Source: Enthusiast game blog Joystiq.
What we heard: The Online Pass initiative first gained steam last year, when Electronic Arts announced that the online modes for its sports titles would be free for those who purchased the game new but require a buy-in for secondhand users. THQ quickly adopted a similar strategy for many of its games--most recently the platinum-selling Homefront--and it appears as if Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment is next.
Joystiq reports this week that it has obtained a memo from WBIE to retailers detailing an Online Pass initiative for the upcoming NetherRealm-developed fighter Mortal Kombat. According to the memo, Mortal Kombat will ship with a one-time use code that grants access to its online modes. However, those who pick up the game secondhand must pay $10 (800 Microsoft points) to play online.
"Mortal Kombat, available on April 19 for the PlayStation 3 computer entertainment system and the Xbox 360 video game and entertainment system from Microsoft, includes a one-time-use registration code that gives players access to all online modes in the game," the note reportedly reads. "Players who do not have a code will get a free two-day trial of the online play and then be able to purchase the online modes for 800 Microsoft Points on Xbox Live Marketplace and $9.99 on the PlayStation Network."
The official story: Warner Bros.' PR agency had not responded to a request for comment as of press time.
Bogus or not bogus: Looking not bogus. Publishers have been keen on monetizing used-game sales and rentals, and EA's Online Pass method doesn't appear to have negatively impacted sales. Its wider adoption appears to be inevitable.