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David Jaffe Addresses the Concern Over Gaming Subscription Services

JerryinSoCal

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I don’t think many are “bashing” GP due to console wars. I don’t think anyone is even arguing it’s value to the consumer.

It’s just a recognition that it’s enabled from a massive corporate subsidy, which in the interim is good for consumers and devs that accept large deals.

But it’s completely hyperbolic to make countless YouTube videos bashing Jim Ryan by making doomsday proclamations that Sony is toast if they don’t jump on the bandwagon. That’s simply not a reality. GP isn’t going to completely envelope the business model.
Yeah it's gotten really silly, there are "journalists" and influencers who really want to see the leader follow the loser here and it makes no sense. Gamepass has been around for 3 years, so far PlayStation has outsold xbox handily during that time but more importantly PlayStation has brought in a lot more money for Sony than Xbox has for Microsoft.

If people like GP that's great, I have it but rarely actually find anything I want to play on it but I'm not someone who sits around 2 years waiting on a game I'm interested in either and most of the AAA single player focused games are at least that old. I'm also not a big indie guy, don't care for pixel art and don't care for games where you walk around a village and never see another character model (including your own) and look for clues lol so maybe people who are more into that get more "value" from the service. To me it's more about quality than quantity, yeah there are a ton of games there but if I don't care to play any of them how valuable is the service really?

I do have to say I think he's wrong about devs making games artificially longer than they have to be just to create the perception of value, at least with Sony first party, Ubisoft would be another story. Most PS4 AAA exclusives are able to be finished in 25 hours or less with several of them under 15 hours, it was just TLOU2 and Days Gone that really pushed the length and I don't think they did that to make the game longer that's just how they chose to tell their stories.
 

Papacheeks

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Then IF that happens, core gamers will ignore it and something else will rise up to serve them.

This doom and gloom of 'what might happen to a trillion (literally) dollar company' would be fascinating if it weren't so cloaked in fan boy insecurity (which is a bizarre thing to begin with).

Did you sit in AVENGERS:ENDGAME worried that the final shot with all the heroes coming thru the portals might have cost too much and thus it will take longer for Marvel to break even on the movie?

Did you spend the last concert you went to half listening to the singer/band and have worried they may have overspent on stage theatrics and what it would mean for future tours of the same band?

My guess is you did not.

If service based games go the way you are suggesting then guess what: lots of people will love that but core gamers will not and they will still be served.

If something like Gamepass isn't indeed sustainable then guess what, it will have been a fun but unprofitable ride for 2-5 years and then it will go away. So what?

That's why all of this just feels like a justification to slam another console (wha?!, why?! Are you 11?!?) that you don't like as much and hide the childish nature of that act behind behind a mask of a seemingly grown up concern/interest in business models.

The thing that you are tip toeing around is that at one point pre-2017 Phil had a long hard talk with Nadella on the future of xbox. And it was brought up to sell the division off, or slowly phase it out. If thats not a red flag on the rest of the company not seeing viability of the xbox brand then I don't know what is? Only way xbox got the influx in support was that it's alligned to the rest of the enterprise company.

As in azure servers, growth market for services throughout the company which when they made changes back in 2015-2016 to financials roped gaming into their other facets of the company. The underlying thing you keep saying is the market will correct itself if gamepass over th enext 5 or so years doesnt shake out. Well I argue what does the gaming landscape look like without xbox in it?
Because if this fails or doesn't show the numbers other investors are looking for growth wise compared to the rest of the company's investments in services then thats not going to be a great time.

Everything hinges on the unlimited spending MS is willing to do, over the courese of 5-10 years. Which is what it will take long term to get the kind of synerfy with internal studios to compete output wise like Sony or to an effect Nintendo. Your avengers anailogy makes no sense. Infinity war and end game were filmed at the same time. Infinity war made almost 2 billion, and end game made over 2.8 Billion. On top of other films that came out by marvel that respectivly made billions.
I think for throw away content like tv/film services work. For content where the developers would disagree with the sentiment that gaming content is throw away is where the long term effect lies. Games can be a service if thats what the game is. But the furture of games being on a service ala cart where you pay each month, and if there is a lapse in intersting content, you then lose any games you were heavily invested in if your sub lapses.

I know you dont consider Nintendo competition, but regardless I think them and to an extent Sony see the importance of quality, and ownership of software to me anyway goes with that.
It's fine as an option, but framing services like gamepass being the be all future, when NINTENDO and Sony are at all time highs in volume of sales really says other wise.
 
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Hey, just wanted to send this your way. I know a guy and can put in a good word for you.

Hah. That could be a pretty fun role, honestly.

My biggest gripes have nothing to do with GamePass. Microsoft does pretty well with services, and I believe they are forward thinking with GamePass, but they're also living in a completely different set of constraints than Sony. Microsoft does well with hardware, although I think they could be a little bit more forward thinking in that regard (controller, VR, etc, but I suppose they need to pick their battles). I think Series S was a mistake that they'll come to regret but it probably won't be a critical one.

I think Jaffe is right that Microsoft's biggest issues are program management and leadership at the studio level. They also have difficulty with transition planning, as is abundantly clear with the Xbox Series S/X first year.

But I do have to give them credit for at least putting the financial backing behind the business to try and compete where they can, GamePass and acquisitions are a reflection of that reality. Question is whether it's enough, and it's always much easier to throw money at problems rather than cultivating long-term studio success (much more challenging).
 
