Published on May 8th, 2012 | by G. Bargas, Managing Editor
Sign Here on the Xbox: Is this the Start of a Subscription War?
Xbox LIVE one year subscription or gas? PlayStation Plus or a new game? Points or toilet paper? I’ve considered that last one, and if you buy one-ply you are going to hate yourself for a few months. There are plenty of options to weigh before dropping impulse purchases to continue your gaming habits. I can understand that companies are still trying to make money in today’s economy by toting smart ventures or discounted value packs, but, Are they worth it?
Rumors had been buzzing in regards to the “stripped down Xbox 360” for quite some time. Microsoft is picking up where OnLive has left off, but throwing in what they’ve already managed to secure over its competitors which is: Bringing gamers an online entertainment experience that is better than any other out there.
While this might not be exactly “groundbreaking” as a whole, it has caused other companies to step their game up. Even for long time stakeholder Nintendo, particularly if they expect the Wii U to have a fighting chance, they have even become part of the online gaming experience—even if it is a few decades late.
So will this Xbox 360 subscription make other companies jump on the subscription-based gaming bandwagon? Xbox LIVE initiated the online revolution for consoles, but will it force others to create an experience all the same?
Sony will no doubt continue to build its own brand of online gaming community. Efforts to do so have recently been winked at by merging the various parts of Sony subsidiaries, such as the PlayStation Network, and having them fall under one umbrella, being Sony Entertainment Network as the sole outlet. This bridges all of Sony’s online entertainment into one recognizable name. It seems that the premise of the merging will be to broaden the experience for gamers and generate more of a hub rather than a pit stop, along the lines of what Microsoft has been doing with the Xbox LIVE dashboard. This gives new hope for the future of digital distribution and not simply relying on the consoles hardware to dictate Sony’s media sales.
It’s possible that transparency through all of your streaming applications and blending of all your entertainment needs will open new doors, but what will stop attempts to rule through nickel-and-diming us gamers? It might seem silly to think of such things (i.e, online passes, logging into a publisher’s servers, being logged into Xbox LIVE to play a game) but it makes me feel like we are onto the same backwards path of smart phones and data usage. Great, we’ve got 4G coverage (where the hell does 4G rate on a scale of speed anyways?) but with capped data plans? The speeds increase and the caps are leisurely raised to accommodate a company’s own pay-to-stream app. I’d hate to see video games fall under the same greedy rule of thumb as the cell phone companies that slow down data networks or those who put caps on the amount consumed.
Even though it is not 100% for certain where these subscriptions will head, or what direction they will take, starting with this economic Xbox 360, but I know that I wouldn’t want to be locked into a gaming contract for two years.
Heck, imagine having to wait until you’re due for an upgrade to get a new console.