Starting last Gen and continuing on with the current generation of consoles, downloading games and content has certainly picked up steam. Over the last few years we’ve seen the advent of some pretty cool subscription services. EA has offered up EA Access, a subscription service that gives you access to all of the games they have in their “Vault” as well as offering up a pretty fair discount should you choose to purchase any games not in the vault. The same goes, as well, for Microsoft and their Game Pass.
One difference between the two is that while EA’s catalog is small by comparison, games are in the vault to stay (so far). Microsoft’s Game Pass however rotates games in and out of their lineup. This means you could be playing a game for a few months and then one day not have access as they’ve removed it in favor of another game. But fear not, by subscribing to Game Pass you also get discounts on purchases. And that’s not to say, also, that some games may be rotated back in.
With all of this in mind it’s no surprise that the only games I had on disc this gen were launch titles. Call of Duty: Ghosts, Forza Motorsport 5, and Kinect Sports Rivals. Now I’m down to one disc. Call of Duty and Forza got traded in for a replacement controller. I couldn’t bring myself to get rid of Kinect Sports. Don’t judge me. I still have fun with it with my family. Anyway, all of this made me think of how every year we are bombarded by the next sports title, be it FIFA, Madden, NBA, NHL or whatever.
Might it be better for sports titles to be a subscription service with regular updates rather than an annual release? I mean the sports themselves basically follow the same rule-set year after year and in the event of an official rule change, developers should be able to patch it in along with roster updates ectetera. The same goes with Shooters and their never ending release of new maps or weapon skins and what have you. Do you like racing games?
How would you like a new track every month? In today’s connected world, I feel we are getting closer and closer to this becoming a reality. As long as developers are smart about pricing I don’t see any downside. Speaking with Mark, he’s in complete agreement with me. He believes that Microsoft’s Netflix-esque service and EA’s all-in service should be an example to follow. Mark wanted to add a few things to this article, saying that:
I would much rather spend the full cost of a game in a subscription-like environment and keep my prior-year’s progression, than lose all of it for a “new” model. I could apply this, like Joe says, to a wide variety of genres; sports, simulators, shooter and so on and so forth. Call of Duty tried to tie up all of this progress via their paid Call of Duty ELITE service a number of years back, knowing exactly how much this progress meant to its players.
It tanked, of course, simply because that’s all we were paying for, the right to keep our stats from title to title. Had they have included their yearly games with the service, we could have been looking back at an entirely different outcome. The same can be said about the games in particular. If each game carried their maps over, each new addition would only grow in size. When we take into account that multiplayer alone is the source of replay value, it adds up.
EA did state a while back that they were considering this sort of service and I fully welcome that change. I’m sure many fans of their sports titles will agree. It’s not fun losing stats to move to a new installation. This seems like the only viable options to maintain those stats, through the implementation of an annual ever-expanding service. I’ve seen the chatter online that screams for this throughout social media, so I know there’s a lot of interest here.
Forza Motorsport 7 came across as more of an expansion to Forza Motorsport 6, which would have been a brilliant opportunity for Microsoft to test the waters using the above format. It’s quite likely to have crossed their minds too, given the recent release of their Game Pass program. Will we see this realized in due course? Will EA take the lead and lay down the foundation? Tell us your thoughts on this. Is this something you would like to see in the future?