Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning online pass unlocks seven quests

New copies of 38 Studios' fantasy RPG come bundled with code to download House of Valor faction questline; studio says it was "always intended" to be DLC.

by

Electronic Arts and 38 Studios are giving gamers an incentive to pick up a first-run copy of the fantasy role-playing game Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning. An online pass included with new copies of the game unlocks seven House of Valor faction quests inside the gameworld.

The world of Amalur is a little larger for those who purchase a new copy of Reckoning.

A new copy of the game for the Xbox 360 provided to GameSpot includes the online pass, and a statement to Joystiq confirms that first-run PlayStation 3 copies will also sport the pass. Downloaded versions of the game for the PC will include the content by default.

It was not made clear if the House of Valor questline will become available as downloadable content for those with a secondhand copy of the game. As of press time, EA had not responded to GameSpot's request for comment.

Writing on the game's official forums, 38 Studios community manager "Muse" noted that the House of Valor quests were not included on disc and then taken out.

"The House of Valor content was not in the finished game/disc at one point, then removed. It isn't there and we're locking you out of it. The House of Valor was created as stand-alone content, and was always intended to be the first DLC. Instead of holding onto it and charging for it later, we opted to give it to everyone who purchases the game new, for free, on launch day."

Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning is not the first EA-published title to sport an online pass. New copies of Battlefield 3, Dead Space 2, Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit, and several EA Sports titles all included onetime-use codes to download additional content.

Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning is due out for the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and PC on February 7. For more on the title, check out GameSpot's latest preview.

Discussion

344 comments
michael39238
michael39238

What's to discuss, its obvious they don't want used game sales. In a few years you may only have locked down devices with online-only purchases. I wouldn't be surprised if they got together with the movie and music industries to lobby for making recording devices and hard drives illegal for the consumer to own (of course, while recording your every move, keystroke, video view.)

Hubadubalubahu
Hubadubalubahu

Not trying to beat a dead horse here but there is a fine line between "DLC" and something that should of been included. Im no expert but to me if you can release a "DLC" on the same day as the game then you could of put it in the game. At this point alot of DLC's seem to be gimmicks to get you to buy it at release, as opposed to scrapped ideas that would of been done away with due to not meeting deadlines. And the online pass is a little more than annoying. Im sorry EA but we have been buying pre owned/used products for a very long time in every industry. Dont see why it has to change with gaming.

brownba3
brownba3

Part 2 - Hard to defend either one to the bottom line of the developers or producers. All of that is taken into account by the producers bottom line. It is up to the studios to make buying the game new worthwhile to the consumer. The new DRC/what ever the process is to reduce piracy and totrack players for future marketing. EA Origin has some serious privacy concerns - is similar to valve/steam - but more intrusive. That being said, I can fully understandEA not wanting to provide money to Valve/Steam - as much as I hate federal intrusion into the web, privacy rules might not be a bad thing (of coursesince this is the voluntary purchase and we are agreeing to it they can demand anything - can't they!) DLC being availble on roll out makes sense - production on the game probably has to be complete1-2 months before it is released - so the designers keep working and - yes if they can sell the DLC they will - but they do sometimes wrap it as a free incentive to those who buy new packages - again a marketing calculation to get people to order and buy new. Don't really like the online pass - playing with a VPN - so I am playing "offline" - and running a firewall that doesn't allow alot through - not sure what the benefit of running the game on oline is for the consumer - other than the "automatic updates..." Anyway got to go play - will check back on the fires I have started! - Hopefully ME3 will be a better game - until then, make mine marvel..

brownba3
brownba3

Well, after playing Amalur, might have to pull back some of my comments... Huge game, great graphics and fight mechanics... the story kind of feels like a grind/farming - almost all of the quests are identical and there doesn't seem to be any repurcussions for actions on quest - other than maybe a difference in awards. Long play time, worth the money - but wish there was a little more originality. Sorry, this post is all over the place- @supertom, not sure why my formula isn't what works and yet yours is. Games are like books, dvds or any other commodity. When bought brand new, proceeds go back to the producers and developers - when bought second hand or used, they generally don't. Piracy or buying 2nd hand both broaden the game's exposure, and it's customerbase - if done well, those people may buy the game new next time.

