Is Gaming Going the Way of Home Video with Massive Platforms and Subscription Services?


The standard method of playing video games appears to be getting phased out by massive companies seeking ways to obtain the sweet revenue streams of subscription services. As digital game purchases have become commonplace, despite often costing more than physical purchases without obtaining something of physical value, Netflix-style subscription services that give access to massive platforms of games are seen as the natural progression of the industry.

In some other forms of gaming, a similar method works, but in the world of triple-A gaming, it has yet to take off properly. However, people have been expecting invasive species Google Stadia to push the move to game streaming into hyper-speed. So, is streaming set to become the way of video gaming in the future, or has it got some way to go before it potentially takes over?

The different methods of giving access to huge game libraries

Xbox is the first of the major consoles to embrace and push out its video gaming subscription service in the form of the Xbox Game Pass. For a flat monthly fee, players gain access to over 250 games that have featured on the Xbox One, Xbox 360, and the Xbox. The offering includes many of the platform’s most popular old games as well as access to all Microsoft-published games as soon as they’re released at retail. While many find this monthly fee to have access to a large library appealing, if a player decides to stop paying the subscription, and games installed via the Game Pass become blocked and no longer playable.

One of the few ways in which game streaming has proven to be very successful is in iGaming. These massive online platforms that host several hundreds of games and allow players to sign up, claim a free casino bonus to try out all of their games, and then if they wish, deposit money to keep playing. This way, the player gets to demo all of the games and then dictate how much they want to play with whenever they want to do some gaming.

The key difference is that with the online platform, players gain access to all of the hundreds of games available on the website, whereas, with the Game Pass, players get access to a selection of the total games that can be played on the Xbox platform. Given the number of hours involved in playing video games, a pay-as-you-play format may not work as well. That said, as some people can’t spare more than a few hours a week to play games, the subscription cost could quickly tick up beyond the cost of purchasing it outright while the player attempts to complete one game.

Google trying to have the best of both worlds

Google wants to offer ways to pay for games that appeal to all gamers. The Stadia will be a game streaming service, but on top of paying a monthly subscription, which gives access to a game library, most games will also need to be purchased individually. It’s quite similar to the Xbox Game Pass but with the power to be used on any device that has access to YouTube. A free subscription tier is said to be launched in 2020, but this reveal certainly puts a dent in the expectations of the Stadia becoming ‘the Netflix of gaming.’

Luckily for those who like their gaming to be straightforward, Nintendo continues to walk its own path. Not only do they let players demo a huge range of their triple-A titles via their eShop, but they don’t appear to be jumping on the streaming subscription bandwagon.

The industry appears to be edging towards streaming massive game libraries, but the practice certainly won’t appeal to everyone. In the UK especially, the bandwidth demand of Google Stadia’s streaming may be too much for many gamers. It seems unlikely that streaming will take over the gaming industry anytime soon, but it’s certainly trying to take root in 2019.