Does Gamepass bother anyone?

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Derekuuda

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I know its be stated many times by multiple websites, that Gamepass is Microsofts strategy this upcoming gen. And when I think about it, as a kid, the closest thing to it, was the Sega channel. The idea sounded amazing. A load of games in rotation for one low monthly price. But ultimately, i was the child and could not pay for it. But as a now Adult who can afford to buy video games, the idea of gamepass just rubs me the wrong way entirely. Maybe it's because everything has become a "subscription based service", and I just want to own my games. I find it really confusing that at the beginning of this gen, Microsoft initially wanted to pull away that ownership buy making games more of a license whereas the disc would become useless and trading games would be over, and at the time people literally lost their minds and boycotted xbox before it was even selling. Now, people are gladly handing over $15 a month to rent games.

That's the other thing that bothers me. Gamers will gladly pay $180 a year for gamepass ultimate, but will piss and moan that the Series X is $100 over the Digital version of the PS5 with similar hardware (excluding the disc drive). Yet $180 a year is almost 2/3rds the cost of a series S. Makes no sense. What's worse, is that Microsoft has strong-armed everyone into Gamepass ultimate by eliminating 12 month subs to Gold which could be found on sale for $30-$40. So if you are a more casual gamer or someone who only tends to play COD or madden throughout the year, you're now paying $120 a year for gold or $180 for gold plus a bunch of games youll never play. And people are blindly okay with this!? Lastly, I can't imagine gamepass ultimate will stay at $15 a year.

Is my thinking on this completely wrong. Id love to know others thoughts and feelings on this.

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Efesell

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I mean the upside so vastly outweighs absolutely all of this.

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Dragon_Puncher

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I don't know if I'm bothered by it, but I'm not convinced MS can actually get these huge Netflix numbers out of Game Pass, that it seems like they are going for.

Most people only buy 1-2 AAA games a year, are you going to get these people to sign up to pay $15 dollars each month? I'm not sure about that.

But I also think that MS' plan is to get as many people inside the door now as possible and then raise the price once they are fully in the ecosystem. If they want this to be there main stream of revenue, then I can't see how that's possible with all they are investing at the current price. They would probably need at least 50 millions subscribers, considering how hard it has been for Netflix to be profitable.

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vaiz

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You still have the option to buy the games. I don't see a problem here.

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Gundato

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First off: you are making the mistake of assuming the internet is a homogenous being. The people who hate that Babs is boinking Jason in an alternate universe are not necessarily the same people who are angry that she only has eyes for Dick in a DIFFERENT alternate universe (although, they might be).

Second: Your argument is kind of mixing things up. Let's say I was annoyed that the xsex was 100 bucks more than the discless ps5 (I am not). It isn't that I am paying 400 with one and 500 with the other .it is that I am paying 400+games and 500+games with both. So if gamepass can reduce the price of "games" then more power to it.

But beyond that: Yeah, there are a lot of things to be worried about. There are plenty of articles on how spotify is killing traditional music with some alluding to the idea of focusing on singles over albums being the path. Netflix et al are likely VERY responsible for why movies are mostly giant Marvel spectacles and "prestige TV" is where it is at.

But both of those are also kind of a function of the time. I know I was really excited to see Demons and Wizards had a new album (... I hope that the dude from Iced Earth is not the shithead from Iced Earth...). I STILL have not had a chance to sit down and listen through in album order and I expect I never will. Same with the moving pictures. I COULD block out two hours or so to watch the second Frank Grillo Purge movie (yo, that is when that series became good. Still way too much "white savior" but they accidentally realized that focusing on people of color who would be getting hunted by republicans is the way to go) or I can watch a 1 hour-ish episode of The Boys.

And that is kind of what a lot of us are expecting from game pass. It isn't the platform for a 12 hour bleak-fest of "prestige gaming" like The Last of Us but... I know I found that game to be way too long AND the price in human suffering to make it starts triggering a lot of ethical discussions. Instead, we are seeing games like Spiritfarer and Gears Tactics and other "niche" and "b" games being pushed on the service. This is not new to gamepass and has largely been what drove the rise of indie games but it ALSO means that a lot more devs can get those "this is cool for an hour or so" games out there to audiences.

As for the gold thing: I honestly had not thought of that and if this really is intentionally inflating the price of Gold then I do not like that. Although I also think a lot of people with gold might benefit from gamepass and that for the "average gamer" it is a better deal since you were likely to at least spend 50-100 bucks on stuff you might otherwise find (or find substitutes for) on gamepass.

