David Jaffe Sold Out


EDITORIAL NOTE (1.30.12) – Since writing this, we have apologized to David Jaffe, both on this site and through Twitter. However, this article will remain live to serve as an example of what not to do. Name calling is not the way to get a message heard or to encourage intelligent and mature conversation. This article was meant to be an editorial opinion about the Online Pass and instead resorted to name-calling to push a point. GameTaffy will continue to report on the Online Pass debate and looks forward to your continued support as a reader.

Twisted Metal Sweet Tooth PS3

NOTE: This was meant to appear in the WSU Signpost, but as there was no space in the paper, it was left out. Therefore, GameTaffy publishes the article for your reading pleasure!

For the past year and a half of its existence, the Online Pass has been a topic of debate amongst gamers, retailers, and game creators. Unfortunately, the majority of consumers are completely unaware of it.

As has been said on the GameTaffy.com Show on KWCR 88.1 Weber FM repeatedly for the past year, the biggest problem with the Online Pass is the lack of consumer knowledge.

Medal of Honor screen

Fortunately, the beard comes with the game, new or used.

Electronic Arts (EA) introduced the Online Pass in Oct. 2010 with its release of Medal of Honor. The pass allowed players to download a future map upon its release. Next, Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit offered consumers free additional cars, which would be available as downloadable content (DLC) to purchasers of a used copy of the game.

Then, in Jan. 2011, Dead Space 2 required the Online Pass in order for players to access the online multiplayer. Since then, several other major publishers have adopted the Online Pass in some form or another, including Sony.

In its current form, the Online Pass is a code packed inside of new copies of games, and owners of the game must type in a code to access gameplay modes, story missions, or characters programmed onto the disc. If a consumer purchases the game used, he or she must spend an additional fee, usually $10, to access that on-disc content.

Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit Online Pass Activation

Just follow the simple step-by-step instructions to get free cars.

The games industry has decided to call itself a service industry, rather than a product industry. By repositioning itself, publishers can produce a game and withhold content on the game, as that content is part of a premium service.

No other industry has attempted this business model. There is not a single Blu-Ray on the market that requires consumers to punch in a code to access the bonus features on the disc. Not a single book is sold with missing pages, only available if consumers mail a code to the publisher.

However, gamers have accepted this new fee without question.

Although most should not be surprised by Sony requiring an Online Pass with Twisted Metal, many are hurt by creator David Jaffe’s refusal to fight the decision. After stating several times that an Online Pass would hurt Twisted Metal when it launched, Jaffe announced the addition by stating that he understood Sony’s decision.

Starhawk Sweet Tooth skin

Sweet Tooth invades "Starhawk."

David Jaffe

The man, the legend, the sell-out

On the bright side, the Online Pass will include a Sweet Tooth skin for the upcoming Starhawk, including the online multiplayer for Twisted Metal. In other words, a purchase of the new copy of Twisted Metal will allow for players to get content from another new game once they purchase that. However, Sony has not stated whether used purchases of Twisted Metal with the purchase of the Online Pass will include the additional content for Starhawk.

When purchasing your games this year, be sure to check the back of the box. The label for the Online Pass is usually hard to find, and not every company uses that name. Do not purchase a used game for $50, thinking you will save money. You will have to pay an extra $10 just to enjoy the game, totaling to $60, the price you would have paid for the new copy of the game.

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About Ben Davis

Ben writes for KWCR 88.1 Weber FM, Studio 76, the Signpost, and KSL.com and can be contacted on Twitter (@GameTaffyBen) or at Ben@GameTaffy.com!

Posted on January 29, 2012, in IMHO and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 27 Comments.

  1. Jaffe has no say in whether or not an Online Pass is included. None. Sony owns the game and franchise and funded the game, even allowing Jaffe significantly more money to make the game full retail and not just downloadable. It was their decision alone to include the pass and it’s an insult to Jaffe to suggest that he sold out.

    • Any creator of a game can make a case for breach of contract that when a publisher intentionally harms the game on which he is working. When Jaffe said that an Online Pass would hurt the sales and reception of the game, he allowed himself legal power to fight an Online Pass. By Sony making the decision without his input, they are sabotaging his work.

      With Jaffe AGREEING to the Online Pass, it is easy to claim that he sold out. He could have fought (even if unsuccessfully) and changed the tone of this article entirely. I appreciate your comment, but when a game developer rolls over a decision that he claims to be against, that sounds like he took a bonus.

      • Jaffe’s comments on the possible harmful nature of the Online Pass was not legally binding, just an offhand remark.

        Furthermore, he’s not even agreeing to the pass. As he has said, he is against the pass for the first game because he wants the community to be rebuilt. However, since he never made any legally binding case for protesting the Pass, he can’t say anything, except that he understands that Sony is a business and that the Online Pass is a means of combating the revenue loss from used game sales.

