Home » General » Need For Speed: The Run Takes Online Pass Ridiculousness To New Level

Need For Speed: The Run Takes Online Pass Ridiculousness To New Level

Need For Speed: The Run Takes Online Pass Ridiculousness To New Level

EDIT: Since publishing this it has been pointed out that the same was true of NFS: Hot Pursuit. I was not aware of this, but it changes very little. In fact, it annoys me even more. Thanks @Macrike for the heads up.

I was recently playing Need For Speed: The Run for review. It was a full, retail copy that came with an online pass, as is par for the course with EA (and other publisher’s) games these days. I did not use the pass, however, as I would not be keeping the game – it is the property of the office and will be passed onto someone else in the future, who will need the online pass to be able to play the online mode for review.

That’s just how it works.

Yesterday I settled down post-6pm to take screenshots of the game for the review. It’s a rather laborious part of the job, but it’s necessary and sometimes you can have a bit of fun with it – especially when the game in question has a photo mode. The Run has a photo mode. I decided to use this to take two or three nicely-posed shots of the game to accompany the text.

That’s just how it works.

Except, that’s not how it worked. I activated photo mode, I posed and zoomed the shot to get something nice-looking (pretty easy – it’s a nice-looking game). I pressed X to take the photo and… nothing. A message popped up in the top right of the screen, something along the lines of ‘online pass is required to view or upload images’. Upload? Yeah, I can understand that. I dislike the online pass and have made my feelings abundantly clear on the matter, but for the sake of argument I’ll accept that part – for now. I can’t upload without an online pass. Okay.

That’s just how it works.

But I also can’t view images without an online pass. Ones taken while offline, to be saved to my own hard drive and viewed by nobody except for me, unless I want to transfer them from the hard drive and upload them myself onto the countless free upload services available on the net. Nothing to do with EA. All to do with me and other companies. But because I do not have an online pass, I am not allowed to do this simple, offline act.

That’s just, apparently, how it works.

Batman: Arkham City locked out single-player content without a pass. Need For Speed: The Run is locking out an entirely offline function of the game without an online pass. What next? Where does it end? And what justification can the Online Pass Defence Force offer for this one? You were all too willing to jump in and tell me how great passes were before when I complained about them. What about now? Or will you just continue to regurgitate the publisher-fed nonsense I’m sick to death of hearing from paying customers who seem all too happy to have their status as an owner of a game undermined and effectively criminalised.

That seems to be be just how it works.




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  • This time, you’re right. It is a somewhat unbelievable suggestion that just looking at images offline requires an online pass. A step too far, out of order, etc., and no doubt the rest of you crybabies will be banging this drum for the next few months. But, the concept of keeping some content purely for first-sale paying customers is still a fair enough move on the part of the publishers. It doesn’t matter how you serve it up to us, you are still moaning at something that is entirely defensible. Publishers and developers should have the right to determine what to charge for their titles, and if sweetening the deal to sway less people to pirate/buy pre-owned (which are entirely the same thing from their viewpoint) is the tactic they choose, then I will continue to support this. It is no different to the old CD keys, or choosing words from a manual, or aligning symbols on a pirate wheel that we had to put up with in the past. Nobody complained back then, and it is only the loud kiddies who think everything should be free who are complaining today.

  • @Lee Weedall:

    Bollocks.

    Sorry, but it is. In the past, if you traded in/sold/gave away a game which had a pirate wheel, CD key or “type page 36, line 5, word 8” copy protection, that wasn’t crippling a function of the game for the next person to own it. If you gave it away, you’d give them the manual/pirate wheel/whatever with it. People wouldn’t be expected to shell out another $10 for the privilege of getting a slightly different version unique to them, and often these anti-piracy measures were cool things like prequel novellas or physical props from the game world — things that people wanted to hold on to.

    Why should publishers and developers have the right to charge customers like this? Look at the PS2 era. None of this nonsense, and it allowed the industry to grow to where it is today — even with a thriving preowned market. Doesn’t happen in the DVD/Blu-Ray market, either — if you want to sell/trade/give away (or even, God forbid, lend) a video disc of some description, you can. So why is it happening with video games now? Because people are willing to accept it — even defend it. I don’t see a convincing argument in favour of this anti-consumer practice in your comment — and “because they can” doesn’t count.

  • Ian Dransfield

    @Lee Weedall

    That is one of the most incredible arguments in support of online passes I have ever read. Incredible in the sense that it has left me incredulous at the entirely and demonstrably incorrect logic you have invoked to make a point that you don’t seem to understand.

    I do not mean to flame, I do not mean to troll, I do not mean to be aggressive here – but Jesus H Thor that’s a genuinely stupid, wrong argument.

