If you happened to go out and pick up the new Mortal Kombat game as we did yesterday, you are going to be in for a bit of a shock. As Warner Bros published, this title will become their first title to use the online pass code. In the case of the new Mortal Kombat, the game does come with two free days of online play, but beyond that you will need the online pass code or online pass purchase to play online.
Warner joins publishers Electronic Arts and THQ as the next publisher to start bundling online pass codes within their releases. The new Mortal Kombat also will enjoy the distinction as the first fighting game that will use the online pass code. Those who purchase the title used and want to play online will be forced to spend $10 to download the online pass from the Xbox 360 Marketplace or PlayStation 3 Store.
The addition of the online pass was something that the publisher and developer NetherRealm Studios choose to keep quiet until release. Now, however, series co-creator Ed Boon is quoted as saying that, “…to pay for our games we need to do something to protect our investment.” It seems that it is that simple, in Boon’s eyes.
Warner has not made any public comment as to whether this will be their strategy going forward, but it is safe to assume that at least high profile releases from the publisher are likely to start using the online pass strategy. We believe that more publishers will adopt this strategy this year, and the majority of publishers will be using it for most of their releases going forward by the end of 2011.