Kaos studios claims that the THQ Pass system helps curb the pre-owned market and makes sure that revenue goes to the publisher and developer. Dedicated servers are costly to maintain, and without the revenue from new game sales it really is impossible to offer it. Simply put, more players agree that dedicated servers offer a better gaming experience with many titles like Homefront.
Despite the complaints from many consumers about the use of such online access codes bundled with games these days in an effort to curb used game sales, publishers and developers believe that the pass system is really the best solution in the interest of the industry going forward. Users are still free to purchase a used copy of the game, but if they want to access the full online experience that will be offered in Homefront, they will have to purchase an Online Pass from the Xbox Market Place or PlayStation Store.
Besides using revenue to maintain the dedicated servers, there is also the cost of Internet bandwidth. In addition, revenues from the purchase of new titles are reinvested in the development of new games. The publishers and developers make nothing from the sale of used games, unless the player happens to purchase an Online Pass or additional downloadable content for the game.
THQ is stepping up their use of the Online Pass program, taking a page out of the Electronic Arts playbook, as they were the first publisher to employ such a strategy. Additional publishers are apparently looking at deploying a similar strategy going forward, as well as having downloadable content ready on launch day to help drive revenue for new releases. Every source we speak with in the development community expects this to be the strategy for most releases in the future.