But for the folk like my sister's husband who just play one or two sports games and MAYBE an ubi grindfest? Consoles are a bad investment for that period. If only there were some platform or service that let them connect to a remote server once or twice a day to buy some loot boxes and maybe play one game for their dailies. It would be like having a mini stadium in every home. But there is no way that could ever happen without living on the moon, right? On an unrelated note, I want my geforce 3070 right now.

We're in a weird transitional phase of gaming. The new consoles are really just refresh SKUs in disguise and companies are trying to find ways to make more modern monetization and even distribution models make sense. Some of that is a push to prevent us from "owning" our games (to the extent we have since the internet was a thing) but mostly it is about the realization that it isn't just fortnite that is primarily competing with netflix and youtube for people's time.

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whitegreyblack

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I have been a physical game buyer for 30+ years but even I can admit we have barely been "owning our games" for many years now.

I'm not a fan of games feeling as disposable and ethereal as subscription services can make them seem to me, but it's also inarguably a hell of a deal for a huge contingent of video game players.

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BladeOfCreation

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I would say that theoretically, yes it bothers me. Practically, it does not. For context, I have had access to affordable and reliable broadband internet for 15 years now.

Do I wish I could always play every game I've ever played whenever I want to? Again, in theory, yeah. Do I ACTUALLY spend that much time on older games I do have access to, say through the Nintendo E-shop or GoG? No, I don't. I'll download Super Mario Bros 3 and play it with my brother for an afternoon. Then I won't think about it for years.

I have neither the space nor the desire to keep every physical game and console I've ever owned. I do sometimes buy the physical collector's editions of games I think I'll really like. Most of the older ones stayed in my parents' basement in bins. Just this past month, as they got ready to move for the first time in 35 years, my brother and I went through our old games and systems. Most didn't work. The old 360 finally red-ringed when we turned it on! I'd never seen it before in person. It was like experiencing a piece of gaming history. The N64 didn't work. My brother kept the PS2, as he still plays games on it occasionally. If the Ratchet and Clank and Champions of Norrath games came to modern systems, I don't think he'd ever touch that system again (just last year we finished our long-running LOTR The Third Age playthrough).

I believe that when you buy a copy of art, that particular copy is yours to with as you please (short of making copies to sell). I also understand that this isn't how things actually work. I see services like Netflix, Hulu, Disney+, and Game Pass as great equalizers when it comes to accessing art and culture. Especially if people allegedly share or don't share, which I can neither confirm nor deny, these accounts with others.

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KarlHungus01

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I'll pay $10-15 per month (I currently just have PC game pass for $10) easily to be able to try whatever games come to the service at my leisure without having to purchase it. I've played and enjoyed plenty of games that I wouldn't have otherwise given the time of day because of Game Pass. If I like the game and want to ensure I have access, I can then just purchase it, often at a discount that sometimes alone justifies the monthly cost.

I don't see much of a downside to be honest, unless Microsoft quickly gets to a point where they're charging 2-3x what it costs today.

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colourful_hippie

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@efesell said:

I mean the upside so vastly outweighs absolutely all of this.

Yup. I understand some of the concerns but for what you're getting in return I just don't fully buy what the OP is selling here. The Madden/CoD only gamer crowds could have access to a vastly diverse and large library for not a lot of money which in return provides game developers with a larger pool of players they may have never reached in the first place. MS has offered a new line of justification for developing a game through Game Pass that could be more appealing than past traditional models.

Get back to me when MS gets a firmer grip of the gaming hardware market and starts jacking up the price of Game Pass.

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Efesell

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#10  Edited By Efesell

Honestly I've really just lost all value in the idea of owning physical copies of anything also. I'm not big on the idea of reselling things for a few bucks here and there so what benefit does it give me at all? People hem and haw and fret about the idea of digital storefronts going under and losing everything and acting like owning something real is conveying some sense of protection to it.

The physical collection I do have will become obsolete long before my digital library will, I'm sure.

Now if you wanna know if I'm worried about Game Pass then yeah of course. A great deal is always waiting to be ruined.

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alistercat

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#11 alistercat  Online

You can still buy games and you get a discount if you're subscribed. So... for now at least, everyone wins. Except maybe developers.

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clagnaught

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My concern has been more along the lines of people getting used to paying for subscriptions, and buy fewer games as a result, which then hurts the industry.

Although there’s a lot of weird use cases with this. It could be:

A) People have GamePass, PS+, get games on Epic, etc., but they still buy games that aren’t available through those means.

