Anyone Else Find Game Subs Not Super Worth It?

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LuminaryGhost

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With so much news about Xbox Game Pass and how Sony will respond to it, I really got thinking about video game subscriptions. I feel like I’m the odd one out here, where I don’t really care about them at all? I mean strictly these “Netflix“ styled services. I don’t mind paying yearly for PS+ or Xbox Live, even if it’s not super ideal.

It’s undeniable how much value there is based off of the sheer quantity of games on Xbox Game Pass, plus you get to play all of Microsoft‘S first party games on the same day, without paying the same amount outright. Coupled with that, you get a bunch of indies and third party games as well. For me however, it’s just not compelling considering how I play through games and how much time commitment I have to play games.

I had Xbox Game Pass for almost a year before I realized it wasn’t ideal for myself. It’s a couple of things, like I mentioned above — I don’t have the same amount of time to play games as I did in my teens. This means that I’m more particular with the games I buy, and that I actually try to get the most out of them when I pick them up. I’m more selective because my time is more limited, so even with Xbox Game Pass I was finishing games at mostly the same rate as before. Secondly, I personally prefer buying a game outright for (on sale or regular price) maybe 2-3 times every few months as opposed to having a persistent subscription.

I’m not sure if anyone else feels similarly...? I also think Xbox Game Pass has the same kind of problems I have with Netflix, in that it’s usually quantity over quality, but it’s not really ideal as I don’t have the time commitment I mentioned above — so I’d rather pick “higher quality” games than playing a plethora of them available on a services, if that make sense?

Am I crazy?

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bigsocrates

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You're not crazy because those are your play patterns and preferences. Somebody's not "crazy" because they prefer to play or collect video games in one way over another unless they're actually doing something insane, like only playing games while driving a car or playing Russian Roulette every time they lose at a fighting game.

If subscription services don't work for you they don't work for you.

Personally I love Game Pass. I happen to like some of the Microsoft franchises, especially Forza Horizon, which helps, but it also gives me access to a lot of smaller shorter games. Even if you don't have a lot of time to play it's pretty easy to get through one Call of the Sea sized title a month, if not more, and then the subscription pays for itself if you would have bought one anyway.

Now if you only like longer games or you don't like smaller indie games then it gets spottier. I think the narrower your tastes are the worse a subscription will be. But that's not bad or crazy. That's just your tastes.

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rorie

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I eventually unsubbed from PC Game Pass, but that was more because of technical issues more than anything. It's bizarre how bad Microsoft's storefront and app are for the PC Game Pass despite them making the operating system!

I confess that I'm still subbing to Uplay+ though. I thought I'd take a month to get through AC: Valhalla, but here we are, almost six months later...

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cornfed40

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I echo Bigsocrates. You arent crazy, it just isnt for you. It is however, extremely for me.

so I’d rather pick “higher quality” games than playing a plethora of them available on a services, if that make sense? - makes perfect sense, but i have found what feels like an endless string of games that are "high quality" on Game Pass. Stuff that even if i only play for a few hours like Ori, its still completely worth my time. It all just comes down to personal preference.

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Brendan

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I'm always confused when on podcasts the crew will talk about games quality being acceptable "if it's on gamepass" although it'd be middling otherwise. I suppose they are trying to talk to their teenage audience because there is no way that any of them as adults want to waste time playing games they don't find great just because they can.

In fact, the biggest turn-off for me is that whenever I hear about game pass it's as a destination for a bunch of stuff that isn't good enough otherwise. I'd rather just buy games that I actually want to play in most cases. I have paid for Gold in the past to play online, and I do pay for PS+ but consistently that service has provided 3-5 games I most likely would have purchased and really enjoyed at some point so it easily provides value. These more expensive Netflix style services though, I would definitely end up paying more money, and not getting anything more out of it.

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eccentrix

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It should be good for me - I jump between games a lot and barely finish any - but my collection is already so big and I play them so slowly that a subscription for a bunch more games to play isn't really beneficial.