  • Lee

    @ Lee weedall

    How can you say that developers and publishers just want to fleece us for all they can they decided what would be a reasonable price for their work by charging us in the store for their product, as far as im concerned they have gotten their money from the first person that bought it. I mean when you buy a second hand car you dont get told you can only go 40MPH or you cant use any motor way unless you pay Ford/other car manufacturers for a pass to do this. Because the first person to but that car has payed them for their time and effort. And its should be the same with games but unfortunately it isnt.

  • Bilbo

    There’s no doubt that publishers are going to lock out both single player and online play with these passes. They just started with online to ease us into it. The *only* way to put an end to this is by boycotting online pass games. There’s no other solution.

    Just rent the ones you can’t live without, but don’t keep supporting online pass games unless you are okay with losing your option to sell or trade your games. And definitely don’t buy EA games.

  • DO’G

    Ian Dransfield

    i agree with you 100%. its a complete joke. i love gaming as much as anyone BUT if EA ( i know there are others, but they are the main culprits) continue to use online passes i will not be buying there products again. what’s even more ludicrous is they would want us to buy their DLC on top of the online pass.

    @ Lee Weedall
    I struggled to continue reading your post after this:
    “But, the concept of keeping some content purely for first-sale paying customers is still a fair enough move on the part of the publishers”

    Then stopped reading after you said “It doesn’t matter how you serve it up to us, you are still moaning at something that is entirely defensible” You obviously work for one of these rip of merchant companies.

    You’d think that they wouldn’t try to screw us by asking us to pay more, when during 2008-2009 when the recession hit the gaming industry was doing pretty well.

  • I read all the above, and am staggered. The hostility is expected, but the stupidity has caught me off-guard. All I ask is for any of you to provide a SINGLE example where the cost of one of these Online Passes has been added onto the RRP of a title. I’ll save you some time – there aren’t any. Online Passes remain a FREE BONUS for customers who buy new copies. Until this changes, they are fair.

    The only people who pay for Online Passes are those who buy pre-owned games. As a customer who chooses not to support this loathsome practice, who chooses not to allow retailers to rip me off, I am completely and utterly unfazed by the introduction of this system to punish people who are … basically fools to themselves. Feel free to buy pre-owned at well over the odds if you want to, but do it without crying about publishers who are doing nothing more than making this prospect less appealing. If GAME and Gamestation continue to try and mark pre-owned titles up to the tune of 200%, I shall continue to not support the practice.

    You really think it is smart to buy a copy with functionality removed for the saving of a couple of quid? Keep living your dreams, kids. I’ll continue to shop my way. I paid less for Arkham City than I would do for a pre-owned copy on the shelf of either shop today, AND I got the Catwoman code included. If you are shopping differently, then you need to change your habits. Or is it just easier to cry and hope the world soothes your ills for you?

  • James H

    Lee Weedall – it seems to me that you’re getting the wrong end of the stick (at least in relation to other people’s arguments). People aren’t complaining about the cost of online passes being added to the RRP of a new game, rather it is that if you want to buy the game 2nd hand (as I do frequently) then you now have to pay something extra for the privilege, which is wrong and entirely indefensible.

    I am not sure why you think that buying 2nd hand games is a “loathsome practice”? Yes, the stores sell them for more than they pay for them (sometimes by quite a large percentage), BUT they are still cheaper that buying new games and the stores have to be able to make a mark-up in order to pay the rent/staff costs, especially in a world where online retail is so huge. Without support, particularly from the 2nd hand games trade, a lot of these stores will go out of business, which will increase unemployment and empty plots on the high street.

    Finally (and I know Ian has said this many times and, for the record, I agree wholeheartedly with his position on online passes), 2nd hand games are good for the games industry, in exactly the same way they are good for the car industry (and many other industries). The fact is that by letting me sell the games I have completed and no longer want, I can then justify going out and buying a new game on release date, who knows if I’ve sold a few games I might even splash out and get the “Bonus Edition” pack!

  • Ian Dransfield

    Second-hand is ‘loathsome’?

    Well, there’s no debating with you then. The publishers have already won. Just give them your card details, cut out the middle man.

  • DO’G

    @ ian dransfield and James H

    I think you should ignore this F**L, because i seriously believe he is employed by EA to post drivel regarding the advantages and the positive outcome of online passes. Lets be honest any fool that calls the 2nd hand industry “loathsome” can NOT be trusted simple as.

    Anyway guys I’m going to call trolls r us and tell them we have a troll problem, i’ll let you know when they will be around to sort him out.

