THQ gating off Homefront online modes

Publisher confirms secondhand players of near-future FPS on 360, PS3 get limited multiplayer unless they pony up for $10 online pass.

Last May, THQ announced that UFC Undisputed 2010 would be its first title to make use of an online pass, which would charge secondhand game buyers to access the game's online modes. By August, the functionality was also confirmed for WWE Smackdown vs. Raw 2011. Now, the publisher has indicated that it won't just be its sports titles that will be subject to the secondhand surcharge.

Players content with stopping at level 5 of Homefront multiplayer are unaffected.

As first reported by Shacknews, GameSpot has confirmed with THQ that new copies of its near-future first-person shooter Homefront will come packed in with a single-use code to access the game's multiplayer component. However, those who do not purchase the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 versions of the game new--acquiring it through rental or the secondhand market--will be required to pay $10 to unlock the game's full online component. Unfettered access to online modes will be available to all PC purchasers.

Gamers without a new copy of the game will still be able to access a portion of Homefront's online component. Specifically, secondhand users will have access to every map and can spend as much time as they wish in Homefront's multiplayer modes. However, they won't be able to advance their characters any further than level 5--out of a possible 75--unless they purchase the online pass.

Due out on March 8, Homefront is a story-driven shooter that is set after a North Korean occupation of the continental United States. The single-player component sees the player as a member of the American resistance fighting the Korean People's Army in an attempt to regain control of the ruined nation, while the multiplayer is set earlier, letting players engage in military scenarios from the invasion itself. Manhattan-based Kaos Studios is handling development on the console iterations of the title, while Ontario-located Digital Extremes is in charge of the PC version.

For more on the shooter, check out GameSpot's most recent hands-on preview.

Written By

Eddie Makuch is a news editor at GameSpot, and would like to see the Whalers return to Hartford.

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Discussion

210 comments
jadaski1
jadaski1

@MW2ismygame Same here. I won't be purchasing games that force the consumer to buy new to have access to the game's content. If consumers continue to buy games with such restrictions, soon all games will have them, and not just on the multiplayer.

santinegrete
santinegrete

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

rick-garza
rick-garza

all games are going to start doing this

rick-garza
rick-garza

hahhahahahahaha You dont pay extra for online... it comes with a code when you buy it new... medal of honor does the same thing...

asmodeus_z
asmodeus_z

I usually reviewed a game potential via rental and I'm definitely not getting this if I need to pay extra for full online access.

attackedbymars
attackedbymars

If people want this to stop, DON'T PAY FOR IT. If they don't see an increase in sales they aren't going to take the time to put the code checks necessary to restrict this.

BigJohnWV
BigJohnWV

Some of you guys need to read. You can still play online even if you rent it, just that you can only go to a certain rank and then have to pay to get the full online experience. I'm still going to rent it, better to be safe then sorry. Besides most companies will start doing this, you can blame EA, you can blame Gamestop, just blame money because that is the real motivation of companies now. If you buy it full price you don't have to worry about that $10, no company is that stupid to pull that off....yet.

barilli71
barilli71

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

MW2ismygame
MW2ismygame

and as interesting as this is i was going to get this as price drop but now now i wont buy it at all im now boycotting all pay4play used online games

MW2ismygame
MW2ismygame

you know this is all EA fault if they did not start b***hing about lost $$$$ on all their garbage sports games we would not have this spreading like wild fire to every publisher if this gets to more games im going ro stop gaming all together and congrats to the troll who keeps thumds downing everybody u no life

masterchief80
masterchief80

This will definitely hurt their revenue from rentals. Who the hell is going to rent an FPS that they have to pay an extra $10 to play online?

masterchief80
masterchief80

WOW. Are developers/publishers really losing THAT much money in the second hand game market? This is lame.

Crashfan3
Crashfan3

This disappoints me, but not that much. I'll probably only get $10 if I trade my copy in at Lamestop. I guess they even have to cover that tiny fee too. Heaven forbid you have an expense on your books.

dancingsmurfs01
dancingsmurfs01

O well i planed on buying the game new anyway. I understand why they are doing this THQ is a businees and it has to make money and pay their employees and with the economy as it is more and more people are buy used and THQ and other Devs are losing a lot of money.

megantereon
megantereon

So the value of the second hand game will be worth even less. Will everyone in my household have to buy an online pass to play this game multiplayer? Why would I want such a game unless I lived alone, had no friends, and would never sell the disk even when I got tired of it. Dear THQ: Why do you care who has the original disk that you charged $60 for? If you want to deal in the second hand market than offer to buy your devalued games back after they're used so you can resell it.