Gravity_Slave
Gravity_Slave

"studio says it was "always intended" to be DLC." yeah righttt! thats just their way of covering their collective butts from consumer fallout. If its DLC as they say...how was it possibly ready at the time of launch? DLC is usually after the fact. I wont even Red Box this title because of their greed.

bojox3m
bojox3m

I bought the game brand new but the stupid pass will not work. I AM PISSED EA I WANT MY MONEY BACK.

kage_53
kage_53

I don't care what they say. Why can't we get free add ons like we used to ? And why have dlc available on day one or very close to it ? Bunch of greedy people..I used to think EA was turning it around by releasing a lot of great games this gen only to forget they release DLC on day one and overcharge for it and thus reverting to the EA of old.

Spacerac
Spacerac

@ZOD777 the point that I was illustrating was you have Crytek, Valve, and Big Huge games. 2/3 do not want the online pass. A while ago you said that Gamespot has to abide by whatever CBS does, and they do not. While CBS supported SOPA, Gamespot openly opposed it. Twisted Metal has an online pass, but the head of Eat Sleep Play David Jaffe did not WANT the online pass. What you were saying was that developers want the online pass, and that is simply not 100% true. The major publishers EA, Sony, THQ etc are using online passes but that doesn't mean the developers associated with them agree with them. This is what I meant by saying "It's not the devs, it's the publishers." From what I can see, when devs can opt out of online pass, they do opt out. Other devs simply don't have a choice, and probably don't want to speak out against it.

CalamityKate
CalamityKate

On the other hand, we have some (not all, obviously) who read "used games" and interpret that as meaning recent releases discounted $5 at Gamestop, and go on to discuss the issue as if the terms were interchangeable. While those games that show up used a few days after a new game is released at about a 10% discount at Gamestop are the most visible problem used games pose for developers and publishers, they hardly encompass everything that is used games. There are also two and three and five-year-old games no longer being produced. While it can be argued that a $55 copy of Gears of War 3 bought a week after its release from Gamestop robs Epic of a game sale, it's all but ridiculous to make the same claim regarding a four year old copy of the first Gears. And there are in-between games that don't fit clearly in either category. It's a more complex issue than either side would have us believe. Not every used game sale costs developers and publishers a new game sale, but some do. There's no way of really knowing how many. The developers and publishers have a legitimate gripe regarding those used copies that show up within days of a new game's release on Gamestop's shelves and on Amazon.com marketplace. Value added content as an incentive to buy new is a fair way to deal with this. Banning all used games, as has been rumored with the next Xbox, is not.

CalamityKate
CalamityKate

As to the issue of used games, I find it interesting how some (not all by any measure, but a significant minority) interpret "new games" and "used games" very narrowly. Specifically, I mean interpreting "new games" to mean full retail price recent releases, $60 in the US. This ignores that prices on video games come down pretty rapidly relative to other merchandise. If one can't or simply doesn't want to pay that much, one can wait a few months and buy after significant price drops. I picked up Rage, LA Noire, and Assassin's Creed: Revelations over the last month for slightly more than the cost of one recent release - and bought them all new at significant discounts. These $20 and $30 games are also new sales. Likewise, all of those platinum hits or GOTY or "complete edition" games that include all the DLC from a previous year's big game, those are new sales. Buying new doesn't only mean paying $60 for a game released in the last month or two. It also includes ongoing sales as prices drop over time. This is how I buy about half of my games, new in the box following big price drops, or a year after release when a platinum hits or GOTY or similar re-release with all the DLC included comes out. New sales from which the developers get a share.

CalamityKate
CalamityKate

To those saying that other industries don't try to fight used sales, that's not quite true. Used CD sales faced the same issues in the '90s. iTunes locked digital downloads to a single user profile for years until they realized that it didn't prevent piracy (the pirates would have new releases on torrent sites within hours of release) and only punished legal purchasers who changed computers or forgot passwords. If the movie studios could find a way to lock Blu-Ray purchases to a single user, they'd do it. They've already managed to leverage copyright legislation to a ridiculous extent, and would do away with public domain altogether if they could. Far from being unique, electronic games trying to limit sales to original purchasers is actually right in line with every entertainment medium that can be distributed digitally.

ZOD777
ZOD777

@Spacerac Since you want to play semantics, ok then, lets play semantics. You are only proving my point. Since it is a partnership and not an ownership, they are not required per EA's request to do anything they don't want to do. In other words, they want the online pass. If you read this article more closely, 38 Studio's own community manager states, "Instead of holding onto it and charging for it later, we opted to give it to everyone who purchases the game new, for free, on launch day." In other words, THEY decided to make it available via online pass. Besides, what is good for the publisher is also good for the developer when it comes to bottom line sales figures. They are in bed together on this one. Some other developers have probably opted out because they have foresight as to what the backlash would be. To say that the developers could care less is a bit naive.

advocacy
advocacy

Free stuff is always good.

