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Opinion A GamePass Fan's Concern About GamePass

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soulbait

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First, just know I am a GamePass fan. I signed up for it as soon as it was available and overall I have been extremely happy with the service. I still think it is the best value in gaming right now, and has allowed me to play games that I would have not tried before due to no added cost to try them out.

I have heard many concerns from various people about GamePass and it becoming the "Netflix of gaming." Most of these concerns I either shrug my shoulders at or consider them to be coming from fanboys on the other side who just cannot accept something that is good from the console maker that is not their choice. However, I do I have one concern: the results of devaluing the investment the gamer has themselves in the game. Let me explain.

One of the things I love about living in the times we are living in right now are music subscription services. I subscribed to Zune's music service (I know, I know) shortly after it came out, and have been a subscriber of Spotify and Google Play Music (screw you Google for forcing the change over to YouTube Music, which sucks). The idea of having access to millions of songs at anytime, is great to me. At any point, I can listen to almost any artist I like, from various decades, with just a press of a few buttons. Similar to my gaming tastes, my music tastes vary greatly, so having access to so many artists is a great tool for me. However, there has been a downside to all of this immediate access to music: listener investment is low.

When an artist releases an album now, they must grab your attention right away, or you will just move on and listen to something else. Before, this was different. When you went out and purchased an album, it took more effort, so you were more invested. If you would listen to the album the first time and you did not like it, you actually would give it a few more tries, due to the investment you had in it. You paid money directly for the album, You had to go out to the store to buy the album. You had to take efforts to listen to the album. All of this adds up to a physiological effect of you investing time and money into it, so you want to get your "monies worth" out of it. You still might not like the album after five or so listens, but you still gave it a shot to try to get worth out of it. Today's music? Not so much. Don't like it after the first listen, on to the next one. Little do you allow the album to "grow on you."

The issue with this is not only is music an artform, but it is also a business. And these businesses make money per listen of their songs. If an album does not grab enough listens in a short amount of time, then well it is a failure. This produces where artists are less willing to take risks and want to just appeal the lowest common denominator, making formulaic songs appealing to the widest audience possible. This has always been an issue with music, making music that is radio friendly, but at least then you had genre specific radio stations you were aiming for, trying to hit a certain crowd. If you look at today's more pop-music, it is pretty blan across the board. Where are the artists that are pushing the envelope and moving music forward? Now I know this is very much a generalization at a whole, and there are many niche genres that still have a lot of experimenting going on, but this is mostly in the indie scene and not coming from the larger publishers.

I am concerned about similar results happening in gaming, if GamePass like services become the norm. We already have seen the decrease in developers willing to take risks in new approaches in gaming due to the cost to develop. What happens when all gamers has a constant large library of games to choose from, without having any "investment" in those games? Do they try out the game beyond the few minutes and then completely abandon it if it does not grab their attention? Does this force game developers to make more formulaic games that are target to appeal to the widest market, without pushing gaming forward? I know some will say that these issues are currently present in gaming and indie games are where you need to go for new ideas in gaming, but there are still large games pushing forward. Does GamePass like services slow that down?

I know the other side of the coin of this argument is that GamePass encourages trying out new things. Just like with music subscription services, I have tried things I would not have before. But I am a music lover and a game lover. I am someone who wants to try new things and stretch my interests. The average music listener or gamer though? Are they willing to try more than beyond a few minutes?

I think this issue is still several years away. Right now it is not an issue directly related to the service, but could very well be in the future. Hopefully game publishers and game developers are aware of this possible issue, and are working on solutions to where they can still push forward the medium, while still making enough money to not fall into the formulaic trappings. I think fans of games like you and I will still be willing to experiment with new games, but will there be enough of us versus the more common gamer to make it worth it?

TLDR: my concern is, similar to music subscription services, GamePass will push gaming to be even more focused on the lowest common denominator and formulaic games versus games that pushes the medium forward and developers who are willing to take risks.
 

ManaByte

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Pagusas

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I honestly think the opposite will happen. GamePass is (unless they are lying) showing that its makeing people more engaged in games, play more, longer and different games. I'll admit its already allowed me to try lots of different games I'd never have considered trying in the past, and when i find these new games I like it expands my "looking forward to list" even more.

