EA Goes Nuclear Against Used Sports Games Sales

In its ongoing battle to lower the secondary market value of its games, EA is withholding online play — pretty much the only reason to buy most sports games — from used and rented copies, Destructoid reports. New copies will include codes that let you compete online, and if you’ve got a used copy you can spring for $10 for the privileges.

From the Destructoid story:

Starting with the release of Tiger Woods PGA Tour 11 on June 8th, all EA Sports games going forward will include a code in the case, and you’ll need to type in that code in the menu in order to enable online play. If you buy an EA Sports 11 game used, or if you rent one, or if you borrow one from a friend, you’ll have to buy a code from the Xbox Live Marketplace or the PlayStation Store for 800 Microsoft Points or $9.99, respectively. Of course, EA Sports will still afford you the privilege of purchasing DLC (or downloading free DLC) for its games, but without an Online Pass, you’ll only be able to use the content offline.

Thankfully, EA Sports has included a provision for renters and borrowers: if you don’t want to buy a code, you can activate a free seven-day trial of online play — but you can only do it once per EA Sports game. Surprisingly, GameStop is on board with the EA Sports Online Pass — the retailer will be selling Xbox Live Marketplace points and PlayStation Store cash cards alongside the 2010 EA Sports games.

Since GameStop typically charges $55 for a used copy of a $60 game, it will be interesting to see if the company cuts into its profit margin a bit to shoo uses sports games off its shelves.

Fearless prediction: As soon as it gets the guts, EA will begin charging a World of Warcraft-style additional monthly subscription fee to compete online.

EA Sports Online Pass: Buy games new or pay $10 to play online [Destructoid]