The model allows the publishers to reclaim some money from the used game market, as those buying the game second-hand will need to purchase an online pass for the multiplayer component of the game. It's a practice Sony's already dabbled in — PSP shooter SOCOM: Fireteam Bravo 3 combated piracy and used game sales by implementing a similar pass for its multiplayer component.
And it's something Sony are looking into further. Speaking with GamesIndustry.biz, SCEE's Andrew House said: "On the principle of making online portions of the game available or unlocked from the disc-based release for a fee, we're broadly supportive of that. And we're exploring actively the same option for our own content."
House was keen to stress that he understands such a system could be perceived as contradictory, especially considering Sony's long-running "free" PlayStation Network pitch. "In terms of just a charge for basic online play, that's something that we have to talk about a lot more," he said. "We struggle with [that] a little bit because we feel very vindicated and base a lot of the success of PSN today — a 70 percent connection rate across consoles — on the fact that we've removed that major initial barrier to entry."
Does the online pass model bother you? We're curious, there's a lot of mixed response to this kind of stuff.