Green---Alien
Green---Alien

@tizmond I,m with you, those lousy corporates are forever trying to find ways on how to screw consumers for every last dollar they can.

Gov1
Gov1

You should not be making content before you finish the game with the intention to not put it on the disc.

Spacerac
Spacerac

@ZOD777 but it's not semantics. Other than Volition and this particular dev of KoA, developers could care less about the online pass. Eat Sleep Play didn't want one, and Valve and Crytek opted out of Online Pass. (If you're an EA Partner you simply work with EA and aren't owned by them, so you don't have to have an Online Pass. KoA's dev is also an EA Partner though and they obviously have an Online Pass) It's the publishers implementing the online pass schemes the devs. It's the suits, not the working folk. @jamyskis agree completely.

Agent-M
Agent-M

"A new copy of the game for the Xbox 360 provided to GameSpot includes the online pass, and a statement to Joystiq confirms that first-run PlayStation 3 copies will also sport the pass. Downloaded versions of the game for the PC will include the content by default." There is no mention if physical copies of the PC version also come with the content by default or you have to activate it like the console versions.

KlnP1987
KlnP1987

I think what most people over look is the simple fact that this content is not necessary for the single player run-through. It is "additional" content and is completely optional. This makes it akin to a car with leather interior and sun roof etc, for those willing to pay for it and for those who dont it will still get u from A to B and in this case will give u hours of entertainment. Now it is debatable for locking that extra content onto an account so it cant be re-sold afterward. But then again that account is always yours and if the other person wants their own they will hav to pay for it I guess. As for retro gamers I dont see y they cant give DLC free after how much ever years if they know that they're gonna discontinue a service.

XboxGuy1537
XboxGuy1537

@JunoWalker Unless the reviews are awesome for Kingdom, I'm going to pass. It just reminds me too much of Fable. And I hate Fable.

Scarab83
Scarab83

"I’ve been reading a lot this weekend about Fat Cats and how fat they are and how they want your money, but the only choice you get in this matter (aside from the wholly valid “not buying it” choice, of course) is which supposed Fat Cat to enrich. You can enrich the people who made the game you are enjoying, or you can enrich people who had nothing to do with the game. Policies like this are designed to incentivize new purchases: that is to say, sales. We call those sales." -Jerry Holkins

firehawk998
firehawk998

Personally I dont mind these type of online passes where you get free bonus content for buying the game new. As long as these quest arent essential to the main quest then it okay and gives an incentive to buy new however if they did locked parts of the main quest ( eg Catwoman in Batman : AC ) then I would have a problem.

conkerton
conkerton

At this point online passes do not change buying games. If they require one and I only deem the game cheap and used worthy I wouldn't buy it at all. If it is good enough to get new all the more power to 'em, but sure seems crappy to punish the used gamer or used specialty stores.

dark_rising76
dark_rising76

I'll give EA a free pass on this one just because the game itself looks awesome. But at the same time I wish that they stop punishing those that buys their games used.

tizmond
tizmond

continued> The games industry is no different from anything else. I used the iPhone analogy as an example, but I really could have used anything, like: If I buy a 2nd hand CD from an independent record shop, does that mean that the record shop should be paying more royalties to the recording artist ? No, it does not. Same could be said for anything from DVDs, to cars, to washing machines. What makes the games industry so special, that they can demand we buy their products brand new, or they'll withhold content ? Also, by your logic: If I sell a game to a friend, should I be giving the developer of that game a cut of the money I made ? Again.... NO. We'll have to agree to disagree on this, because I can't be bothered arguing anymore on the subject and don't want this to just end up a name-calling contest.

