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Battlefield 3 to Most Likely Use an Online Pass

Battlefield 3, the hotly anticipated first-person military shooter, might be using an online pass.

Being developed by EA DICE and published by Electronic Arts, Battlefield 3 will release Oct. 25 for the PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 and PC. Battlefield 3 will have a heavy focus on online multiplayer. If Battlefield 3 uses an online pass, it might block out its online multiplayer for used game buyers. PC games don’t use online passes.

The online pass is increasingly being used in most new releases from various publishers like Electronic Arts, THQ, Warner Bros. Entertainment and Ubisoft. Patrick Bach, executive producer for EA DICE and Battlefield 3, told GamerZines that Battlefield 3 will “probably” use an online pass code to lock the game’s online multiplayer for those that don’t buy a new copy. However he was reluctant to say it’s going to be EA’s system of the Online Pass. He said, “But I don’t think it’s an online pass, I think it’s our own backend. I’m not sure I want to call our system an online pass.”

Bach said online server costs are to blame for the online pass. EA and EA DICE don’t want players to buy its games used since both don’t get any profits from those sales:

The whole idea is that we’re paying for servers and if you create a new account there is a big process on how that is being handled in the backend. We would rather have you buy a new game than a used game because buying a used game is only a cost to us; we don’t get a single dime from a used game, but we still need to create server space and everything for you.

Traditionally the online pass has cost players $10. Bach claims that new players who would buy a used copy don’t replace the existing server space from the previous player but create an entirely different one for that new player. The exact costs and space for the creation of a new player haven’t been confirmed, or if they equal the $10 charge for the online pass.  “We want people to at least pay us something to create this because we’re paying for it. It was actually a loss for us to have new players,” said Bach.

EA declined to comment or confirm the online pass for Battlefield 3 and told GamerZines to discuss the pass at a later time.

“Hopefully people understand why. It’s not to punish people,” Bach said. ” To us it’s compensation.”

Battlefield: Bad Company 2, the last game in the series which released March 2, 2010 for the PS3, Xbox 360 and PC, used the “VIP Pass” to give players free downloadable content like weapons and multiplayer map packs. Players who didn’t have the VIP Pass could still use the game’s online multiplayer features. It’s not known at this time if Battlefield 3 will use the same system.

It was revealed that Battlefield 3 will use dedicated servers for online multiplayer on PC. It hasn’t been confirmed if console versions will have the same feature.

It also hasn’t been confirmed if multiple users on the same system will have to buy their own online pass for Battlefield 3 to play all the game’s online modes.

EA began using the Online Pass with Tiger Woods PGA Tour 11 in June 2010 to restrict access to the game’s online multiplayer features and has included it in most of its major releases since then.

Battlefield 3 is competing directly against Activision’s Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 this fall for the position as the premier first-person realistic war shooter. The next Call of Duty will release Nov. 8 for the PS3, Xbox 360 and PC. Modern Warfare 3 will incorporate Call of Duty Elite, a subscription service that acts as a social networking and stat-tracking tool for players. Activision has said it won’t charge for online multiplayer in Modern Warfare 3.

Both Battlefield 3 and Modern Warfare 3 will retail for $59.99.

Photo by Electronic Arts

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