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Yeah it's gotten really silly, there are "journalists" and influencers who really want to see the leader follow the loser here and it makes no sense. Gamepass has been around for 3 years, so far PlayStation has outsold xbox handily during that time but more importantly PlayStation has brought in a lot more money for Sony than Xbox has for Microsoft.

If people like GP that's great, I have it but rarely actually find anything I want to play on it but I'm not someone who sits around 2 years waiting on a game I'm interested in either and most of the AAA single player focused games are at least that old. I'm also not a big indie guy, don't care for pixel art and don't care for games where you walk around a village and never see another character model (including your own) and look for clues lol so maybe people who are more into that get more "value" from the service. To me it's more about quality than quantity, yeah there are a ton of games there but if I don't care to play any of them how valuable is the service really?

I do have to say I think he's wrong about devs making games artificially longer than they have to be just to create the perception of value, at least with Sony first party, Ubisoft would be another story. Most PS4 AAA exclusives are able to be finished in 25 hours or less with several of them under 15 hours, it was just TLOU2 and Days Gone that really pushed the length and I don't think they did that to make the game longer that's just how they chose to tell their stories.

At the end of the day this is a content-driven business. Sony gets that. GamePass doesn't really solve it. GamePass is merely a repackaging of content (good or bad).

Jaffe may disagree, but I think with how limited many people's time is that they are willing to pay for a quality experience. I liken it to how Apple has such a large command of the mobile space even though it's more expensive people are willing to pay for what they perceive as a superior experience that they use regularly.

So in that respect, Sony's business strategy isn't at risk. As long as they continue investing into their studios which continue to churn out quality, industry leading content, there will be consumers that buy it at full price. Demand will be there, and there's no supply elsewhere that's providing the same type of content.

GamePass tends to cater toward a different type of consumer, although one which may have some overlap to those that Sony courts. $70 experiences and GamePass can co-exist. The former will be more profitable immediately for those that made quality content. The latter is simply in growth phase, but whose future is a bit murky. But once the userbase grows there's lots of levers they can pull if profit becomes the priority, but it will be at the detriment of the incentive system that grew the base to begin with.
 
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Pull n Pray

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Bojack Horseman
Orange is the new Black
The Irishman
Ozark
Narcos
The Crown

these just don’t exist



The amount of DRM built into the Series X is insane and people are excusing it because of gamepass and backwards compatibility. The amount of internet integration in the Xbox consoles are nuts and downright offensive to consumers. It’s a Trojan horse towards the inevitable lack of ownership for consumers and their purchases. All these streaming and subscription services were the death of music and movie ownership and it’s coming for games next.
But they weren't the death of music and movie ownership. A lot of people don't think it is worth it to own movies and music, but for those that want to, they still can.
 
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Then IF that happens, core gamers will ignore it and something else will rise up to serve them.

This doom and gloom of 'what might happen to a trillion (literally) dollar company' would be fascinating if it weren't so cloaked in fan boy insecurity (which is a bizarre thing to begin with).
I'm not concerned about what might happen to Sony, Microsoft, Nintendo, etc, I'm concerned about what will happen to the reasonably artistically sophisticated mainstream video game.
Did you sit in AVENGERS:ENDGAME worried that the final shot with all the heroes coming thru the portals might have cost too much and thus it will take longer for Marvel to break even on the movie?
I think that's actually a really illustrative example: the only movies that come out in theaters these days are shit like AVENGERS:ENDGAME because that's the only thing the present arrangement of corporate incentives will support. If you want intelligent cinema you're reliant on tiny indie productions that are only ever seen by dedicated connoisseurs.

Video games are different. The best-selling mainstream games are schlock, but there's a sizable number of AAA video games with genuine artistic merit. Nothing like the Souls series presently exists in cinema or television, for example. Even games like Red Dead 2 or Ghost of Tsushima outstrip the artistic ambitions of your average Netflix original series.
If service based games go the way you are suggesting then guess what: lots of people will love that but core gamers will not and they will still be served.

If something like Gamepass isn't indeed sustainable then guess what, it will have been a fun but unprofitable ride for 2-5 years and then it will go away. So what?

That's why all of this just feels like a justification to slam another console (wha?!, why?! Are you 11?!?) that you don't like as much and hide the childish nature of that act behind behind a mask of a seemingly grown up concern/interest in business models.
I think this is needlessly dismissive of the fact that many people genuinely appreciate games as an art form. And that art form is currently in a very precious and fragile position vis à vis the profit-maximizing incentives of the major publishers and platform holders. Games as a service could very well destabilize the art form and cause quality games to retreat entirely to the indie scene.
 

peter42O

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Personally, Game Pass is great because I don't have to buy the exclusives anymore. A nice cheap $10 monthly rental. Even if Sony charged $20 a month, I would do the same thing. Subscribe for the month that has an exclusive I want to play and then move on. All I need is Sony to follow suit which they will eventually as it's just a matter of time and Ubisoft to add UPlay+ to Xbox so I can get their games day one for a cheap monthly rental.

Subscription services..........let's go baby!!!
 

Alex Scott

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davidjaffe davidjaffe How would subscription (rental) service would allow for more creative freedom than the current model we have today? Would Kojima have more freedom with sub service if deathstranding was made for GamePass? Deathstranding took 4 years to make and if the insiders from resetera are to be believed then Kojima wanted to shift the development to the PS5 which would have cost some more years. Gamepass can't justify 5 year development time for every game under Xbox studios and neither from their partners. GamePass would not allow for more freedom.

