Now that the first phase of restoration for the PlayStation Network has begun, many gamers have started jumping headfirst back into their various online titles. Unfortunately, one of the titles released just before the hack of the PSN, Mortal Kombat, requires an online pass that cannot be redeemed without the PlayStation store.

Since the PlayStation Store’s resurrection was not included with the first phase of the PSN restoration, many gamers have been wondering how NetherRealm Studios, the developer behind Mortal Kombat, planned to allow those gamers who did purchase the retail game to participate in online matches.

Considering the amount of time PS3 users went without access to online features for Mortal Kombat, we figure that they burned through the “trial period” for Mortal Kombat’s multiplayer very quickly. To progress any further than the trial period, gamers would need to either redeem the online pass code included with their retail copy of Mortal Kombat or purchase a pass from the PlayStation Store — a process that is currently unavailable.

Thankfully, over on the game’s official Facebook page, NetherRealm has said that, in lieu of the PSN being down, the use of an online pass for matches has been waived until the PlayStation Store comes back online. So, if you happen to be lucky enough to be in possession of a rental copy of Mortal Kombat, you are granted the same experience as someone who owns the game, but only for the time being.

With the PlayStation store expected to return on the 24th of May — just in time for gamers to redeem two of five PS3 titles — gamers have a few more days before NetherRealm again requires the online pass. The developer hasn’t said whether or not the service will turn on right when the store returns, so count each additional day as a blessing.

Have you already burned through your trial period for Mortal Kombat’s online modes? Has an incident like this revealed some of the inherent flaws in the “online pass” business model? Sound off in the comments below.

Source: Facebook (via Joystiq)