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spacemanspiff00

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#7  Edited By spacemanspiff00

@brendan: I always think the whole "I guess if its on Game Pass" assessment is a little unfair. You can absolutely go in and have a look at the entire library and decide if it has value for you. I have seen plenty of excellent games on the service that not only scored well critically but have very positive community buzz. Not to say that certain games that score a little lower get more attention and therefore perhaps more praise than deserved, but even that's subjective when it comes to enjoyment. My outlook has always been find a few gems and try a bunch of stuff you may have otherwise ignored or been on the fence about because you might just discover something special that you would have missed out on, perhaps even in a genre you typically avoid. And may even go on to buy it after because you enjoyed it a lot.

Its also something you can dip in and out of whenever you want. I want to play Outriders eventually but I don't have a Series X so I can wait for it to get cheaper on PC and right now I'm not subbed to GP. I think use case scenario is the biggest factor here beyond library interest. As someone mentioned above it just doesn't fit their habits. Also if you only play a few games a year anyways it may not hold enough value either. Like everything else, what works for someone else, may not work for you.

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bigsocrates

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@brendan: I don't quite understand what you're saying here. You seem to suggest that adults would never play games at a lower price point than they would at a higher price point. This seems...very wrong to me based on my perception of the market, others behaviors, and my own behaviors.

Games are expensive and people often wait for sales before playing them. Lots of people on this very board talk about that all the time. Do you think they're not adults? Lots of people will play stuff at a lower price point for a lot of reasons.

Which brings up what I think the major thing you fail to grasp here is. Game Pass lets you try a lot of stuff and see if it's for you. When Jeff says "I wouldn't recommend Outriders at full price but it's the perfect Game Pass game" I don't think he means "This game is 25 hours long but you should play the whole thing if it's free even if you don't like it." I think he means "Some people will like it and some won't, so it's not worth the risk of $60 in case you bounce off, but it's worth just trying it to see if you think it's fun if it's free because you might enjoy it."

That's what a lot of Game Pass games are. Not a bunch of 6/10 games that people should play even if they don't like them, but rather games that might be a 5/10 for person X but an 8/10 for person Y and so are good to sample if they're free. If you try 5 games for half an hour and like 2 of them enough to continue further or finish you haven't wasted much time but you've saved a lot of money vs buying those games. It's easy to take a risk on something you may or may not like if it's "free" with the subscription.

There are also games that might not be worth buying but could be fun for a few hours. Like Dirt 5 and Soul Calibur VI. Someone who misses arcade racers or fighting games might get a lot out of playing those games for a little bit but wouldn't actually want to spend a lot on them because they're quick nostalgia hits rather than games they want to invest a lot of time in.

A lot of the games on Game Pass are legitimately great games but they might not appeal to everyone or they might not be things you want to play for a long time. That doesn't mean you're not enjoying your time with the ones you're spending time with. Phil Spencer has said that Game Pass subscribers play games from more genres than they did before they subscribed (your console is watching you.) They try stuff out and some of it sticks. That seems like a good value to me, not like they're playing a bunch of mediocre stuff they don't like.

I know that I have bounced off a bunch of Game Pass games and I'm fine with that because it was very low friction to give the game a try.

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apewins

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#9  Edited By apewins

I agree personally that I don't see the value in Game Pass and am a little surprised about how everybody is talking about is as the best deal in gaming. I see the value for students and low-income people who have a lot of time to play, but can only afford 15 bucks a month, and I guess on the other end you have high-income people (presumably GB staff etc.) who subscribe and don't think amount the value critically at all. I think that's just the grift of these subscription services that the amount is just low enough that most people don't think about it.

I had Game Pass for 4 months at a discount, and for the about $10 I paid per month it was okay, but even in those 4 months I played just about every game I was interested in so a continued subscription doesn't make sense. They don't add enough interesting games so often for me to just keep going in case something good comes up some day.

I agree with @brendan that it's a little concerning how many utterly mediocre games get a pass from criticism just because they're included with Game Pass. Even if you get the game for free, time wasted on a bad game is time you could have spent on something good. There are sales and giveaways happening all the time, many amazing free-to-play games, modern times are not like it was for me during the NES and SNES era where I had game 3 cartridges that I would play endlessly and I could only ask for one new game each Christmas. Game Pass does add up to $180 a year and for that money you can buy quite a lot of games, and you'll own them for as long as the servers are up - and please don't tell me that $180 is only 3 new AAA games because there are no new AAA games on Game Pass either so the comparison doesn't make sense. Yes, Halo Infinite will be one, but it's just one game.