Gamepass needs to keep their customers on GamePass so they keep paying for the subs. The best way to do that is by making multiplayer games. The most popular multiplayer games are F2P. That is my concern here. What happened when games that are supposed to be free to play are locked behind subscription service like GamePass?
A business model that forces games to be much longer than most of them need to be? And in doing so prevents the medium from advancing? Yes, that business model will be replaced by sub services, thank God. In 10-15 years will will look back and laugh at how padded these 60 dollar + games have had to be to justify price. It's the equivalent of watching STAR WARS and just having 10 min scenes where Luke and Han are just WALKING around the Death Star, looking for the Princess Lia.

If you are worried about games being longer than necessary and at the same time you are for Gamepass (rental) service then you are contradicting to yourself. Gamepass has to retain their customers and best way to do that is make games longer than they have too. Make games more of a grind like Assassin's creed.
 

Men_in_Boxes

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That art form is currently in a very precious and fragile position vis à vis the profit-maximizing incentives of the major publishers and platform holders.

Right, because no one tried to maximize profits over the last 30 years in videogames...

The issue here is that gaming is maturing backwards from how the movie industry matured. The industry was litered with Godzilla vs Kong type filler. That's great if you prefer big budget empty calorie fare, but GamePass creates a space for the Mulholland Drive types to flourish.

Casual gamers (of which there are many here) don't want to see gaming grow out of it's infancy phase.

Good God, some of the replies in here are insane.
 
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JerryinSoCal

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davidjaffe davidjaffe How would subscription (rental) service would allow for more creative freedom than the current model we have today? Would Kojima have more freedom with sub service if deathstranding was made for GamePass? Deathstranding took 4 years to make and if the insiders from resetera are to be believed then Kojima wanted to shift the development to the PS5 which would have cost some more years. Gamepass can't justify 5 year development time for every game under Xbox studios and neither from their partners. GamePass would not allow for more freedom.

Gamepass needs to keep their customers on GamePass so they keep paying for the subs. The best way to do that is by making multiplayer games. The most popular multiplayer games are F2P. That is my concern here. What happened when games that are supposed to be free to play are locked behind subscription service like GamePass?


If you are worried about games being longer than necessary and at the same time you are for Gamepass (rental) service then you are contradicting to yourself. Gamepass has to retain their customers and best way to do that is make games longer than they have too. Make games more of a grind like Assassin's creed.
Game pass actually makes single player story driven games unsustainable, there is no way to work microtransactions in unless you offer paid expansions and even if they were to artificially lengthen the game it still wouldn't take a month to finish and people would still just cancel the sub.

I played Gears of War 5 for $2.00, that game which is one of MS's 2 biggest franchises only managed to hit number 7 on NPD in it's launch month and then dropped out of the top 20 in it's second month, that's because of gamepass. I'd be interested to see how much they made on microtransactions for that game vs what they would have made if it had sold a few million more copies.

That brings me to another point, both of MS's top franchises have been dropping in popularity. The last few Halo and Gears games have sold fewer copies than the games that came before them, MS probably does need game pass because they haven't been able to create new big hits and their old franchises are slowly dying, Sony isn't in that position at all so people wanting them to follow MS down this hole don't seem to understand that while both companies make hardware and games they are still very different and each of their fanbases expect something from them that the other doesn't really offer.
 

JerryinSoCal

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Right, because no one tried to maximize profits over the last 30 years in videogames...

The issue here is that gaming is maturing backwards from how the movie industry matured. The industry was litered with Godzilla vs Kong type filler. That's great if you prefer big budget empty calorie fare, but GamePass creates a space for the Mulholland Drive types to flourish.

Casual gamers (of which there are many here) don't want to see gaming grow out of it's infancy phase.

Good God, some of the replies in here are insane.
Sony backs indies like crazy, there is no shortage of AA or indie content out there on either platform, game pass didn't start that it has been going on for years and it was never going to stop. People still need to make games others want to play though and I find sometimes the indie mindset is that it's the people's fault for not buying the game rather than the creator for not making a game that people actually want to play.
 

Men_in_Boxes

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Sony backs indies like crazy, there is no shortage of AA or indie content out there on either platform, game pass didn't start that it has been going on for years and it was never going to stop. People still need to make games others want to play though and I find sometimes the indie mindset is that it's the people's fault for not buying the game rather than the creator for not making a game that people actually want to play.

I'd argue Sony's relationship with Indies is pretty standard fare. You could make a case that Nintendo and Microsoft backed Indies just as much, if not more than Sony over the last 10 years.

But we're not talking about Indies.

We're talking about larger teams that have two ideas for a game. One idea is "safe, formulaic, market tested". The other idea is a risk. A boom or bust prospect.

Under GamePass, the risky game is more likely to be made because developers don't need to stay afloat as much. The monthly guaranteed revenue creates a safety net for more daring projects.

The people who like safe, formulaic, market tested games don't like GamePass. The people who want to see the medium move forward do.
 
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The issue here is that gaming is maturing backwards from how the movie industry matured. The industry was litered with Godzilla vs Kong type filler. That's great if you prefer big budget empty calorie fare, but GamePass creates a space for the Mulholland Drive types to flourish.

How does it do that exactly?
 
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420bits

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Netflix has 37 Oscar nominations this year.

I get what you're saying but having an Oscar nomination (or an actual statue) use to mean something, now an Oscar is like getting Nobel peace-prize. It means FUCKALL and its handed out to be #woke.

