UFC Undisputed 2010 will require players to enter a redeemable code supplied with the game in order to use its online functions.
Review copies of the game pitched up at the Eurogamer office yesterday complete with 12- and 15-digit codes for PSN and Xbox Live access respectively.
That makes THQ the latest company to hide multiplayer features behind a redeemable code in an attempt to undermine second-hand sales, from which publishers make no money.
People who buy the game second-hand when the code has already been redeemed will need to pay a one-time charge of $5 for the same access.
EA Sports recently announced that, starting with Tiger Woods PGA Tour 11, future releases on PS3 and Xbox 360 would require gamers to enter a one-time code to unlock multiplayer features.
Earlier this week Ubisoft CFO Alain Martinez said the French publisher would "probably follow that line sometime in the future" when asked about the EA Sports "Project Ten Dollar" policy, which CEO John Riccitiello reportedly green-lit last year in an attempt to strengthen the value of EA titles.
Last weekend GamesIndustry.biz columnist and Eurogamer contributor Rob Fahey argued that the decision to restrict multiplayer access is a case of publishers attempting to weaken the value of second-hand games, whereas earlier initiatives - such as bundling free DLC coupons with Dragon Age and Mass Effect 2 - were more acceptable because they were designed to add value to first-time sales.
THQ explained to Destructoid that the UFC Undisputed 2010 restrictions would prevent players without the code from accessing the new Fight Camp mode where players can assemble up to 40 people and train together online.
"This is a significant value-add to the game as players can continually improve their skills by training with their friends and bringing teams of MMA specialists together," the publisher said in a statement.
"This multiplayer content for UFC 2010 Undisputed will be available via a one-time code included with the game at purchase. Codes for accessing the content will be available for second-time buyers for an additional $5."