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#10 FinalDasa  Moderator

I view it the same way I do Netflix, Disney+, or any other service. I come and go when I feel there is enough content to worth my time/money.

Right now Game Pass has a good number of games I want to play through and so I'll stick around for another month or so (thanks to Bing rewards :P).

But once there isn't enough to keep me coming back routinely, I'll drop it and wait for another handful of games I want to play.

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bigsocrates

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@apewins: Both Outriders and MLB The Show launched on Game Pass THIS MONTH.

You might argue that Outriders isn't AAA (though it's sold really well at full price on other platforms so...) but MLB The Show definitely is.

Gears of War 5 launched on Game Pass. Forza Horizon 4 launched on Game Pass.

It might not happen every month but there are a lot of really good games that launch on Game Pass. Giant Bomb GOTY 2019 Outer Wilds was not AAA but it launched on Game Pass, as did Outer Worlds.

So basically every Outer W game launches on Game Pass.

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LuminaryGhost

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#13  Edited By LuminaryGhost

@brendan: I do agree that I like the PlayStation+ model, because in the last 4-5 months I’ve claimed a couple of games I really did enjoy. That said, I have like zero interest in PS Now.

While I don’t think Xbox Game Pass is mostly mediocre content, it does suffer a bit from what Netflix does in terms of it’s a lot of content but the really good stuff is fewer and in between. That’s also kind of my issue with it as well.

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Cubecubed

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I guess I'd say i disagree, but only in the case of Game Pass for console. I find all the other services mediocre at best. The Xbox version of game pass is overflowing with high quality games, and it seems like for every good game that gets taken off, two more get added. The addition of getting to try games like Outriders that i may not have wanted to plop down 60 bucks for, but ended up putting serious time into, is just a bonus.

At this point, with the first party MS releases, random day one drops (The Show, Outriders), and all the games that get added down the line after release, the value proposition is just nuts.

Keep in mind, this is someone using GP ultimate on a series X, so your mileage may vary, I understand the PC version of game pass does have its own issues.

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apewins

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#15  Edited By apewins

@bigsocrates: Well the MLB The Show situation is weird, it looks like there has been a falling out between Sony and MLB and this seems like a way for MLB to stick it to Sony and explore options. It's also a niche genre and the early reviews indicate that it's a mid-70 score type of game, same as Outriders. Gears 5 came out in 2019. Forza Horizon 4 in 2018. We're looking at maybe 1-2 games per year which you can easily buy with the $180 that you're paying for Game Pass, and that's with the bold assumption that you're interested in every game that Microsoft Game Studios puts out.

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clagnaught

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I buy enough games and have a back catalogue, I don’t necessarily see the appeal of a Game Pass or PlayStation Now. I have over 250 games on Steam and probably a couple dozen or so more spread out on other platforms, maybe 25-30 Switch games, and probably another 200+ games on PlayStation (granted a good chunk is through PS+).

I still have a lot of reservations about Game Pass and the likely subscription arms race that’s going to happen at some point, but I just don’t need access to more games (most of which I’m probably not going to play)

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@rorie said:

I eventually unsubbed from PC Game Pass, but that was more because of technical issues more than anything. It's bizarre how bad Microsoft's storefront and app are for the PC Game Pass despite them making the operating system!

Truly, it's shocking how bad it is. They have fixed things a bit but it's still far from ideal. All of the permissions messes that whole system can cause are also terrible.

I am in the same boat as FinalDasa in that I will sign up for Game Pass or Netflix or whatever a month at a time then cancel until something of interest comes along. I used to just leave the PC Game Pass subscribed because I mostly wanted to play AOE2 and State of Decay 2 but then I realized it would be cheaper just buying the games instead so I did that.

PS+ is the only one I keep paying for because of the fact it's much cheaper and the whole "you can claim and keep the games as long as you are subscribed to PS+" thing. The majority of PS4 games I've played I have got through PS+ at this point.

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Onemanarmyy

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#18  Edited By Onemanarmyy

If i enjoyed being at the forefront of gaming at all times and was part of a multiplayer group to play games with ,i can see the appeal of everyone having access to the same pool of games and only having to pay a fairly small fee for it (right now). But i don't mind playing older stuff on my own at my own pace. I rather buy a beefy RPG and then go through it over a few months without having to pay extra for each month i spend on it.

