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Rumor: Warner initiating 'Online Pass' program for core titles, beginning with Mortal Kombat

A tipster has shared an email with Shacknews stating that NetherRealm's upcoming Mortal Kombat reboot will include an one-use code to enable online...


A tipster has shared an email with Shacknews that NetherRealm's upcoming Mortal Kombat reboot will include an one-use code to enable online multiplayer.

According to the email, Warner Bros will now utilize a "1st purchaser reward program," comprised of one-use codes included in new copies of upcoming games. Mortal Kombat is the first game Warner plans to feature for the new direction. Those without access to a one-use code (purchasing the game used, for example will be able to purchase an online pass for $10, the source notes--similar to other "Online Pass" enabled titles throughout the industry.

The Shacknews source says that users without a code will be able to play Mortal Kombat's online multiplayer for free for two days before being forced to purchase entry into the online features.

Other titles Warner Bros. plans to attach to the new program include FEAR 3 and Batman: Arkham City; however, it's unclear how the single-player Batman sequel will benefit from the promotion at this time.

Rumors of an online pass for Mortal Kombat have been swirling since gamers peered into the raw code of the recently released Mortal Kombat demo.

All attempts to confirm the information with Warner Bros. have yielded silence.

Joystiq reports, via its own source, that Warner has no plans to promote the inclusion of the pass. Instead, the publisher is attempting to educate retailers on the new model.

Joystiq's source added an email excerpt being distributed to retailers that explains the promotion in relation to Mortal Kombat:

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. 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.

Xav de Matos was previously a games journalist creating content at Shacknews.

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From The Chatty
  • reply
    March 29, 2011 6:02 PM

    Comment on Source: Mortal Kombat will feature an online pass, by Xav de Matos.

    • reply
      March 29, 2011 6:06 PM

      So if the game is bought used it can't be played online?

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      March 29, 2011 6:07 PM

      So does this mean if you buy used you can't play online?

      • reply
        March 29, 2011 6:11 PM

        In most cases, if you buy it used, you can purchase another online code via the PSN store (or equivalent on other systems).

        This isn't a new thing... Skate 3, UFC 2010 are titles that already did something similar.

        • reply
          March 29, 2011 6:12 PM

          Oh ok, I didn't know this had been done before or that you could purchase another code on the store

          • reply
            March 30, 2011 4:33 AM

            Yeah, it's a way for the publishers to try and see some money off of used game sales. Which pisses off a lot of gamers since it erodes the main point of used games - that they're cheaper

      • reply
        March 29, 2011 6:12 PM


      • reply
        March 29, 2011 9:08 PM

        Well, it's possible that the original buyer will not have registered the online pass.

    • reply
      March 29, 2011 6:11 PM

      damnit lamp

    • reply
      March 29, 2011 6:13 PM


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      March 29, 2011 6:14 PM

      no biggie. I buy new off of Amazon for less than what Gamestop charges for a used copy anyway.

      • kek legacy 10 years legacy 20 years
        March 29, 2011 6:15 PM

        Renters are boned.

        • reply
          March 29, 2011 6:23 PM

          I don't see a problem with that. They still get the single player and local multiplayer.

          • reply
            March 29, 2011 6:50 PM

            And two days to check out online...

          • reply
            March 30, 2011 10:38 AM

            I guess homefront's single player is worth the $5 rent =p

        • reply
          March 29, 2011 7:10 PM

          See that link in the OP. READ THE ARTICLE BEFORE COMMENTING

          The Shacknews source says that users without a code will be able to play Mortal Kombat's online multiplayer for free for two days before being forced to purchase entry into the online features.

          I would assume that is per device / username.

          • kek legacy 10 years legacy 20 years
            March 30, 2011 10:25 AM

            Yeah, renters are boned. Kids whose parents won't buy them games can get them to rent them. They'll play them and if they're good they'll rent them repeatedly. Two calendar days is horseshit if you rent a game on a Tuesday night expecting to play the game over the period of the 5 day rental. Y'know, school and what not?

