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Ubisoft fights used sales with online pass system

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Assassin's Creed: Revelations (Ubisoft)

Add Ubisoft to the list of publishers who are throwing up barriers for buyers of used games.

The French publisher has unveiled a new system dubbed the Uplay Passport that will include a one-time code with each game, giving players access to locked content -- including online multiplayer. Buyers of used copies will have to shell out $9.99 to utilize those features.

The move is an increasingly common one in the industry as publishers look to monetize used game sales, something they historically haven't made a penny from.

Electronic Arts was one of the first to lock features after the game's original owner traded it in, launching "Project Ten Dollar" last February.

Since then, several major publishers have followed suit, including THQ and Warner Bros. Earlier this month, Sony unveiled a similar system called PSN Pass, which will require a code to unlock "full online access."

Uplay Passport will make its debut with the launch of Driver: San Francisco. Buyers of the game will find a code on an insert card included with the game. If the code has already been used, they'll have to purchase another online.

The company says it plans to include it in many of its popular core games, indicating it will also be a part of this year's Assassin's Creed and Ghost Recon titles.

It's a move that may trouble gamers looking for bargains. Though used game buyers have had more than a year to start getting used to the idea of paying a fee on top of the purchase price, passport programs like this obliterate much of what they'd save by buying used. Oftentimes, it's simply cheaper to buy a new copy, if they keep an eye out for sales.

And that, of course, is what the publishers are hoping for.

Ubisoft, as you might expect, didn't mention used game sales in its announcement, but the company has clearly stated in the past that it didn't intend to sit on the sidelines and leave potential money on the table. Last May, it said it was watching Project Ten Dollar "very carefully."

Given the remarkable similarities of the two programs, they must have liked what they saw.

-- Play Gems Twist on Yahoo! Games --

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