B) People have those services, but fewer games, which had a ripple effect on the B tier, small, under the radar, double A / triple I (I‘m not too fond of those terms either, but her)

C) Similar to the first scenario. People have those services and use that money elsewhere. (i.e. I didn’t spend $60 on Halo, therefore I can spend $60 on Assassin’s Creed)

I’ve said this elsewhere but my concern is those one off comments on the Beastcast where people say, more or less, “Is this on GamePass” or “I would play this if it were on GamePass”. As in, “Is there a way I don’t have to buy this, since I’m paying for GamePass”.

To your point, when it’s a monthly subscription that you keep forever, it’s less of an amazing deal. Like $180 for 3 years is $540. It’s buying another Series X every 3 years. If you paid that for the lifespan of the Xbox One, that’s $1,260. To play games you don’t own.

Are people going to continue paying for that or let it lapse until something big like Elder Scrolls VI comes out? If people spend a couple hundred dollars on games each year, are they going to keep doing that if they are paying for GamePass? If no, who will feel the hit? I don’t know, but I’m worried about the weird affects this could have over time.

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martyns

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It bothers me that I have to wait until next month to get Doom Eternal.

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PurpleUrkel

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@clagnaught: I have caught myself falling victim to the "I'll wait until it comes to gamepass" mentality and it's something that I have to actively be aware of now that nearly all of my media is served to me via subscription format. Because of that I do fall into your example C where, due to the value of the GP sub, I have been much more likely to drop full retail on games that I otherwise would have waited for a sale or to borrow from a friend.

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Efesell

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The is this on game pass folks are just the evolution of Oh I’ll wait til a Steam sale.

I don’t know that many of them would have otherwise been a regular sell if game pass wasn’t a factor.

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frytup

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I have been a physical game buyer for 30+ years but even I can admit we have barely been "owning our games" for many years now.

Depends on what you mean by ownership, I guess.

I can see the point of owning physical games if you like the option of resale, but from a preservationist perspective it's completely meaningless in 2020. Unless you can rip the updates and patches off the console, you don't own much. That disc is basically useless on its own.

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sawtooth

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Gamepass legitimately provides an amazing value, and introduces so much excitement into all the upcoming games being included in it. Knowing you'll have immediate access to MS studio games upon launch is just so enticing considering how aggressive they have been with bringing in studios.

In my jaded view, the concerning element is how it could go as the new gen shakes out. Just looking at how a lot of large scale publishers have monetized their full price games, I could see gamepass going down a similar path when/if it becomes the defacto game subscription service. I expect purchasable cosmetics, battle passes and loot boxes to be prevalent throughout included games. I could also see some fuckery such as what EA has attempted with including full advertisements being incorporated into games. Something to that extent I would also imagine to coincide with an "improved" version of Game Pass, an increased cost for access to a different tier of service.

Hopefully there remains fervent competition in the games market to keep it positive as possible for customers. Very interested to see what Sony, Steam, Epic, etc... come up with in response to the daunting numbers that will come from gamepass.

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ghost_cat

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Remember when demos used to be a thing? Gamepass is like that for me now, and I give my full dollar to games that I like out of the rotations.

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frytup

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Remember when demos used to be a thing? Gamepass is like that for me now, and I give my full dollar to games that I like out of the rotations.

One of my favorite things about Steam at this point is the no questions asked refund policy. It's a de-facto demo system for all games on the platform. Game Pass kinda does that, but it's too limited. The console digital stores really just need to sack up and copy Steam's policy.

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imhungry

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To your point, when it’s a monthly subscription that you keep forever, it’s less of an amazing deal. Like $180 for 3 years is $540. It’s buying another Series X every 3 years. If you paid that for the lifespan of the Xbox One, that’s $1,260. To play games you don’t own.

This isn't really meant as a reply to you @clagnaught, just using your example as a jumping off point for my general thoughts, so apologies for the mention.

$1260 comes out to 21 full priced games; I definitely played a lot more than 21 games within this last console generation. I do understand the hang up of wanting to feel like you 'own' a game but really the industry took away what that really means at least 5 years ago, arguably more. If you're the type of person who very regularly returns to replay a wide variety of old games then it should surprise nobody that a subscription service isn't ideal, but personally I can count on 1 hand the number of games that have come out in the past year that I could see myself returning to.

