Subscription-based services: entering the era of digital disposable?

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#1 Posted by aia89 (2794 posts) -

All you can eat gaming, access countless titles as long as you pay your monthly or yearly fee. Stop paying and it all disappears in a blink of an eye.

How do you like this Netflix scenario? It's certainly a successful model, but nothing tangible remains for you to cherish in the future.

Yet it allows gamers, developers and platform holders to meet in the most convenient, relatively cheap way.

I personally can't say I dislike it, but the feeling of dusting off and play an old game from the shelves, or even digitally (drm-free), makes me stick to the dear, old way.

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#2 Posted by Pedro (32966 posts) -

Game collections are a relic of the past in the age of digital downloads. Since most gamers play and forget, the subscription model is very viable.

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#3 Posted by npiet1 (1619 posts) -

I like it, its cheaper for me and as long as the publisher is still going the games should always stay no matter how old they get. It also gives then user data on how much people are playing these old games, so if people start playing a forgotten series it could always come back. I know steam does it but not on a scale like this.

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#4 Posted by pyro1245 (4545 posts) -

I'm for it.

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#5 Posted by X_CAPCOM_X (8368 posts) -

Everyone supporting this will eat their words when all publishers push for their own stupid subscription service, sorta like how disney is taking their stuff off of netflix.

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#6 Posted by Archangel3371 (26916 posts) -

As long as it remains as just another option to game I have no problem with it. I’ll stick to getting my games on physical formats myself.

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#7 Posted by shellcase86 (4252 posts) -

I'm all for it as a viable, healthy, robust option -- but not at the expense of forgoing physical distribution completely.

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#8 Edited by italygamer (662 posts) -

It starts off relatively cheap until they get comfortable with their userbase and increase the monthly dose, just like Amazon and Netflix.

You may think it's a small amount of money spread at a monthly base, but when you add all those subscriptions up then you realize that maybe "cheap" is just a relative term and that all they're doing is injecting you with a painless needle.

Ultimately it's a good option for those who play a lot and often while being aware that they have no control over the removal and addition of software in that playground; titles can get pulled out from that library at any time even if you paid your ticket.

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#9 Posted by nepu7supastar7 (4898 posts) -

@aia89:

I'm fine with its existence but I don't see myself relying on it as my only source of gaming any time soon. Nothing can compete with absolute ownership.

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#10 Posted by Blazepanzer24 (100 posts) -

It's, (Like netflix and Hulu,) Only cheep and sustainable because so many people are still buying Physical and digital copies of games. Once Digital and physical copies both go off in favor of subscription biased services, then you'll either start paying over $150 a month or everything will be heavenly splintered. Say a separate subscription for Bethesda, EA, Paradox, Ubisoft, Blizzard, Activision, and the list goes on and on.

Same will happen to nexflix and hulu once Cable/Satellite TV Becomes obsolete and people stop buying tv shows/ movies on blu-ray, DVD, and Digitally like Itunes.

Satellite prices for games, it's coming at this rate.

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#11 Posted by navyguy21 (15181 posts) -

Netflix and Hulu members have the same choice.

They could buy a movie on DVD or Bluray but they choose to stream...........why?

Because it is cheap, immediate, and convenient.

Same reason why EA, MS and soon Ubisoft are entering the games-as-a-service arena.

Its where the industry is headed.

People complained about Netflix the same way when it launched.

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#12 Edited by Shewgenja (21030 posts) -

Seems fine on PC but consoles are sold on ease of use, reselling games, retro nostalgia, and collectibles. I think this digital future stuff is overhyped by priveleged Americans who are not core gamers and see gaming as a disposable hobby because they are not enthusiasts.

I hope subscription model gaming on consoles dies next gen so we can put it to rest.

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#13 Edited by afrihan (125 posts) -

The gaming industry is -luckily- a bit late to the party, but the transition to full gaming on-demand has begun and there's no stopping it. The increase of userbase and revenues from subscription-based services is growing at a very rapid speed and fees are bound to become proportionally higher.

Just like movies and music, games are just getting there to join the on-demand club as the primary way to have access to them.

