An interesting experiment with Mass Effect 2 will see EA looking to discourage pre-owned sales of the game.
Those who purchase new copies (either boxed or digital) of the title will be given a code to access what BioWare calls The Cerberus Network – a hub for accessing both free and paid-for in-game DLC.
However, anyone who buys a pre-owned copy of the game will not get access. That is, unless they pay EA for a code to do so. How much this will cost has not been divulged, though purchases are linked to EA Online accounts and there’s a limit of one code per user.
Premium DLC will still be purchasable through the Xbox Live Marktplace for those without Cerberus access, but without a code gamers will be locked out from accessing any free content.
The quality of the DLC offered will be the determining factor as to whether or not Cerberus proves an irresistible proposition for gamers. BioWare has stated that offerings will include new missions, armour, weapons and an exclusive new hovering vehicle.
The first free download will arrive on January 29th alongside the game’s release.
The moves mirror those EA took with BioWare’s other recent release, Dragon Age: Origins, though the Mass Effect 2 strategy seems to take the ethos a structured step further.
With publisher’s having already diminished the pre-owned PC games market it’s no surprise to see them making good on the long-term threats to do the same with console software.
However, with more retailers flocking to pre-owned and the sector proving a vital part of the High Street’s current games proposition it’s unlikely that such moves will be welcomed.