            In before THIS IS AN M RATED TITLE!! Ya, and rated R just means kids aren't allowed in without a parent or guardian. It doesn't really matter because the same scenario would apply to an adult who doesn't have money to throw around on $60 games.

    • reply
      March 29, 2011 6:52 PM

      That is such bullshit because I already pay $50 a year for Xbox live which is advertised to allow me to play games online.

    • reply
      March 29, 2011 7:25 PM

      What pisses me off about things like this is that its usually only a couple years before most games disappear entirely off the shelf at places like Gamestop or Walmart, which are your biggest B&M stores for games.

      Sure you can still usually find new copies online but sometimes I want to walk into a store and buy a fucking video game. I would not mind shit like this if publishers would keep products on the shelf for a longer amount of time.

    • reply
      March 29, 2011 10:33 PM


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      March 29, 2011 10:36 PM


      • reply
        March 30, 2011 1:21 AM


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        March 30, 2011 7:35 AM

        This is a really good question. As a gamefly subscriber for going on 3 years this trend is making me seriously rethink my subscription.

        EA usually gives 48 hour trials of online play which is plenty, but the trend of locking out large "dlc" chunks from games or just locking out multiplayer altogether is frustrating as hell to me.

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      March 29, 2011 11:05 PM

      I say all you console gamers are going to the Steam model next gen. Sony and MS will tie your games to an account. Used game business dies next round.

      • ArB legacy 10 years legacy 20 years
        March 30, 2011 1:26 AM

        Taking games over to a friend's house dies. Kids die.

        Sony and MS kill kids.

        • reply
          March 30, 2011 7:42 AM

          Not entirely.. you can "bring" your steam games over to a friends house.. you just need to login to your account and download the game (or bring the game data on a usb drive).

        • reply
          March 30, 2011 9:58 AM

          just take your profile with you on a memory stick or better yet pop out your xbox hard drive and slap it on your friend's unit.

        • reply
          March 30, 2011 3:57 PM

          Who wants to carry around 2-3 games when you can just carry it all on a jump drive.

      • reply
        March 30, 2011 4:57 AM

        I know I'm going to catch a ton of shit for this but: I think everyone needs to just let go of used games. Used games is a concept that, I think, needs to die in order to help gaming - especially PC gaming.

        Don't get me wrong, I've bought plenty of them in my day (mostly old PC games from Half Price Books) but in an era where digital distribution can do so much good, I think it's time to hang it up on used games.

        I'll admit that I have a different perspective on this because I don't ever sell my games, ever. I have never once traded in a game, not even a shitty one. I'm a bit of a packrat that way. So if tomorrow all we had was Steamworks for DRM or GOG for old games it wouldn't bother me one bit. I would actually see an upside to it. But I think the used games market needs to die, at least for PC games.

        Games are too expensive. Buying a used game allows me to get it cheaper.
        If the game is too expensive don't buy it. Games get cheaper quickly anyway. Really all you're getting for $50 versus the guy who waits and gets it for $20-$30 is some extra time with it. Besides, there's a possibility that if Steam/GOG (I'll just call it Digital Distribution, or DD for short) takes off that prices will go down, or at least go down quicker. If you don't believe me look at how Valve sells the L4D games for $50 at launch and just a few months later has them for half off over a weekend. Last week they had L4D2 for like $7 and it's not even a year old.

        Being able to sell my games to someone allows me to try out games I wouldn't want to otherwise.
        Steam sales eliminates this. If you don't think a game is worth $50 then just don't buy it. One day it'll be on a Steam sale for $10-$15 and you can have it for the amount of money you would have wound up with had you bought it and resold it, and you'll still have the game afterward.

        Used games are a great way to get a game when it goes out of print.
        Somewhat valid, and this is the main utility I find in buying games from Half Price Books. But this reason needs to die for a different reason - DD (specifically GOG) does it so much better. You shouldn't have to hunt for a copy of Planescape Torment, and only be able to buy it because you either got lucky in a HPB or were willing to fork over a wad of dough on eBay. Everyone should be able to play it. And GOG does the heavy lifting for you to get the damn thing to run on a Windows 7 x64 system in 2010.

