Ubisoft's passport program.
Ubisoft’s passport program.

JULY 15, 2011 • Ubisoft U-Play will use a DLC passport system for its core game titles. Titles by the publisher purchased used will require a $9.95 fee to access multiplayer matchmaking and additional content if the original code was redeemed.

Impact: EA did it. THQ did it. It seems everybody’s going to eventually do it: requiring a new game purchase, or charge second hand purchasers a fee, to enable online multiplayer features.  Back in May 2010 when EA first rolled out Online Play Pass there was the expected negative reaction online from vocal gamers. Sales of new and used EA sports games (i.e. FIFA 11 and Madden 11) did not suffer, however, which yields circumstantial evidence that the strategy was at best a positive, or at worst had little to no impact.  EA/DICE has already announced a similar $10 online pass for Battlefield 3 and Ubisoft’s announcement is just another example in the trend. Until proven differently, we expect the impact on premium shooter sales will be similar to premium sports games.