tizmond
tizmond

continued> You say that we're not seeing as much new IPs because of the used game market costing the developers money. I don't believe that's the case: Look at the movie industry right now. Pretty much every major movie that comes out is either a sequel, prequel, re-boot, re-imagining etc of an established franchise. Studios are afraid to make original movies in case they flop and cost them money, so they rely on previous, successful franchises, because they know people will watch them/buy the DVD etc. The games industry is now pretty much the same. That's why we get EA Sports games every year and a Call Of Duty every year. That's why sequels like Dragon Age 2 suffered a dip in quality: It was rushed so Bioware could capitalise on the originals success. That's why Mass Effect 3 has MP added to it, to grab a slice of the online shooter market, appealing to more people to maximize sales. Time will tell if it has an effect on the single player element. The used game market has nothing to do with it. continued

tizmond
tizmond

@BlackieX I appreciate you taking the time to write a proper response, rather than leave it on the previous sarcastic effort. Needless to say though, I completely disagree with most of what you said. The games industry is making losses and smaller developers are closing their doors, but this isn't down to the used games market. Like everything else, the games industry is suffering because of the current economic climate. Take a look around, local businesses are closing their doors, high street retailers are suffering major losses. The used game market wasn't a problem 10 years ago, when the economy was stable. The games industry is suffering like everybody else. I believe companies like EA are exploiting this with their online-passes, in a bid to keep their profit margins high. Obviously the $3.3 BILLION dollars in revenue they made last year wasn't quite enough. continued....

supertom221
supertom221

@joeborg14 EA has an ongoing war with Valve over a money dispute, so EA launched their Origin to oppose Steam. I did however, notice at the official KoA:R website that they said the demo is also available on Steam, so it's quite possible the game WILL be on Steam. At worst, Origin will be your call. Personally I would back out of both options if I could.

supertom221
supertom221

@kathulos Well it is well known that used games hurt the industry more than piracy, since some pirates actually buy the game if they deem it money-worthy, but used games not only helps nothing for the developer, it leaves the player with a clear concience he still bought the game, and feels no more obligation towards it. " they're just trying to get you to support them" Now that is a very bad statement. You can't force me to support you, and locking out quests if I didn't buy it new is spitting the customer in the face-- Why should I buy it new If I can get it used in a great condition for 10$ less?? It's no fair, and I'd rather download the game or just skip it alltogether than be forced into it. When I buy a game, I do it because I want to support the developers. I could easily download it online, it's just a click away, but when I like a game enough, I buy it because I WANT to pay for it, not because i'm forced to.

supertom221
supertom221

@brownba3 "20+ hour game - $60game - $3/hour - about 10 movies, $=$ plus replay..." That ISN'T how it works.....

starduke
starduke

No worries, I'll get the PC version anyway.

brownba3
brownba3

@kathulos - good comments - while I sometimes buy used games - being a PC user - it is always through a personal contact not the store - agree with your assessment of Gamestop's policy. you do get what you pay for - although I believe the industry/retail stores do charge a lot, - if it is a good game and has sufficient content, the time spent on it and the cost turn out to be insignificant - 20+ hour game - $60game - $3/hour - about 10 movies, $=$ plus replay...

kathulos
kathulos

I don't see what the problem is. 1. You buy a new game, the developer gets money for making you a new game. They can now make the sequel to your new game. For some reason this is not good enough. They add in some free bonus content in hopes that it pleases you. 2. You buy a used game from Gamestop. It's $5 less than the new game, but all of the money goes directly to Gamestop, who paid a fraction of what they're charging you. The developer gets nothing, and you get someone's leftover that may or may not even have a manual or case. How is this even an issue? It's not like they're locking features out of the game, they're just trying to get you to support them instead of a faceless corporation who is screwing gamers on a daily basis (in the form of absurdly low trade-in values and absurdly high used game prices). Several game studios have gone on record stating that the used game industry is hurting them more than piracy. If you care about games, buy them new. If you don't care, but them used. Either way, quit being a bunch of tit-babies complaining about free stuff.

tevic
tevic

Too bad... What about future retro-gamers in 10 years time ? What will they do if they've got one X360 console, the game on disc, but MS is not online anymore for the 360 ? Answer: a truncated game. It may seem a silly question, but i'm playing right now GBA and PS2 games, and I'm very happy 100% of the games are on the physical cartridge/disk.

jamyskis
jamyskis

@Spacerac: That's pretty much how I feel. If I buy a single-player game, it is a product and therefore subject to the same laws of commerce as any product. That includes resale. It is unfair to force the customer to continue to be dependent on the publisher's whims. If I buy an online multiplayer game, however, I don't really have a huge problem with online passes, because access to the multiplayer servers is a service and the publisher has ongoing costs for this, so it's not unfair to expect every user to pay a fee. But yeah, locking out single-player content is unacceptable. There is no reason for it except sheer greed.

