Home Gaming Gearbox Software Takes A Stab At EA – Mocks Project Ten Dollar

Gearbox Software Takes A Stab At EA – Mocks Project Ten Dollar

1 min read


I stumbled onto something rather funny today, but first let me make sure that everyone is on the same page.

EA managed to get on quite a few people’s bad sides recently when they launched their Project Ten Dollar concept.

If you didn’t already know, Project Ten Dollar is EA’s idea to only make the first purchaser of a game get access to its online multiplayer modes. If the game is bought second hand, the gamer has to pay 10 dollars to receive an access code that unlocks all of the modes.

It seems that Gearbox Software, the guys behind Borderlands, seem to think that it’s worthy of some ridicule. Here’s how they did it.

Today sees the release of the new Borderlands DLC titled New Robot Revolution. I was doing a post about the DLC being available and noticed something oddly familiar about the opening of the DLC’s description. It goes a little something like this:

“To combat second hand sales of used munitions among greedy, haggling treasure hunters on Pandora, the Hyperion Corporation have decided to activate the Interplanetary Ninja Assassin Claptrap.”

Sound like something you have heard before? Of course it does. It’s pretty clear that Gearbox saw it fit to make a mockery of EA’s Project Ten Dollar in their DLC’s storyline by swapping out game with munitions and gamers / second hand services with “greedy, haggling treasure hunters“.

Funny? Indeed. I can understand that companies like EA are frustrated about second hand sales going to stores instead of back to the publisher. Making the gamers pay the price for it is not the way to do it, don’t you agree?

Last Updated: September 29, 2010


  1. I disagree with you on that. If not the gamer then who? Second hand games stores offer a platform that allow you to purchase games second hand. It’s the gamer who ultimately has the say, the gamer is the one who chooses to buy second hand or new. Fact is you’re benefiting the opportunist and not the creator.

    EA’s attempt at getting something back is a great idea in my opinion. Believe it or not games aren’t made by magical faeries who get paid in rainbows, there are people who need to make a living from it.
    Would you prefer them to make you register your game and it can only be used on your console?

    Personally I’d be pretty pissed if someone got all the money off of my hard work.

    Unfortunately we don’t get the deals here that they do in the US and the UK from what I hear on podcasts but second hand sales do hurt the gaming community.We are getting screwed by our local stores.

    I think EA saw a problem and came up with a reasonable solution.


  2. Gavin Mannion

    September 29, 2010 at 13:55

    It’s a typical thing for South Africans to feel hard done by at retail but it’s not entirely correct.

    it has become quite common place to see Makro selling reasonably new titles for R150 in their budget bins which is far cheaper than you will find in most first world countries.

    But as for the story, I think EA is well within their rights to charge for online play if the game is purchased second hand and Gearbox is well within their rights to poke fun at them about it.


  3. Nick de Bruyne

    September 29, 2010 at 14:10

    You guys are looking at it from a very different angle to what I was looking.

    As far as I am concerned, if second hand sales have become such a huge problem why not come up with a system whereby retailers have to register with an organization of formed publishers for second hand sales. Retailers would need to pay the publishing organization a membership fee to sell their products second hand, but will still be able to profit from the sales.

    Everyone wins. We get games cheaper, retailers still make profit and publishers get money back.

    Personal sales can stay free, but businesses must register and the businesses will still do well because people want to trade games in all of the time.

    At the same time I come back to the fact that EA don’t seem too unhappy AT ALL when zillions of people trade in their old games, previous maddens and so on so that they can rush out and buy the new Madden.

    Old game sales generate new game sales.


  4. easy

    September 29, 2010 at 14:11

    yes a lot of time and money is spent on making games, and yes they do need to be rewarded for collective efforts. that’s why they put a price tag on it, so to compensate for initial budget with hopes of turning a profit. business.

    there are many comparisons you can make with dvd’s, cars, and so on when it comes to the second hand sales market. none of them ask for compensation to second hand sales. why should games be any different?

    arguments can be made for both sides, and both make valid points. so it’s yet another subjective matter with no clear resolution.


  5. codemonkey

    September 29, 2010 at 14:27

    I completely disagree. If this is to be done for gaming, it should be done for everything.
    Buy a second hand ps3 or Xbox and be forced to pay microsoft or sony over and above the purchase price.

    Games that are distributed on physical media should be viewed as normal stock , it should be traded and sold at will. Remember you are buying the right to play the game for as long as YOU OWN IT!!!! if you wish to transfer that right it should be up to you.

    What you are saying above (Gavin and Kale) , is the same as saying that once you buy a game; you should be allowed to play it for x amount of time, and after that be charged again.

    What difference does it make to the gaming companies if I keep my game forever or sell it to someone else? Absolutely nothing.

    The fact is this : People who wait for second hand copies will very rarely buy the game new (at full new retail price) , if they cannot get it second hand they will wait for the title to become ridiculously cheap at retail (like say R100 or R150) in which case the margins for the gaming companies are negligible.

    The world is really going to sh!t once people start believing that nickle and diming gamers to death is acceptable.