        I really (respectfully) don’t believe in the breach of contract argument you have here. Is there proof that such a thing exists?

      • First, by making those comments in public, they could be used in a court of law. They have been published, quoted, and republished several times, and for Sony to act against his statements, he could claim that Sony has sabotaged his product and therefore breached the contract.

        However, my argument revolves around the fact that Jaffe never argued this decision. Instead, he states that he understands why Sony is adding the Online Pass. It seems a pretty quick turn around to go from hating Online Passes to stating that he’ll live with it. The whole tone of this article would have changed if he had only combated the Pass publicly.

        The most important part of this argument is not that Jaffe is changing his statements without a fight. Instead, GameTaffy argues against the idea of Online Passes. When a product is sold, it no longer becomes the property of the producer. When you buy a book, the publisher doesn’t withhold chapters. The problem with the gaming industry is that it wants you to believe that it takes a hit with the used game sales. How? Used games were already sold to them, and the new owner of the game doesn’t add to the resources needed to support the game. The old owner has stopped playing and given it to someone else. The old owner paid full price for the game, sold it for a smaller price, and the publisher is dealing with the same number of players per copy sold. In fact, because of used games, sequels are more likely to sell brand new, since more people have had a chance to play the original.

        If pieces of the product are withheld from the consumer unless the consumer has a special code or pays an extra $10, it sets a negative standard of deceit and price hiking. It is the responsibility of gaming press to report and latch onto any news that shows the growth of Online Passes.

  2. You’re a shitty Journalist. Find a new hobby or job or whatever.

    • Do you call me a shitty journalist because I speak out against Online Passes, or because David Jaffe told you to on Twitter?

      If you read this article, you see that the article is mostly about Online Passes and their damaging potential for the gaming industry. David Jaffe spoke out against Online Passes repeatedly, and now, he has changed his tune. That doesn’t make it right. When a person stops fighting for gamers, they sell out.

      Even if he would have lost, Jaffe should have fought Sony harder and much more publicly. Instead, he rolls over on the decision, and gamers are faced with another Online Pass, a new trend in gaming that should be criminal in the first place.

  3. It absolutely counts that the game gets sold used. It’s like this: Say I produce a piece of packaged media, and someone buys it. Then that person sell it to his buddy, who then plays it. That’s a sale that I don’t get. Similarly, the rental industry is under fire because someone can see a movie for a dollar instead of purchasing the DVD for $13. If a million people rent a movie instead of purchasing it, the company misses a ton of revenue.

    I’ll make it even more relevant. I work at a video game retailer that buys and sells used product (not GameStop). Say we’re projecting to sell a certain number of Game A, so we order that many from the publisher. We sell the copies, but then we buy, say, a dozen of Game A from customers, which are then sold to other customers. Instead of purchasing a dozen copies of Game A from the publisher, we sell the used ones straight to consumers. That’s a dozen copies worth of revenue that the publisher never sees. The only option they see is to include an incentive for purchasing the game new. Core game content is not being blocked. Just multiplayer.

    Back to the Jaffe argument: he’s the game director, and he’s overseeing it, but he’s employed by Sony, who controls the money. If I employ a person to create a piece of content, funded entirely by me, and give that person creative control, I, as the financing party, still have the right to make executive decisions concerning the content. The way I see it, the person I am employing can’t change anything by fighting my decision to try to ensure the financial success of the product, so what’s the point of doing so? Jaffe answers to Sony, who controls the funding for the game.

    And yeah, online passes suck, but I understand why they are used. Additionally, if TM can sell a ton of copies, that will greatly increase the likelihood of a sequel.

  4. Way to slam one of the few decent developers left. Do the world a favor and review a new game. It’s called “let’s drink everything under the sink”. You will love it too, because it doesn’t require an online pass.

    “he states that he understands why Sony is adding the Online Pass.”

    No shit, what major company wouldn’t you expect wanting a higher profit? My deaf, mute, semi retarded, blind, monkey with cerebral palsy can even understand why Sony wants to push for the online pass system. Now because the man isn’t too stupid to understand how major companies work, you want to say that he sold out? fuck you clown. Jaffe, is clearly a good dude, and you are making him out to be a chump. Stay cool Jaffe.

    • The gaming industry existed and profited long before Online Passes. This is a new way to rip off gamers. Again, as said over and over, the most offensive part of the Online Pass in “Twisted Metal” is that gamers now feel betrayed.

      When you buy a product, you own it. Producers are making statements about a need for Online Passes based on losing money to the used market. That is a bold-faced lie. When a person buys a product and sells it to someone else, the producer didn’t have money taken away. It’s still one person per copy of the game.