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#14 Posted by Jag85 (12727 posts) -

Right now, gaming is making huge revenues from the F2P microtransaction model. That's a far more lucrative business model than subscriptions.

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#15 Posted by AJStyles (442 posts) -

I like it as an option.

What I notice happening with me is I physically buy games I consider 10/10 that I want to keep forever like GTAV/God Of War.

Whereas, this optional service is great for games I would NEVER actually spend my money on.

It allows me to play terrible indie games, crackdown 3 and bad assasins creed games at a cheap enough price. It feels like a rental store really.

I would be extremely upset if I was forced into the service.

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#16 Posted by KungfuKitten (26125 posts) -

It's totally going to happen. The only concern I have is the idea of voting with the wallet is further removed from the consumer. We are seeing publications and social media banning people and removing comments and dislikes, sites like YT potentially removing like/dislike options and some storefronts thinking about an opt-in for allowing user reviews... All of this is diminishing the power of the consumer.

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#17 Posted by djoffer (1044 posts) -

Love it! Allows me to play a lot of games I normally wouldn’t bother with it or would try!

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#18 Edited by Ezekiel43 (1064 posts) -

@navyguy21 said:

Netflix and Hulu members have the same choice.

They could buy a movie on DVD or Bluray but they choose to stream...........why?

Because it is cheap, immediate, and convenient.

Same reason why EA, MS and soon Ubisoft are entering the games-as-a-service arena.

Its where the industry is headed.

People complained about Netflix the same way when it launched.

I'm still complaining about Netflix. The video quality and especially the selection just aren't that good. Their classic disc rental service is far superior. I subbed again last month.

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The difference between games and movies is that with games you often don't have a choice except to get it digitally. I think it's really stupid that I can pick up a copy of North by Northwest by Alfred Hitchcock, but I have no means of acquiring a sealed two year old game at MSRP. (Unless it's a really popular one.) Why are they not able to produce a few copies for online retailers like Amazon? Limited shelf space isn't a real issue. I've never seen a Criterion Collection movie in a store. I don't trust Sony. I've already lost an account to hackers. It had Little Big Planet, Ico and this shoot 'em up on it. Nintendo took down the Virtual Console, didn't they? Maybe I'm not remembering right. Anyway, Sony, Nintendo and Microsoft have no incentive to continue hosting their old games once most people have lost interest in the old consoles and moved on. You're granting them the ability to do whatever they want with "your" games.

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#19 Posted by SaltSlasher (768 posts) -

Thing is, Netflix dominated and killed Blockbuster with some help from Redbox, it didn't kill DVD or Bluray at Walmart/etc.

Just like Game Pass/PS Now/EA Access will all kill GameStop, but it won't kill physical games at Walmart/etc.

The only way to truly kill physical, is by doing what PC did, which is non-transferable games.

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#20 Posted by enzyme36 (3992 posts) -

I'm all for the digital age... and have bought digitally almost exclusively for the passed few years.

This has been mainly on PC tho... however my habit has carried over to the Switch recently. Seeing the Wii shop close gives me pause tho. Hopefully with the Nintendo network they will find a way to keep your games persistent from gen to gen.

If not shame on me... the Wii U to Switch digital transition never happened.

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#21 Posted by Random_Matt (3684 posts) -

Find subscriptions more expensive, I do not watch nor play enough. Mostly because the stuff just does not interest me.

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#22 Posted by X_Karen_x (362 posts) -

It not a good idea for all subscription. Consumer leave ownership right behind in favor of its convenient. Law for digital for odd reason it still in a grey. As the example look to the wii shop. When it live you buy, download, and have a option to delete but download again. Now it gone, you not have the option to download a game you have a right to download again. Game publisher and developer run a risk of being sue in a future for this reason.

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#23 Posted by lamprey263 (35823 posts) -

I still buy games, and if I should need to shut off my subscription out of necessity I still have hundreds of games to hold me over... then again, if I can't afford $9.99 then I have bigger problems and not sure I should be gaming at that point.

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#24 Edited by storm_of_swords (2610 posts) -

I hate it.

First of all, I only buy a handful of new games a year, so subscriptions would probably end up costing me more than just purchasing the games that I really want.

Secondly, there is something that I love about physical media. Digital media just feels less satisfying to me and subscriptions are even worse.