ZOD777
ZOD777

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

ZOD777
ZOD777

I don't think some people realize how much money is being made on games. This industry is outselling major motion pictures now. You know, the ones that pay 20-30 million dollars to top name actors and actresses. Activision Blizzard Inc. has around 12,000 employees. Selling 16 million copies (which was only the first 16 days) of a 60 dollar game equals roughly 1 billion dollars. If you divide that among the employees thats still 83K per person. And that was only MW3. (Yes I know that doesn't include shipping/labor/production/adv/etc.) Indie game developers and sadly THQ as of late are really the only companies you should really feel sorry for. The rest are fat cats. Look at what the top execs at Activision are pulling in. Now tell me you still feel sorry for them when you buy a used game. Get over yourselves people. There is nothing wrong with buying a used game. I suppose we should all stop handing down wedding dresses, stop going to garage sales, and quit buying used cars too. Executives deserve more leer jets and rolex watches with diamonds. http://uk.finance.yahoo.com/q/pr?s=ATVI @Spacerac Are we really going to play semantics?

Asseen0nTV
Asseen0nTV

@100proofsoco You should have your 6 year old cousin explain economics to you and the 5 people who agree... Your logic would make sense if they only sold 1 copy for at least what their expenses were. That would never happen, which is why it is mass produced. They make their money off of new sales. They make no money off of used sales. What you fail to take into consideration, though, is for every used sale there is 1 less new sale. Here's a simple math problem and we'll use small numbers since numbers are arbitrary in this case: ..Say, 10 people were going to buy this game at $60 a piece and, say, it costs $600 to make it(I know it's not even close to accurate..). Now out of those 10 people, 7 buy it new and 3 decide that they'll wait to buy it. While they wait, those 7 people are having a great time and all is well, but 3 of those 7 people eventually go buy Halo 10 or Final Fantasy XXIV x2 vs. vs. and they decide to trade this game for another one of those. Now those 3 that were waiting can finally go buy it used so they themselves can go have a good time. ..So, did the people who made the game in this problem the game make their money back? You now probably want to argue the fact that my numbers weren't proportionately accurate, but did you also take into consideration that meanwhile there were worthless douchebags that live in their mother's basements that had stolen and pirated the game while those 10 people were being responsible?

JunoWalker
JunoWalker

@ XBoxGuy1537: Why not get both as the Darkness will be awesome but short and Kingdoms will be Epic and oh-so long?? I plan on getting both of them as well as Resident Evil on the 3DS. They all come out the same day... gunna be really broke till late April or early May.

XboxGuy1537
XboxGuy1537

Meh, I'll pass o this one. I'd rather get Darkness 2 on the same day.

megakick
megakick

End-user license agreement? So it might not be his or her right to resell...

joeborg14
joeborg14

If this is gonna be on Steam, I would get it for PC!

tretre32
tretre32

@100proofsoco But what seems to have breezed right over your head is that this potentially NEW customer is buying a USED game which is not being counted as a profit for the game deveoper, only gamespot etc. So when people wait and get the game used, and think its the best game ever and wonder why there is no sequel, REMEMBER THAT. Buying used games might be economical for you, but its slowly killing the games industry. And not supporting great new IP's that give you hundreds of hours of gameplay, ONLY leads to a gillion generic 1st person shooters that sell millions of copys for only 5-6 hours of gameplay. Damn when the F@%K will people wake up.

Nodashi
Nodashi

Yeah, the companios chain was also not intended as "default" in Skyrim. Those guys really think consumers are THAT stupid?

Vambran
Vambran

You buy the game new and get a bonus. If you don't buy it new you have to pay for the bonus. I see no problem here. Support the games industry and buy new games only.

snugglebear
snugglebear

I've had my preorder in for a while now, so this is just gravy. I could care less about EA, but I plan to support 38 Studios.

Bangerman15
Bangerman15

the demo for this game was freakn epic, im gonna buy it NEW and day one for sure, the 7 quests is just a bonus to me but judging from the demo it deserves my purchase, plus it's gonna be on steam :)

King_Jeremy_77
King_Jeremy_77

I'm online and already planned on buying it new, so it doesn't bother me.

dlCHIEF58
dlCHIEF58

@stan_boyd Though similar, there is one difference between Rage and KoA:R - the Sewers in Rage is actually on disc while the additional (not locked out) content for KoA:R is downloadable, not on the disc, and was always planned to be additional DLC for the game.