Choosing a game subscription is like choosing a lover

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With EA Access, PlayStation Now, Xbox Game Pass, Ubisoft’s Uplay Plus, and Google Stadia, it’s obvious that the next big thing in gaming is the idea of getting people to subscribe to a Netflix-style service. For $10 to $20 a month, you can play any game on their plan, for as much as you want. What’s not to like? If you’re a developer thinking about putting one of your titles on a service, there can be a few things to think about.

“Choose your development partner as carefully as you choose your love partner.”

Eurogamer rounded up the opinions of a few developers regarding their take on this industry trend during a discussion panel. While first-party publisher services aren’t far from traditional MMO subscriptions, the ones offering games from partners, like Paradox Interactive’s Imperator: Rome on Xbox Game Pass, are a paradigm shift. Concerns like how the developer will get paid, what it may do to the game’s perceived value, and where this could all end up weigh heavy on developers’ minds.

As an example, Paradox Interactive’s ex-CEO and current executive chairman, Fredrik Wester offered his opinion that for his company’s titles, a flat fee from the service owner is less desirable than a payment calculated on the player’s time spent in his game. To put it simply, he believes his games should make more money as hundred-hour grand strategy experiences compared to a typical eight-hour first-person shooter campaign.

Microsoft, at least for now, sees game subscriptions as another option to outright buying games. They believe the future offers both choices as a path to gaming.