I do worry about the financials, and if all of these subscription based models (in film and games) will eventually be a bubble that burst from all the initial debt the big companies have to take on. But for now, thats their responsibility to worry about, I'm just going to enjoy the games
 
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soulbait

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I honestly think the opposite will happen. GamePass is (unless they are lying) showing that its makeing people more engaged in games, play more, longer and different games. I'll admit its already allowed me to try lots of different games I'd never have considered trying in the past, and when i find these new games I like it expands my "looking forward to list" even more.

I do worry about the financials, and if all of these subscription based models (in film and games) will eventually be a bubble that burst from all the initial debt the big companies have to take on. But for now, thats their responsibility to worry about, I'm just going to enjoy the games

I hope that continues. I know it has been true for me. I have been trying games that I would not have before due to the extra money involved. A good example of this was Dragon Quest XI. I would have never purchased that game on my own, but ended up playing the game all the way through. Over 100 hundred hours of it and I loved it. But I am also willing to try new things.
 

MikeM

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The only thing I don't like about things like GamePass, Netflix, etc is that it promotes the narrative of consumers not owning anything. That, and that others are dictating what I consume. People lose their mind over buying physical copies of games brand new at $70, but you at least own something that can be resold while having the complete freedom of choice.

What I like about GP: Exposure to games I would have never otherwise paid for.
 

Cert.in.Death

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Valid.

I’m more of a worrywart that service offerings are a new race to the bottom. If you’re a new studio and aren’t contracted to distribute on GamePass, you’re fucked on those devices. And sure, it raises the revenue floor while lowering the ceiling, but whose floors and whose ceilings?

It might make sense for MS and other publishers but the further down the product library you get, I worry.
 
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GHG

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Already seen this phenomenon at work when Nier Automata was discussed around the time it launched on gamepass.

If the games intro is anything less than conventional then people will simply drop the game instead of persevering to understand why the intro is not what you would typically come to expect from a game (or how said intro fits in to the narrative).

Some games will be more suited to the service than others.
 
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soulbait

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The only thing I don't like about things like GamePass, Netflix, etc is that it promotes the narrative of consumers not owning anything. That, and that others are dictating what I consume. People lose their mind over buying physical copies of games brand new at $70, but you at least own something that can be resold while having the complete freedom of choice.

What I like about GP: Exposure to games I would have never otherwise paid for.

I kind of get the purchase argument, but the way games are made today, needing multiple patches and such, I think it works with it. I know the idea patching games, relying on internet, and the issues of game preservation for the future is a big issue for itself. Unfortunately, I think it is the way the industry is moving and it will be harder and harder in the future.

But then again, there are just some games I do not care to own or play again. I get why someone would want to though.
 
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MiguelItUp

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TLDR: my concern is, similar to music subscription services, GamePass will push gaming to be even more focused on the lowest common denominator and formulaic games versus games that pushes the medium forward and developers who are willing to take risks.
Honestly, I expect the opposite from Game Pass and similar services. Meaning, if services can guarantee developers will receive a specific sum, maybe they'd be willing to take larger risks because then they don't have to worry about failing as much as they would without that guarantee.

I see what you're getting at, but personally I respectfully disagree. Especially the part that I bolded. Call me pessimistic, but I feel like we won't see games, in the AAA realm of course, "pushing the medium forward and taking risks" as much as we would like. The cost of AAA development these days is SO insanely high. Without a guarantee or anything positive towards some kind of success, they're just going to continue to do what they know will work or be successful and what will sell. Just so they can feel comfortable knowing their studio's doors will stay open.
 

Chukhopops

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I guess this is going to be moved to the Gamepass thread shortly, but to address the question, wouldn’t developers actually take more risks in a model where the development cost is paid in advance by the sub cost? I find the opposite to be true in that for huge AAA games, a dev is forced to go for the lowest common denominator because they have to sell x million copies and you end up with something predictable.

I also disagree that paying for a game somehow forces you to be more committed to it, if I don’t like it I won’t play it since at every moment there are hundreds of games to choose from. Doesn’t change anything in my opinion.
 
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Markio128

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I share your concerns, but at the same time I am not worried in general because there will always be others with a different model that works for them and their fans.
 
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The Alien

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Blame the instant gratification generation.
They speak with their wallets.

The chorus of a song has to be in the first 20 seconds now vs. first 75 seconds 2 decades ago. Now games must grab your attention or they won't continue.

You could make an argument that games that don't immediately grab yiu may find more of a home on GamePasa. More indie devs will go to GamePass because financial security allowing them to make the game they want.
 
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