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NPD analyst Mat Piscatella: The risk of subscription is in the potential devaluation of content

Jenea

Banned
Mar 14, 2018
1,568
Do you know what is great for consumer and bad for industry ? Piracy, all those game for cheaper than cheap (for free). Is is sustainable ? Not.
The same goes for GP.
 
Oct 24, 2019
295
We're seeing that in action with Microsoft. They're opting for a lot of cheaper, sloppier products like State of Decay, Sea of Thieves, Crackdown 3, etc. just to generate content for their platform, regardless of quality. Things like Gears 5 and Ori are the exception to the rule these days, when it used to be the opposite.

I miss the days where Halo and Gears were on top of their game and the indie arcade still existed, giving us classics like Braid, Super Meat Boy, Limbo, Shadow Complex, Castle Crashers, Bastion, etc.
 

Christo750

Member
May 10, 2018
1,734
Devaluation is a definite concern but what about the absolute over-saturation of content? Certain storefronts, it’s impossible for developers to get their games noticed in the first place. With the barrier to entry so low, everybody’s going to be racing to get their games out because they know visibility will be lower than ever, and the games may turn out worse over time.

All it does is give the biggest publishers more mindshare because they have the most money to burn. I don’t think it’s the winning move for smaller indies that people think it is.
 

DJtal

Member
Oct 30, 2017
463
Capetown / South Africa
When the industry I am working on started to drift to the cloud, we didn't hold the forth. No people will never give up their entire business to the cloud, they want everything on premises. But the industry was already heading that way, basically we figured out how to transition. Because in a tech world that's we do, we pivot.

Everything tech related is subject to this. I see no reason why our hobby should be special.
 

Papacheeks

Member
Oct 27, 2017
3,903
Watertown, NY
We're seeing that in action with Microsoft. They're opting for a lot of cheaper, sloppier products like State of Decay, Sea of Thieves, Crackdown 3, etc. just to generate content for their platform, regardless of quality. Things like Gears 5 and Ori are the exception to the rule these days, when it used to be the opposite.

I miss the days where Halo and Gears were on top of their game and the indie arcade still existed, giving us classics like Braid, Super Meat Boy, Limbo, Shadow Complex, Castle Crashers, Bastion, etc.
Even so, gears 5 has had this huge drop off after it's launch it's like 26-27 on most played. And when you look at the outrage from how they have been charging $8 for a banner it's a not something that paints GAAS/Gamepass games in a great light.

Really hope we see more of The outer worlds, ori type of games rather than a MT's filled AAA $60 priced games.

Thats the thing they are going to have issues with.
 

ElBoxyBrown

Member
Oct 25, 2017
9,385
Yes. With games, this really began to happen and take shape with the rise of Steam. But, it's the same across all forms of content creation I feel, not just the video game industry.

This kind of phenomenon is why Martin Scorsese has the thoughts he has about the modern contemporary film industry.

It's actually an incredibly bad problem IMHO, but most people frankly don't care and will just say I'm a hater/out-of-touch/old person/etc. etc., just like they do with all forms of critique such as this commenting on the state of commercial content and the general devaluation of content across the board.
Martin Scorsese is frustrated about blockbusters dominating theaters. He’s not frustrated with streaming services. Those services are giving him money and a platform to make what he wants to make.
 

JaggedSac

Member
Oct 25, 2017
1,670
Burbs of Atlanta
There’s a huge community talking right now about Death Stranding. People have bought it day one @$60 or more. Same thing happened with God of War, same thing happens with RDR2.

there is a very large population of the gaming market that still buys day one. To me it’s similar to going to the movies on release/release window. It’s a different feeling being part of the conversation about the game.
Speaking of going to the movies, I have a nice sub for that too.
 

aerozombie

Banned
Oct 25, 2017
1,074
We’ll see the trend of MP and other features that are retention oriented being used in historically SP games increase. These services will thrive off of mtx and dlc
 

SmugAcolyte

Member
Feb 4, 2018
189
Gamepass for sure hurts the AA single-player games but there’s always going to be a huge audience for your God of Wars and Red Deads.
 
