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Sony 'PSN Pass' To Restrict Used Online Access In Some First-Party Titles

Sony 'PSN Pass' To Restrict Used Online Access In Some First-Party Titles

July 6, 2011 | By Kyle Orland

Sony will include a "PSN Pass" code needed to activate "full online access" in new copies of some first-party titles, starting with September's release of Resistance 3, the company announced today.

The company didn't offer details on how used and rental players would access online features in these titles, but did clarify that first-party use of the passes will be decided on a game-by-game basis.

"This is an important initiative as it allows us to accelerate our commitment to enhancing premium online services across our first party game portfolio," Sony said in a statement issued shortly after rumors of the program began leaking in the media.

The effort mirrors similar programs implemented by publishers such as EA and THQ, which require used and rental game players to pay an extra fee for online features or content in certain games. Publishers do not generate any revenues directly from the sale of secondhand games.

Andrew House, former SCE Europe president and now head of Sony's PlayStation business, said last August that the company was "broadly supportive" of such efforts to lock online content for used purchasers, and that the company was "exploring actively the same option for our own content."

SCEA SVP of publisher relations Rob Dyer made similar statements in a Gamasutra interview last May, calling the lack of direct revenue from the secondhand market "very frustrating."

"I am a big believer in encouraging the gamer to have a reason to hold onto [a game] and to continue to play, and for the publisher to be able to see something if there is a second sale," Dyer said, "because right now, for years, as a publisher, we saw nothing [from used sales]."

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