If I want to replay something, or end up really liking a game, I'll just buy it! Because guess what, Microsoft 1000% isn't going to suddenly stop selling games. Their pushing Game Pass just indicates that they believe that this is the best way for them to expand their profit at this time, due to the potential to capture revenue from a much wider audience I'd suspect. But you best believe they'd still vastly prefer people paid full price for every single game they play; they make so much more money that way that there's no reason for them to take that option away.

There are certainly reasons to be concerned about Game Pass. Personally, I do wonder how this affects the direction of game development from here on, such as whether it leads to an active shift in frontloading content, or whether this will ultimately be a boon to smaller projects, as it certainly appears to be up to this point, or an eventual bane. But I'd argue that all that is pretty unknowable at this point in time without having knowledge of what the contracts with devs look like, what the internal talks are; so I'm pretty content to not wring my hands in worry and just see how it plays out.

What is knowable is that it's a pretty incredible deal at this current price point and, as others have pointed out, the current positives so vastly outweigh the negative.

I wasn't really aware of the situation with Xbox Gold, but I'm also the kind of person who thinks paying for online multiplayer is terrible so I guess I'd say it's bad that they've done that but they've been doing bad things in that space for years now.

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monkeyking1969

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Bother?...no, not really.

I Do think GP is a decent deal for a SUBSCRIPTION. But, as a subscription you are sh!t out of luck if you have to cancel for weeks or months at a time.

I think for most people what they means is they cna use GP for "testing games". They they will buy games thye really like. Yesm I can imagine somoen just using Game Pass having little as a tangible 'catalog' of games to play. And, I can imagine some people being fine with that. Some parents will use Game Pass as a great way to shut off
gaming for their kids and teens; i.e. Don't clean you room....fine Game Pass is cancelled [ Yes, that IS shitty parenting, all 'the stick' without carrot. However, that is what some parents are like, they just understand punishment".

If people walk into this subscription with open eyes, than that fine. But they have to understand for game they REALLY like they need to buy that game just in case.

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vaiz

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@gundato: A lot of people are not going to follow that first comparison you made, but I do. And I'm kind of mad about it. Depends how canonical 3 Jokers ends up being taken by other writers. BUT I DON'T LIKE IT.

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Gundato

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@vaiz: Heh. Haven't read it and probably never will but saw a few people complaining about that and have been slowly ripping my DCAU blu-rays so the "why does every single writer creep on Barbara?" was in the mess that is my mind while trying to make an absurd enough example as to not cause people to stop reading immediately.

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liquiddragon

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#24  Edited By liquiddragon

Good or bad, it’s gonna be so easy to jump ship from Xbox cuz no one will own anything on their platforms to tie them down, especially if you’re going month to month.

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Ry_Ry

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It doesn't bother me in the same way that Apple Music/Spotify don't bother me. Sure I no longer own most of my music, but as it turns out I now listen to more stuff that I wouldn't have access to otherwise.

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BrunoTheThird

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#26  Edited By BrunoTheThird

The only thing that bothers me is when I open it up every couple months and see a dozen games I planned to buy just there to play. That is a great deal of money I saved in a flash, but...I feel like shit. I don't understand how I can be supporting the devs and the hard work they put in for years by devouring content in this way, because I lack the knowledge to work out how much money devs make having their games available day 1 or week 1 or month 1, whatever, on XGP. Finishing a dozen very recent games for $10 almost feels like stealing when most of them cost that much or usually more to buy individually.

I can easily afford to support them the way I want, buying a bunch of games every month the old fashioned way, and finishing them over the next few weeks 'til I do the same next month with a new bunch of games. Game pass is just so attractive, it's tricky to resist the value sometimes.

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Gundato

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Good or bad, it’s gonna be so easy to jump ship from Xbox cuz no one will own anything on their platforms to tie them down, especially if you’re going month to month.

That really isn't any different than it was the past generation

Yeah, losing your game library is horrible. But... how much of an impact is that for most people? When the vast majority of games are live games (that now have cross-progression in many cases), annual releases, and one offs you play and beat, what is the point of a game library? I straight up did buy the Steamworld series on basically every device I own because by the time I want to replay it I have a new handheld console and it is always worth the few bucks.

This isn't trading in your SNES for a PS1 or whatever. Most of the games are going to be the same on either platform and between discounts and f2p games we all have a decent enough library that the games you play endlessly are the ones you want to and not Croc. And if you really DO want to keep playing Croc after deciding you want to change consoles? Wait for a sale and get it for less than 20 bucks.