Oct 24, 2019
295
Yes. With games, this really began to happen and take shape with the rise of Steam. But, it's the same across all forms of content creation I feel, not just the video game industry.

This kind of phenomenon is why Martin Scorsese has the thoughts he has about the modern contemporary film industry.

It's actually an incredibly bad problem IMHO, but most people frankly don't care and will just say I'm a hater/out-of-touch/old person/etc. etc., just like they do with all forms of critique such as this commenting on the state of commercial content and the general devaluation of content across the board.
That's partially because the younger generations are facing crippling debt/loans, grappling with increasingly devalued degrees, being underpaid & being offered fewer benefits/advancement opportunities than older generations, rising rent, etc. In short, lot of young people (i.e. an enormous demographic for a lot of content like video games, music, tv, etc.) can't afford to pay full price for every single piece of content across all types of media and media platforms.

I personally like owning games rather than renting/streaming them, and I like to be there are launch for games I highly anticipate, but paying $60 for every single game I want to play is frivolous and untenable when I have so many more important things to put money towards. This applies to film as well-- there are lots of movies I want to see, but do I want to see them badly enough to pay $20 (not to mention Uber fare to & from the theater) to go see it on opening weekend, or would I rather wait for the movie to come to a streaming service that I can watch at home? I like the theater experience and being part of the first crowd to see a movie, but these days it's taking more special movies to draw me out to the theater.

If younger generations had more buying power, then you would see more people buying content at full price rather than waiting for inevitable sales or inclusion on streaming services.
 

SG-17

Banned
Oct 25, 2017
9,593
Shit like GamesPass and PSNow might seem cool to consumers in the short term but in the long term its going to be devastating to the art of games.

The kind of devaluation Mat is talking about is going to start affecting game design. Shorter, quicker, more repetitive experiences stuffed to the brim with monetization to make up for the lost revenue of millions of full priced sales.
 
Oct 31, 2017
2,428
Martin Scorsese is frustrated about blockbusters dominating theaters. He’s not frustrated with streaming services. Those services are giving him money and a platform to make what he wants to make.
I mean to say that the same forces are at play: mitigating risk as much as possible.

There’s more to it, but it’s primarily the result of the dynamics that widespread internet usage results in.
 
Oct 24, 2019
295
Even so, gears 5 has had this huge drop off after it's launch it's like 26-27 on most played. And when you look at the outrage from how they have been charging $8 for a banner it's a not something that paints GAAS/Gamepass games in a great light.

Really hope we see more of The outer worlds, ori type of games rather than a MT's filled AAA $60 priced games.

Thats the thing they are going to have issues with.
I agree with you, but MTs aren't going to disappear just like that. They could easily sneak MTs into AA games like Outer Worlds. Now that Microsoft owns Obsidian, they may not have a choice next time around. Could be horse armor 2.0 lol.

Might not happen, but AA games aren't immune to MTs. The main reason that they don't have MTs as is, is because most AA games are created by indie devs who are usually pretty anti-MT. Once they're bought by a big publisher, that could change on a dime.
 
Dec 31, 2017
370
imo I think it's too early to tell. So far the Gamepass offering is good but we need a fresh start (new gen) I think to see how this will affect the bottom line and whether or not the model is sustainable. If it was that bad I doubt anyone would have started investing int his type of game delivery as no company is in it to lose money.

I think we are still in deployment phase; needs some time to see it grow to its full potential.
 

giapel

Member
Oct 28, 2017
810
Shit like GamesPass and PSNow might seem cool to consumers in the short term but in the long term its going to be devastating to the art of games.

The kind of devaluation Mat is talking about is going to start affecting game design. Shorter, quicker, more repetitive experiences stuffed to the brim with monetization to make up for the lost revenue of millions of full priced sales.
This type of game design is already brought from the free to play model. At least subs bring a revenue stream that may support more “traditional” games.
 

BlueManifest

Member
Oct 25, 2017
6,232
This is why game streaming services should sell the games for full price like stadia is doing instead of making it all you care to play
 

Quantza

Member
Oct 27, 2017
391
Yep, exactly. It will devalue content.
Even if $60 games exist on one service (representing some value), another service will seek to undercut them - maybe even if it's loss-leading.

