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

JuanLatino

Member
Oct 25, 2017
1,288
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
not nearly comparable to something like Gamepass or PS NOW.
Renting Videogames or Movies is a thing of the past that most people don't do anymore these days, especially since you won't find many places where you can rent games.

In the past we had a hundreds of stores in munich where we would rent a game every weekend - now i would have to drive 40 minutes to find the next store.

not nearly as convenient as PS NOW where you can everything from home
 

Khatoz

Member
Oct 27, 2017
104
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.
While there's a lot of people like you, there's also a bunch of people who tend to sub and just never cancel and this seems to be a majority for this type of services.
 

Godzilla24

Member
Nov 12, 2017
2,206
not nearly comparable to something like Gamepass or PS NOW.
Renting Videogames or Movies is a thing of the past that most people don't do anymore these days, especially since you won't find many places where you can rent games.

In the past we had a hundreds of stores in munich where we would rent a game every weekend - now i would have to drive 40 minutes to find the next store.

not nearly as convenient as PS NOW where you can everything from home
Sucks for you. I have 10 redbox locations in a 3 mile radius. I just finished beating borderlands 3 campaign and modern warfare campaign for free with promo red box codes I get every month. I'm also subscribed to 3 years of Game pass for literally only 60 dollars. Only had to buy gold. I'm gonna play Age of Empires 4, Halo Infinite, Forza Motorsport 8, Ori 2, Minecraft Dungeons, Microsoft Flight Simulator, Psychonaughts 2, Bleeding Edge, Battletoads, many other first party games not mentioned. Countless of Third party titles that are only a few months old to maybe just a year old, Brand new indies A, AA, AAA all for the price of a single game.
 

JuanLatino

Member
Oct 25, 2017
1,288
Sucks for you. I have 10 redbox locations in a 3 mile radius. I just finished beating borderlands 3 campaign and modern warfare campaign for free with promo red box codes I get every month. I'm also subscribed to 3 years of Game pass for literally only 60 dollars. Only had to buy gold. I'm gonna play Age of Empires 4, Halo Infinite, Forza Motorsport 8, Ori 2, Minecraft Dungeons, Microsoft Flight Simulator, Psychonaughts 2, Bleeding Edge, Battletoads, many other first party games not mentioned. Countless of Third party titles that are only a few months old to maybe just a year old, Brand new indies A, AA, AAA all for the price of a single game.
i mean that's fantastic for you :D
 
Oct 27, 2017
6,424
I totally agree. Movies and music have been devalued a lot with streaming, music the most. I’d hate to see games suffer the same fate
 

Cranster

Member
Oct 25, 2017
4,778
Because the annual game releases like Call of Duty and Madden somehow don't devalue games?!
 

Rosol

Member
Oct 29, 2017
313
I'm actually a fan of shorter experiences so I don't know that I'd mind more varied output from big devs - I'm not sure subs really encourages that though. I'm definitely nervous about the shift to subs in the future, more so because I fear that the prices of subscriptions will go up significantly and the content will be divided between several subs (once they get everyone in suddenly it goes up $5 a year til they're at different tier subscriptions, with the good one at $25-30 a month).

I believe the push MS is giving it is because they've made a call that cloud gaming will take off soon, and subs make a lot more sense in that space (cheap to get in) - on top of the fact their exclusives were not really doing that hot sales wise. Also, subscriptions do make a lot of money out of consumers neglect and forgetting to cancel, or not realizing they didn't finish the cancellation policy - I could see this becoming a consumer issue in the future where companies are eventually forced to make people 'opt in' to recurring payments - which hurts the sub model further.

I think while steam devalued content on PC initially they were basically building it from nothing where piracy was rampant - the sales are nothing like they used to be so they've slowly been working at adding perceived value to their content.
 

ry-dog

Member
Oct 25, 2017
2,033
The even bigger issue is Microsoft doesn’t have to make a profit, they could run gamepass for decades off the promise that someday it will be profitable. We’ve seen this with Amazon and Netflix.

Very few companies can compete with that, and the ones that can will fill their game’s up with microtransactions. It creates an unfair marketplace that will suffocate mid sized publishers who have no choice but to sell their games at full price.

However, EA and Ubisoft‘s subscriptions seem a bit more sustainable, it’s just their published games and the buy in price is high (the cost of 3 full priced games a year).
 
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Prine

Member
Oct 25, 2017
6,426
Netflix could produce 20 seasons TV shows for the cost of one AAA game. Gears 5 already has purchasable currency and ads for movies, it's only going to get worse
It's gotten far worse with Death Stranding and thats a $60 game. Your being selective with the ads, a playable pop culture icon is not the same as TV or merchandising ads already happening.
 

Khatoz

Member
Oct 27, 2017
104
The even bigger issue is Microsoft doesn’t have to make a profit, they could run gamepass for decades off the promise that someday it will be profitable. We’ve seen this with Amazon and Netflix.