  • Second-hand is not loathsome. GAME and Gamestation charging 200% markup for pre-owned copies is. You should all be aiming your vitriol that way, and not at the publishers who are just trying to combat what they see as a problem.

    Let’s put it another way. This site has ads, which presumably get the site some revenue. Apparently, Ian (and all you cronies commenting) would have absolutely no problem with somebody setting up a site that not only regurgitated the articles from this site without the ads, thus robbing the site of income, but you would also be happy if said site were to charge people for the privilege of not seeing ads to read the content that they didn’t produce. So, I should do that, and when Ian is out of a job he can always rest happy in the knowledge that at least his hunger is feeding the industry in some way.

  • Ian Dransfield

    You’re talking about copyright and plagarism. Selling games second-hand is legal. It’s called capitalism. Free trade. Open markets.

    Comparing those two things shows you have absolutely no grasp of what you’re talking about.

  • James H

    @ Ian

    If he doesn’t understand economics he doesn’t stand much of a chance with law.

    Also, I’ve never been described as a crony before – do we get some kind of outfit a la Robin Hood’s Merry Men/the goons in Batman Arkham City?

  • Ian Dransfield

    Yes, but only if you go to a shop, steal the clothes, make exact replicas of them, take said replicas back to the shop (after burning the originals in a ceremonial pyre), buy the replicas you have made with a 10% discount (how you get the discount is up to you) and then wear them every day for four years. Then you have your costume.

    It’s EXACTLY THE SAME as second hand sales. Do you see?

  • Dimebag19

    Putting online passes for offline content is wrong. Do developers/publishers think we are made of Money?(also there is a global recession), with so many decent games coming out at the same time recently it’s impossible to buy every game at full price. I will most likely just by one at full price (Skyrim for example) and buy a game like need for speed – The Run pre-owned in a few months, only to find out I can’t use all the features in offline mode. It’s crazy. This has to stop.

  • James H

    YES! I shall do it now – any idea where I can get an Ian Dransfield’s face T-Shirt?

  • Joey

    Lee, everyone who commented here are ‘cronies’? From an outside perspective it looks like you’re the one with your panties in a twist and looking like quite the “little kiddy” yourself.
    Try buying Arkham City ( fantastic game ) new in 5-10 years time so. See how the online/offline pass is such a great idea then when you want to replay a classic. The Catwoman parts was unnecessary but that’s just the start of it. You are wrong, Lee and you fail to see the entire point of this argument which isn’t all about money. You could have left your opinion without hostility and showing yourself up to be a total shithead.

  • Ryan King

    I wish I wasn’t so late commenting. I want to be a crony!

  • Jack

    I can’t believe anyone is defending this. Literally all things that can be sold can be used by multiple people or resold. That’s how things have always been and this has never damaged any industry. Or at least that was the case up until now. Imagine buying a bedside lamp at a car boot sale – only to find out that bulbs will only shine at 40% brightness until you pay someone to ‘unlock’ it. Or buying a second-hand HDTV and turning it on, only to be presented with a message informing you that all channels except Channel 5 will be locked out until you give Sony another £150. This is what’s happening here.

    At least when online passes only unlocked online features, publishers could bluff their way by saying the money was needed to run their servers (even though that blatantly wasn’t true), but paying extra to unlock features already on the disc? Unacceptable and unjustifiable.

    It’s so despicable because the publisher has only paid for the publication of one copy of the game, yet continues getting money after the game has been sold despite suffering no further expenses on the back of that copy. It’s shameless profiteering. Plain and simple.

    I almost laughed out loud at Lee Weedall saying that retailers who put a 200% mark-up on pre-owned games are screwing over the customers but publishers who impose online passes are not. It’s exactly the same principle, except publishers are in a much more powerful position and aren’t relying on that extra money to stay afloat.

    What if I want to play one of my games at a friend’s house? What if I bring my old copy of Batman: Arkham City down from the loft in 10 years time to play it on my backwards compatible Playstation 4, only to find that – even though it’s a completely offline feature – I can’t play as Catwoman any more because the servers are no longer running? Most importantly, what about people who rent games? And people that don’t have an internet connection? Well, it’s “Screw them” as far as EA and other publishers are concerned.

    Just for the record, I don’t actually buy pre-owned games that often, but when I do, I expect them to work properly. As everyone should.

  • DO’G

    YAY i’m a crony
    @ ryan king SOrry you are to late * points finger and laughs*

  • DO’G

    @ jack well said mate wells said * clapping* BTW i’m not being sarcastic

  • shaun

    @lee weedall

    I cant say that i have ever gone into GAME or GAMESTATION and seen a PS3 game for £80 by your logic of 200% that’s what the mark up would be! so clearly your in a world of your own.