Payasoplas
Payasoplas

I remember Double Dragon III, when it was released for the arcades you had to insert coins if you wanted to purchase items inside the game, that remains as one of the most stupid ideas in gaming history. But THQ's idea seems to go for the crown...

shooters125
shooters125

Congratulations THQ. You have taken video game developers' greed to a whole new level. With something as ridiculous as this you making Activision seem benevolent.

dubel_07
dubel_07

Even though I'm going to get this on PC I'm still against having to pay more for what is included in the game.

StJimmy15
StJimmy15

@Darien Gamestop now drops used games based on the online pass. So you'd pay 47.99 for it, and if the pass has been used you still end up only paying 58 bucks for it. Same w/ Madden and NFS Hot Pursuit.

jamesm7786
jamesm7786

and so begins the second death of the video game industry.

StJimmy15
StJimmy15

@shaun_ofda_dead I'm not emo or carrying a chip on my shoulder... I happen to like their music regardless of drug use. I like how you had a few decent points and then you attack me for my choice in icons and correcting an ignorant post. And sarcasm is fun, you should try it.

jonnyrue2u
jonnyrue2u

Despite the online restriction (the major selling point for FPS on consoles), THQ is at least doing something against players of other FPS (CoD specifically) where others make multiple accounts to run through the multiplayer aspect for one reason or another.

foxrock66
foxrock66

@chrispicard Ah, yes, BUT only one of them is ever taking up THQ's bandwidth at a time. Thus, it never costs THQ more than one copy of the game. Why should they get cash for costs they aren't paying in the first place?

chrispicard
chrispicard

[This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]

chrispicard
chrispicard

@foxrock66 Thats such a dumb thing to say! so if i buy a game and that same game gets sold on a million times so that 1 million people played the game in total, but only one payed for it (me), THQ still get their money do they? er... no!

acsam12304
acsam12304

@foxrock66 yup same thing with cars. ntoice how many people dont know what your talking about thumbs you down? people really needs to go back to school

strayfies
strayfies

THQ should try to bank off something that isn't a multiplayer FPS in second generation ownership. These things are ghost towns in the making, aside from the very top few.

Gamer12222
Gamer12222

lol my friend is crazy enough to buy the games on release date what i do is i buy the game used and then i download the pass off his account then when im bored with it in a week to 2 weeks tops.I bring it back and get all my money refunded.Its my Middle Finger to these companies.ive did this with UFC 2010,Medal of Honor,NFS Hot Pursuit,and Madden NFL 11.Not a Extra dime spent haha :D

godzillavskong
godzillavskong

A lot of companies are doing this now, to prevent people from buying used titles. Madden11, or even most of EA's games for that matter, so I'm getting used to it. So I will still buy used, but if it is a game that I plan on playing multiplayer online, then I go ahead and purchase it new. No big deal, as long as they don't raise the price beyond 60.00.

muzza93
muzza93

@Alex_09 Nah, Game dont get banned cos of some serial killer, its just a very old system that hasnt been updated as times change and community values change and the politicians arent doing wat the people want, they r doing wat THEY think is best and not being a representative government. Everything costs more over here but with video games we really get smashed.

Payasoplas
Payasoplas

"Publisher confirms secondhand players of near-future FPS on 360, PS3 get limited multiplayer unless they pony up for $10 online pass."... ... ... ... ... ... ... -EPIC FAIL -

jrxbond
jrxbond

Damn right Muteki_X.

Darien
Darien

So if I buy this game used at gamestop for 55.00 and I have to pay an extra 10.00 for the full game, that kinda makes gamestops pricing structure irrelevant. It'd be a better value new no matter how you scale the used price based on market value. As much as I dislike gamestop, this just seems bad for the gaming economy in general.... Unless your THQ I guess.

