Battlefield 3 players will "probably" need to register online using a box code to
play the game's multiplayer. Think that sounds suspiciously like another outing for EA's controversial Online Pass system? Wrong! According to executive producer Patrick Bach, the Battlefield 3 strategy is completely different. Sort of.
"I don't think it's an online pass," Bach quibbled when pushed on the matter by Gamerzines. "I think it's our own backend. I'm not sure I want to call our system an online pass."
OK then. So will you be locking people out of the game's multiplayer component if they buy second hand? "I think we are." Right.
Bach rejected the suggestion that an online pass system would redirect sales to pass-less competitor Modern Warfare 3, pointing out that prior Battlefields "always had a code in the box in one way or another".
Past code initiatives have been confined to multiplayer content, however, rather than multiplayer access full stop.
"The whole idea is that we're paying for servers, and if you create a new account there is a big process on how that is being handled in the backend," Bach went on, defending the move.
"We would rather have you buy a new game than a used game because buying a used game is only a cost to us. We don't get a single dime from a used game, but we still need to create server space and everything for you.
"We want people to at least pay us something to create this because we're paying for it. It was actually a loss for us to have new players.
"Hopefully people understand why. It's not to punish people. To us it's compensation."
Activision will launch a new digital platform, Call of Duty Elite, alongside Modern Warfare 3 in November. It offers a mix of paid and free content. However, the publisher has said it will not charge for "anything that currently comes as part of the value proposition for the game", including multiplayer access.
We published an article in defence of the online pass trend in April, followed by an OXM reader rebuttal. Take a look.