Very few companies can compete with that, and the ones that can will fill their game’s up with microtransactions. It creates an unfair marketplace that will suffocate mid sized publishers who have no choice but to sell their games at full price.
This is true, just got to look at how long they ran the xbox division in red.
 

InsaneTiger

Avenger
Oct 25, 2017
4,272
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.
The quality of more Netflix shows really bad, so yeah, I agree.
 

RingRang

Member
Oct 2, 2019
582
Because the annual game releases like Call of Duty and Madden somehow don't devalue games?!
The idea of devaluing means that people start thinking “I’m getting all these games for $10 a month. Paying $60 for one game seems crazy”, and over time you sales of $60 games crater. The problem is those big games require a lot of $60 purchases to be profitable.
 
It still blows my mind that we (myself including) are all jumping onto the streaming train without any inclination of the potential disasters on the other side. I guess we won't know if we fucked up or not until we cross that bridge though.

How soon before publishers break out of PSNow and Game Pass to only allow their games to be played through their subscription (akin to what we are seeing with all these new streaming services for tv and film)?
 

NoPiece

Member
Oct 28, 2017
165
What is the point of post launch support when you are just going to abandon it less than a year after release?
If you are arguing that lack of post launch support devalues the game, then you should see a decrease in value of the games. But they are still premium priced, top selling games after decades, it apparently doesn't devalue them.
 

KS93

Member
Oct 26, 2017
718
I feel like free to play games have already done this to an extent.
The amount of games you can play without paying a single penny (let alone subscribing to a service) is insane.
 

TitlePending

The Fallen
Dec 26, 2018
1,096
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
Sure, I would image that Sony will want to charge a premium if they ever did offer their AAA games Day One. Maybe $25/month?

idk maybe months or a year later, the day wil have to come when their games arent making 10 mil, if that happens, maybe they will
So long as the PS5 launch isn't botched up, I don't see that happening with Sony's most important IPs.
 

ShutterMunster

Art Lead @ Activision
Verified
Oct 27, 2017
1,156
This has happened to every industry that went sub-based before ours, which is why it's important for independent developers to make sure they're getting good deals from the platform holders. This issue will also be exacerbated by streaming: how long does a player have to play for it to count as a sale? How do those time constraints affect smaller, shorter games?

Consumers, who don't create art themselves, don't value art very highly to begin with. If platform holders reinforce that with super attractive streaming price points this will only get worse.
 

Prine

Member
Oct 25, 2017
6,426
The even bigger issue is Microsoft doesn’t have to make a profit, they could run gamepass for decades off the promise that someday it will be profitable. We’ve seen this with Amazon and Netflix.

Very few companies can compete with that, and the ones that can will fill their game’s up with microtransactions. It creates an unfair marketplace that will suffocate mid sized publishers who have no choice but to sell their games at full price.

However, EA and Ubisoft‘s subscriptions seem a bit more sustainable, it’s just their published games and the buy in price is high (the cost of 3 full priced games a year).
Those mid sized pubs would be taken care off I'd imagine if they sought to distribute via subs. Also, unlike Netflix games can be bought. I think it's wise for MS especially to use thier financial might as a strategy, we're about to see a exceptional console with full AAA release schedule for at a cost much more digestible for the rest of the world, more games in poorer households more players to player populations, that should be celebrated.
 

RingRang

Member
Oct 2, 2019
582
Those mid sized pubs would be taken care off I'd imagine if they sought to distribute via subs. Also, unlike Netflix games can be bought. I think it's wise for MS especially to use thier financial might as a strategy, we're about to see a exceptional console with full AAA release schedule for at a cost much more digestible for the rest of the world, more games in poorer households more players to player populations, that should be celebrated.
You’re painting this as a virtuous quest for Microsoft, but ultimately we all know this is about making money. If the subscription model makes less money that’s going to be a problem.

Also, your suggestion that mid side publishers go the subscription route seems unlikely. People are only going to welcome so many subscriptions.
 

Khatoz

Member
Oct 27, 2017
104
Why would you compare that clown show of a service like moviepass to the subs that come directly from the theater chains? Also pretty sure that Europe has had these movie theater subscription services for years.
Also moviepass was created by a startup, at least GP and Now have big stablished companies that can subsidise till a balance can be found on these type of services.
 

The_R3medy

Member
Jan 22, 2018
823
I agree, and at the same time, the value proposition for me as a consumer is great. I'm currently crunched a bit for money thanks to the Holidays coming up, and not having to drop $60 for Gears or Outer Worlds has been lovely.
 

jroc74

Member
Oct 27, 2017
6,184
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
What's wild is when we talk about Nintendo not devaluing their games it's mostly met with understanding...IIRC, lol.

Put MS is this scenario and its...wtf did you just say ?!?!?! from some folks....

Put Sony in this scenario and it's met with eyerolls from some folks....

Nintendo is a perfect example of why Sony shouldn't copy the Game Pass plan 1:1. Even blockbuster movies that are on demand on cable while still in theatres...it's not for $1, $9.

