With the games industry constantly shifting and changing and the gaming giants consistently looking for new ways to keep players engaged and spending in the long-term, game library subscription models are an inevitable future and one being championed by the likes of Xbox, PlayStation, EA, Ubisoft and more. It’s the latter company that’s caused a bit of a stir in recent days with Ubisoft’s director of subscriptions, Philippe Tremblay, suggesting that gamers need to “get used to” not owning their games any more, comparing the change to the music/film industry and disc media.
One high-profile person responding to these comments on social media is Swen Vincke, CEO of Larian Studios and lead developer on Baldur’s Gate 3. Vincke was quick to question a future where subscription models are the only option and suggests that creativity and discoverability are both at risk in that world. He ends the series of tweets by stating in no uncertain terms that players won’t find Larian’s games on subscription services.
Of course, the studio is in a unique position where it’s delivering AAA-quality games like Baldur’s Gate 3 direct to its audience with no external publisher, which is not something most AAA studios or even many indie studios could pull off risk-free. At any rate, anyone holding off on purchasing Baldur’s Gate 3 in the hopes that it one day lands on Xbox Game Pass or even PlayStation Plus can probably stop waiting at this point.
“Whatever the future of games looks like, content will always be king,” Vincke begins. “But it’s going to be a lot harder to get good content if subscription becomes the dominant model and a select group gets to decide what goes to market and what not. Direct from developer to players is the way.
“Getting a board to ok a project fueled by idealism is almost impossible and idealism needs room to exist, even if it can lead to disaster. Subscription models will always end up being cost/benefit analysis exercises intended to maximise profit.
“There is nothing wrong with that but it may not become a monopoly of subscription services. We are already all dependent on a select group of digital distribution platforms and discoverability is brutal. Should those platforms all switch to subscription, it’ll become savage.
“In such a world by definition the preference of the subscription service will determine what games get made. Trust me – you really don’t want that.
“TLDR ; you won’t find our games on a subscription service even if I respect that for many developers it presents an opportunity to make their game. I don’t have an issue with that. I just want to make sure the other ecosystem doesn’t die because it’s valuable.”
Whatever the future of games looks like, content will always be king. But it’s going to be a lot harder to get good content if subscription becomes the dominant model and a select group gets to decide what goes to market and what not. Direct from developer to players is the way. https://t.co/wEUvd5adt0