        I don't want gaming to go all DD. I like owning the game on a physical disc and being able to do what I want with it.
        This is a myth that's already pretty much dead. You don't own the game, as much as you want to think you do. You own a license to it. A license that can be revoked at any time. And games are using activation already - it doesn't matter that you own the disc if the activation server goes away. True, in the case of a single player game with no DRM you have the ability to run it now and forever if you have it on disc. But if it uses DRM that gets outdated/abandoned and won't run (i.e., a disc-based DRM that stops working) then it doesn't matter. If you lose the disc or if it gets scratched up then you're screwed. And don't get me wrong, I'm a self professed packrat - I love having physical items. Or at least I did. I've started buying most of my games on Steam and I've found I don't mind not having physical things. I mean, in the case of having something cool like a vinyl record in the Bioshock 2 box, that's cool - but I've gotten to the point now where unless the retail box can be used with Steam then I tend to not want to buy it. Look at my recent Borderlands fiasco for more info:

        Anyway, I can't think of a single reason for the existence of used games on the PC that DD doesn't fix or improve, with the possible exception of an offline mode. And I'm sure long term a fix for that will come into play as well. I think the insistence on used games being a thing is holding the industry back.


        • reply
          March 30, 2011 5:51 AM

          you are arguing that valve does these awesome sales, but when do you see great sales
          on console games?
          gamefly does them, but they are technically used games.
          Gamestop makes a shiton of money off used games, so saying used game market needs to
          go away is not the way to go.

          If publishers were smart enough to see that there is a market for it, they should jump in on it
          and get customers to buy used from them.

          as long as someone purchases a physical copy of a game, there will always be
          a market for those to re-sell those copies and the people that want to buy them.

          • reply
            March 30, 2011 6:49 AM

            Great sales on console games is not my problem. Steam is coming to the PS3 so perhaps the great sales will come along with it.

            GameStop making a shit ton of money off of used games is harming the industry. GameStop needs to die. The sooner maneuvers like this "online pass" thing kill them off, the better.

            Physical copies of games are going away at some point. It's inevitable. It just remains to be seen whether or not they take the concept of game consoles with them.

          • reply
            March 30, 2011 6:52 AM

            Oh but to elaborate, the rant there was a repost from a mostly PC game discussion last year. Thus the PC-centricity of it.

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            March 30, 2011 8:23 AM

            I'm with you. I don't think people (especially PC only Steam users) understand the current Games on Demand pricing on Xbox Live:

            Halo 3 - $29.99. In comparison Amazon sells it new at $18.55, $15 new other outlets, used at $4
            GTAIV - $29.99 Amazon sells it at $19 new, $14 other outlets, used $9
            Kane and Lynch 2 (a so so game) $39.99 - Amazon $19, 14 others, used $10

            See the pattern here? Microsoft's digital distribution of older games absolutely sucks in comparison to Steam or even B&M/online outlets. It forces many people to turn to a Gamestop or Gamefly for used games instead of buying them new.

            Now, I have no problem paying top dollar for great new games. What I do have a problem with is Microsoft or developers expecting an older game to be charged an overvalued amount. Fuck that. For example, are you going to tell me a new copy of Madden 2007 is worth the same price as Madden 2011 now? How about older games which received horrible or meh reviews from both critics and gamers?

            Older products depreciate over time... If it's a triple A game it will do so much slower and in that respect it deserves a higher price, but that does not justify every game being sold the same way. If you put a gun to my head and say buy Kane and Lynch 2 at $40 new DD or $10 used, I'll take $10 every day of the week. Sorry. Average older games should not cost an arm and leg to buy new.

            As far the online passes, I get it.. Developers want to recoup money from used games. Fine. However if they would push a company like Microsoft to hold a real sale on DD every now and then, maybe people would phase out Gamestop and Gamefly.

