Are gaming subscription services here to stay? Have we as gamers, now excepted this new reality, of games on demand?
Microsoft Game Pass if Microsoft’s recent report is anything to go by then it’s a resounding yes. For Microsoft currently have 23 million subscribers, of course, this isn’t broken down to show the numbers of players on the Games Pass Ultimate, basic Game Pass packages, people that have been moved across from the EA Play service ( a service that has now been bundles in with the Game Pass Ultimate service) or even subscribers trying out the first month for a pound deal but with numbers like these it’s save to say that Microsoft’s Game Pass will be something that will help form Microsoft’s X Box strategy going forward and coupled with the fact’s that Games with Gold is included with the Game Pass service and the EA Play subscription service has been bundled into the price of the Game Pass Ultimate tier and any games created by any Microsoft studio (there are a lot of them) will now be added to the subscription service on the date of their release it would look like the Game Pass service is here to stay.
PlayStation is in a different position to Microsoft. Where Microsoft seems to be doing everything it can to add new subscribers to it’s service, PlayStation Now still seems to something of an after-thought from Sony, since despite buying the cloud technology from Gaikai Cloud in 2012. Many things are still missing from the service, firstly PS Now is not available in many countries, yes Sony does update the available list from time to time but that number is still too low and the role out is still too slow. We could say that the lack of availability maybe some reason behind PS Now’s subscription numbers of 2.2 million and I am sure it is, but it isn’t the only reason. Simply put the PS Now service feels miles behind Game Pass, and while that could be because Sony just does not have the same resources to put behind the service as Microsoft, and with AAA games costing anything up to 300 million to produce it would be hard to argue that Sony should give its first party games away for ”free” to its PS Now subscribers but, even if you forgive the lack of new games you could also argue the fact that Sony will add only 3 or 4 games to it’s subscription service in a month, and that many of these will have already been added to the PS + service in prior months and you are left asking why Sony do this when Microsoft seem to be adding new games every couple of weeks. Again you could argue that Microsoft have been lucky in being able to add games to the service that haven’t formerly been available on X Box consoles such as the Yakuza series and the Final Fantasy series and if you couple that in with the ability to add EA’s games to the service added into the Games With Ultimate tier without an additional charge and it’s clear that PS Now has some way to go. Still PS Now is a good idea if you are new to the console. There may not be many newer games, but a lot of the games on the service are still very good.
sometimes, you can be too big for your boots. You can promise the Moon and fall at the first hurdle and that may be what happened to Google Stadia. It didn’t start well, what was promised as an end to the console generation, an end to having to have a top end PC to get the most from the latest games. All we would need was a Google Stadia account and a reasonable internet connection and Google would do the rest. All the hard work would be done by their services, we would only see the results, perfect, beautiful, wonderful results. It didn’t quite go to plan. When Google released it was beset by technical and latency problems, but that wasn’t the only problem, games available on other services for only a few pounds were now going for their original retail price of anywhere up to 59.99 despite some of these games being quite a few years old. Add this to that Stadia offered two tiers of membership the first the standard price of 8.99 a month applies but this does give you access to a rotating monthly selection of games. all your to play for as long as you are a member. There used to be a way to get a console and a controller from Google but at the time of writing only the controller seems to be available. The second is a free version, simply buy the games you want to play. If all this seems too good to be true, and the the fact that you can play on almost any device is very tempting. Remember that of all Google’s potential customers only 2 million people currently have a subscription based on a lot of Googling as Google do not release subscription numbers. Plus it has just been announced that Google have closed their internal studio, Which does not lead well to a future for the service.
Nintendo as always seems to be doing it’s own thing and this generation is no exception. Not content with releasing a console that it’s competitors could not even imagine. It has tried to change the way it sells its older games, simply put, it will sell them to you by not selling them, not in anyway you imagine. The only access we now have to old Nintendo games such as Pilot Wings, F-Zero and Mario Kart is to get a Nintendo online subscription. It helps that this option is the cheapest of the four motioned here but, it is also the strangest way of doing it. You can’t download the games to your console, you can’t pick what you get and Nintendo seem to be really hit and miss with both how many games the service receives and even if it will receive any in a given month. It’s an odd way of doing it but as normal Nintendo seem to know what they are doing with a current estimate of 26 million current subscribers.
Have you tried any of the above? If so let me know 🙂