Video games – after Microsoft Sony launches subscription

On June 23, Sony launched a new version of its subscription service, which provides access to several hundred online games for around fifteen euros per month. The answer to Microsoft’s Xbox Game Pass, which has revolutionized the way video games are consumed.

Will the pleasure of unpacking a video game cartridge or CD become a thing of the past? Like streaming giants like Netflix or Disney+, the big players in video games rely on subscriptions to retain players and generate consistent income.

Among console manufacturers, Microsoft was the first to enter this niche with Xbox Game Pass. It allows you to get unlimited access to about 300 games for 9.99 euros per month. For another €3, the Ultimate subscription allows you to play a larger catalog (450 games) via streaming, i.e. without having to download them to your computer. Launched in 2017 by Microsoft, Game Pass had 25 million subscribers in January 2022.

Sony’s new Playstation Plus offering, launched this Thursday, is meant to be a response to the American giant’s services. Since 2010, the Playstation Plus – 47 million subscribers – has been mainly used to play online games like FIFA or Call of Duty. At the same time, Sony offered another PlayStation Now service, which provides access to several hundred games, but this offer did not find its audience of about 3 million subscribers.

The new Playstation Plus combines these two services and now offers three subscription levels:

  • the Essential subscription (€8.99/month; €24.99/quarter; €59.99/year) is more or less the same as the old Playstation Plus and allows you to play online and benefit from the 2 games offered per month;
  • Extra subscription (€13.99/month; €39.99/quarter; €99.99/year) also gives you access to approximately 400 games developed for the PS4 and PS5 consoles;
  • The premium subscription (€16.99/month; €49.99/quarter; €119.99/year) also gives you access to several hundred older games released between 1995 and 2013 and allows you to play live streams .

Offers from Sony and Microsoft are globally equivalent, with both offering major and recent titles (Halo Infinite or Forza Horizon 5 on the Xbox side, Demon’s Souls, Ghost of Tsushima or Spider-Man Miles Morales on Sony) that will likely convince gamers , including many who will see the advantage of paying for a subscription for less than 15 euros a month, rather than games for 50 or 70 euros apiece …

Games available on the Sony platform include Spider-Man Miles Morales and Demon’s Souls.

But there is significant difference between the two sentences. Microsoft includes new releases from its studios in Game Pass from the day they are released. A bold choice that Sony refuses, which prefers to bring their creations to life in stores for several months, or even several years, before integrating them into the Playstation Plus.

Playstation General Manager Jim Ryan explained to in March the reasons for this choice: “Integrating our games into this service as soon as they are released is not the way we go. The level of investment we need for our studios will be impossible to sustain and will affect the quality of the games we create. »

Industry issues

The pragmatism that Microsoft, whose turnover is skyrocketing thanks to the cloud and software, and whose video games are just an ancillary activity, does not have to demonstrate … at the moment. Because this subscription trend, while game development costs are skyrocketing, worries some players in the sector. Ed Fries, who was a Microsoft vice president in the 1990s and 2000s, expressed his fears in May 2022 that Game Pass could eat into sales: “When Spotify took off, it destroyed the music market. It literally halved the music industry’s annual revenue, he said on the Xbox Expansion podcast. We have to be careful not to create the same system in the gaming business, these markets are more fragile than people think. »

And Nintendo in all this? Kyoto is ready to offer a Nintendo Switch Online subscription (€3.99/month; €7.99/quarter; €19.99/year) that lets you play the latest online games and access over 100 NES games and Super NES. . And another 20 euros a year for Nintendo 64 and Sega Mega Drive games. A catalog covering the period from 1983 to 2001, which will especially interest lovers of nostalgia.

Back to top button

Adblock Detected

Please consider supporting us by disabling your ad blocker.