Game publishers will do almost anything in an attempt to prevent used game sales. This is especially the case for THQ and Electronic Arts. If they can not prevent the game from being traded back to GameStop, who will then sell it used, they will still try to make some sort of money off of the used title.
EA and THQ both recently introduced Online Pass programs which require a code entry for players to get full functionality out of their online games. Players who bought the game used or don't have the code can get that functionality by paying $10. THQ started this with last year's UFC Undisputed 2010, and it looks like it will continue with the March release of Homefront.
Players who purchase Homefront new in store will be required to enter a code that comes in the box. Those who don't enter this code and attempt to play the game's online multiplayer will not have full access to the game, and will only be able to reach level 5 of the game's 75 level progression. While they will be capped at level 5, they will still be able to continue playing the game, but won't earn any rewards for gaining levels. We still don't know how the game handles level progression and weapon unlocks, so it isn't known how limited these first five levels will be.
Homefront looks like it could have an interesting single player story. The trailers we have seen showing how people continue their lives in an overrun America look like something we haven't really seen before in any game's story. One the other hand, the multiplayer looks unremarkable. We have seen only one multiplayer trailer, and it looks like something out of Modern Warfare 2 with tanks and vehicles added in. It could turn out to be an incredible multiplayer experience, but as of right now it has some tough competition with Black Ops and Halo: Reach occupying everyone's consoles.
Having an online pass be required for what could prove to be a flash-in-the-pan multiplayer mode may be a bit much. It seems that THQ would want the most people possible playing the game, to keep the mode alive as long as it could.
So Readers, what are your thoughts on this online pass for this game? Is good idea, or just a desperate cash grab? Would you ever continue to play a game that capped you at level 5, knowing their are 70 more levels you are missing out on?
Homefront arrives March 8, 2011, for the Xbox 360, PS3, and PC.