Yeah, there's a lot of 'value' on Gamepass, more than 15$ at all times for sure, but the fact of the matter is that all the games i don't touch will end up having 0 value to me personally. It's no different than all these gamebundles that you could spend money on and objectively get a 'good value' out of, but it will still be better value if i just.. curate the games i actually WANT to spend time with myself. I recently bought The witcher 3 + DLC for less than 15$ and can spend months in that world for that price.

But it's kind of neat that this way money from paying customers can flow to multiple games instead of it mostly going to the big tentpole AAA-games.

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berfunkle

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#19  Edited By berfunkle

I own a PS5 and an Xbox Series X. I use my PS5 for Sony's exclusives and Xbox game pass on my Series X for pretty much everything else.

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My GP Ultimate sub is expiring literally today and I'm letting it go. It's possible I'll resub to GP Xbox at some point, but I doubt it.

It's a simple time vs money thing to me. At this point in my life I have more money than time. I'd rather just pay for the 1-2 games I might play per month than keep a sub running for a service that gives me a bunch of games I either don't care about or don't have time for.

And, yes, the Windows Xbox store is a real bummer. Returning to the warm embrace of Steam after dealing with that is a genuine pleasure.

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bigsocrates

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@apewins: I just named some of the random really good games that released on the service. There are a lot more than that. Claiming that it's 1-2 in a month where they already had 2, and when they've just acquired Bethesda so their pipeline is much larger just seems intentionally obstinate. Whether or not you like the particular games is a matter of taste, but claiming it never gets AAA games day and date is just not correct, and it gets a lot of games, including big games, pretty soon after launch.

Obviously it may not be worth it for a lot of people anyway, depending on tastes, but there's a lot of stuff and a lot of it gets put on at launch or soon after.

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mellotronrules

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game pass seems like a really solid deal- but for me it would be a waste of money. i'm already paying for netflix and hbo subs that i don't use, so i'm not keen to throw another on the pile. i'm just not a content grazer- i tend to play a smaller, focused set of games and go all-in.

the other key is i'm a patient shopper. i wait for critical consensus to form, keep a fairly robust 'wishlist,' wait some more for sales to happen, and then i'll pick up a title on sale. with the exception of a few indulgences, i'm not purchasing products day 1- and if i do, it's because i'm pot-committed to franchise and i'm happy to pay full-price.

i'm also that guy who's games-completed so far this year consists of Baldur's Gate, Castlevania SOTN, Oxenfree, Tetris Effect, and Borderlands 3. So yeah, not exactly tip of the spear here, but that's ok- I have a enormous vault of games I've saved for a rainy day- if I didn't have that pile, game pass would be looking very attractive right now.

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Topcyclist

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@luminaryghost: Your not crazy but a bit miss informed like most I find online who discuss that all these subscriptions are too good to be true or they don't work cause essentially too much of a good thing. Honestly, arguments fail when you consider that 1 game is about the price of a year's sub. Some find Xbox online for sale for a year (in the past) for like 35 bucks, use a buck, and turned it into 1 year of Xbox ultimate. Now that's about half the price of a full game. If you can beat just two of the free games in a year on the sub, (assuming you brought it knowing the games on it, which you can do since they publish it.) then your getting your money's worth.

OHH but I have no time and I want GOOD games and most if not all subs have quantity over quality, they must right cause that's how these things work. Yeah, nope. There are tons of AAA games mixed with indies. The difference is most if not all devs put their heart into their work. You're getting unique experiences or at least decent ones. Tons of day one games appear as well, and they can function as demos with the ability to play till your satisfied....

OHHH but I like owning my games and I'll wait for sales to pick out the perfect game for me. NOPE doesn't hold water, most if not all games on game pass have plumped up first come discounts if you like a game and wanna buy it later.

Sorry man, I get why you don't like it. Your not alone. It's basically a preference and seeing it as too much good stuff at once. It's you asking for a steak and getting a four course meal. That said, the deal is too good to be true but in a rare case, it is. We're so used to companies douching us over we keep waiting for the smack to our face when they're actually nice and giving us value. Even someone playing just 1 game a year could still gain value from the service given relatives or friends wanna play on it, etc.

