Sony's PSN Pass: Is It Really That Much of a Surprise?

You've probably read the news earlier this week that Sony was implementing a PSN Pass program for its upcoming first-person shooter Resistance 3, due for release this September.  The Pass is similar to a separate online play activation that other companies have been implementing in their games, including Codemasters, THQ and Electronic Arts.  A lot of people have gone on the rampage due to Sony's move, even going as far as saying they won't buy the game.  But the question is this -- is such a decision really a surprise?

For a long time now, game companies have been trying to find a way to combat used game sales, any way they can.  While the market no doubt helps Gamestop and its employees thrive, it does take away dollars from the game developers and publishers, with folks picking up games that have pretty much already been sold.  So of course, game companies are going to take measures to assure folks they're better off buying games new, including special features and, in this case, online multiplayer.

Some folks take it too far, as Capcom did with its Resident Evil 3D: The Mercenaries on 3DS, limiting the game to the point that you can't even delete a game save.  Compared to that, Sony's PSN Pass seems kind of tame.  Still, a lot of folks are taking such a move rather personally, probably because it's the first time that a major first-party publisher is suggesting it, rather than a third-party.  So far, Nintendo and Microsoft have yet to pick up on the practice, and considering the big M's Xbox Live following, it's not looking likely.  As for Nintendo, erm, Friend Codes are a hassle enough as it is, right?

Love it or hate it, PSN Pass is happening.  It's just business.

It's just business.  Sony's had a rough year enough as it is, between the PlayStation Network crash that has set them back millions of dollars and losing third-party exclusive developers, particularly Insomniac Games, to the "enemy", if you will.  (The company's upcoming game Overstrike will be for both PS3 and Xbox 360.)  So seeing them make a move with the PSN Pass isn't a surprise, though secondhand gamers will no doubt feel the burn.  Hey, you guys will always have your Uncharted 2 multiplayer -- even while the superior Uncharted 3 set-up passes you by.

It could always be worse.  Sony could withhold premium content that should be on the disc to begin with, rather than including it and then including an unlock code.  Remember that "Pro" upgrade with SOCOM 4, that came with new copies of the game?  That felt like a cheaper move than the PSN Pass, even though it feels similar.  And then there's Capcom's game save debacle.  Messing with the game itself is a problem.  Sony isn't locking out multiplayer with Resistance 3, it's merely requiring a code.  There are no monthly fees (Insomniac Games reiterated this through their Twitter), just the one-time activation and you're on your way.  Now, if PSN is down, that's another story...but thankfully, for the time being, it's not.

Love or hate the decision, it's made.  We can easily live with it and look forward to taking on the Chimera one more time on September 6th.  Well, I can at least.  As far as the haters, get it out of your system.  The pass activation is a process that's picking up in the industry and not likely to go away.  Just roll with the punches, or better yet, take them out on your friends once you activate it.  It's just part of the new game process.