Ppl bringing up these services...look at Vudu, Amazon. Stuff that's not on Prime, still in theatres , or just released to DVD isn't for $1, $9.

Stop using Netflix as the only example.
 
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Zalman

Member
Oct 25, 2017
3,335
It's inevitable. The movement has already started and there's no stopping it now.
 

jroc74

Member
Oct 27, 2017
6,184
I agree, and at the same time, the value proposition for me as a consumer is great. I'm currently crunched a bit for money thanks to the Holidays coming up, and not having to drop $60 for Gears or Outer Worlds has been lovely.
Yeah, this is where the debates come into play. I was like you when I got the One S a few years ago. EAAccess was a life saver, lol.

As a consumer it's great, stepping back looking at the bigger picture tho... it's a topic that's not so black n white.

It's not stanning for corporations. It's about trying to have an intelligent debate about a topic.
 

Josh5890

The Fallen
Oct 25, 2017
2,340

Mass Effect

Member
Oct 31, 2017
5,647
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.
I think there will be a lot more of that for sure to help retain sub numbers, but I do also think subscriptions will help the smaller AA and indie games that tend to get looked over in the sea of games.

Devaluation won’t just monetary, but also in the actual experience itself, where more games aren’t about the moment to moment enjoyment, but rather a checklist of repetitive tasks you must do daily to make any sort of progession. Granted, I think this will keep happening anyway, but subscription services will probably accelerate the process.

Idk how things are going to turn out, but as long as it’s optional, I’ll be fine.
 

K Samedi

Member
Oct 27, 2017
2,425
Subs work well for movies because that type of entertainment is easily consumable. For games though you kind of invest to play a game because you basically reserve time for it for a while. Its not as easy to consume games and that’s why a subscription model doesn’t make sense to me. There are times where I don’t game for months and then I feel like gaming and I buy a game.
 

STech

Member
Sep 24, 2018
681
Yes, just look at tv. They just aren’t making new tv shows anymore since Netflix devalued them.
Nah, it is more like: Look how Netflix has been devalued while increasing its price and lose content for another Tv services.


Every producer will want to have their subscription service, offering you a lot of the same and a few exclusive productions you won’t be able to access other way.
 

Matt

The Terror that Flaps in the Night
Moderator
Oct 24, 2017
3,018
Anyone arguing with Mat's point: Of course it's is a risk. MS and everyone else with a subscription service knows this is a risk.

It's just a risk they are willing to take.
 

T-800

Member
Oct 30, 2017
126
I'm concerned about this as well but most people only care about themselves and the short term. See climate change.
 

Cobrakasaki

Member
Nov 7, 2019
15
The potential psychological long term implication of sub services will not be known for a while.
When i read comments how people 'saved' money due to subs, i really fear for the consumer spending behavior for games NOT on these sub services.
We all read how GP drove spending for games on the subs, which i think is a bit trivial, because the exposure is what helped those games besides the upfront money ms gave to devs.

If the consumer gets sanitized to get games regulary for a small entry fee, they will probably feel less inclined to buy games outside of GP.
The pyscological factor will remain in the consumers head, that maybe the game i am interested in will come to my sub service of choice and therefore i will choose to not buy the game.

So far everything is fine, MS is the richest company in the world and they can absolutly afford to subsidize this service.

Subs and cloud streaming will change the industry and consumer behavior in the next decade, thats for sure.
But hey, maybe its nextgenVR which will be the next big thing.
Exciting times ahead
 

inpHilltr8r

Member
Oct 27, 2017
1,331
I wonder if I'm subscription-sceptical because of those horrible scam record clubs from the 70s and 80s?

So cheap! Such a large selection! Of shit that you got mailed automatically if you forgot to send the bullshit card in explicitly saying you didn't want a copy of the more-dirty-dancing soundtrack.

Ah well, I guess change is inevitable. I wonder how long this will take to shake out?
 

ILikeFeet

Member
Oct 25, 2017
24,520
I wonder if going halvesies would be a better tactic. subscription fee, but you pay less for games, like 50% off or some shit
 
Oct 31, 2017
2,428
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.
Yes, but these things are interrelated in that that's a result of the proliferation of the ability of instant access (the internet).

Both of these things stem from computers and the internet's mass adoption in society.

The computer + internet is a major disruption and altering society in profound ways we are only just starting to better understand and visibly see.

I will continually repost Neil Postman, whom I was introduced to by a fellow poster of this community, as the points he mentions in his book "Technopoly: The Surrender of Culture to Technology" are probably the best articulation of these dynamics that I've seen. There's been more thinkers/philosophers to expound on this kind of topic since, but Postman has resonated with me quite strongly in regards to all of what's happening.

Neil Postman on C-SPAN's BookTV Giving an Overview of His Idea of Technopoly:

If you find the above 10 minute video interesting, I strongly recommend both reading the book and watching this longer video where he speaks to an audience of Apple employees in the early 90's.