Thirdly, there is a great book called The Paradox of Choice which explains how too much choice can create paralysis and also tends to lead to less satisfaction. I know that I've experienced this many times before. I don't want to have a countless amount of games available to me in a subscription service because that will just make me feel overwhelmed trying to decide what to play and I would be constantly jumping around from game to game without spending enough time to really invest in them. This happened to me a few years back when I tried gaming on emulators and had every game ever made for retro consoles easily available to me. It was too overwhelming and decreased my satisfaction from those games.

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#25 Posted by mrbojangles25 (43039 posts) -

As someone who buys multiple games per month, I find the idea of a subscription-based service really enticing. I am surprised I haven't tried it out yet with Origin's service.

Honestly, if Steam came out with the same service, where I could play any game I want, and they charged 600 dollars a year for it, that would be a bargain for me. I'd sign up for it in a heartbeat.

The issue is selection, of course; I sometimes have a hard time justifying my Netflix sub because the selection can be, at times, not really that great, especially new movies. But if a game sub had new games and old, I'd be down for that.

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#26 Edited by pitty8982 (1054 posts) -
@storm_of_swords said:

I hate it.

First of all, I only buy a handful of new games a year, so subscriptions would probably end up costing me more than just purchasing the games that I really want.

Secondly, there is something that I love about physical media. Digital media just feels less satisfying to me and subscriptions are even worse.

Thirdly, there is a great book called The Paradox of Choice which explains how too much choice can create paralysis and also tends to lead to less satisfaction. I know that I've experienced this many times before. I don't want to have a countless amount of games available to me in a subscription service because that will just make me feel overwhelmed trying to decide what to play and I would be constantly jumping around from game to game without spending enough time to really invest in them. This happened to me a few years back when I tried gaming on emulators and had every game ever made for retro consoles easily available to me. It was too overwhelming and decreased my satisfaction from those games.

Great book, indeed and I have experienced the same problem of feeling overwhelmed with too much choice; I even feel very uncomfortable in big stores where I get lost in the ocean of choices.

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#27 Posted by thereal25 (1688 posts) -

@pitty8982 said:
@storm_of_swords said:

I hate it.

First of all, I only buy a handful of new games a year, so subscriptions would probably end up costing me more than just purchasing the games that I really want.

Secondly, there is something that I love about physical media. Digital media just feels less satisfying to me and subscriptions are even worse.

Thirdly, there is a great book called The Paradox of Choice which explains how too much choice can create paralysis and also tends to lead to less satisfaction. I know that I've experienced this many times before. I don't want to have a countless amount of games available to me in a subscription service because that will just make me feel overwhelmed trying to decide what to play and I would be constantly jumping around from game to game without spending enough time to really invest in them. This happened to me a few years back when I tried gaming on emulators and had every game ever made for retro consoles easily available to me. It was too overwhelming and decreased my satisfaction from those games.

Great book, indeed and I have experienced the same problem of feeling overwhelmed with too much choice; I even feel very uncomfortable in big stores where I get lost in the ocean of choices.

Yes, I believe that if you invest time/effort into something then it will pay dividends. But jumping from thing to thing with little investment leads to a low return.

So in that sense, less is more.

But it's a personal choice - and as far as gaming goes, it shouldn't really matter too much how many games you have - it's just a matter of giving each one a fair go.

As for the topic, I generally find that subscription services aren't worth it for those on a budget. I only like to buy the occasional game and get the most out of it. At the moment I probably only have the time for 2 or 3 games a year - and buy on special most of the time too.

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#28 Edited by Planeforger (17915 posts) -

Online subscriptions giving you access to a range of downloadable games?

That's hardly the future - PC gaming was doing that 15 years ago.

For example, I remember that we used to have to subscribe to Gametap to get the earliest Telltale Games episodes. I'm pretty sure that my ISP had it's own unique game catalogue as well.

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#29 Posted by Vatusus (9144 posts) -

@Pedro said:

Game collections are a relic of the past

Thats exactly what makes them more valuable

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#30 Edited by Yams1980 (3220 posts) -

I want physical forms of games.

