Running servers isn't cheap, says Kaos Studios' boss, and pre-owned sales don't contribute anything to the pot.
Homefront developer, Kaos Studios, has defended the THQ Pass system - where THQ restricts online content to people who have bought a game pre-owned, until they play a small unlocking fee - saying that it helps pay for things like dedicated servers.
Kaos head David Votypka said that dedicated servers were a good example of why it was important that developers and publishers got a decent share of the revenue from the product they made. He said that Kaos wanted to provide dedicated servers in order to give gamers the best experience possible. Unfortunately, running servers for thousands, or even millions, of people wasn't cheap, and if the majority of players bought their copies pre-owned, then that put Kaos and THQ in a difficult position.
Votypka didn't go as far as to say that pre-owned sales would make it difficult to keep running servers, but he did say that they didn't help Kaos support the community. What's more, he said that there was the principle of the matter to consider. Kaos and THQ were providing a service, and they deserved some recompense for that, whether through new game sales or online passes.
Votypka makes an interesting point, and to a certain extent it's actually quite hard to argue with him. Whether you support the idea of online passes or not, Kaos and THQ are providing a service by running dedicated servers. Unfortunately, the argument about revenue rings a little hollow because pre-owned sales don't increase the number of players, they just swap one player - who likely paid full price for the game - out for another. The idea that it's the principle that's important might have more legs, but Votypka will probably have a hard time convincing people to agree with him.
Homefront comes out for PC, PS3, and Xbox 360 on March 8th.