Will just have to see what happens.
But, it's already happening with digital storefronts and Xbox's game pass.

Shit like GamesPass and PSNow might seem cool to consumers in the short term but in the long term its going to be devastating to the art of games.

The kind of devaluation Mat is talking about is going to start affecting game design. Shorter, quicker, more repetitive experiences stuffed to the brim with monetization to make up for the lost revenue of millions of full priced sales.
.
 
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jroc74

Member
Oct 27, 2017
6,184
I think what happened is no one expected digital downloads to skyrocket in basically one gen.

Now companies are jumping on the downloadable, streaming services trying to get ahead of the wave. I think the best approach is what EA and Sony did. Let there be a lag time between game launch and putting it on the sub service.

Best of both worlds.

This is why game streaming services should sell the games for full price like stadia is doing instead of making it all you care to play
The more I think about it, this might be a good idea. But...for that $60 I should be able to also download it. PC, exclusive platform, something.
 

Fredrik

Member
Oct 27, 2017
4,907
Mat's just repeating what most of us already know.

We already pay so little for so many hours of gaming, but subscriptions like Game Pass take it to an entirely new level.
Especially since many of us got Game Pass super cheap with the summer deal. In the end I think I payed $160 for Game Pass on both Xbox and PC until 2022. How does that pay any dev enough money?

But at least MS got lots of new subscribers and supporters, time will tell how brutal the fall out will be when the renewal period starts.
 

SoaringDive

Banned
Feb 3, 2019
414
If the value of games haven't already been completely killed by steam, subs will hardly make a scratch. Why would I ever buy a game for $60 when Hollow Knight is cheaper and far better? Or I can just play Dota2 for free? Or I can wait three weeks for the game to be heavily discounted after they already got everyone with FOMO?
 

TheWickedSoul

Member
Oct 26, 2017
1,131
Anybody who bought a game on sale or using a gaming subscription is a fucking scumbag. Day one $60+ buyers rise up! Let's take back the industry. Someone think of the multimillion dollar companies.


🤪🤪🤪
 

fester

Member
Oct 25, 2017
1,294
Then you slowly bring up the monthly price dollar by dollar. People will justify paying a dollar more if the increases are in small increments.
Which is what Netflix has been doing and is why I’m about to cancel it. In fact, I’m so sick of subscriptions for everything that I’m looking to cancel a lot more. Movies, music, phone apps, games, etc etc etc... It’s a financial “death from a thousand cuts” for things I barely have time to use. Fuck all that - sell me an actual product or gtfo.
 
Oct 27, 2017
356
I think the GamePass/PS Now model can co-exist the way Sony has it currently. It's a good way to get smaller games or games that have come and gone a new way to be presented. But keep the higher production/AAA games away from it until enough time has passed. I would refrain, from a business perspective, from ever giving any kind of time limit to when/if those bigger games will come to the service.
 

ElBoxyBrown

Member
Oct 25, 2017
9,385
I mean to say that the same forces are at play: mitigating risk as much as possible.

There’s more to it, but it’s primarily the result of the dynamics that widespread internet usage results in.
It got to that point cuz theaters slowly became an inconvenience for some people. We all wish every theater was like the Alamo Drafthouse but it’s not.
Which is what Netflix has been doing and is why I’m about to cancel it. In fact, I’m so sick of subscriptions for everything that I’m looking to cancel a lot more. Movies, music, phone apps, games, etc etc etc... It’s a financial “death from a thousand cuts” for things I barely have time to use. Fuck all that - sell me an actual product or gtfo.
Well it’s a good thing you can usually buy the product instead of using a sub, even if you have to wait a couple of months.
 

JuanLatino

Member
Oct 25, 2017
1,288
agree, im really worried about my AAA Single Player Games with these modells.

