So this week EA announced that they will be instituting a Beta for a subscription-based rental system of their titles for the Xbox One, or as the media has lovingly termed, “Netflix for Games.” And while the idea seems like a winner, there are a few concerns I think should be brought up.
The first and foremost is the death of ownership.
The absolute worst thing about the original Xbox One is the fact that when you bought a disc you didn’t technically own the game. You bought a license to play that game and that license was revoked if the console was to go offline or if they shut down the servers.
Now while this doesn’t seem relevant to the initial Beta, we really should start looking at the future of this, which very well could be “Subscription-based Exclusives”. If EA wants you to use their service then the best way for them to do it is to either make it truly a consumer-friendly item (an act which based on EA’s past is not at the forefront of their minds) or to make content that is exclusively on their “Rent-a-game” service. A service which does not allow for depreciation of a title’s value so its price is always up and if you like it, then you pay to access it for longer because they’ve entrenched you into a system where you are not an owner. You are merely renting THEIR property at a value that will not go down because they control the supply.
The other issue that could arise from Subscription Based Games are the dreaded micro-transactions that can plague a fantastic game. If there aren’t exclusive games made for this system, then there CERTAINLY will be exclusive mini-bonuses they will offer you.
Now, things like micro-transactions can be utilized very well and problems only arise when they are abused. But, as we see the games industry already loves taking content and making it a “timed exclusive” or “pre-order bonus”. Content that can entire missions or segments of the game. Watch Dogs shouldn’t be proud that there’s an extra “hour of game play exclusive to the PS4” because what it shows is that there is content that you are willing to lock other customers out of for a buck, and a rental service can be abused in this way to the max.
Cut-down versions, “demo-versions”, and free-to-“pay” are all horrid warts that can plague what may turn out to be a great system. I was genuinely excited to hear about PlayStation Now doing this exact thing, but it is not safe from these criticisms either.
The thing to walk away with is that we as the consumers should be waited on by these companies; not the other way around. They NEED our money and we don’t HAVE to give it to them. Take advantage of these deals and don’t buy in when you see a company shaving away content or features to make a quicker buck.
And if you like this post then follow my blog “GamerFumes”. I’m going to try and do posts like these every now and again. And if you like to laugh, check out my YouTube channel “GamerFumes” its the same name as the blog for your memory’s sake. Follow me on Twitter and Instagram at @GamerFumes and Charles_Lambourghini.
Take care y’all!