I still have most of my atari/nes/snes and pc games from the 80s/90s/2000s. To see that go away would really devalue the worth of buying games.

Its good they digital options for people who want that, but i'd pay extra for physical form and drm free games. I never feel comfortable having things I paid for and only stored on someone elses network which i can't access without their consent.

If steam ever deleted my account claiming i violated terms of use or even deleted it because someone else took it over and abused it. I'd lose everything. This cannot stand.

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#31 Posted by Dagubot (1138 posts) -
@Shewgenja said:

Seems fine on PC but consoles are sold on ease of use, reselling games, retro nostalgia, and collectibles. I think this digital future stuff is overhyped by priveleged Americans who are not core gamers and see gaming as a disposable hobby because they are not enthusiasts.

I hope subscription model gaming on consoles dies next gen so we can put it to rest.

Ease of use on consoles? Nothing easier than just going to your dashboard and launching the game without even getting up to put a disc in...lol.

Sucks for you though since the digital future is not going anywhere.

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#32 Posted by Shewgenja (21030 posts) -

@dagubot: Excuse me? I game primarily on PC. I'm not missing a goddamned thing. The point of what I said was that consoles are for a different target audience that may or may not even have the kind of internet access you think would sustain that market.

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#33 Posted by Dagubot (1138 posts) -
@Shewgenja said:

@dagubot: Excuse me? I game primarily on PC. I'm not missing a goddamned thing. The point of what I said was that consoles are for a different target audience that may or may not even have the kind of internet access you think would sustain that market.

You're excused...

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#34 Posted by R4gn4r0k (30168 posts) -

I dread the fact that cancelling my subscription would result in losing all the games I enjoyed playing and would like to replay one day.

I'm staying the hell away from game subscriptions.

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#35 Edited by speedytimsi (767 posts) -

It's OK. I think it's cool temporary but I'll not subscribe on a regular basis. Hey a new game comes out and I'll subscribe for a month and test that game out.

I once subscribed to GamePass which is cool but I just think the price is a little too steep for me. It depends on what you want. It's kinda like an all you can eat buffet. You might be interested in some games but you probably don't like some of them or have no interest in them.

Besides if the company decides to go under then the games and all your progress disappear.

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#36 Posted by onesiphorus (2685 posts) -

I enjoy the alarmist reaction among certain posters here, but once subscription-based services becomes the norm, I can see these same posters using it. Such hypocrisy!

This is what I learn about human hypocrisy: the biggest the complaints, the bigger the hypocrisy.

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#37 Posted by Steppy_76 (2565 posts) -

The majority of games purchase a game. Play it once or twice and it just sits on a shelf. Digital subs just make it cheaper for them. You can still purchase the games you want to have longterm(with a discount). I can say that I have replayed more games now that they're digital then when they were physical. Once a new system comes out the old games and system tend to be put into storage. Now when they're available without even getting up it removes a barrier to playing the games again. I've had purchases from 15 years ago that I had long forgotten about pop up in my ready to install list and have revisited more than one of them.

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#38 Posted by Speeny (1094 posts) -

I don't exactly like the idea but wouldn't mind it at the same time. It's probably going to happen sooner or later. I think majority of gamers still buy physical copies though, that's for sure.

I buy pretty much all of my games digitally these days. I don't replay games too often either unless they're my favourites. So, in a nutshell I guess the sentimental value I get from all this is the memories of playing it.

That being said, if they were pulling games off the store as much as Netflix does, it would end up being a real inconvenience. I don't want to feel..."rushed" to play a game. It's kind of like when back in the day you'd hire a video game from the rental store and you would end up having to finish it within that time period. Not exactly the most comfortable experience.

Plus, if I were to 100% something and not be able to show it off in-game...It'd kind of feel like a waste of time to me and have no value at all.

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#39 Edited by BassMan (9623 posts) -

As long as I am able to download and play games locally, I don't mind these subscription services. As soon as they try to force streaming on me, then it is a big fucking problem.

Another thing I would like to continue seeing is being able to buy the individual games as an option and not locking them behind a subscription pay wall. I don't want to have so many subscriptions with redundant content. I would rather subscribe to a few key ones and then the odd title that is not on them, I can buy individually.