Online gaming has blown up with the inclusion of various online subscription plans that give gamers access to long lists of popular games (titles) to pick from. Gamers no longer have to buy every single game they play. A strategy that was first introduced with Sega Channel back in 1994. Now made popular with plans like Microsoft’s Game Pass.
Now it is about who can provide the most eye-catching titles to draw players into subscribing. Including many exclusives and day-one titles. But is every title worth adding to the list? What if some of these titles could weigh a little too heavily on these services, drawing gamers away?
With that, I am referring to large open-world games that can (potentially) take forever to complete. Titles like Bethesda’s Starfield or Skyrim, that can be beat within a normal amount of time, but that also allow gamers to indulge themselves for months on-end if they feel like being completionists. Although these games are amazing in their own way, are they worth paying a subscription for?
If these games can potentially be enjoyed for months at a time, why not just buy the game and enjoy it for as long as you want without having to pay monthly to continue your access? Not only may it save you money over time, but you would also physically own it if you bought the disc, where you don’t own a single title through subscription services.
With monthly subscription services, you are paying for long lists of titles that can go into the hundreds. Although this is a nice feature to have, what would the point be if you only play one or two of them? Especially, since you can buy many of these titles used from places like GameStop.
For example, I beat Starfield in less than 30 hours. This is very reasonable and I was able to move on to another title. However, one of my colleagues has over 200 hours invested into the title (and growing). For him, it isn’t as much of a deal since he could have been playing other titles all of this time. He doesn’t show any sign of getting bored of it, thus he will likely end up paying more via subscription to play it than he would have buying it new (not to forget the option of snagging it used).
While at the same time, it becomes far more lucrative to the streaming services and those few games players are focusing on since the wealth is being disbursed between fewer entitles. Where if gamers were able to play a large number of titles each year, it would water this wealth down between each related party since streaming services only divide the wins between themselves and the specific content each user takes advantage of.
Then again, I am basing this on the average amount of people I know that play these games. On average, most of them get lost in these titles and spend as much time as they can squeeze out of them (completionists). Only a few will spend the minimum time in beating them like I do. Although these numbers carry a lot of weight, they only exists within the test pool of people I know. This may not represent the world average. Then again, simply looking at the discussions within communities like Reddit seems to validate my theory.
What do you think? Should streaming services focus their attention on many titles that can be beaten within an average amount of time or are played on occasion? Or do these open-world games that can potentially take many months to fully experience pose no threat at all to the user’s expense? Feel free to take to the comments below with your own thoughts.