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Mortal Kombat's Boon defends online pass

"It's necessary for games, period."

Dark blue icons of video game controllers on a light blue background
Image credit: Eurogamer

Online pass isn't just right for upcoming fighting game Mortal Kombat, it's right for all games.

That's the stark assessment of NetherRealm boss Ed Boon, who insisted to Eurogamer that its inclusion in Mortal Kombat - a first for a fighting game - will not restrict the game's online community.

"It's necessary for games, period," he said.

"When we sell a game, we need to recuperate the cost of development. These games cost many many millions of dollars to produce. If somebody is re-selling our game and cutting us out of the sharing of the profits of the game, to pay for our games we need to do something to protect our investment."

All versions of Mortal Kombat come with two days of online play free.

After two days, to continue playing online you need to redeem your code - included in new copies of the game - or buy an online pass.

"For the guy who bought the game for the first time you get online free," Boon explained. "You get the entire game. For somebody who went out and bought it for $20 or something, for considerably less, we feel like they haven't paid full price for the game.

"There are untold million of dollars of product development and research that's gone into the game and the infrastructure of the online system."

The online pass has emerged in recent years as publishers' primary weapon in the battle against second hand sales.

EA has been its biggest enthusiast, although many publishers are now following suit, including THQ and Sony.

Fighting game fans, however, are not used to online pass - and some have expressed concern that Mortal Kombat's online community could be restricted as a result of its inclusion.

Not so, according to Boon.

"The people who only rent games or people who only buy used games probably go through a lot more games in a shorter period of time. We feel like in order for us to continue to make games, we need to get enough back to pay for it. That's the motivation there."

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