"The Oscars" has devalued the worth of their statue to the point where they are probably going to bring Ricky Gervais to the show just to get people to watch it.
I'm pretty sure that within a year or two he will be on stage and roast the fuck out of the entire thing and they will laugh knowing he is telling the truth and he doesn't give 2 fucks about it.

In 20 years, the Oscars has gone from ~50M views to ~10M.
In ONE year, they went from ~24M to ~10M views.

Oscars is dead and the only way to revive it is to tear it down and redo it and stop handing out statues to shit that doesn't deserve it because some fucktards on t he internet is crying "WELL THIS IS RACIST OR HOMOPHOBIC, ONLY WHITE MEN WINS WHY ISNT XYZ REPRESENTED?".

A great start would be to make it about the movies and not the names or sexual orientation / skincolor or country of origin of the ones who are in it or made it.

I can't be the only who who just watch the movie and don't care where and who made it? I just care if its good.
 
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Men_in_Boxes

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How does it do that exactly?

Housemarque is sweating their balls off watching Returnal sales eek upward each day. They're all screaming at eachother "I told you we should have made (insert safer game idea here)! Sony's pissed!"

A Returnal flop (or 2) means that studio can't keep the lights on.

If Housemarque is under the GamePass umbrella, a flop doesn't hurt the bottom line nearly as much as the traditional model does.

GamePass is literally this...

 
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geary

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In 20 years, the Oscars has gone from ~50M views to ~10M.
In ONE year, they went from ~24M to ~10M views.

Do you think the reason for this downfall is streaming platforms or the woke trend which also touched this industry and is not related to streaming? Also, funny is that this trend started in USA, and the majority of movies at Oscar is from USA.
 
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Rubberwald

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Have movies and TV shows actually gotten better though?

The Sopranos, The Wire, Deadwood, Breaking Bad.

Have any shows risen to those levels in the Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu era?

And where are the Shawshank Redemptions? The Godfathers, The Schindler's List during the Netflix, Hulu era? It feels like the industry has gotten fat on superhero schlock and John Wick copy cats.
I cant speak for TV (all I know is that Fleabag is an all-timer) as I don’t watch it anymore, but there are still tons of great little movies made mostly thanks to A24, Annapurna etc, but also streaming services. Baumbach has made some of his best stuff on Netflix and The Irishman probably wouldn’t exist if not for it.

Also, as long as there is a big blockbuster like M:I or Fury Road once every year, I can live with all the superhero garbage polluting our cinemas.
 
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Chukhopops

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That brings me to another point, both of MS's top franchises have been dropping in popularity. The last few Halo and Gears games have sold fewer copies than the games that came before them, MS probably does need game pass because they haven't been able to create new big hits and their old franchises are slowly dying, Sony isn't in that position at all so people wanting them to follow MS down this hole don't seem to understand that while both companies make hardware and games they are still very different and each of their fanbases expect something from them that the other doesn't really offer.
That’s like saying Mario dropped in popularity after 2013 because the WiiU games sold less than the Wii ones. The XBO sold less than the 360 so games would also sell less mechanically, and of course in the case of Gears 5 there’s no need to buy it if you have GP since it will never leave the service.

Also I don’t think MS fans want Sony to go the same direction, at least personally I don’t care about it.
 
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Shelookdlvl18

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So by that metric, McDonalds has the best food. 🤔
According to most of the Sony crowd it does.

Sorry. I've seen far too many people such as yourself shut down far too many interesting discussions end with a simple, "But PS sells more. The market has spoken." and thus kill the discussion entirely.

For you of all people, to attempt and argue the very same argument the other way is embarrassing.
 

Rikkori

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A business model that forces games to be much longer than most of them need to be?
You keep making this point but the market doesn't agree with you (f.ex. Assassin's Creed keeps getting longer, and is selling better than ever). Dunno why you're so insistent on it when you barely finish games regardless of their length. YOU don't like how long the games are, but that's not the community in general. Most people want more of the games they love, not less. Go check out some actual dedicated communities of the games in question and you'll find out.
 

MacReady13

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Yeah. But my point was: You can't say "This movie was bad, because Netflix is a subscription service," right? Because Netflix gave Scorsese proper budget, and every actor he wanted for movie. And complete creative freedom. Which is exactly what we should want. I mean, Fincher would never be able to make Mank without subscription service because no studio would greenlit that project for theatrical release, because it is niche.
So are you happy to lose the cinema experience to only have films shown at home?
 

davidjaffe

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You keep making this point but the market doesn't agree with you (f.ex. Assassin's Creed keeps getting longer, and is selling better than ever). Dunno why you're so insistent on it when you barely finish games regardless of their length. YOU don't like how long the games are, but that's not the community in general. Most people want more of the games they love, not less. Go check out some actual dedicated communities of the games in question and you'll find out.

You are confusing the hardcore with the mainstream consumer of $60 games. By definition, being part of a dedicated community places you far and away from the average consume of most games.

Also, it's less about why I personally like- although I DO like- for the most part- games that can be completed in 1-2 days (if not 1-2 sessions), My point is the medium/art form itself will improve once it breaks free of the limits imposed upon it by a 40 year old business model. This won't be news to you, but check out the completion stats of a bunch of recent BIG/LONG/SEEMINGLY NEVER ENDING games:


Red Dead 2 cost- depending on the source- $300-$625 million to create. And only 1/4 of the people playing got to the end.
Valhalla cost- according to many/most news sources (and I don't see another figure countering this one) $500 million to create and less than 1/5 reached the end.

