There once was a time when playing video games involved getting in your car, driving out to a Gamestop, buying the game, and putting the game disk into your console.
Oh wait, that’s still happening.
But those times may be soon coming to an end, as Microsoft is joining the group of companies slowly switching over to a system that allows you to play any game you want from the comfort of your mom’s basement:
Well, it’s not Netflix, but a subscription service for games.
On June 1st, something called the Xbox Game Pass will be available for purchase through the Live store which will allow you to play an entire library of Xbox 360 and Xbox One games with an all you can play model for $9.99 a month. The pass is already available for Xbox Live users, but on the 1st it will be available for everybody to purchase regardless of their current subscriptions to Microsoft.
That’s the part that really makes me happy, how Microsoft isn’t trying to plop a subscription on top of a subscription by making it only available for Live users. The pass will work as it should, a universal status available to everyone.
Video games, since the beginning, have always been encased in some physical form of tech, whether it be a disk, cartridge…that’s kind of it. But the point is that games were designed to be interchangeable considering the average human attention span, which means that gaming technology had to be separated between processing, and storage of the game. Up until recently, games could only be physical. But with the creation of the internet, the possibilities suddenly panned out. Things could be uploaded to servers and stored digitally, and combining that with increased storage allowed games to coexist amongst the operating system of a console or computer and any other files you may have.
I’m just rambling like a madman right now but stay with me, please.
Eventually, we got services like Steam, Origin, Boonty Box, and even companies like Sony and Microsoft provided digital downloads for their consoles. These are programs that not only organize your games but allowed you to buy and download them over the internet so you would never have to leave your house again as long as you had a bank account. And that’s the face of gaming as we know it to be today.
Games have always been a buy once-play forever kind of thing, and you might think a subscription model is just a ploy to bring in constant revenue. But if you think about it objectively, this really kind of makes sense. A subscription will simplify things, by not making people choose a specific game to buy, they can just pay a fraction of the price of one game to play many, if for only a month. But even then it would take several years before the price of a constant subscription even comes close to matching the total price of all the games available to you through it.
All Microsoft is doing is cutting out the middleman, and forcing you to have access to all these games. It lets you play games that you might want to play, but don’t really want to purchase, and it gives a bit more money to Microsoft as opposed to previously when people would buy a finite number of games and potentially never buy another in their life.
It’s kinda janky, but it works out in the end. And Microsoft isn’t even the first to do it, with services like Playstation Now, EA Access, and GeForce NOW already available.
So what do you think, are you gonna buy into this new service? Do you think it’s cool, or just dumb?
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