Alex_09
Alex_09

@muzza93 Damn that's brutal man, especially considering how over the top the ratings are in Australia. Don't lots of games get banned there because cops found one serial killer liked playing games before he went on a rampage? Just like in America, instead of blaming the poor mental health system, and parental failures, the government finds the easiest way out that will trick the most people. In fact I just read a massive newspaper article today by a woman once again claiming violence in television was destroying society. She even had the nerve to say, "If I want to get my crime fix, I'll read the newspaper, we don't need it on T.V." as if real world violence was entertaining to her. I bet the only reason game prices are so high there is because the government is taxing gamers for all the "work" they're doing trying to ruin the industry.

jrxbond
jrxbond

Cloud737 - Hear hear!

chrispicard
chrispicard

[This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]

roosterdip
roosterdip

@stjimmy- thank you for fixing my spelling error... i don't know what i would do without you. i realize it's different in some way from what EA did on BC2. the point is they are doing something similar and most other dev/pubs will be doing the same shortly. it will also help against piracy. you still have the option to rent to see if you want to buy and the actual game maker gets paid.

laplace985
laplace985

If you want them to stop charging you extra then boycott the game. After losing millions they will get the message in one cycle. After buying all the dlc for modern warfare 2 I realized I spent over a 100$ on one game lol. Never again. Game of the year edition every year for me until developers stop being so greedy.

MJ12-Conspiracy
MJ12-Conspiracy

Developers need to stop this crap. I've seen people get screwed out of their online codes as in the code was incorrect in their copy of the game and stores won't take a game back if it has been opened. Why should anyone pay their ISP $50 a month only to be charged another $60 by Microsoft for live and another $10 on top of that if they buy a game used? What ever happened to develop game, release game and be done with it? what's so special about Online that every publisher and developer thinks it's right to charge extra for their games??

Marky360
Marky360

@anzelm I just wish there was a way everyone could get what they wanted customers could get cheaper games and devs could still make a profit off them but it seems like the system doesn't work unless someone is getting screwed.

foxrock66
foxrock66

And to the folks claiming that by buying used games the devs make no money, this is false. Unless the previous owner burned himself a copy - piracy - it's still one game to a user. The original purchaser payed for the game in such a way that the devs got their royalties. He is no longer playing it, you are. One user, one payment for the devs

knives2
knives2

This is getting pretty sad. Just an fyi game developers, doing crap like this makes people not want to buy your games at all.

Cloud737
Cloud737

@kenken2g I don't see how/why a service, that doesn't cost the dev anything extra (in case of dedicated servers) or anything at all (in case of PvP), be paid for by the consumer. This restriction on used games will only make the consumer more frugal, in the end being very conservative and un-adventurous with the games he purchases, in the end leading to less publicity or awareness for some games (especially start-ups, which are the prime innovators, one could say the ones keeping the industry fresh and alive), which would in the end lead to industry decline. And yes, I would expect that once I buy a product second-hand, the serial on the box either work or be assigned a new one, as per the [url=http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/First-sale_doctrine]first sale doctrine[/url]. The product itself is not a service. As for patches and updates, it depends. If the service is not included with the original copy and would have to be bought separately (like "1 extra year of anti-virus definitions"), then no, I wouldn't expect to receive that as well (since the buyer only bought the copy), otherwise yes. And yes, I do agree and also think this might push game retailers to lower their horrendously high prices for second-hand games. However, if they do this, then it's back to square one (the devs might get infuriated again and raise the price for online play)... this can be repeated until the cost of online play is greater than the cost of an original copy! The other option, for this to stay without game retailers lowering the prices, that is, the death of second-hand games market, is worse - it will lead to more frugality which in turn would lead to market decline (no one buying that never-heard before, interesting looking game, but sticking only with established series like CoD and AC, which in turn will fuel developers to only churn out sequels that stick very close to the formula, meaning a saturation in diversity and quality of games, and will only achieve to bore gamers, leading for these titles to fail as well, which can lead to a market crash)... while this seems a bit far-fetched, I do think it is plausible, even quite probable. Edit: Just a correction, the dire consequences of what I said in that last paragraph would only apply if used game sales are completely banned (like with digital distribution). Sure, a fraction of those dire consequences would happen just by requiring that online pass fee (that is, a bit of a decline/setback/penalty), but not nearly as dire (like the death of the industry). Sorry, was a bit tired and in a hurry when writing, and my thoughts got carried away mid-paragraph.