This is simply throwing money down the drain that could go to new games, less stress on development, and- to me- most importantly, games built and designed to be completed by a majority of people. I don't know what your experience is but I will tell you first hand that I've been on teams where we've added shit we didn't need JUST to justify the retail price (i.e. do you REALLY think Twisted Metal 2012 needed a single Player mode that was done the way it was? Of course not).

Imagine a director and a team and a writer all going, 'This is 3-6 hour single Player narrative experience. We can get rid of the fat and repetition and make sure every beat of the game is engaging for the vast majority of Players'. Imagine the quality of the games we would get then.

No one is saying 100+ hour RPGS won't be a thing but as budgets go up, decisions start getting made to please a different type of customer. People who live on boards like this? They are no longer the core audience decisions get made for. It happens in every commercial medium and it's happening now in this one.


NOTE: In terms of game length, I'm speaking mostly of single player narrative games like GOD OF WAR, UNCHARTED, etc.

Obviously, service games will still be a thing, as will MP competitive centric games, and sandbox games.

Anyway, the annoying/fun part is: this is ALL speculation on all of our part's. I think it will improve games, you think it will hurt games. There is no way for a human brain to know the outcome yet. So maybe we agree to meet back here in 1-3 years and let's see how things have changed (or how they've stayed the same).

Laters.

JAFFE!
 
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kuncol02

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You are confusing the hardcore with the mainstream consumer of $60 games. By definition, being part of a dedicated community places you far and away from the average consume of most games.

Also, it's less about why I personally like- although I DO like- for the most part- games that can be completed in 1-2 days (if not 1-2 sessions), My point is the medium/art form itself will improve once it breaks free of the limits imposed upon it by a 40 year old business model. This won't be news to you, but check out the completion stats of a bunch of recent BIG/LONG/SEEMINGLY NEVER ENDING games:


Red Dead 2 cost- depending on the source- $300-$625 million to create. And only 1/4 of the people playing got to the end.
Valhalla cost- according to many/most news sources (and I don't see another figure countering this one) $500 million to create and less than 1/5 reached the end.

This is simply throwing money down the drain that could go to new games, less stress on development, and- to me- most importantly, games built and designed to be completed by a majority of people. I don't know what your experience is but I will tell you first hand that I've been on teams where we've added shit we didn't need JUST to justify the retail price (i.e. do you REALLY think Twisted Metal 2012 needed a single Player mode that was done the way it was? Of course not).

Imagine a director and a team and a writer all going, 'This is 3-6 hour single Player narrative experience. We can get rid of the fat and repetition and make sure every beat of the game is engaging for the vast majority of Players'. Imagine the quality of the games we would get then.

No one is saying 100+ hour RPGS won't be a thing but as budgets go up, decisions start getting made to please a different type of customer. People who live on boards like this? They are no longer the core audience decisions get made for. It happens in every commercial medium and it's happening now in this one.


NOTE: In terms of game length, I'm speaking mostly of single player narrative games like GOD OF WAR, UNCHARTED, etc.

Obviously, service games will still be a thing, as will MP competitive centric games, and sandbox games.

Anyway, the annoying/fun part is: this is ALL speculation on all of our part's. I think it will improve games, you think it will hurt games. There is no way for a human brain to know the outcome yet. So maybe we agree to meet back here in 1-3 years and let's see how things have changed (or how they've stayed the same).

Laters.

JAFFE!
Percentage of people finishing game is really pointless metric in games like modern Assassin's Creed games. You didn't realized that they aren't really designed to be finished in one run?
They are designed for people who have half of hour maybe hour of time every other day to play something. You turn in on, clear some markings on map and turn console off. Rinse and repeat for next month or two, or even more.
Valhalla even have seasonal content. You don't add that to game that is supposed to be single self contained experience. Assassin's Creed is basically game for people who want experience of GAAS without playing with other people.
Who will buy next AC game? Someone who ran through story in 30h or someone who played it for few months and was somewhere in the middle of the story? If even played story missions. There are games like Skyrim where you can spend tens of hours without even touching main story.
 
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could have fooled me. Looking at their content it’s extremely lackluster quality wise
It seems you might have an OPINION that some people simply don't agree with. It's ok, free thinking is encouraged. I say bring on all the subscriptions. It makes me have to pay less yearly for games.
 

Clintizzle

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You keep making this point but the market doesn't agree with you (f.ex. Assassin's Creed keeps getting longer, and is selling better than ever). Dunno why you're so insistent on it when you barely finish games regardless of their length. YOU don't like how long the games are, but that's not the community in general. Most people want more of the games they love, not less. Go check out some actual dedicated communities of the games in question and you'll find out.
Have a look at the cool threads Bo_Hazem Bo_Hazem has made on the latest AC game. A bunch of the replies are from people who were basically burnt out regardless of playing in small bursts or extended plays.

I'm convinced the next logical step of the AC franchise is to make it episodic (might actually apply for all Ubisoft games to be honest). davidjaffe davidjaffe points out the useless filler required to justify a $60 game. With AC its the fact that you have to do the same thing over and over again till the end of the game.

Now imagine they split up all the regions in the game to episodes with a more focused story and unique missions. let's say 4 episodes per year? That will almost guarantee gamers will not feel burnt out and instead will eagerly await the next episode multiple times in a year vs once every 2 years.
 
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Bo_Hazem

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Have a look at the cool threads Bo_Hazem Bo_Hazem has made on the latest AC game. A bunch of the replies are from people who were basically burnt out regardless of playing in small bursts or extended plays.