Netflix is different. In catering to so many it needs to have some that you consider clunkers but hit that lowest common denominator to interest not so difficult to please audiences. Like a Hallmark movie. Games are a beast. Devs make the games with the idea they will go to market, not gamepass. They don't say eh let's make it cheap, cause no one will buy it. It's not like all the ad-based games on iphone. It's real full games that can be brought otherwise and function well. Give it another chance and take it easy. Also, the myth that theirs this huge fear of losing games before you beat them. Let's face it, that game on the back burner you said you'll play for over 2 - 6 months, (length the average game stays at least) wasn't gonna get played, or you can just buy it at a discount now that 6 months passed.

It's all a win-win and allows devs to be riskier and have fewer closures cause their indie darling that caters well to 1000 people doesn't fail cause it didn't sell to 1 million. I could go on but the main idea is that it's good. Surprised people still think it's bad, though I think it's all doom and premonitions of the possibilities for it to go bad like prior to its release where everyone said game pass was bad and would fail, now it's gamepass can be abused cause well... it's too good.

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imhungry

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I just sub on a per-month basis when I see something on the service that I would like to play. At the current price point, even if I only finish that 1 game that I wanted to in the entire month (which has happened a few times) it would still be worth it from a pure monetary standpoint.

You definitely aren't crazy for thinking it doesn't fit into your lifestyle, different things work for different people. That said there's really no reason to box your thinking into the idea that it has to be a consistent subscription, just drop in whenever you see something good to take advantage of it.

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ripelivejam

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I'm subscribed, though I don't take advantage of it enough to make it worth it probably. Also it was weird that a few days ago I downloaded age of empires collection under it but yesterday it was telling me i was mysteriously unsubbbed (though I think I have ultimate including everything). Weird and I'll probably sub again briefly only cause I have a hankering for RTSes lately and am a rare person that's never played AoE.

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#26  Edited By MagnetPhonics

They're good deals and probably great value for a lot of people. I wish it was put in appropriate context though.

I don't know why "GAME XYZ is on xbox gamepass!" tends to be important info/news. But "You already own this game as one of the 2000 you bought for $5 in the itch bundle last year" or "This is part of a compilation of 20 games for ... (much less than a month of gamepass)" are not. Let alone the actual just plain free games that get ignored.

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styx971

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i think it depends on the person and they're spending habits, along with what they like to play. last summer when it was still 5 bucks for pc gamepass i was definitely getting my money's worth with what i was playing but in more recent months i've been trying to tackle the backlog of things that i actually own. if a person doesn't buy alot of games and just wants to play whatever new might pop up that catches their eye i could totally see it being worth it. as for me i got some gold subs on the cheap and converted them to ultimate after the price for pc gamepass went up and they announced the ea play stuff so i'm all paid up for another yr n a half . it was kinda a burn when ea play didn't happen on pc till just recently vs nov like they'd advertised but it is what it is and i'm sure i'll get what i paid out of it all in the long run even with my obscene backlog.

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Luchalma

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I always think "I'll sub for a month, beat such-and-such game in that month, and will get my money's worth." The way I play games though, that just doesn't happen. I end up just buying the games I wanted to play on Game Pass a little later and am quite happy to know they are there when I want to play them.

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ToughShed

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Gamepass on PC rocks and has saved me a lot of money. I don't always sub to it, but I do for a month or two at a time when they add a few things I want to play and its been great. I do agree its overdue for them to fix the fucking app tho.

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deactivated-6357e03f55494

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Just because you don't like a service doesn't mean you're crazy or wrong. As long as you can accept why others might like it, you do you.

I actually have gamepass BECAUSE I don't have a lot of time to play games. I just look at it from a financial perspective.

At least once a month I'll indulge and get some kind of takeout, or in prior days go to the movies, some sort of outing etc.

All those things would cost at least $15 if not more, and only provide a couple hours of satisfaction. Paying $15 a month to even be able to play a few hours of all kinds of games is worth it Imo.

Plus the benefit of trying new releases, either just to see if I like it or in the case of PC sometimes to see if the port is good. Which in some cases can save me money.

For example Outriders, I tried it, liked it but not only has it had techincal issues but I found out it's not gonna be the game I thought it was end game.

