Con-soul Searching: What About Mii?
Electronic Arts has come up with a solution to keep used games sales from undercutting their profit margin. EA SPORTS Online Pass. Starting in June with Tiger Woods PGA Tour 11, all Xbox 360 and PS3 EA sport games will come with a code to allow you to play your game online. This is meant to prevent used games sale due to the code only working one time. So, if one were to buy Tiger Woods 11 used, they would probably have to pay $10 for a code to allow for online play. There is also an option for a free seven day free per title in for the people that like to rent games.
This whole thing raises a few flags for me, as I’m sure it does for most. If EA is going to start charging for online per game, what will they charge for next? How long until the price for an online pass is increased? Does my $10 fee become a credit when the title’s online is no longer supported? How can EA charge $10 on top of my already $50 fee to use Xbox Live? Those are all great questions that I could probably write a whole article about. However, the question I am stuck on for now is, why not Wii?
I realize it is a goofy thing to ask. Why am I not being charged more? I can’t be the only person that is confused over the exclusion of Wii games from this online pass. What is EA’s reasoning behind that decision? If they were going to leave any system out, I would figure it would be 360 due to the premium fee Live users already pay. The PC is being excluded from this system as well. Is EA trying to draw a parallel between Wii gaming and PC gaming? Maybe I am trying to put words in EA’s mouth. Regardless, EA seems to be choosing a loss of money in not charging Wii users as they are soon to do for 360 and PS3 players.
Let’s face it, if EA thought they could make money at charging Wii owners for online service, they would do it. That is not a knock on EA, they are trying to run a business after all. So why do they think the Online Pass wouldn’t make money on Wii? The Wii does have the largest install base of any other system. Could it be the large percentage of grandmas and soccer moms that only play the Wii for parties and such? I imagine they wouldn’t want to pay an extra fee just to play online. EA must think the “hardcore” market resorts to 360 or PS3 for their online gaming. That’s true to a point. I would rather use Xbox Live than have to deal with Friend Codes. Online functionality is arguably the greatest strength of the 360, and the original Xbox for that matter. Wait, didn’t Microsoft shut that off last month?
I can understand EA’s logic behind this now, but the Wii still gets left out or dismissed a lot when compared to its Sony and Microsoft counterparts. The GameCube was the same way. Why do so many people look back at the Cube as if it was some sort of failure by Nintendo? First off, Nintendo made a profit on the GameCube. Business 101 says that is mucho bueno. Most importantly, the Cube has a lot of amazing games. Not only does it have the always present Nintendo titles, but the third party gems for Cube are too numerous to count. The same holds true for Wii. It might not be a graphical powerhouse like the PS3, it might not have the user friendly online functions of the 360, but when the smoke clears and this console generation is over, the Wii will have a stellar line of games that will be enjoyed for many years to come.
A lot of people write the Wii off because of its graphics or because it is a “gimmick.” Those people are just denying themselves of all the great games the Wii has to offer. I have also heard people say that Nintendo will be in trouble next generation since they will not be able to make the Wii lightning strike again. Trust me, Nintendo has been in this business longer that anyone. They know what they are doing and they will be around till the end. So maybe EA is giving Wii users a free ride by not charging them for what is already free but how long will it last? I imagine if EA finds there new online pass to be successful, the Wii and PC will soon fall under the system. Keep an eye out everybody. We are on a very slick slope with charging for content and features. Games are expensive enough already. I can’t afford to pay $50-$60 for them. Much less $60-$70 or $90-$120.