EA have recently announced their very own game subscription service, an access programme currently only for Xbox one which allows gamers to subscribe for $5 ($3.99) a month and have access to EA’s vast library of games. Currently there are only a few available NFL, FIFA and Battlefield, but the prospect is quite mouth-watering.
Not for Sony however. In a recent interview with Game Industry Sony said that after they had evaluated the idea, decided against joining because it didn’t fit with their current PlayStation plans. Sony claim that their own PS Plus subscription service is up 200 per cent and thus gamers liked a wider range of material available to download.
That’s fair enough, but lets not forget that Sony has PlayStation Now, Sony’s other online service allowing gamers with a subscription to ‘rent’ games from Sony’s vast back catalogue of games on the PS4 and other devices. A perfect idea for all those old PS3 games you wish you could still play. Regardless of costs, it’s a great idea.
My worry now is this, Since Sony has snubbed EA I wonder if EA will then get the hump and stop Sony using their games on the PS Now service. You know how complex all this licensing can be – This of course hasn’t been confirmed and is just my speculation. If this happens to be the case, then that’s a whole lot of games that won’t be available from PS Now, and perhaps the start of some grim times for PSNow
But what could be even more worrying is if the video game industry decided to go the way of music. Streaming is everything at the moment, with the likes of Spotify giving people a near infinite amount of music for a small monthly subscription, even free if you don’t mind the adverts. Then for film and TV there is Netflix and Love Film. both offering movies and tv shows for streaming, again for a monthly subscription.
If EA’s subscription service turns out to be a striking success, could that mean that other companies would follow suit? Ubisoft, Activision, Square Enix, all have a lot of top games in their library and could also make a subscription service work. That being the case then Sony will do the same with them as they did with EA, and tell them it’s not in the plans for PlayStation. What that basically means is that Sony wouldn’t want third parties potentially taking away customers from its own subscription service.
So, imagine then that this did happen, these top publishers will then no longer allow their games to be used with PS Now leaving gamers with just Sony’s own first party games to play. Given the cost of ‘renting’ PSNow games, this service might not appear to be the gaming utopia we have all imagined the service to be.
Don’t get me wrong, Sony has a strong back catalogue of games which I wouldn’t mind playing again via PS Now, but until Sony reveal the final costs, be it per game or a monthly subscription, I won’t be signing up until I know that I will be able to access all the games I want, and not just those from Sony.