            Side argument to people who claim Gamespot kills the industry: Do you realize people are buying used console games because of the situation I just described? There is usually a $10 premium above their PC counterpart, too. $60 versus $50 for PC games. That's a lot to invest in a game which may be rated a 6 or 7 in reviews. It amazes me when strictly PC gamers chastise console people for buying used stuff but will wait on a sale on Steam because they heard a 'game might suck' or don't want to pay as much for a particular game. Really? You don't see the hypocrisy there? Console gamers have no Steam (for now-- hopefully the negotiations for the upcoming PS3 connection will bring a digital price war for games sold across the board in the future). It's either search for deals at places like cheapassgamer, Amazon, or unfortunately turn to Gamestop. Until Microsoft stops the madness with Games On Demand and bring things down to reasonable prices, I'll keep looking for sales on older games elsewhere.

            • reply
              March 30, 2011 8:45 AM

              You make a lot of good points but I'd like to add two things.

              1. The issue you describe with on demand pricing versus retail/used pricing is a side effect of using a platform which is controlled by a single entity. This is a huge disadvantage consoles have versus PC's. I think the reliance on the after market to solve the pricing issues is kludgey and exacerbates the problem (i.e., I wonder if console games could debut cheaper if they didn't have to price higher to account for the number of people who hold off and buy them used)

              2. The key difference between a Steam sale and a used game is that with a Steam sale the game developer gets paid. When you buy a used game the developer gets nothing. That's why used games hurt developers much more than people holding out for a Steam sale.

              A Steam sale saved Introversion from shutting down:

              And really, with the Steam sale model, price segmentation works pretty well - the people who must have L4D2 on release day believe in paying $50 for it and the people who think it's only worth $25 just buy it when it's on sale, but they don't get to play it as long as the people who get it on launch.

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                March 30, 2011 10:09 AM

                Honestly I don't think used games fully dictate the $60 price point for console games. The industry as a whole shifted towards that price range. I know SNES and N64 games were around $40-$50 so the justification of new software and tech seems to have pushed the cost up. I think a fair price for new games would be around $45 bucks. Would we ever see that again? Ehh... probably not.

                Here is what a Microsoft spokesperson had to say about their current pricing on Games On Demand (Destructoid):

                Eurogamer got a choice quote from a Microsoft spokesperson on the matter. "No one retailer has the lowest pricing for every product, and our program is about giving people 24 x 7 convenience and selection when shopping for Xbox 360 games."

                That is pure baloney... especially when 360 gamers already pay to use the Xbox Live service in the first place. They're basically saying .. Hey, we know you already contribute to our Gold service and overhead for bandwidth/service and to say thank you we are going to charge more than the market's worth for certain digitally distributed games. Even Steam adjusts for shelf life/demand and competition from other DD services. You're right though... lack of any online competitor means they can pull this off.

                As far as your second point... I would gladly pay a reasonable price for new copies of older games on Microsoft's Games on Demand like I do on Steam. However, MS is trying to pull a fast one over our heads for the ability to DD and it's BS. At least make it a fair market price. Toss in a sale comparable to Steam (not just on DLC!) every now and then. When Konami's American Idol Karaoke is selling for the same amount as GTAIV or even Halo 3, something is wrong with their DD pricing model.

        • reply
          March 30, 2011 7:46 AM

          Maybe games in general need to start at $20-30? Most games are NOT worth $50-70. That includes the AAA bullshit most finish in the span of 5 hours. Unless it holds your interest for countless hours online it's not worth that pricetag.

          Wouldn't it be easier to let go of used games if the newest single player shooter or platformer was only $20? If games are too expensive to produce then maybe it's time to roll back a bit? Do you NEED all those fancy shaders that no one notices these days? Crysis spends all this on tech and no one plays it. Halo looks like a previous gen shooter and sells bajillions. Reality is most don't give a shit if it's fun.

          So the market should adjust. Makes games smaller and cheaper and online-only.

          • reply
            March 30, 2011 7:47 AM

            (and by online only I mean distribution, not gameplay)

          • reply
            March 30, 2011 8:10 AM

            Yeah I'm curious how it's all going to shake down in the future.