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Nigeth

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Im bothered by it because it will only be a ‚great value‘ for as long as Microsoft has competition and the current low price is simply a subscription drive to bolster the number of paying subscribers.

im bothered by it because in the end it will lead to the ‚Spotify-sation‘ of gaming where no one is going to pay for games anymore and no one except a few very big game companies will ever see any profit from it.

music subscription services killed album sales and overall are a net negative for musicians and customers. The payout is so heavily skewed to the few big names in the business It’s not even funny. The big names who can pay their lawyers to negotiate preferential rates and cuts and who can pay for better ranking in the algorithm and for front page features.

game subscription services will likely have the same effect on the games business with the big studios paying their way to front page access and a better algorithm while the smaller studios both getting drowned in the deluge of new game releases and without alternative platforms where they could actually sell individual copies of their work and be somewhat visible.

it’s probably fine if all you care about is the latest call of duty though or blockbuster titles like Cyberpunk 2077.

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Efesell

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#29  Edited By Efesell

@nigeth said:

it’s probably fine if all you care about is the latest call of duty though or blockbuster titles like Cyberpunk 2077.

Not for nothing, there are so many smaller games that I have played that I would never have given a moments notice if not for Game Pass.

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petesix0

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Gamepass feels like a Park pass to me. Like, pay the fee and for every time you walk into the park(A Theme Park is what I mean), you can use the rides available, until they cycle some of the rides out. I think as long as people don't treat it the same way as PS Plus* and that some of the attractions can and will go away, then I'm not going to feel bad if my most-played on Gamespass goes missing because it was always a timed deal. Not everything is a timed deal there of course, MS owns a lot of the studios and I imagine they will do what they can to make long-term deals. For example, if Master Chief Collection went "Back in the Vault", this would rewrite my opinion overnight, but I can't see it happening.

(*By comparison PS Plus currently is where you kinda sorta get "My Uncle works at Sony and he gets spares. Pay my bill and I'll give you one of each and it's yours but if you cut me off I'm taking the games back until you get smart again(Understand I'm describing the differences, I use both of the services and am not saying one is better),

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Nigeth

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@efesell said:
@nigeth said:

it’s probably fine if all you care about is the latest call of duty though or blockbuster titles like Cyberpunk 2077.

Not for nothing, there are so many smaller games that I have played that I would never have given a moments notice if not for Game Pass.

Right now it’s great, I agree. It’s a very small list of titles though and also very curated. If game pass becomes the same runaway success that for example Spotify or Netflix have been then everyone will want to be on game pass.

Then MS will either have to play gatekeeper and have to decide who can and who cannot be on the platform but this would be such a clear antitrust case that they’ll likely never do this or game pass will eventually become the same mess every other large download store or subscription service has become. Basically steam or the Nintendo e-shop for twenty dollars per month where you have to hire specialized marketing companies that know how to game the recommendation algorithms or you have to have enough money to pay for featured front page access.

with the added bonus that you have taught your audience to not pay for individual games anymore.

go and ask any Indy studio how hard it is to make any money from steam and how hard it is to get visibility there or go and ask any musician that is not billboard top 100 how much money and sales they generate off of Spotify, Apple Music and the like.

Those services favor the big fishes with the money and clout to pay their way to the top featured spots and everyone else gets drowned out in the deluge of content that also wants the chance of a piece of the pie.

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TheRealTurk

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Considering that Gamepass is part of what is getting me to jump ship over to Microsoft this generation, I disagree. In addition to letting me go through a huge back-catalogue of games I might have missed over the years, I tend to think of it like this - the value of Gamepass is really going to be in the price of the games that I don't buy.

Speaking just for myself, I would say the majority of the games I get are either (a) something I end up not liking very much or (b) things I play and enjoy, but also don't see myself going back to at any point. In any given year, there might only be two or three releases that I'm enthusiastic enough about to want to play several times through (just off the top of my head I can think of about 15 for this entire generation on PS4).

Great case in point - DOOM: Eternal. It was one of the year's big releases, I totally enjoyed the 2016 game, and it reviewed fairly well. So I dropped $60 on it. Now it's going to end up topping my "Most Disappointing" list for 2020. If it'd been on Gamepass, I could have booted it up and tried it before committing any additional money, which would have saved me $45 ($60 - one month of Gamepass). If I avoid four games per year that way, then the service pays for itself. At the rate I buy games, that's likely to happen more years than not.

