EA adds $10 tax to second hand games

Gaming behemoth Electronic Arts will make cheapskate gamers who buy used games pay $10 to play online.

The company is to introduce a new Online Pass for anyone buying a used copy of future titles which could see an end to the lucrative pre-owned games market if other companies follow suit.

The first game which will have online play hobbled for second owners is the next installment of the Tiger Woods golf franchise, which EA churns out year after year.

Anyone who buys a used EA game will be able to play online for seven days, but after that they'll have to cough up the cash or be cut off. The passes can be bought using both Sony and Microsoft's respective virtual cash systems.

EA's Andrew Wilson has denied that the company was trying to stamp out second-hand game sales saying, "We actually view the second-sale market as an opportunity to develop a direct relationship with our consumers, and with Online Pass everyone has access to the same premium online services and content regardless of how and where you buy the game.

"We think it's fair to get paid for the services we provide and to reserve these online services for people who pay EA to access them," he added.

No doubt to stop the backlash from angry game retailers, EA has signed up at least one major high-street chain as a partner in the USA. Gamestop will happily flog you an Online Pass alongside your cut-price game.

The scheme is expected to roll out internationally at some point but UK pricing has yet to be announced. Don't expect to get much change from a tenner, though.