Mortal Kombat Will Require Online Pass
Thinking about waiting until after the Mortal Kombat release to buy it used? You may want to think twice, as Warner Bros. is following publishers like EA and THQ and initiating a code requirement for online play. Those who buy the game used will have to drop an extra $10 to play it online. Players without a pass will get a free two-day trial before having to shell out the extra $10.
The online pass came about as a response to the impact used game sales were having on publisher profits. By charging a one time fee, Warner Bros. will at least make some money even if a consumer buys used. It's a decent compromise, but one that introduces complications for the end-user.
When THQ started their pass system for UFC 2010, confusing menus resulted in many players accidentally buying the pass even though they'd purchased the game new. There's also the issue of not being able to lend out the game and let your friends play online--not to mention the negative impact the system has on game rental services like GameFly, which is already having trouble staying in business.
While the $10 online pass is becoming a norm for shooters and sports games, Mortal Kombat will be the first fighting game to incorporate the standard. Companies like Capcom and Aksys have thus far kept their games online pass-free, most likely out of fear of driving away their existing fanbase. While Mortal Kombat has always been a strong seller, the fighting genre was on life support before Street Fighter IV. Warner Bros. may want to tread a bit more softly on the genre its competitors have worked hard to make relevant again.