I'm convinced the next logical step of the AC franchise is to make it episodic (might actually apply for all Ubisoft games to be honest). davidjaffe davidjaffe points out the useless filler required to justify a $60 game. With AC its the fact that you have to do the same thing over and over again till the end of the game.

Now imagine they split up all the regions in the game to episodes with a more focused story and unique missions. let's say 4 episodes per year? That will almost guarantee gamers will not feel burnt out and instead will eagerly await the next episode multiple times in a year vs once every 2 years.

Biggest problem with AC is it's hard to keep track of if you mix your gaming. I stick to playing only with that AC game until the end, which could be weeks. For many gamers that's just not how they play, nor they have enough time to grind through the game.

The Witcher 3 was similar, actually, but The Witcher had side quests that are "episodic" and feel so dense yet not too long. If you ask any fan of The Witcher 3 all will praise the side quests more than the main story. Main story was pretty dumb actually and not so great, but The Witcher feels like a fine series. AC tries to be an extremely long movie, which is not smart overall although if you keep track of it and keep yourself engaged then the stories are usually pretty decent, and great sometimes.
 
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Rikkori

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You are confusing the hardcore with the mainstream consumer of $60 games. By definition, being part of a dedicated community places you far and away from the average consume of most games.

Also, it's less about why I personally like- although I DO like- for the most part- games that can be completed in 1-2 days (if not 1-2 sessions), My point is the medium/art form itself will improve once it breaks free of the limits imposed upon it by a 40 year old business model. This won't be news to you, but check out the completion stats of a bunch of recent BIG/LONG/SEEMINGLY NEVER ENDING games:


Red Dead 2 cost- depending on the source- $300-$625 million to create. And only 1/4 of the people playing got to the end.
Valhalla cost- according to many/most news sources (and I don't see another figure countering this one) $500 million to create and less than 1/5 reached the end.


Imagine a director and a team and a writer all going, 'This is 3-6 hour single Player narrative experience. We can get rid of the fat and repetition and make sure every beat of the game is engaging for the vast majority of Players'. Imagine the quality of the games we would get then.

No one is saying 100+ hour RPGS won't be a thing but as budgets go up, decisions start getting made to please a different type of customer. People who live on boards like this? They are no longer the core audience decisions get made for. It happens in every commercial medium and it's happening now in this one.


NOTE: In terms of game length, I'm speaking mostly of single player narrative games like GOD OF WAR, UNCHARTED, etc.

Obviously, service games will still be a thing, as will MP competitive centric games, and sandbox games.

Anyway, the annoying/fun part is: this is ALL speculation on all of our part's. I think it will improve games, you think it will hurt games. There is no way for a human brain to know the outcome yet. So maybe we agree to meet back here in 1-3 years and let's see how things have changed (or how they've stayed the same).

Laters.

JAFFE!

Ok, let's break it down.

1) I'm not confusing HC audience with the general one, I mentioned sales numbers first (which includes everyone) and only then do I start talking about the dedicated players (which btw should not be equated the same to the random buyer, because they'll drive more sales, word of mouth etc but not gonna deviate even further off-topic).

2) We're talking time spent, you're talking completion - two different things.

Here's why it's completely different: Even among all those games, you see much different completion rates (call it CR) irrespective of how long it takes. Spider-Man & GoTsushima have 50% CR but Watch Dogs 2 has almost half that - is it twice as long? Ofc not. Hell look at AC - Origins is half as short as Odyssey to complete, and yet by those PS4 stats it's only 8% extra CR, so what's the relationship exactly between CR & time spent? Plus by steam stats it's actually that the playtime went UP from 44.8 Hr to 64.4 Hr (https://playtracker.net/insight/game/26376).

Then let's say we look at other random games, I just opened Control on steam because it's front-page; guess what? 10% of buyers DON'T EVEN MAKE IT 5 minutes into the game. <30% finish it, and that's a classic case of the type of game you're talking about. So let's not mix facts and let's not cherry-pick irrelevant stats. You have not yet shown where people spend less time in these games, let alone that they want them to be shorter.

3) There is no "improvement" of the art form, because all of that is subjective and bound by present circumstance. There's improvements in graphics (rendering), in QOL, in many things, but NOT the "art form". Don't take my word for it - there's a 3000 year old tradition of arguing about this shit which has not moved an inch in that time, it's called Aesthetics (Philosophy of Art). So before you can talk about art form improvements you have so much groundwork to lay down first, I think you don't even realise.

This is simply throwing money down the drain that could go to new games, less stress on development, and- to me- most importantly, games built and designed to be completed by a majority of people. I don't know what your experience is but I will tell you first hand that I've been on teams where we've added shit we didn't need JUST to justify the retail price (i.e. do you REALLY think Twisted Metal 2012 needed a single Player mode that was done the way it was? Of course not).
This is a mistake people often make, not just with games but a lot of things in life, where they dismiss things because they seem superfluous not understanding that they're necessary. Sometimes the empty space is necessary precisely so you can highlight where things are, and the same for all the content you deem as "padding". Without all the banality in life or in games, there is no way for moments to stand-out because you've already filled it by definition with just events that "stand out". So I reject your premise entirely (it's self-defeating).

Lastly, the market reality is very black and white. What gets valued gets paid for, and I see a lot of long games getting paid for, and not a lot of artsy-fartsy 'what if the writers and director jerked each other off and delivered a really tight 6 hr game' sell. So for now you've laid out a lot of "I feel"s but not as many facts to back that up. That's why I say go ask the players that are playing these long games if they really feel the same as you (and check to see if actions match words), instead of just assuming it.
 
