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Soapbox: I don’t think about PS Plus-like subscriptions anymore, Xbox Game Passes are the future of gaming



Image: Push square

In this job, there are clear and obvious trends that dominate the discussion, sometimes for years at a time. I have been running push square For more than a decade now, and I’ve been lucky enough to report on many of the defining moments that have included enthusiasts: the battle for motion control fueled by the success of the Nintendo Wii, which resulted in competitors As such PS move; There was a heated debate crossplay, has been painted by Sony as a barrier preventing publishers from adopting the now fairly common feature; And, more recently, subscriptions have arrived.

Going into this generation very clear lines were drawn in the sand: PlayStation’s market position was at risk if it refused to offer its first-party games from day one. PS Plus. Sony, to its credit, was consistent from the start, arguing that it would not adopt this strategy and did not see it as particularly sustainable – at least in the current environment. It argued that by changing its business model in such a seismic way, it could affect the quality of its PS Studio games, which are generally considered to be among the best available on any platform. .

Many argued that it was a mistake, and strong competition from opponents Xbox Game Pass will eat its lunch. In its defense, PlayStation responded last year by making some long-overdue adjustments to PS Plus and PS Now, combining them and offering several additional tiers for those willing to pay extra. The result has been somewhat successful, increasing Sony’s subscription services revenue without significantly impacting the number of active members. In fact, PS Plus has been churning out around 50 million users for the past several years.

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And the longer the generation goes on, the more I’m starting to believe that subscriptions may not represent the seismic cultural shift for gaming consumption that it’s been called. In addition to PS Plus hitting a ceiling, a recent Sarkana report on the US gaming market noted that subscription growth is slowing. It’s important to understand what this means: it doesn’t mean the graph has stopped going up completely, just that it’s starting to plateau. We’ve seen a similar thing in other mediums like movies and music, most famously Netflix, which has also hit a limit of late.

But increasingly I am becoming aware of the fact that gaming is No Like movies and music, and there are potential audiences very much Shorter than those rival entertainment mediums. Much of the conversation about the merits of Xbox Game Pass and PS Plus has been piloted by enthusiasts, the kind of players who beat out multiple games per month — but it happens. No represent the mainstream. We know, for example, that the software attach rate on the PS4 was around 9.6 games per console – and that was right up until 2019, a year before the launch of the PS5 and at the end of the generation.

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Image: Push square

Gaming is a much more active pastime than movies or music, where the commitment is much lower. A movie takes an average of two hours to watch; About 45 minutes of full-length album to listen to. And, importantly, you can combine these things with other activities: I listen to music and podcasts when I’m at the gym, and I’ll sometimes watch television shows while scrolling through Doom on my phone. I happen to be None of these things are possible with games, where most releases ask you to complete Meditation — usually for tens if not hundreds of hours.

Why is this the case? Well, because I can listen to hundreds of songs a month with my Spotify subscription, that makes it better value for money than owning CDs and records – but I’m lucky if I finish a dozen games. the year. And it should be underlined that, while I have missing free time, I still represent a lot of hardcore: I am an enthusiast who spends as much of my free time as possible playing games. Even if I Can’t find value in an unlimited library of software, then leave a thought for more mainstream consumers.

The reality is that, in most cases, gamers have a few favorite franchises that they love and play all year round. In many cases, it should be underlined that these titles can actually be free To play: Fortnite, Apex Legends, and Call of Duty: Warzone 2.0 are some of the biggest games on Earth, and don’t require any kind of subscription to enjoy. (Unless you factor out the pods for their in-game subscriptions, which is another topic entirely.) Then you consider the big games that people payment of To play this year: Hogwarts Legacy, Resident Evil 4, and even today’s Star Wars Jedi: Survivor — none of which are on subscription anyway.

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Image: Push square

This dynamic can do Could potentially change the way major releases launch into subscriptions, but that again raises the question of whether it’s worth paying monthly for a catalog you’re unlikely to ever fully explore. I think personally PS Plus Extra An excellent value, and the releases are I want to To play on it, but I haven’t had a chance to get to them yet. There are other games that are taking up my time! And as I have repeated several times in this article: I am enthusiastic, the type that plays dozens of titles per year. The vast, majority of consumers aren’t doing this – and apparently don’t see the value.

So, now that the dust has begun to settle, I don’t think the future of gaming is in subscriptions. It’s clear they appeal to a certain demographic, and I don’t think any of them are going to go away – but this generation was defined by discussions about how disruptive they were likely to be. I think, as Microsoft refuses to share an update on Xbox Game Pass subscribers and PS Plus continues to push against a very clear ceiling, we’re slowly starting to see that. are establishing themselves as a lucrative complementary option – and not, as was argued until recently, the primary form of content consumption.

What do you think the future holds for subscriptions? Do you believe they will eventually overtake traditional purchase models, or do you agree that this model is better suited to more passive forms of media such as movies and music? Pay your monthly fee in the comment section below.


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