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tds418

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I would maybe be bothered by Game Pass if game developers felt like they were getting screwed by the service. But, by all accounts, that is not the case. It seems like MS is burning money at the moment to keep customers and developers happy. I'm fine with that. If the strategy changes, I'll re-evaluate. For now though, I'm loving the service. I definitely play more games with the service than I would without. A game has to be pretty damn good for me to shell out north of $50 for it, but the barrier to entry feels so much lower with game pass.

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Humanity

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#34  Edited By Humanity

As some have said, I'm mostly worried it's too much of a good thing and there will come a time when the fun times will be over and suddenly prices will significantly increase. I've been using Game Pass a lot and think it's an excellent service but I don't know what my cutoff price for using it would theoretically be. I have to admit that over the past year I have become quite reliant on it providing me games on the fly at no additional cost. Being able to simply download something and try it with no pressure or guilt of not liking it and never touching it again after 30 minutes is very freeing. At the same time I have noticed becoming increasingly more skiddish about actually purchasing new games, because hey.. it might come to Game Pass down the road and I can just play whatever else at the moment. This exact scenario has worked out in my favor several times as I passed up a game purchase only to see that exact title show up a few months later on the service.

So I'm very happy with how it currently works. I'm a little worried about the withdrawal of having to not use it anymore should the offer significantly change down the road.

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Shindig

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Given some of the moaning that happens when the PS Plus picks aren't all winners, Gamepass losing it's shine could be something to watch.

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noobsauce

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It bothers me how good a deal gamepass keeps becoming. Only thing that worries me is the price being jacked up over time. But for now, I play/will play 3 or more games on it a year so I'm coming out ahead.

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Hunkadunkodon

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@noobsauce: That's definitely one thing that I'm curious/worried about. The economics of the Game Pass program seem far too good to be true and it just doesn't seem like the reported subscriber base is enough of an income stream to support MS dumping cash on every studio to compensate them adequately for cannibalizing their sales.

It's the best case scenario if this whole thing legitimately is a great, solid deal on all fronts forever but I keep waiting for the other shoe to drop, here.

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noobsauce

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#38  Edited By noobsauce

@bearhardt: idk. Even if prices go up to $20 a month, as long as you play at least 4 games a year (at a $70 price tag per pop), you're coming out ahead. I still think that's pretty reasonable given all the content that will be there ala netflix exclusives and alternating content that'll come through. And MS still makes money off of people outright buying the game too. If that other shoe drops, if ever, I think it's years away.

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mellotronrules

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#39  Edited By mellotronrules

despite the undeniable value, the gamepass model fundamentally doesn't appeal to me- i'm trying to reduce the number of recurrent costs i have (2 video streaming services i don't use nearly enough, spotify, various other bits and bobs of software and cloud services) so throwing another on the pile doesn't feel great. additionally thanks to digital sales from steam, the eshop, and the playstation store- i have faaar more games than FOMO- and an 'all-you-can-eat' model with a constant influx of new titles won't buy me additional time to play them. but this is all personal and circumstantial- gamepass has potential to be an incredible deal for those with the time and desire to take full advantage. so none of that bothers me, because it's on me.

the one piece that is disquieting (to me) is what many have alluded to- it feels too good to be true. unless microsoft is content to burn cash forever- i'm not sure how the delta between a '$70-per-copy' model and a 'get-EVERYTHING-for-$15' (irrespective of volume) model is accounted for. i can see how for smaller efforts (indie, etc) gamepass gives you access to a base and an income guarantee that would be highly appealing (especially since they tend to deal in lower volumes). but for the larger titles- it just feels like microsoft must be doing a large amount of subsidizing to ensure profits remain at a level that AAA games require. and i'm not sure how that lasts.

some other quick thoughts that i find concerning-

  • if this is as pervasive and successful as microsoft wants it to be- what happens when no one wants to pay $70 anymore?
  • what happens as more games join the service- won't discoverability and attention continue to decline?
  • does this give microsoft an undue or potentially uncomfortable amount of new power and influence over development if it really takes off?
  • how bespoke are the compensation deals for each studio? is it equitable and sustainable?
  • does developing for a service change the size and shape of games in unforeseen ways?

all that said- gamepass is a tremendous value, and if it facilitates success for titles that otherwise wouldn't make it- it's very hard to not feel positive about that.

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  • if this is as pervasive and successful as microsoft wants it to be- what happens when no one wants to pay $70 anymore?

This is one of those things I have no research or metrics on but I can't help but think of the mobile gaming space, especially as technology and graphics in said space got closer to console/pc quality and we started seeing games released on both platforms at vastly different price points because ain't nobody paying $59.99 for an iPhone game, even if it is a direct clone of it's console counterpart.