It's all just tastes and what's right for you. Now if they just stop selling games all together and ONLY have streaming(which given Netflix and blur rays PROBABLY won't happen) then that might be a problem.

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navster15

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@magnetphonics: Maybe this is an issue if you’re only following Giant Bomb for industry news (which even the staff will tell you not to do as this isn’t a news focused site), but Kotaku and Polygon definitely will report when games go free on Epic Game Store, PS Plus/Now, GoG, or any other platform.

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infantpipoc

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You are certainly not crazy. But as someone who just not into Sony's so-called prestige home style of their first party video game, the Last of Us in particular, their focus on certain type of quality rather than a healthy variety ain't for me either. At least variety on Game Pass feels healthier than Sony being precious.

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cikame

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#33  Edited By cikame

I don't like subscriptions most of the time anyway and i especially don't like the idea of them for games.
If i was paying monthly for an MMO i'd feel like playing it was a requirement, otherwise i'm not making the most of it right? If i only play it twice that month that's a waste of money, but maybe i want to play other games, so i'd have to predict whether i'd want to play it and... you see where this is going.
I don't want to be pressured into making sure i get the most value out of a subscription service, and considering my gaming habits at the moment i'd barely be using it anyway.

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MagnetPhonics

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@navster15: That's the same phenomenon though. Barely altered marketting copy from establishment services (paid or otherwise) crowding out equivalent or much better value offers from smaller stores/devs.

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liquiddragon

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For $10-15/month, I will have to consider the value of it for sure. Atm, I have game pass ultimate for less than $5/month for the next few years and at the price, it feels like I just can’t lose.

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navster15

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@cikame: I get the urge to make the most of the sub, but for me I have the opposite issue. I hate to spend money and will waste way too much time hemming and hawing about buying a game I’m not sure I like. Having a line item in my budget every month that’s already spent on Gamepass makes it easier for me to just try games without the financial stress, and makes it easier for me to drop a game that I would otherwise grit my teeth through because I paid for it. Mindset is huge in considering whether or not a sub works for you, for sure.

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navster15

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@magnetphonics: They also cover itch.io and Humble releases. Do they catch everything? Probably not, but I find coverage pretty thorough overall.

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swthompson

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While I can get the subs for pretty cheap still, it's worth it. But yeah at $10-15/mo I'll probably stop buying it.

When I'm more interested in checking a game out than actually sitting down for long sessions to see anything to completion, then Game Pass wins. Scratches the novelty itch.

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Ry_Ry

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Game pass would have been awesome in primary school, high school, or college. Don't have to worry about spending $60 just to play the latest hot game with your friends. Don't have to worry about loaning games out, or even the abysmal trade-in value from GameStop.

However, now I kinda only play a very small amount of games in a year. I'd rather just spend the $ and not worry about a recurring charge.

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sometingbanuble

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#40  Edited By sometingbanuble

The subscriptions aren't worth it. The reason Microsoft wanted to bump up the price of live was to make their Xbox all access/rent-a-center scam appear even more enticing. Playstation is trying to add movies so they can also scale their price. Nintendo is too proud to honor anything they promise for their Nintendo Online so even at $20 i don't want to encourage anything Nintendo. Games with gold was great for seeding my backlog with 360 and OG Xbox titles to keep. Ps Plus was probably good for the people all-in on the Sony ecosystem so VR, Vita, and PS4. Without any first dibs on new consoles or actual physical goods like magazines or Marlboro man jackets I can't be bothered to spend real money on just digital goods and a blurb from major nelson on what should be fun for next month's gold (any day now). At least Nintendo does something right with their cheap calendar and pins. Multiplayer gaming has been subjugated by Fortnite, Apex, and Warzone. All of which are free to play without gold or psplus (yes, Vinnie.. with voice even). It's damn near impossible to get normies to spend money on games since we are completely in cellphone marketplace from the iphone 5s era so what's the point? I guess i can con my friends into getting gamepass but then i have to face their ire if they forget to unsubscribe after the $1 first month (because normies) and i'll never get them to do gamepass again. Long story short multiplayer is in the toliet. Why would I want to play with randoms? Why would my friends want to play anything but the big 3. Wash rinse repeat.