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Housemarque is sweating their balls off watching Returnal sales eek upward each day. They're all screaming at eachother "I told you we should have made (insert safer game idea here)! Sony's pissed!"

A Returnal flop (or 2) means that studio can't keep the lights on.

If Housemarque is under the GamePass umbrella, a flop doesn't hurt the bottom line nearly as much as the traditional model does.

GamePass is literally this...


The only reason Returnal got made in the first place is that Sony wanted a halo product for its new console. You can make the argument that well Microsoft will want halo products for Gamepass so it'll fund the same sorts of games, but there's no evidence of that happening.
 
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Rolla

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Unrelated but for me, personally, Netflix isn't what it used to be. Dark was my last must watch tv show.

They've gone for quantity over quantity. If I cancelled it now I wouldn't miss it. Every new must watch tv show has been on a platform outside that subscription.

This isn't related to GP just my thoughts on Netflix as a service.
 

ReBurn

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So are you happy to lose the cinema experience to only have films shown at home?
The cinema experience and the quality of a movie are two different things. During Covid I have enjoyed watching new releases on HBO Max in the comfy seating in my home theater. The cinema experience wouldn't have made the new Mortal Kombat a good movie. In fact I would have hated to waste $25 on a ticket, popcorn and obscenely oversized soda to see it.
 

Men_in_Boxes

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The only reason Returnal got made in the first place is that Sony wanted a halo product for its new console. You can make the argument that well Microsoft will want halo products for Gamepass so it'll fund the same sorts of games, but there's no evidence of that happening.

So it's not a switch.

It's not "Traditional payment models produce zero creative games" or "GamePass produces nothing but innovative games."

Both models produce a spectrum of game types. The question is "What model gives developers more room to take risks?"

That answer is unquestionably GamePass.
 
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yurinka

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I agree with davidjaffe davidjaffe in many areas, I respectfully disagree regarding on how something like Game Pass would affect the industry if becomes the dominant option of the market, how the games designed for it would be and how it would affect the Sony games.

I think in the future, once we see the first big AAA games designed from scratch to be included day one on Gamepass, are going to be very likely mostly MP focused GaaS games very focused to sell microtransactions and DLCs butchering the main part of the game into different seasons and DLCs and microtransactions, and keeping only a core part 'free' inside Game Pass. I think this is what may happen very likely happen with Halo Infinite, the next Forza, the next Elder Scrolls, the next Fallout and maybe also even with Gears or Doom.

And then in addition to this, in a way smaller scale, low budget 'one and done' games like Battletoads or Psychonauts 2 designed as cheaper GP fillers to get fresh content every month, because the big AAA IPs moved to GaaS would release less games per generation, maybe 1 single game every 1 or 2 generations. Some of them may even turn into episodic or would integrate DLCs or microtransactions.

Druckmann and Kojima hate to be forced to get rid of long, single player, narrive focused AAA games. And to replace narrative focused design to focus instead on virtual economy, monetization and retention features with gatchas, microtransactions, endless farming and all that shit.

I think that at the beggining we don't see that in GP because the MS games to be published during the first years were originally still created with the Nintendo and Sony paradigma of mostly focusing on game sales. I understand MS is generous now to build a GP userbase while at the same time has to publish the games they were still developed for the previous model, but I think that since they are a company and not a charity in the long term they will want to turn GP and its games into a profitable, sustainable business and I can't think other way to milk it.

Regarding the 3rd party devs, there's the gatekeeper thing: only a few games get added every month to GP, so overy month only a few new games can take advantage of it now that MS is generous paying them a good, fair chunk of money upfront to compensate the sales they will lose for including the game there day one. This means that hundreds of devs that now release games to be sold on console and PC every month wouldn't be able to be included on GP, and if it becomes dominant in the market (like Netflix or Spotify) then they would die.

It's also fair to assume that MS now is generous with devs who include their games on GP because they are still a small actor and are building a catalog and a userbase. If they would become dominant like Netflix or Spotify, they very likely would want to be less kind and would switch to a not so kind model similar to the Spotify or Netflix (or other existing game subscriptions) where they get paid very little per download or hours played, making them ok for devs to put there old games that don't sell anymore, but not to put there day one games. As company, at some point MS wil need to stop throwing billions away and will need to turn it into profit, so in this area they will need to do something like that.

The Spotify/Netflix model/monopoly butthurted many companies and artists, but many of them are still alive because it doesn't affect their main revenue source (live gigs for the artists, box office and worldwide normal tv channels for movies and tv shows). But if you remove game sales to game devs and publishers because they get replaced by a subscription (whose money will mostly go to its platform holder) and get the players busy spending their game sessions time with the subscription, what other revenue source could game devs and publishers have? (I don't see Jimbo or an average indie making something a rock concert or a meet and greet sessions, and merchandising would make sense only for big brands and wouldn't generate enough money).
 
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So it's not a switch.

It's not "Traditional payment models produce zero creative games" or "GamePass produces nothing but innovative games."

Both models produce a spectrum of game types. The question is "What model gives developers more room to take risks?"

That answer is unquestionably GamePass.
There is no reason whatsoever to believe this to be the case.
 

JerryinSoCal

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I'd argue Sony's relationship with Indies is pretty standard fare. You could make a case that Nintendo and Microsoft backed Indies just as much, if not more than Sony over the last 10 years.

