PSP Game Makes Used Buyers Pay Extra For Online Play

By Spencer . February 18, 2010 . 11:04am


Sony is testing a new way to monetize the PlayStation Network without resorting to subscription fees. Their idea is to pass fees on the second hand market.


SOCOM: U.S. Navy SEALs Fireteam Bravo 3 is in stores now. Buy a new copy and you can play online over PlayStation Network for free after you register the game. Buy it used and you have to fork over an extra $20 for a PSN entitlement voucher before you can play online. Fireteam Bravo 3 has a retail price of $39.99, so the PSN entitlement voucher is half of the price of a new game.


Fireteam Bravo 3 isn’t the first PSP game to require registration for online play. Sega introduced a similar strategy with Phantasy Star Portable 2, which requires all PlayStation Network users to have a Little Wing license before going online.


When asked if online entitlement will be in future games, John Koller, Director of Hardware Marketing at SCEA, said to IGN “SOCOM: U.S. Navy SEALs Fireteam Bravo 3 is the first title to introduce the new online entitlement feature. As with many programs, we’re investigating future opportunities, but we have no announcements to make on it at this time.”

  • pacanug

    Seems like a pretty effective way to dissuade those tempted by a $5 markdown on a just released used title @ Gamestop.

  • geosaferi

    WOW. TERRIBLE. 5 or 10 dollars would be one thing, 20 is a tad bit redic. At the very least it could cause used game sellers to lower their prices.

    • Joanna

      but isn’t that a good thing? I mean you get a cheaper game, but if you want online then you pay the same price as everyone else. I see it as a great solution for publishers. Of course in certain cases in doesn’t work (if the publishers has limited print run of game X), but considering this game is Socom, I don’t think that will be the case.

    • Strike_Man

      “At the very least it could cause used game sellers to lower their prices.”

      If I buy a new $40 game, I can typically get a pretty good return on my investment if I turn it around (be it through ebay, craigslist, game store, etc.) in a short amount of time. If the game isn’t a “keeper”, I know that if I play it quick enough, I can easily resell my $40 game for $30 or so.

      Assuming a reseller doesn’t con the buyer into thinking they’re getting the full game, one can probably expect to only receive, what, $15 by selling a used copy online after a week? $10?

      By cutting out the online play from the secondhand buyers, in what is considered to be an online-focused title, the game has just lost some of its value to ME the consumer, should I ever decide to sell the copy that I had purchased. There’s a reason why people look into the resale value of a vehicle before making a purchase, and Sony should probably take note of that, as not every consumer buys a product with the intent of keeping it until it has been run into the ground.

      Of course, this point is somewhat moot since I suspect that Sony was targeting the PSP pirate community with this move, and the game resellers (individual or corporate) are simply collateral damage.

      • pressstart

        Like the RIAA, adapt or succumb! Or voice your displeasure and boycott, whichever you prefer.

  • malek86

    Now, on the one hand, multiplayer games are usually most active during the first few months, and I doubt you could find the game used for $20 less in that time. So it’s mostly aimed at pirates.

    On the other hand, it still kinda sucks, because some online games are still active even many months after release, and I would hate not being able to buy them used when they are less expensive.

  • nyoron

    On the surface this doesn’t really bother me since I always buy new, unless we’re talking something very old and out of print. That and I rarely play anything online.

    But I really hate rights and content that are tied up in the digital space. How soon until we are buying a disc that comes with a $60 entitlement voucher to play the entire game? They are using this as a backdoor into an all digital download future and I don’t like it.

  • Guest

    I’m guessing this is a kick in the face to those who use cfw

  • JeremyR

    I really don’t see that big a deal, it’s basically like every single PC game.

    And to be really blunt, it’s not like there’s a huge used PSP game market out there.

    It’s also perhaps to discourage cheating online. Thanks to both custom firmware and the recent Action Reply (which works without it), hacking in online games is pretty much the norm. But with this, they can ban people and make it stick better

    • malek86

      Yes, by itself it’s no big deal. But the way they’ve said it (“is the first title to introduce the new online entitlement feature”), I’m afraid it might eventually extend to any games that use PSN for multiplayer, which would include PS3 games too.

  • Tokyo Guy

    I wonder if this will apply to Japan, as unlike in the US, games almost never lower in pricing. I still remember going to this one store when I first came to Japan (2003) and seeing the ORIGINAL Kirby’s Dreamland for the ORIGINAL Gameboy sitting there, for it’s ORIGINAL price of 5000 yen or whatever.

    Recently, Sofmap and to a smaller extent, Bic Camera, have been offering new games at bargain bin prices when they don’t sell, but Yodobashi (the store mentioned above) never does.

    So, when you go to a used game shop and find a 6 month old game for 1/3 of the price (or less) of the new one, there doesn’t seem to be a question in terms of buying the used one or the new one.

    • tsukasa1288

      I see wagon sales pretty often in Akiba. I got a new copy of Tales of Versus for only 1800 yen about a month ago from Media Land. But your right about the the way prices are here, most stores don’t budge on them.

  • Landiur

    Maybe this is a stupid question, but how do they even know if you bought it used?

    • M’iau M’iaut

      I’d suspect it’s through the individual code/digital thumbprint unique to each disk. It likely is something totally in the background when you log into the network but the system would tie the code to the psn account used.

    • They don’t know if you bought the game used, but Sony knows if you registered Fireteam Bravo 3 with the code packaged with the game.

      And you have to register it the game to play online over PSN. If the previous owner didn’t register the game and kept the code you can play a used copy online.

  • crunc

    This is fine… *if* they also lower the retail price of new games in accordance. A normally $40 game ought to retail for $30 or even $25 or even $20, for example. It seems to me that that would put the hurt on used game resellers, earn them more money due to higher new game sales, while also benefitting the consumer who doesn’t have to wait for a reasonably priced copy of a game.

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