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Developers are divided on how subscription services will affect game values

GDC State of the Industry: One-fourth of devs are concerned such services will devalue games, another fourth aren't worried at all.

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Christopher24d ago (Edited 24d ago )

Doesn't really matter what developers think, this decision will be made by publishers. Not to say developers don't know stuff, only publishers do what is best for them and their profit margins and not necessarily for their games or their developers. I mean, not like publishers don't put ridiculous goals in contracts with developers to prevent them from getting bonuses just because of one factor when they likely hit it out of the ballpark on every other factor.

ilikestuff24d ago

I’d like if I could get a sub-scription. Where I get a different sub (hoagie) every month. I’m hungry

rainslacker23d ago

Not all developers have publishers, and publishers have their own motives which will hold true with what was said in this article by some devs. Only certain kinds of games can be sustainable on this type of service and have the service sustainable at the same time. They can't both be sustainable for the long term without concessions in the scope of the resources put into the game.

Apocalypse Shadow24d ago

Basically, some developers don't believe a subscription can work for them on its own. Unless they're getting paid upfront to cover the cost of their game. It also may lead to the bigger developers getting most of the cut and the little guys getting less. Which would not be beneficial to the smaller companies.

Just look at it this way, EA, Rockstar, Sony, Activision, Ubisoft, etc know that putting their games in someone else's service at launch or their own service, is not going to cover the cost of big games. Not without a large amount of subscribers or a huge check. Or you would be seeing them do that now. These companies sell their games first. Then, when they made what they are going to make on their products from the sale, micro transactions, dlc, etc. Then you will see them possibly put their games in a service to make more profits on an old game.

Clear examples are Sony putting games in PS Now or Plus AFTER those games have sold at retail and digital. EA doesn't put their new games in Origin and Access until AFTER their games have sold. Capcom and Rockstar didn't do it until after their games sold then took a big paycheck for more profits. Only one company is doing theirs at launch. Which is to increase the amount of subscribers. But without numbers to verify, we have to go on their WORD that it's successful. But as we have seen, their games at retail have sold less. Only their WORD that they have sold more. We know gamers played more. But no numbers they sold more.

I look at it this way, if I had a restaurant with a buffet for a dollar,and I'm serving expensive gourmet dishes alongside burgers and tacos, I will get lots of customers to come in to eat. But would I have enough customers to cover the expensive dishes?

Obscure_Observer24d ago

"Only one company is doing theirs at launch. Which is to increase the amount of subscribers. But without numbers to verify, we have to go on their WORD that it's successful. But as we have seen, their games at retail have sold less. Only their WORD that they have sold more. We know gamers played more. But no numbers they sold more."

Course Gamepass is succesful. Only a idiot would believe otherwise.

We heard lots of crap about how Gamepass would be filled with indies and free to play games. Microsoft would not dare to put AAA games like Halo, Gears and Forza day one on the service. How big developers would ignore Gamepass. The quality of future first party games would be crap because first party games day one on Gamepass is not sustaintable. How Gamepass would kill retail game sales and blah blah blah.

In two months Gamepass will be 3 years old and none of the armchair analysts predictions will be realized.

Microsoft not only keeped their promisse of day one first party games on Xbox Gamepass but extended it to Xbox Gamepass on PC as well.

Phil Spencer will continue to acquire more first party studios to create even more quality first party games for Xbox and PC gamers.

Gamepass will only get better and it´s here to stay!

King_Noctis24d ago

“ Just look at it this way, EA, Rockstar, Sony, Activision, Ubisoft, etc know that putting their games in someone else's service at launch or their own service, is not going to cover the cost of big games.“

You forgot that EA has it own subscription service, EA Access, which just like Game Pass, all their first party games are on there day-one. If it isn’t profitable, then why hasn’t EA shut down the service yet?

“ EA doesn't put their new games in Origin and Access until AFTER their games have sold.”

“ Try the newest EA games days before release. Your progress carries over to the full game if you decide to buy”
https://www.ea.com/ea-acces...

“ I look at it this way, if I had a restaurant with a buffet for a dollar,and I'm serving expensive gourmet dishes alongside burgers and tacos, I will get lots of customers to come in to eat. But would I have enough customers to cover the expensive dishes?”

You know that is not the correct analogy for this case right? People can buy the game outright on top of subscribing to Game Pass. And again, if the service is not profitable, then why haven’t they shut it down? Why has MS double down on this service? I know you can’t give a definite answer to that.

