's Revenge I still have on 3.5" floppy! It is also why if I purchase DC Universe Online I won't sell it either, but that is a big if at this point with its back and forth reviews and lack luster sales at this point to prove otherwise.

John McMahon
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I like Jason's point. This is not like PC MMOs. Some sure do link the disc to prevent you from reselling it ala Cryptic's City of Heroes.

So looking at how Cryptic has been successful with City of Heroes, then the only thing that would prevent DC Universe from succeeding is a huge backlash (hasn't happened) or poor execution and community management (which is likely).

This is a console game, preventing players from selling something they spent $60 on is ridiculous. MMOs are a fad that until the design and execution is better handled will not evolve into anything meaningful