Sony Investigating Charging to Play Online Portions of First Party Titles

When you buy a new game, there's a growing trend of publishers including special "VIP" codes for you to utilize. So far, it usually means that you get some kind of downloadable content for free. In some titles without a multiplayer aspect, that usually means you get an extra level, which may be included in a separate downloadable pack later for free, or maybe an extra weapon that you may have had to actually work for otherwise. But, for publishers like EA and THQ, the idea to let those who buy the game new allowed access to the multiplayer facet of the game free of charge is beginning to take root. And now Sony is even investigating the options.

It's becoming obvious that publishers view multiplayer as an extra feature. Even if there are folks out there who buy a title explicitly for that reason, publishers apparently believe that your main focus should be the "campaign," and not the extra stuff. With that in mind, if you do buy the game used, and the person who owned it before you already used that code? You'll just have to pay for it. For chargeable downloadable content that you got as an extra bonus for buying the game new, that makes perfect sense. But, for multiplayer titles like EA's Medal of Honor, it seems to be just another way to make money.

But, that's not stopping Sony from investigating their options. Sony already approves of publishers like THQ and EA charging folks for online features, and according to Andrew House (President of Sony Europe), the company that built the PlayStation brand is actively seeking a solution to charge for their first party titles as well. Here's his official statement on the subject:

"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."

We can see this being a much more heated debate in the coming months. As more triple-A titles get released, with a major focus on big-scale multiplayer game types, and publishers decide to charge purchasers of used titles for access to that multplayer content, it will be a very different landscape for used game sales. After all, prices for used games, especially major titles, don't drop all that much in a short amount of time — so if you have to pay only a $4 difference between used and new, but also have to pitch out extra money to play with your friends online, what will you do? Where do you stand on this? Let us know in the comments.

[via 1Up]