EA won’t kill the gaming industry with a subscription model
Earlier this week, EA announced that they were aiming to move to a subscription model like Netflix. To say the backlash was significant would be an understatement. The arguments of EA singlehandedly killing the gaming industry were rampant, with some pretty grounded claims to back up.
EA will not kill the gaming industry though. While the fear of change is present, moving a subscription model may actually be more beneficial to the end consumer.
Let’s start with the numbers. Chris Evenden, the one who broke the news, added up the cost of a brand new console and a brand new game and then compared it to the $9.99 or so that the subscription would cause. His faulty logic was quickly called, considering gamers don’t always buy games brand new and they don’t need to buy a console every time they want a game.
The numbers are still in the consumers’ favor, though. The counter-argument is that you would be paying more if you played a brand new game past six months. At $10 a month, you would now be overcharged. That logic is just as faulty, though. If you have access to unlimited games, you would be able to play any of them, so to get an accurate figure, you’d have to add up the cost of all games and then divide that by the monthly rate.
Needless to say, you’re spending less than you would be if you bought all of those games individually.
Let’s move to the pre-owned market. Another argument that surfaced was that EA wants to cut out the middle-man so they can make more money. This included rentals, pre-owned copies, and sharing a disk. The argument has ground. Of course, they want to cut out those areas of the market because they lose revenue.
Here’s the issue, though. The bottom line isn’t going to be messed with, so EA will continue to churn out games as fast as possible to make up for any revenue loss from these areas. Cutting out pre-owned titles, EA keeps more market share and can invest more time into a game before release. The direct B2C (business-to-consumer) model is something seen in multiple industires, and the positive impacts have been proven.
Lastly is the right to own. The argument is that EA is trying to get rid of a right to own a game. Honestly, I don’t see where this comes from, considering they will probably still sell full versions of their games. Yes, you can stream music on Spotify, but you can also go buy the record if you really want to. Same thing goes for movies.
EA is a titan, but they are not the “gaming industry”. They’re just one massive publisher. Even with a shift, I highly doubt that retail copies of games will cease to exist. In all reality, a subscription model will just provide a more cost effective option to the end consumer. Like most things, we’ll just have to see what happens when and if it comes to fruition.