The Freedom to just leave out a Multiplayer mode like Days Gone, Horizon ,God of War or Spiderman had would not be sustainable with a day one PS Now Release
 

Miruna

Member
Jan 21, 2019
98
I paid £2 to play Forza Horizon 4 for a month, £2 to do the same with Crackdown 3 and another £2 to play Gears. MS first party games are already devalued for me personally. I have no intention of having a gamepass sub lasting longer than a month and it would be the same if Sony did this with their first party output.
Same here.
 

metalgear89

Member
Oct 27, 2017
961
Psnow is not that bad at the moment, they add games that are over a year old that have already sold decent. Far less chance of devaluing games.

Gamepass is the one one that will devalue the shit out of games and is not sustainable. In the long run the quality will drop as well as the focus becomes on quantity and gaas.
 

Khatoz

Member
Oct 27, 2017
104
This we all lose thing is ridiculous. I do not hear anyone complaining about Netflix anymore. Because it’s. So. Damn. Convenient.
It's not completely ridiculous as the major fear seems to be a major drop in quality if the sub trend keeps heading into a race to the bottom.

For me I see an increase of prices in the next year or 2, once most of the sub market has stabilized and the need to create a sub base isn't as necessary.
 

jorgejjvr

Member
Oct 31, 2017
4,766
Psnow is not that bad at the moment, they add games that are over a year old that have already sold decent. Far less chance of devaluing games.

Gamepass is the one one that will devalue the shit out of games and is not sustainable.
that is all hypothetical, right now we are seeing games till be successful even with gp around

and developers saying things like their games have never done better than when they got added to gp

no reason to hypothesize the worst outcome
 

TitlePending

The Fallen
Dec 26, 2018
1,096
Anyone who actual took a moment to think about the economics of a service that offers Day 1 AAA games for $1/month would understand it's entirely unsustainable.

If Sony following GP-route means less games like GoW, HZD, Spider-Man, etc (to include reduction in scope, quality, etc.). then I don't want it.
 

Mikey Jr.

Member
Oct 25, 2017
7,230
It's the GEARS 5 debate: retail and digital sales were way down, but number of players were way up. Engagement will become even more important, as close to all revenue needs to come from consumer spending other than upfront payment. The subscription fee for being on it will most likely not cover more than a fraction of typical full game sales.

For subscription service owners, there is, additionally, the income to be made from subscriptions, and questions surrounding that are: how long do people sub for? Do they use your subscription service as a cheap way to play the occasional game or do they stay subscribed? This again ties into engagement, of course. If you can't bind them long term, then you lose the advantage of the subscription service income model and are basically giving away your games for cheaper prices.
I am a subscribers worst customer honestly.

I only sub for 1 month at a time to a service, and the first thing I do when signing up is immediately cancel.

For example, with EA origin. They has anthem for 5 bucks for 10 hours. 2 years ago, I would have bought the game for full price.
But I spent the 5, rushed through the game for 10 hours, then played some other stuff on there and peaced out.

I will 100% do that for gamepass as well and all ms first party.
If Sony does it for psnow like what ms does with gamepass, I won't buy Sony first party either.

You give me an avenue to be as frugal as I can, I will take it.
 

Raijinto

Member
Oct 28, 2017
7,975
I can certainly see where he's coming from.

However I look at the *long* list of positives in favour of GP and I can't imagine why I would argue against its existence.
 

jorgejjvr

Member
Oct 31, 2017
4,766
Anyone who actual took a moment to think about the economics of a service that offers Day 1 AAA games for $1/month would understand it's entirely unsustainable.

If Sony following GP-route means less games like GoW, HZD, Spider-Man, etc (to include reduction in scope, quality, etc.). then I don't want it.
they are banking by selling those games at $60, they wont stop

Maybe after a year it comes to the service or something
 

Ascenion

Member
Oct 25, 2017
3,075
Charlotte NC
I mean the only company that doesn’t devalue their games is Nintendo. So this is already a clear and present danger when you price drop 3 months from launch
 

metalgear89

Member
Oct 27, 2017
961
that is all hypothetical, right now we are seeing games till be successful even with gp around

and developers saying things like their games have never done better than when they got added to gp

no reason to hypothesize the worst outcome
How many developers have said this? a few? Seems like you are overblowing the effect gamepass has on gamesales.