      Anything included on a disc belongs to the consumer, and when Online Passes are implemented, publishers are trying to maintain ownership of something that you paid $60 for. Gamers need developers to stand up for them, since they refuse to do it themselves. When Jaffe changed his tune, it was a betrayal to gamers.

      • I don’t feel betrayed at all. I wasn’t lied to about the game not having an online pass at purchase. I’m not offended either.

        I don’t need David Jaffe to stand up for me and tell a developer to go fuck themselves when they offer a crappy product on top of an online pass. People need to take personal responsibility to not purchase games if they don’t feel like they are getting a fair deal.

        I have no problems supporting a good game with an online pass at all. I’d rather see a chance for a sequel to a game series I adore than get somewhere under $40 by trading in a game, or getting some money off of buying a used game.

        The times have changed man, pirating is easy, and this to me seems like a sensible way to stop that. If people can’t pay a certain price on a quality game, then they need to manage their finances. I’m broke as hell and in debt from student loans, and I will still drop $60 on this game day one. Why? TM2 was a masterpiece, and this one looks like it will follow in its footsteps. I’m getting quality product for my $60 and supporting the company that made the game. I’m all for that, and I still own the game, and I don’t really worry about the resale value of something I didn’t make. If someone resold one of my websites, I’d be pretty shit out of luck when it came to turning a profit too. I realize I’m in the minority, but I have no problem with online passes.
        On the same token if a game being produced that clearly isn’t worth a shit AND it has an online pass on top of that main factoid. I will simply just do this magical thing called NOT BUYING IT. That is all the fuck you people need to the whole online pass debate, just don’t buy it. I buy for the quality product, not resale value.

      • What’s to suggest that Jaffe didn’t argue with Sony privately? Such a thing would not have needed to be a public disagreement. Jaffe also never promised that there would be no online pass from what I remember.

        And I really don’t know what’s not making sense about what I’m saying about used games. James sells his game to Dave, and now two people have played the game when the developer is only getting paid for one price of admission. I suppose it’s less “money revoked” than it is “money denied”.

  5. Jaffe is just part of a trend in the video game industry, and it’s an ugly one. While I understand that developers and publishers need to make money, implementing online passes is not the way to do it. Online passes are a way to game gamers. The only reason they exist is because the video game industry has become so big. Devs and publishers did just fine in earlier years without worrying about losing money on a re-sell or a rental. Now that there are soooo many games out there, publishers see a shit-ton of money they’re losing out on and they want a part of the pile. But what will this approach do to used-game (and media in general) stores? Honestly, I won’t buy a new game if I don’t have any experience with the series. It’s just not worth the money (some series’ *cough* Final Fantasy *cough* installments simply aren’t worth $60).

    In my opinion, this whole thing is simply a part of the United State’s archaic intellectual property laws. We need to push for a new way to give credit to intellectual property owners. The internet has changed everything, but lawmakers refuse to see that. What changes should we make? I have some ideas, but I’m not a lawyer. Any suggestions out there?

  6. I respect your opinion but many of the points you make are deeply flawed and slanderous.

    The argument about Jaffe fighting Sony:

    Do you really think the man taking his sole publisher, financier, colleague(s) and promoter to court over this will come to any sort of mutually happy ending? Sony owns his franchise – his passion. If he takes legal action, do you think Sony will be happy to keep him in employment? You are taking weird hypothetical devices and acting as if they are stone cold fact. No my friend, it’s not as easy as you’re imagining it in your head. When a person makes a game, it’s of course for the gamers, but as much for themselves. His passion and yours are separate variables. Same goes for music, or any other art form. Be appreciative that Jaffe has as much respect for his fans as he does. They’re making a packaged product FOR the fans and for the gamers based on their passion. A true TM fan will buy it new. Simple as.

    If he had sold out, he would be making content aimed at spinning money rather than what he wanted.

    Your point: “The problem with the gaming industry is that it wants you to believe that it takes a hit with the used game sales. How? Used games were already sold to them, and the new owner of the game doesn’t add to the resources needed to support the game. The old owner has stopped playing and given it to someone else. The old owner paid full price for the game, sold it for a smaller price, and the publisher is dealing with the same number of players per copy sold.”

    Don’t pretend like you actually know any of this. The whole argument seems to come down to the reason why Online Passes exist, and that’s because used game sales are diluting the revenue potential for game developers. That is it. The publisher is NOT dealing with the same number of players per copy sold. I don’t see how you draw that conclusion. It’s about revenue, not service provision.

    “In fact, because of used games, sequels are more likely to sell brand new, since more people have had a chance to play the original.”

    And how you say “In fact” is amusing, because it’s not a fact at all. What about the new IPs that have absolutely no guarantee of success or a sequel? If a game sells poorly, it makes the publisher/development house evaluate their input to the IP and cancel it if it flops. In those cases it won’t see a sequel. Heavenly Sword, Bulletstorm and MadWorld most likely won’t for these very reasons.

