SSX and Amalurs Online Passes: EA/38 Studios defend controversial tactic

You may’ve heard by now that next month’s SSX reboot will include an Online Pass restricting certain content to new buyers (this being a big EA title, it would be more surprising if the feature wasn’t included). However, those expecting the controversial measure to cripple online play as in previous releases may be pleasantly surprised, the company told Game Informer today.

“In SSX, players without an Online Pass are able to compete and play in both of SSX’s online game modes, Explore and Global Events, with no restrictions,” says EA. However, points earned for a top placement in the latter mode won’t be awarded to players without an Online Pass: these will be stockpiled behind a paywall so that “at any time, if a player redeems an Online Pass code, all the credits that they had previously earned in Global Events will be immediately awarded to them.”

However, the company clarifies that this won’t keep any actual content from second-hand purchasers: diligent play will allow all events and gear to be unlocked via Explore points, which can still be earned without a Pass.

EA’s Online Passes are in the news of late already, thanks to the measure’s contentious inclusion in the single-player Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning. Curt Schilling, founder of Amalur developer 38 Studios, jumped into the fray to reason with fans on the game’s forum. “You can argue the merits and effectiveness of it,” asserts Schilling, “but right now it’s how it’s done.”

As EA did last week, Schilling argues the missions in question aren’t locked content so much as day 1 DLC that’s “FREE, 100% totally FREE, to anyone that buys a new copy of Reckoning, ANYONE.”

Schilling says the company “MUST make a profit to become what we want to become. THE ONLY way we do that is to make games you CANNOT WAIT TO BUY!”, and that extra content for early adopters is just a tactic aimed at generating that level of enthusiasm. Do you pick up what he’s laying down, or will you wait until it’s a little cheaper and shorter?

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