The devaluation will happen in the long run not right now. Microsofts whole game will become quantity rather than quality and pusing gaas and microtransactions to combat the unsustainable nature of gamepass.
 

xem

Member
Oct 31, 2017
345
Content will degrade to the point of being nearly worthless to most people. Eventually games will disappear and we will all lead more productive lives because we had been playing too many games to begin with. Muahahahaha!

/s
 

HStallion

Member
Oct 25, 2017
30,724
but also that could happen naturally anyway due to fortnite or whatever. If X person isn’t going to play an indie game because of whatever reason, but may check it out on a sub service, at least they are getting paid that way
Wouldn't this be even worse if you're paid based on playtime? Getting an hour or two in a game and never returning doesn't exactly seem like it garners a great amount of money.
 

jorgejjvr

Member
Oct 31, 2017
4,766
How many developers have said this? a few? Seems like you are overblowing the effect gamepass has on gamesales.

The devaluation will happen in the long run not right now. Microsofts whole game will become quality rather than quantity and pusing gaas and microtransactions to combat the unsustainable nature of gamepass.
what is being overblown is the negative effect it has, I just provided some of the positives effects, and the negatives that are currently known are non-existent (that i know of), its all theories of later down the line

MS literally just recently has a Single player Shooter (outer worlds) doing really well right now.
 

Tratorn

Member
Oct 25, 2017
366
Yep, that's why I'm happy that Sony realizes that and doesn't just throw all their games on a subscription service.
Things like gamepass (and potentially psnow) are really just bad for the industry as a whole in a few years if they get more successful, especially for indie and single player games which can't make back the losing money/sales with DLC.

In this regard Nintendo does it really the best. Noone else in this industry is as good as them when it comes to keeping the value of their IPs/games high.
 
Oct 27, 2017
4,279
Anyone who actual took a moment to think about the economics of a service that offers Day 1 AAA games for $1/month would understand it's entirely unsustainable.

If Sony following GP-route means less games like GoW, HZD, Spider-Man, etc (to include reduction in scope, quality, etc.). then I don't want it.
You do realize that this is just the growth period and those deals are going to dry up. I expect as soon as next gen hits those will be gone and you’ll either have to our $10-$15 a mont
 

Godzilla24

Member
Nov 12, 2017
2,206
I am a subscribers worst customer honestly.

I only sub for 1 month at a time to a service, and the first thing I do when signing up is immediately cancel.

For example, with EA origin. They has anthem for 5 bucks for 10 hours. 2 years ago, I would have bought the game for full price.
But I spent the 5, rushed through the game for 10 hours, then played some other stuff on there and peaced out.

I will 100% do that for gamepass as well and all ms first party.
If Sony does it for psnow like what ms does with gamepass, I won't buy Sony first party either.

You give me an avenue to be as frugal as I can, I will take it.
There are other avenues to already doing this with Sony games if you just want to beat the games and peace out. Redbox, Gamefly, etc
 

metalgear89

Member
Oct 27, 2017
961
what is being overblown is the negative effect it has, I just provided some of the positives effects, and the negatives that are currently known are non-existent (that i know of), its all theories of later down the line
Maybe 1 or 2 developers talking about how their gamesales maybe went up a bit? If this was a reguler thing then maybe we could say it has a positive impact but at the moment the increased game sales of a few is an outlier, maybe more to do with the increased marketing.
 

FallenHeroX1

Banned
Oct 27, 2017
1,290
It really does feel like an Xbox Live Gold situation with Microsoft leading the industry down a darker path. The upfront value is great, no trojan horse ever got in without deceit. The line this leads to is going to be more monetization in more games and less high quality games being made. If people are okay with games being chopped in to bits and getting shells in their subscriptions, or value additions like Crackdown 3, by all means full steam ahead; but that is the outcome full stop. Less people buying games equals less quality games getting made. As with netflix, we can see that content isn't about quality as much as it is quantity. People will shrug it off though and call me crazy. There is always a cost in the end, especially when something is too good to be true and right now gamepass is definitely too good to be true. It can't sustain this value forever, eventually the customer will have to pay. Whether it's cash or content.