I guess all I have to say is this is weird and amazing? This whole game pass thing... And I kinda wanna fast forward ahead a year or two (for no other reason obviously nope no reason at all) and see how or if this changes the market significantly.

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stinger061

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I'm mostly fascinated by how this could possibly be a money making exercise for Microsoft and the other developers they have putting their games on gamepass longterm. Maybe they have it figured out but it really does seem too good to be true, taking games that were selling for $60 (now $70 from the looks of it) and having those share the $15 subscription money with all the other developers on the service. If they can do it then fair play to them as it's a great deal for players.

My only other concern is how does it impact the quality of games if you start development on something knowing it's going to go on gamepass. Do you put in the time/money/effort making a generation defining masterpiece or do you half arse it and be happy with a 7/10 and reviews that say 'it's worth giving a go if you subscribe to gamepass'? which has unfortunately been the general consensus on recent Microsoft first party games

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Hayt

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I have a pretty strong negative reaction to the idea of paying monthly for something forever if you want to keep it. So long as the option to buy games outright doesn't go away or doesn't gain an inflated cost I suppose it's not an issue but I am pretty resistant to giving up completely on any semblance of ownership.

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#43 Serryl  Online

It doesn't bother me in 2020, but we also haven't seen Microsoft's vision for the future take shape yet.

GamePass is a great value for an enthusiast like me, but I think the bigger deal is that GamePass + cloud streaming dramatically lowers the barrier to entry for people getting into the hobby*. The All Access subscription is similarly enticing but isn't an impulse buy. Starting at $1, a casual mobile gamer can play Halo or Indivisible or The Witcher or Forza Horizon if they're curious (and have the bandwidth).

If streaming services bring more people to the hobby, I dont think the issue will be cannibalizing current sales or eroding the definition of "ownership". The question will be whether all those new customers and their money completely transform the industry as we enjoy it today.

I believe there are enough potential upsides that it's worth experimenting.

*This is true of other streaming services, but I think GamePass will end up with the most appealing "upgrade path" for newbies (Cloud + GamePass >> Cloud + digital purchase >> Xbox).

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I'm someone who much prefers to own my games, however I just subbed to GP Ultimate for 3 years simply because at the price I got it, it will pay for itself easily, even with what's on it now let alone Bethesda's stuff which is utterly insane. Now, when my 3 years are up and I have to pay normal price, then I'll see how the value went and if I feel it's worth it to continue.

In general though, so long as they are allowing me to buy physical games I will continue to do that and be OK with GamePass existing. If they stop selling these games and make them GamePass only, then I think I'll just give up gaming and start knitting.


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If we start getting "you can only get this through Game Pass, no a la carte option" games, I'll start worrying, but for now I'm pretty damn happy with it. While I like to have personal copies of things and I'm still fully against streaming (I want those files on my hard drive, dammit), the value proposition is just too good to pass up. It's also exposed me to a lot of games and genres I never would have played otherwise (*cough* Kingdom Hearts *cough*), which I'm quite grateful for. And, morbid as this may be (thanks 2020), it's not like I'm gonna be able to take any of this stuff with me anyway when I kick the bucket...nothing's owned forever, so I might as well save a few bucks while I can.

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#46  Edited By ahifi

Okay, long one, but have thought about this a lot and have some time:

I think there is some over-thinking going on here about people and the state of their finances, and I don't think making assumption (or, rather, one assumption) about people's financial lives is the way to critique Game Pass. You can still buy games. Bottom line. Spotify and Netflix don't offer you that option - they just railroad you. I mean, you can go elsewhere and buy a lot of it but there's stuff exclusive to Netflix and there's - to a lesser degree - stuff exclusive to Spotify. Game Pass doesn't do that. If you want to keep buying, then keep buying.

Other than the concern of financial difficulty losing you access to your whole library (which will happen to people and, when it does, it will suck to hear those stories), the downsides are near negligible for people with steady incomes and careers. You talk about having people pay $60 a year to access games they'll never play and I just don't think that's true at all. People can still buy 3 months of Gold. If they play FIFA online for three months, they'll just pay for 3 months. And, right now, they may as well pay for 3 months of Game Pass to actually get access to FIFA! It also allows them to try a load of games that they never would have tried. Yes, you can lament the death of the demo, but that's not Game Pass' fault - that has been going on for a generation. People who aren't that interested in other games will find value. And if they don't find value, they'll cancel it when they're done. Simple as that.