  6. Kale

    September 29, 2010 at 14:28

    Perhaps my words were a bit harsh regarding our local retailers, I’m always looking for specials. But I do notice the trend that we lack consistency. Why are games like Bayonetta for example is above the R600 mark, GameStop (US) is R280, Batallion Wars 2 another example is like 2 years old and costs R530 yet Silent Hill Homecoming (both Wii games) costs R170? It’s that lack of consistency I question.
    It also used to be cheaper for me to import new games from the UK, US and Asia until the postage costs were insanely increased. So I do believe we still get the short end of the stick. I would have thought bulk importing would have helped reduce cost.

    As for Gearboxes link to EA I think it’s fantastic, I’m a huge fan of all companies.


  7. Milesh Bhana

    September 29, 2010 at 14:34

    EA can kinda be forgiven for this.

    Yes, they nailing 2nd hand gamers. (stick)
    But their retail prices are R100 cheaper than the competing publishers (carrot).


  8. Gavin Mannion

    September 29, 2010 at 14:37

    The difference is that when you buy it secondhand and play online the developer doesn’t get a cent… but they are hosting the servers and developing new updates and patches for you. That doesn’t seem fair to me.


  9. easy

    September 29, 2010 at 14:40

    so what would they do if no one bought 2nd hand? would they go into liquidation?

    it’s a moot point claiming loss of revenue in regards to online play. the initial retail price is their to pay for ea’s infrastructure. surely?

    or am i missing something.


  10. codemonkey

    September 29, 2010 at 14:50

    In a perfect world. However most games nowadays work as follows: One of the players become the server. The xbox/ps3 servers are only used for matchmaking. Once the game starts it is up to your own hardware. The gaming company just adds the feature to the game(online support) , microsoft or sony handles the rest(matchmaking etc).

    This infrastructure is paid for in the price you paid for the console , or in your xbox live subscription in microsoft’s case.It is increasingly rare that gaming companies host dedicated servers.

    As for patches : they should not have released a buggy game in the first place. However bugs are sometimes unavoidable but you shouldn’t use this as an excuse to pay more.

    As for updates: Most charge for DLC anyways. So they are already making money out of that.


  11. Kale

    September 29, 2010 at 15:08

    I disagree with your disagreement of my statement :biggrin:
    Unfortunately everything is not my hobby, gaming is so I will defend that :happy:
    I agree that you have paid for the right to own the title but you not so much transferring the right as allowing another party to profit off of it.

    And no Gavin and myself are not saying you have to pay for the game again after being allowed to play for x amount of hours. If you’ve never owned the title how can you be charged again? It’s only directed at buying a game second hand.
    The difference it makes to game companies is instead of for example R100 going to the developer to pay staff and costs and wants to make more games that you enjoy playing, it goes to Joe Soap who gives you R100 for the title and sells it for R400 to someone else then puts that in his/her pocket.
    If new games become so ridiculously cheap then why not buy them new. Part of that still goes to the dev.
    The only thing I could agree on with you though is there are games I would like, but I don’t want to by full price for (uhem… Bayonetta…) so they have not gained a client but I haven’t denied them an income by funding someone else.
    I do think game prices are pretty high although I’ve noticed a drop in certain titles, and I know it’s tough for everyone to afford all the games they want. But it just doesn’t seem fair punishing the people who work hard to provide our entertainment.


  12. Dark

    September 29, 2010 at 15:16

    Blizzard got it right. Who’s gonna sell their Starcraft 2 account? Not me 🙂


  13. Aequitas

    September 29, 2010 at 17:20

    I’ve given this issue much thought, and honestly, I think it comes down to what *exactly* is included as the ‘buy new’ bonus.

    At first i was very much against this whole thing, but I think that was just a reaction to being screwed over and over by MS leaving out bonus materials because South Afica is ‘not a live territory’. I had to pay for maps in GoW2 and the first DLC for Alan Wake, even though I bought both new :/

    I think leaving out multiplayer is a bad a thing, because you are essentially locking people out of content that is already on the disk. I think a far more reasonable thing to do is stuff like Cerebrus Network for Mass Effect 2, or VIP for BF:BC2. Where you get extra content down the line for free, but you can still play all parts of the game.


  14. Sethy

    September 29, 2010 at 18:45

    Aequitas you actually paid for the first Alan Wake DLC? I just sent a pissed off email to the recommended guy on the remedy forum. He asked me to take a pic of the game with the proof of purchase and I got the dlc code a day later.

    As for second hand games. If you sell your game do you not give your right to play the game over to the next person? You already paid the share for online features but you transfer it to the next person. You dont play the game anymore…

    I’d be seriously peeved if my car needed a software upgrade and Im told “sorry it is a second hand vehicle and the maintenance plan only covers the original owner for software updates unless you pay x”


  15. BoNg

    September 30, 2010 at 22:42

    The way i feel about it is that the companies are friggin greedy… they already make a huge profit as it is… for christ sake the gaming industry is already a billion dollar a year industry… there is no need for them to charge for the same game twice… and if every game they made was of the best quality they would never end up in 2nd hand stores anyway… anyone who has been into game stop knows that when you go in there, there will be maybe 1 or 2 of GoW3 and like 15-20 kane and lynch dog days… i could be wrong about the GoW3 thing cause maybe they just resell them that quick… i know that if i have a game that i really liked and was a great game i wont sell it back cause maybe one day i would just like to go down memory lane and enjoy that game again… yeah i know my thoughts are a bit spastic but im sure people will get the gist of what i mean


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