Film and television subs are changing, and not in a good way. They’re getting more expensive and, worse, are forcing viewers into watching adverts if they don’t pay for higher tiers. I’ve cancelled most of mine, and I know I’m not alone.
On the other hand, I’ve kept my gaming subscriptions. Game Pass especially, but PlayStation and Nintendo services too, are cheap and do more than they need to do. For now, they’re almost too good a value. To the point where people are suspicious of them because of their value. “Enjoy it while it lasts,” they say. “One day they’ll put the price up too much, and then what?”
Well, then I cancel. If it is no longer worth the money, I’ll click the one button it takes to cancel the subscription and move on with my life. Hell, I’ll even start going through the backlog. Hoarders unite.
There’s no doubt that these subscription services will change going forward. Everything always does. As monetisation becomes more difficult, the people who run the subs look for new ways to raise cash. Maybe the price goes up or the quality of the output goes down. Neither is a guarantee, but both are the go-to fearmongering when it comes to sub services. You’re as likely to start seeing more and more adverts or longer waits for games than you are a drop in quality, but nothing is written in stone.
Looking at the twelve months ahead, and looking where their TV and film streaming cousins are right now, it’d be easy to start to question whether we’ll start seeing changes in the next 12 months. Will these gaming subs still be worth using by the end of the year? