In my latest E3 news article, I commented how EA was starting E3 2018 “strong.”
It sure did. I mean it. I was fascinated by EA’s reveal of Sea of Solitude. However, I was also intrigued by one other little aspect.
Most of us associate starting “strong” with starting off showcasing awesome titles capable of blowing us away. This time, I am using the word “strong” to refer to EA’s bold decision to push the online streaming service in the video game community. To say the least, EA has become one of the most controversial and hated publishers in the video game industry among gamers. The Star Wars Battlefront franchise was an utter disappointment, certainly not in the graphics department, but gameplay and content wise. The lack of content already had disappointed our hearts full of nostalgia. Not only that, but they purposely left out so much material, just to deprive our wallets of money as well.
The integration of the dreaded loot boxes became their trademark. Loot boxes left and right, in a video game that was once recognized for its fun and dynamic single player back in the PS2 era. Criticism on loot boxes by reviews and audiences left us with some semblance of hope that they would probably learn to avoid in the sequel.
They still wanted to empty our wallets of even a fraction of a penny. It got to the point that a petition to add “loot box gambling ” in the ESRB rating as a category.
What was EA’s response to their decision to integrate loot boxes?
I will leave you with Angry Joe’s interview with EA DICE producer, Paul Keslin. Warning: the response might anger you.
Even they know, there is no proper justification for this.
However, it seems there is no end to EA’s, let’s say, interesting decisions.
Recently at their E3 2018 press conference, EA announced a new subscription service for Windows and PC games known as Origin Access Premier.
No, I did not misspell “Premier.” They purposefully took out the letter e. Why? Who knows, for originality purposes, perhaps?
Okay. I am sidetracking because of the letter e.
“Al grano.” The Latin American equivalent to saying, “To the point.”
What is EA doing?
Well, this is not their first subscription service, if you recall. They already have Origin Access for PC and EA Access for the Xbox One. What makes this, all wonderful and unique in their eyes, it that it will grant full access to new games, starting five days before release. So those who are already members will still have the benefits of accessing new games but timed access.
So you now have two-tier levels of subscriptions. Those with a “basic membership” and those with a “premium” membership. Similar to GameStop’s Pro and Basic PowerUp Rewards (now with an even greater tier called “Elite”). The difference is, that you still have to pay if you want the “basic” one. If you want access to the premium you can pay just a small fee of $99.99, well $100, for a year or $15 for a month.
Hopefully, you hinted my sarcasm.
This system will be available Summer 2018. Oh wait, it’s already summer.
EA is ready hungry for those wallets people.
Here’s the real question. Are you willing to pay a hundred dollars for a year to “own” a collection of games? Let’s be honest with ourselves, they promise us a collection, but we don’t own it. “They” meaning, not only EA but other companies as well. Sony, Microsoft, they are all and have been involved in this streaming service as well. By paying a certain fee (one that makes our piggybanks cry), we are “given” these games to stream, everywhere else aside from your main console. Mainly PC, but there are other services available such as Gamefly’s which allows you to stream games even from your Amazon Tv Stick.
Yet, just as the word says, you are only streaming it. You don’t own the game. You no longer are paying one time to own the game. What if you decide to play a game a year or two years down the road? Well, you will have to pay the same price for a month or a year, for a game that its physical copy might be less than the subscription price in the market. You might probably argue, “Well, it won’t be only for that game, I have more than 600 games available to play!”
You don’t have time for it. We all have responsibilities besides playing video games and we have to sleep. Unless you are a vampire, but even Hollywood has established that vampires sleep.
In addition, modern video games last longer than mere 10 hours. Developers are aiming to create vibrant and rich worlds that players can explore. Stories that make us feel someone is chopping onions in the next room. Engaging side-quests and collectible that expand the replayability of your favorite game If you are an avid RPG gamer, then you know the investment that takes in completing games. The Final Fantasy franchise is a great example of how you can’t complete games in a day. Even simple cinematic storytelling games are expanding their replayability value. David Cage’s recent game, Detroit: Become Human, has been stated that it could take almost 40 hours to unlock all possible branches.
If your subscription is about to end, then you might be tempted to go speed through “your” gaming library. However, you won’t get the best experience, because you will be so worried that you have to finish it.
Why? You won’t have it anymore.
A mere trompe l’oeil
These streaming services only give us an illusion of ownership.
You might end up paying more during the year for owning a few games, but at least you own them, it’s yours. You can play them whenever you want. Probably not wherever, but you get to enjoy it when you have the time. You can go back with the good ol’ days and borrow it to a friend or cousin (who will probably never give it to you back again).
Although I highly doubt that Ubisoft’s prediction that digital will kill consoles will come true, it does indeed pose a threat. Especially, if publishers are avid in promoting their own “Netflix.”
If the trend of streaming services continue, your PS4 will be a remnant of the past. We won’t be able to insert our discs, cartridges into our beloved console anymore, because they won’t exist. We won’t have it on our hands anymore. it won’t “Unlock Play,” it will only lock it. It will lock it in a cloud where anyone can take a piece of, but only if you keep paying.
It’s funny, how we started to deviate from renting games and movie, yet, we are returning to that same process again. However, now renting has a new skin.
Share your thoughts and comments below. Are you pro digital? Do you love ripping out the plastic wrap out of your newly purchased video game? Will you support the streaming service in video games in the future? Are we doomed or is this the best approach?