But we're not talking about Indies.

We're talking about larger teams that have two ideas for a game. One idea is "safe, formulaic, market tested". The other idea is a risk. A boom or bust prospect.

Under GamePass, the risky game is more likely to be made because developers don't need to stay afloat as much. The monthly guaranteed revenue creates a safety net for more daring projects.

The people who like safe, formulaic, market tested games don't like GamePass. The people who want to see the medium move forward do.
If someone makes games that nobody plays on game pass are they going to continue to be financed? at some point that will stop as well, you need to have some kind of standards and one of those is that a developer makes games that at least some people want to play.
 

JerryinSoCal

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That’s like saying Mario dropped in popularity after 2013 because the WiiU games sold less than the Wii ones. The XBO sold less than the 360 so games would also sell less mechanically, and of course in the case of Gears 5 there’s no need to buy it if you have GP since it will never leave the service.

Also I don’t think MS fans want Sony to go the same direction, at least personally I don’t care about it.
Halo 5 sold half as many copies as the MCC and they both came out on xbox one, Reach sold 3 million more copies than Halo 4 and both launched on the 360. You are also ignoring that most hardcore halo fans are going to be people who buy a new xbox within the launch year or at least when a new Halo launches. Hardcore Halo fans tend to be hardcore xbox fans, you don't get a lot of more casual gamers buying halo they are the ones who stick to Call of Duty or sports game.
 

ZywyPL

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I feel exactly the same. The older I get the more I appreciate shorter games, the more I enjoy the indie titles, because the games end before all the hype/enjoyment wears off, you always get to the end, thinking "that was money well spend", as oppose all those huge blockbuster games which drag for so long that you drop them not even halfway there, asking yourself "why did I even bought that?", watching the ending on YT, if you're even still interested. Because realistically, you can enjoy the same gameplay loop only for so long.

That's why I really like the concept of spending the same budget on more but smaller games, that would cut the production time from 4-6 years to something like a year and a half, which would only bring much more variety to the market, hence making it so much better. Because it really doesn't make any sense to spend so much for so long for something no one will really play for more than just a couple of hours.
 

Chukhopops

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Halo 5 sold half as many copies as the MCC and they both came out on xbox one, Reach sold 3 million more copies than Halo 4 and both launched on the 360. You are also ignoring that most hardcore halo fans are going to be people who buy a new xbox within the launch year or at least when a new Halo launches. Hardcore Halo fans tend to be hardcore xbox fans, you don't get a lot of more casual gamers buying halo they are the ones who stick to Call of Duty or sports game.
I’m not sure where you got those Halo 5 and MCC numbers but they are wrong, H5 sold 5 million copies by 2016 () and MCC 3.18 million by 2018 (VGChartz source but that’s all I could find). MCC sold an additional 2 million on PC much later. Even with margin of error there’s no way MCC did double H5.
 
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Men_in_Boxes

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There is no reason whatsoever to believe this to be the case.

You have 3 options.

1. GamePass creates an environment for developers to take more risks.

2. GamePass creates exactly the same "creative risk" environment as the traditional payment model.

3. GamePass creates an environment that makes it harder for developers to take risks.

If there is no reason to believe #1, then which option is it?
 
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IDKFA

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He's not wrong.

The sooner the gaming industry goes subscription only the better. It'll mean better games, more games and save us all money. What's not to like?
 
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You have 3 options.

1. GamePass creates an environment for developers to take more risks.

2. GamePass creates exactly the same "creative risk" environment as the traditional payment model.

3. GamePass creates an environment that makes it harder for developers to take risks.

If there is no reason to believe #1, then which option is it?
The third seems most likely. Subscription services of all sorts have a poor track record of quality content. There are a few exceptions, like the golden age of HBO or the Criterion Collection, but the former is over and the latter is a niche product that depends entirely on a back catalog.

The home console model has produced higher quality for video games than subscription services in other art forms.
 

Men_in_Boxes

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The third seems most likely. Subscription services of all sorts have a poor track record of quality content. There are a few exceptions, like the golden age of HBO or the Criterion Collection, but the former is over and the latter is a niche product that depends entirely on a back catalog.

The home console model has produced higher quality for video games than subscription services in other art forms.

Can you explain the logic behind that? Why would subscription services create an environment where developers become more risk averse?
 
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Can you explain the logic behind that? Why would subscription services create an environment where developers become more risk averse?
The entire model encourages homogenization. Look at the mobile market, it'll be the same thing. This is what games as a service is: there's no point making a good product because you won't see any returns if it actually becomes a hit. Just make a safe product and stuff it full of microtransactions.
 

Three

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I disagree. What is more logical when I play one live service game? To pay 15$ per month of playing or to pay 60$ once and play it forever? If I was a fan of Sea of Thieves and I was playing that game non-stop I would not sub to GP. I would purchase it and be done with it.

That's why I think that argument "it will make every game to live service model" is just plain wrong. Game Pass is best when you are playing many games per month, trying new games every week and not sticking to one game for extended period of time. When I can switch between The Outer Worlds, Doom Eternal, Gears 5, Ori, State of Decay and Forza Horizon 5 without paying 60 bucks for every game - that where Game pass is unbeatable in terms of value.

That's also where gamepass doesn't make as much sense for the developer though. If GTA 5 Online wasn't making tons of money do you think we would have got a GTA6 by now?

When the model promotes simply playing a live service game where you are paying every month anyway and you are paying for dlc or microtransactions there is less incentive to release a new game.