    Just interested dude, how do you feel about Jaffe’s rebuttal @davidscottjaffe?

  7. The Leo of Costa Rica

    Oh yeah, god forbid gamers having to buy a new game and give profit to the company that made it. What does Sony want, to make money out of the games THEY FUND?!

    Just ridiculous!

    Used game sales are hurting the company in ways you can’t even begin to imagine, financially speaking. Jaffe’s strategy was for this game to ship without an online pass, and that way get a FANBASE. If this game sold well, the sequel would get an Online Pass, no matter what. If Jaffe had his way, this is what would have happened. That was the plan all along.

    He NEVER argued against an Online Pass just to be your White Knight and defend your right to buy used games, hurting sales in the process. It was never about that. It was about getting more people to play this game in order to build interest for a sequel, regardless of sales.

    But Jaffe doesn’t own Twisted Metal. SONY does. A distinction you conveniently failed to mention on your article.

    Honestly, how is this journalism? You’re trying to turn people against a developer for a decision SONY made, completely on their own. And it wasn’t even a bad decision. It was a great way to go, business wise.

    They are actually trying to profit from the game they funded. And thanks to that, Jaffe and the ESP team might actually get to make a sequel out of this.

    Honestly, I’ve seen people be respectful towards your “argument” on the comments, and I’m trying to stay within the confines of politeness in this discussion, but it needs to be said:

    You’re a horrible journalist, and we’re not on your side.

  8. You should be extremely embarrassed by this.

  9. Wow. I’m amazed at this reaction. What if Ford, Toyota, or Nissan insisted on making money off of used cars? While the analogy isn’t perfect, it’s certainly similar. People would be furious.

  10. From any point of view, it is disappointing that Jaffe didn’t stick to his guns on this one.

  11. Jaffe has said that he didn’t want an Online Pass for Twisted Metal because they need to build up the fan community and that it was Sony’s decision to use an Online Pass for TM. It’s Sony’s game, they are the ones paying for it to be made. Jaffe has said he would be in favor of using an Online Pass for a sequel to this TM,

  12. The main problem is you pointed out that it’s jaffe fault that TM have online pass
    Remember the one have funded and have decision to include online pass is Sony not Jaffe

  13. @ cmichael

    I don’t understand why you don’t understand that used games have always been sold. It seems as though you believe selling a used game is illegal or something? I love buying used games. In turn, I don’t feel like I am ripping Sony off for doing so. You’re argument is void. It’s trying to tackle piracy and most people buying used copies of games aren’t pirates. They are just people that want to save a few bucks.

    • I’m not suggesting that anything is illegal about buying used games. I do it myself from time to time if I am strapped for cash. I am simply offering a counterpoint and giving a reason why the Online Pass exists. But as more people buy used, and games start to cost more to produce, the industry is looking for new ways to get revenue. It’s a business model, and it’s useless to complain how much we dislike it.

  14. Let’s assume you hired someone to build you a house – and suddenly the architect were on facebook (in public), and said he wanted to build big landmark-buildings – rivaling the opera in Sydney.
    Then that architect would be a ‘sell-out’, because you sabotaged his creative vision, by not allowing him to build a opera instead of a house for you.. He should go to court suing you for sabotaging his vision of a new opera?

  15. This article isn’t saying anything is wrong with buying used games. Quite the opposite in fact. The point is that the standard for having to purchase an online pass when you purchase a used game is a monumental gimmick that true gamers, like Ben, should fight. No one would be happy if he or she bought a used car and found out afterwards that an extra 100 bucks had to be paid to unlock the glove compartment. The online pass is the same idea.

    • Clint Kingsley,

      I really can’t see your perspective because it seems to me like you are taking the self-entitled gamer attitude to the extreme here. Game development studios are made up of people just like me and you. Damn hard workers. Gamers aren’t special cases that deserve to buy all their games for cheap prices at the expense of the people making them. That’s really, really selfish.

      And you say ‘true gamers’. I’m sorry but true, dedicated gamers will have made the decision to have an income to support the charge of a new game, or the charge that comes with buying used games. I don’t care if you can buy a game for £4. No retail game, unless it’s really, really crap or really, really old is worth that little.

      And the game business is not even remotely comparable to the motor industry. An online pass is a device used to help game developers from losing less money on a loophole that allows it. Getting a used game for unjustifiably cheap is just like downloading an album or movie for free – the original creator sees none of it. Two sides of the same coin!

  16. I’m just angry about everything. I hate online passes as much as I hate the internet. And computers. Why can’t I just plug my Sega Master System into my TV and buy a new cartridge from Toys ‘R Us? Seriously. Just so angry.

    Who’s Jaffe?

  1. Pingback: IMHO: Solving the Used Games “Problem” « GameTaffy

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