We live in a society (yes, I just said that line) where technology is being touted as the “godsend to save everything.” Furthermore, we all await the “next big technology” to change our lives for the better. Does it ever really work out that way, though? Everything has problems, and even when something evolves in a “natural way,” there are those who will see it as something that can be taken to an extreme. Don’t believe me? Ask Ubisoft. They’re about to drop their Ubisoft+ game subscription program and have “big ideas” on what that means for the future of gaming.
Specifically, they look at what’s going on with physical media on the TV/movie side due to streaming services and think that gamers in the future will “need to get comfortable” with not owning actual copies of their games to play. This specifically came from Ubisoft’s director of subscription Philippe Tremblay, who noted to Gameindustry.biz:
“One of the things we saw is that gamers are used to, a little bit like DVD, having and owning their games. That’s the consumer shift that needs to happen. They got comfortable not owning their CD collection or DVD collection. That’s a transformation that’s been a bit slower to happen [in games]. As gamers grow comfortable in that aspect… you don’t lose your progress. If you resume your game at another time, your progress file is still there. That’s not been deleted. You don’t lose what you’ve built in the game or your engagement with the game. So it’s about feeling comfortable with not owning your game.”
Here’s the thing: while that might SOUND like a “natural evolution,” it’s not. There are PLENTY of people who don’t do digital gaming, and won’t use services like Ubisoft+ or the Xbox Game Pass. They WANT the physical copy for one reason or another. Another issue is that these services tend to rely on online connections. So what happens if a gamer has a bunch of internet-tied titles due to these services, and then their connection drops? Exactly. If they had a physical copy (of non-multiplayer-focused titles, naturally), they could just pop it in and have fun. In other words, gamers won’t ever “be comfortable” with not having copies of games to own because there is so much more freedom in having them.
Plus, why should gamers be “comfortable” with only playing a game when it’s available only during specific times on the service? That’s a handicap, not a thing to praise.
For more thoughts on this, check out our latest episode of Spectator Mode!