    And you are one of but a few of gamer’s who actually agree this is a good idea.
    You said no one is yet to provide one example other than price as to why this is a bad idea, well what about 10 years down the line when the servers for a certain game are no longer up and a part of your favourite game/series is lost FOREVER, so you cannot share the same experience you had with say your children or just for yourself in the future. Is this fair?

    Also what about the gamer’s who do buy new but cannot afford or cannot get a broadband connection due to the part of the country they live in or other possible reasons why people cant get broadband?
    Should these people suffer for the greed of developers/publishers? they get there money the first time they sell the game is it fair that they gain for each time the game is sold in the future?
    Would it be fair if i sold a laptop on eBay then also got say 10% of the money from all future sale’s of that laptop or the owners would be locked out out of certain features?

    Also if you have a say 3 children and they have there own computer each then one parent would have to shell out £120 for 3 of the same title just to get full access to it? is that fair?

    I simply cannot believe that anyone can support this unless they work for or are a developer themselves, its outrageous and now its leaking into single player content, soon i’m sure it will cover more of games.

    And the only people to lose out from all of this madness is us gamer’s
    And gamer’s that simply cannot afford to pay £40 for a game in these hard times and rely on the second hand market to enable them to be a part this generation of games and keep their much loved hobby.

    In my opinion it boils down to greed on the part of the developers/publishers in a time when money is short and we are all trying to save a little money and simply get by as we creep ever closer to the edge of recession and publishers/developers are raking in millions of pounds and a quickly making more than movie makers,
    can you imagine if the movie industry follow the games markets lead by locking out special features from blu rays and dvd’s to enable them to squeeze that little bit extra from the movie market? well i wont be surprised if that’s exactly what they do.

  • shaun

    Continuation from above comment:

    I may not buy second hand games myself but i don’t need to be to know they are getting a raw deal, after all they still pay good money for games like everyone else but only get a portion of the game.

  • Anglosaxon

    I cannot believe that people support this online pass bulls***e.
    How the f**k do EA get away with this, they dont need the money!
    And what the hell I am paying for XBOX LIVE GOLD for?
    Now every f***ers going to lay this sh**e on us unless we buy their overrated crap new!
    Wankers!

  • Anglosaxon

    P.S
    And they smell too!

  • Anthony

    Everyone seems to want everything for free nowdays – which would be great if every one also wanted to work for nothing as well – but if “Superbike Racer” doesn’t make enough money because everybody is buying it secondhand, then we won’t get “Superbike Racer 2” So if you REALLY like your games then you should try to support the industry by getting them new – perhaps when on special offer etc.
    I can’t really blame the makers for trying to get some money from second hand buyers – as long as people KNOW this and people don’t sell games on eBay as “COMPLETE, MINT” etc. yet all the DLC codes have been used.

  • RipOff

    I agree , I went to Game to use my points before they went bust. Pick up Need for speed Pre owned, got to the check out and was told id need a code to play online!!!! WHAT !!!! an extra £6 or buy the full priced game.

    But i expect to play online and not have to buy an additional code. RIP OFF . Didnt buy it , and wont buy anthing like that again . Bye EA – Xbox360Key comes to mind now. EA just killed the XBOX console.

  • Rob Act

    Reading these comments makes me hate gamers. You people are so f–ing cheap it is unreal.
    Need for speed the run sells for £14.00 new.. are you seriously saying that you still need to buy a second hand copy to save a few pounds, and then bitch and moan because you have to use 800 measly points getting an online pass.

    Some retards even say things like “the companies get the money on the first sale so it doesnt matter if I buy secondhand”. This is so dumb it beggars belief.. er.. if you buy secondhand then you are avoiding buying a new copy, it doesn’t matter whether the other person sold it to you or not.

    Buy your games new you moaning, cheap-a$$ losers. get a job.. or ask your mommy for more pocket money. It’s absolutely pathetic.

  • Ian Dransfield

    Was it £14 new when it came out? No, it was £50 new (more likely £40 from most places). That’s a fair bit of money for most people, even those with jobs. So people buy second-hand to save money, because it’s a free market in which they are perfectly entitled – and in fact protected by law – to do so. And because the publishers don’t like the fact consumers have choice; that consumers can indeed vote with their wallets, they instigate draconian measures that punish people for literally doing nothing wrong.

    And then people like you come about and defend the company’s actions. That’s insane.

    Stand up for the rights of others – for the rights of individuals. Not for the profits of faceless, monolithic corporations. Choice matters. Without it you’re left with a closed market, and a closed market does nothing but harm the industry.