SamPao24d ago

The answer is simple. Possible profit in the long run. Tesla made red numbers for a decade.
we dont have numbers, we simply cant know. Easy

ocelot0724d ago

I don't know how Gamepass is doing. But I do have some concerns about it. Like I always see these promotions 3 month gamepass for a pound and stuff like this. Why is this promotion always on? Also why are they so generous?

I sub to PC gamepass. Ever since I have I have only paid £1 per month. As soon as I sub I turn of auto renew. When my sub is about to expire. I always get a email from MS saying have another month for £1. So I rinse and repeat and have done this for about 6 months now. Why are they doing this? Are they afraid me and people like me will stop subscribing?

Also my other concern is. Right now gamepass is amazing. But I can't help but feel once MS take away these 3 months Gamepass for a Pound promo's away and we start subbing for full price for a year. Then they will pull the rug out from underneath and change gamepass around. That's just a feeling of mine not something I know will happen.

TK-6624d ago

@Apocalypse Shadow

***But without numbers to verify, we have to go on their WORD that it's successful.***

This may shock you but if you were going to get numbers they'd come from MS. So when MS ays its successful you imply that they're lying, but then if they gave you numbers you take it as fact. You have to take Microsoft's WORD for both positions.

There's a logical disconnect in your thought process.

Atom66623d ago

Origin Access Premier is $14.99 and includes day one EA titles.

1st party has the benefit of having multiple revenue streams, so that is why the subs can work successfully for them. Apparently Gamepass is successful enough to continue to offer a good price with good content.

I don't care how many copies a game has sold. Those metrics will be less and less important going forward. If they are able to invest in making content, and the content is good, that's all that should matter.

So far, the people who have rallied against subs and predicted doom and gloom have only been able to show WORDS. Meanwhile, we're now seeing Sony and MS offer us two great subscriptions that keep getting better.

You keep your WORDS and sales figures. I'll keep subscribing.

rainslacker23d ago

Wonder if now that there is an article about it, if all these same things I said about it will be considered right. I know people loved to say the developers that said it was a good model were enough to say I was wrong, but without any developer coming out and saying it in an article, all I had was my own supposition.

Who am I kidding though. I know that someone will come along and explain why I was always wrong, and why these devs are wrong, but the few devs that said otherwise before were right. It's not that there couldn't be somewhere in between where the truth lies.

20d ago
rainslacker20d ago

Might as well, given that one article was enough for those that said I was wrong to be used to say I was wrong, and to conflate that to "lots of devs".

+ Show (2) more repliesLast reply 20d ago
isarai24d ago (Edited 24d ago )

Well this can go two ways:

Either the devs will release a bare bones shallow experience expecting the rest of the game to be filled using revenue generated from the subscriptions

OR devs release solid games that are only made better and expanded on, made only possible by the subscription model.

I don't see many devs taking the second approach honestly, though this will be at the will of the publishers and not the devs.

Teflon0224d ago

Didn't click the article but I think they're talking subs like PSNow and Gamepass. Not like FFXIV and WoW. The way companies get paid doing it. It's unlikely it'll work either way you said unless they have either another rev source or the game is selling enough units to warrant it

2pacalypsenow24d ago

Gaming will be devalued, just like music.

ThinkThink24d ago

Why would that be bad exactly? I remember the days of paying close to 20 dollars for a music CD only to find out there are only 3 good songs. The music landscape is so much better now that it was back then, especially for the customer.

Rachel_Alucard24d ago (Edited 24d ago )

And the newer music coming out all follows the same styles and redundant sounds just to make the most money. I mean the Millenial whoop is named just because it's so common. Modern rap is very low quality compared to past generations of it. Now it's just 1 hook that gets spammed nonstop with autotune and barely any actual rhyming outside of that. You also didn't attach half-assed dances to every song for the sole purpose of publicity and fame. Alternative rock is not the same genre it was 2 decades ago, now it's some combo of soft singing and barely any rifts or the rocking out it used to be. Just listen to modern Green Day and then listen to Green Day in the 90's. The quality of music has degraded heavily in the past 20 years.

ThinkThink21d ago

@Rachel,

Right, I agree with you that the quality of music has degraded, as have the quality of movies but I don't see what that has to do with the subscription model. Take TV as an example, TV is arguably much higher quality now than it was say 15 years ago.

P_Bomb24d ago (Edited 24d ago )

Survey breakdown re. games in production:

45% pay-to-download model
43% ftp model
8% Apple Arcade/GamePass type of offering
6%. subscription ie. WoW

FTP appears to have gained the most traction, but as one respondent says, "I feel the f2p ad-based strategy is driving the mobile market into a crappy one, full of clickbaity small experiences.”

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