THQ Tired of Being “Cheated”

Posted August 25th, 2010 at 1:09 pm

Last week we got news that THQ was expanding its version of the “online pass” from its original debut in UFC Undisputed 2010 to the next release from the company WWE Smackdown vs Raw 2011. Their games going forward will come with the one-time-use code to access online functionality and for those who don’t buy the game new they’ll be stuck paying $10 to reach the online features.

This “online pass” tactic appears as though it will be the standard in the future with EA Sports already using it and now even Sony beginning plans for a program of their own. What isn’t expected is to get an explanation as direct as the one given by THQ’s WWE creative director Cory Ledesma.

Interview with CVG: “I don’t think we really care whether used game buyers are upset because new game buyers get everything”, THQ’s creative director for wrestling titles told Gamasutra. “So if used game buyers are upset they don’t get the online feature set I don’t really have much sympathy for them. That’s a little blunt but we hope it doesn’t disappoint people. We hope people understand that when the game’s bought used we get cheated”.

I’ve always understood the reasoning behind implementing the “online pass”. The issues that have cropped up along with it started with the deceptiveness around UFC including such a program and then its poor implementation and EA’s desire to use it as a bridge to additional downloadable content and microtransactions.

In the case of THQ and Sony they have to understand that the online performance has to live up to the standard of online play being framed as a “value add-on”. Games like MLB: The Show, UFC, and SvR all have a history of providing terrible online play experiences and consumers will not continue to accept that given the new circumstances.