With their current numbers of 15m subscribers (a 50% increase in less than 6 months), I'd estimate they are currently generating revenue somewhere in the region of about $1.8bn a year. If they can get up to 100m subscribers by the end of this generation, they'd be pulling in over $12bn a year using that same calculation. I'm averaging $9.99/month based on the various Game Pass tiers, trials (people who are paying zero) and people who converted their Gold to Game Pass for $1 (I am in that latter category and not paying a penny for Ultimate until 2022). And keep in mind that's a fairly conservative estimate as it's the same price as the single platform Game Pass options - I assume most will be Game Pass Ultimate - so average could be higher.

Of course, you have to take Gold costs out of that for a more accurate figure but, let's face it, they could very well yank the cord on Gold at some point when they get a high enough intake of GP subscribers. It'll be a nice PR boon when that happens and people who AREN'T Game Pass subscribers will actually get back the cost of a game per year.

Anyway, that doesn't include the revenue from DLC and people buying the games outright while they are discounted on the service. Nor the fees Microsoft generate from third-party game sales. It's all enough to go towards creating their first-party titles. A lot of talk of Microsoft just printing money to bankroll this but, as every year goes by, that money will lessen until Game Pass hits profitability (or doesn't) and they can stop loss leading. So this is a long-term project that won't be going anywhere anytime soon - especially since they already have 15m and will probably hit 20m by the end of the year. Investors will be happy with 100% growth in a year.

And this is the thing that I don't really see get talked about: once they make enough first-party games, they can drop the amount of third-party titles on the service. I think that's their ultimate goal.

Because then they don't need to negotiate as many licensing fees, nor will most games disappear from the service for the user. It will be more like a vault and there will be less temporary stuff. Rather than overspending on payments to third parties, who will try to take a profit for their investors on top of their studio/publisher costs, they'll be in total control of this process.

I think this is the big reason why they have bought Bethesda who will generate double digit first-party titles per generation. At a base count, they developed/published 21 games across PS4, Xbox One and PC during the last cycle. So that's 20 or so titles probably coming to Game Pass, probably at least another 15+ this generation, and another potential 15-20 from Xbox 360 and Xbox for BC.

So, by the end of this generation, there's a good chance that Bethesda alone will have something in the region of 50 games you can play on Game Pass. If they can get to 100m subscribers, that yearly revenue is enough to buy Bethesda over and still have a few billion left over for that year.

They can always bolster their first-party games with a limited third-party selection alongside a lot of indie games, while the big third-party publishers will try and develop their own services using their own back catalogue (which will likely increase given the Amazon announcement).

It really depends on how fast they reckon they can hit their targets. If they feel they are on target, they'll try and keep it the same price. If not, they'll raise the price by a couple of bucks a month to compensate. The main thing to consider is that they have options. They can go in a number of directions with Game Pass until they can make it sustainable but, like I said, my belief is that they are filling out with third-party stuff for now until they can rest on their first-party laurels later. Heck, perhaps by the end of this next generation, it will simply be called the 'Xbox Vault' - a way to access all their first-party games. That would be the worst-case scenario for everyone and that still isn't that bad.

And I didn't even factor in Cloud Streaming to all of that. The value of that on the service will be great for people who like that sort of thing and for those who travel a lot for work, while also a great 'emergency' option to have for others if they have any tech hiccups that would have otherwise stopped them from being able to play their console or on their TV for a few days/weeks.

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#47  Edited By stantongrouse

There are now so many games I own outright that I can no longer play because: the servers have been shut down; there's no longer anyone else playing it; my console it's on is no longer working and can't afford to replace it and can't be emulated on my PC. There's even a couple where the disk is scuffed/cartridge doesn't read so would have to be replaced.

My point is, at 41 I am generally quite settled on the mindset that just because I own it doesn't mean I get to have it working and good to go forever. The less permanent nature of a service like Gamepass doesn't bother me too much - when a game I had intended to play was announced as being removed from the service, rather than get annoyed (which previously I might have done) I just thought, "you had 12 months to play it and never felt enough of an urge to do so, move on."

Having said that, the world has made me massively apathetic recently so maybe I am just more 'meh' about everything these days.

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Ulfhedinn

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#48  Edited By Ulfhedinn

@efesell said:

I mean the upside so vastly outweighs absolutely all of this.

Ditto.

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It bothers me that all those games within reach and yet I can't play them all because of busy work sched.

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