shaun_ofda_dead
shaun_ofda_dead

@StJimmy15 More sarcasm! should I have expected anything less? Just because their original drummer was too stupid to manage his own drug use doesn't mean you have to be all emo and carry a chip on your shoulder. :P

kenken2g
kenken2g

@Cloud737 I agree this is where the industry is going. That's why we will see more and more digital distribution. I also agree with you on your stance concerning the single player. However, even if the devs have multiplayer been paid for and allocated for each new disk it's not fair for a game to be sold where the dev makes no profit off it and the consumer not be charged for an online service. Its like youre saying that if someone bought PC software that came with one liscense key that's it's ok for them to sell the disks, box and manual to someone else at a used price and they should be able to insert the disk and call up the manufactor letting them know they bought it used from someone and get a free new liscense key at no extra charge. Also with free updates and patches to go with it. If this was back in the day with NES SNES Gensis days I would agree with you 100%. The cartrige had no online. Buying trading and swapping was no biggie. It was like trading your remote controlled car for someone elses remote controlled plane. But now we are talking about a service that goes with it. That's ongoing. That's where the costs comes when it comes to new buyers vs secondhand. Maybe gamestop needs to lower their used game sales prices down on games like this but we know they won't. however maybe that could be a solution to secondhand buyers; cheaper prices from used game retailers because of this charge.

singhellotaku
singhellotaku

well i didnt want this new but I was going to pick it up when it dropped to around 20 but I guess now I wont buy it at all

kenken2g
kenken2g

@Muteki_X You said... What about those poor carpenters, plumbers, electricians, contractors, architects, etc. who never see a dime when someone sells the home they purchased to someone else? Let's not forget all those poor factory workers who never see another penny when someone sells the car they purchased to another person. Those jobs have been done and completed and the workers get paid once. There is no ongoing service like an Internet based service. They get paid for labor. All that you mentioned is PHYSICAL LABOR. How could they get paid for not working? That makes no sense. If something breaks you call a repairman. He is paid to fix things either hourly by his company or you. Bottom line he gets paid when contracted for a job. It's not like you said. You don't buy someone elses home and get free repairs for life.... You also don't buy a used car and get free repairs on it from the manufactor either.... You pay for those services, so why shouldn't you have to when you buy a used game but want to use an actively online service?

Cloud737
Cloud737

@kenken2g Single player has been paid for by the one buying the original copy as well. The previous owner loses the ability to play the single player (as well as multi-player). This is no different than you playing the game at your friends' house - it's the same effect (given the previous owner in the previous statement is you). Besides, this is a non-issue since the fee is for multiplayer, not single player. Let me ask you this: would the developer be ok if no one sold their copies anymore, would ONLY buy games they will would never wish to sell again and instead would indefinitely play on the games' servers? If so, then it's the same effect as letting second-hand sales be free of any penalty, as those that sold the original copy would never buy it in the first place. Moreover, it would still be the same number of users on the same server, only this time they all bought the game new. This is where I think the industry is heading if second-hand sales are banned/restricted, as they were essentially a way where the market corrected itself (bad products get less sales) while offering consumers comfort in knowing they can correct their bad choices (which, without the later, IMO, would make consumers really frugal, something which can only lead to economic and industry decline as seen in this recession). How is it in this second case they have the right to play for free, when in the other case with the same effect on the developer they are not allowed to do this and be viewed as selfish scumbags? It's like calling someone a thief based on a coin toss, irregardless of the actual effects of their actions. Also, do read about the [url=http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/First-sale_doctrine]first-sale doctrine[/url] to see why second-hand sales are legit and should never be restricted in such a grotesque way. PS: I also edited my first post with a few new arguments (some in-between existing paragraphs), btw.

Muteki_X
Muteki_X

@ kenken2g Yes, because we all know those poor game companies have had such a hard time putting food on the table; they're practically homeless and have never posted record breaking profits. I don't think gaming has ever even come close to competing with total sales of other entertainment mediums. Why don't we all quit being selfish and apply this reasoning to everything we purchase? What about those poor carpenters, plumbers, electricians, contractors, architects, etc. who never see a dime when someone sells the home they purchased to someone else? Let's not forget all those poor factory workers who never see another penny when someone sells the car they purchased to another person. All the shoppers at Goodwill should be hit with a fine to help pay the makers of all those clothes which have been purchased once already. How selfish are we for not sending extra money to those poor people? I'm sure you'll do the right thing though. If you ever buy a home with a previous owner, I'm sure you will send and extra 20% of the value of the home to the people involved with its construction or just not use the full capacity of their services, i.e. only run the heat to just enough to prevent freezing.