A couple of months ago, Xbox Insiders tested a preview of Microsoft’s Xbox Game Pass, a game subscription service that allows Xbox One gamers to access a catalog of more than 100 Xbox games for $9.99 per month. The service was released in spring and due to its performance, the Xbox team now thinks it could disrupt the gaming industry in a similar way Netflix did with TV
Story-driven games compared to TV shows
Xbox head Phil Spencer said in an interview for the Guardian that single player, story-driven games are gaining more and more attention with “Games as a service” like Destiny or Tom Clancy’s The Division. He suggests that new business opportunities for story-driven games would be an important asset for the video games industry. He also made a comparison with the high-quality, exclusive TV shows on HBO or Netflix saying that gaming subscription services could bring more creative freedom to developers of story-driven games.
Spencer is now convinced that television has reached a golden age of creativity and everyone who has watched House of Cards or Game of Thrones would agree with this.
The storytelling ability in TV today is really high, and I think it’s because of the business model (…). I hope as an industry we can think about the same. Subscription services might spur new story-based games coming to market because there’s a new business model to help support their monetization.
Bundling access to exclusive story-driven games with the Xbox Games Pass will no doubt bring more value to the subscription service for Xbox gamers and it could also boost sales for Xbox One if the games are going to be high quality.
It is not yet clear why game developers would want to restrict their games to a limited audience of subscribers, especially if we consider how Sony’s Playstation 4 sells more than the Xbox One.
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