            I've made the argument in the past that DD will reduce or eliminate many costs and if the industry ever moved to it entirely then the costs of distribution and covering the material costs of units that don't sell will make lower prices possible, but many people point out to me that those costs are minuscule compared to the development and marketing efforts.

            A lot of games like Crysis will sink a lot of money into new engine technologies, but I wonder if we'll ever hit the point where engines are just good enough. I mean, DNF is about to come out with visuals that were probably locked down just a few years ago and people say it looks dated. Is it really that significant or will we ever hit a point where the visuals just work? As in, will Unreal Engine 5 be the point at which we stop inventing engines and just making games with them? When Steven Spielberg makes a movie he doesn't have to invent a better camera first. Sure, new camera technologies come along and there's shit like 3D which requires more technology but there's companies dedicated to that - the guys making the movies don't have to be the ones making the cameras.

            So when we hit a point at which, either technologically or culturally, we're fine with game engines and the developers can just make games instead of GPU showpieces, will the prices come down?

            I tend to think they will - the guys who made Torchlight used an open source engine so they could focus on the gameplay and that title debuted at $20.

        • Ebu legacy 10 years
          March 30, 2011 7:52 AM

          Who's talking about used games on PC aside from you?
          Your "fixes" aren't for Console games, which is where all of the used sales are happening.

          • reply
            March 30, 2011 7:59 AM

            True, and like I said I pasted my conversation from a PC discussion, but consoles are inheriting all the perks and disadvantages of PC's (hard drives, patches, DRM), they might as well copy the PC in this regard as well.

            Used games need to die.

            • Ebu legacy 10 years
              March 30, 2011 9:24 AM

              Why? Why do they "need" to die?

              Why must I be locked into owning something for a lifetime?

              Movies don't work that way. Art doesn't work that way. Land, dishes, furniture, books, none of it works that way. Why do videogames "need" to?

        • reply
          March 30, 2011 8:07 AM

          You make good points.. but here's the main problem with the consoles going all digital vs DD on the PC. There is no competition on the consoles.. just look at the PSP and it's DD prices.. there are rarely sales and it takes a really long time, if ever, for prices to drop. At retail the games start dropping in price fairly quick (except for the few marquee games).

          DD on the PC works because no one has a monopoly. Don't like the prices on steam? Try D2D, Impulse, GamersGate, etc. They have to keep the sales coming in order to have an edge over their competition. What competition does Sony have for PSN games other than what Microsoft sells on a different system?

          As far as owning the physical disc, it still has some advantages that haven't been solved with DD. For instance.. we have two PS3's in the house and owning the disc makes it fast and easy to switch which system we're playing on. With a digital copy of a full sized PS3 game, we would have to copy what, 8-30 GB of game data from one to the other? Then since the game is tied to an account you would have to login to that account to use it on the other PS3 after copying all the data. Then you couldn't play two games you owned at the same time on different PS3's if they were purchased on the same account since you can only login on one device at a time. You could disconnect one from the internet but then that eliminates any online functionality. Pain in the ass. Until they solve those issues, I will take physical media on a console any day.

        • reply
          March 30, 2011 8:29 AM

          Your post would do better with a game that comes out on all platforms. Not just a game that will only be released on the PS3/360. As most of your arguments are based on the PC, they do not hold up when applied to console systems.

          /Former PC gamer who went to consoles to get away from the DRM crap
          //Have MK setup to rent on day 1 in my game queue, was not going to play online anyway

    • reply
      March 30, 2011 6:00 AM

      Everyone is going to do this now on the consoles. Accept it.

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      March 30, 2011 6:21 AM


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        March 30, 2011 7:11 AM

        That's funny because this is the sort of thing that has driven a lot of PC gamers to consoles. Now it's driving them away from consoles, too?

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      March 30, 2011 6:25 AM


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      March 30, 2011 8:09 AM

      I honestly don't mind this. Not a bad idea for devs to fight against used game sales.

      • reply
        March 30, 2011 9:56 AM

        it's basically the same as CD keys for PC which have been around for over a decade except that if you buy the game used you can buy a cheap CD key to play online legally.

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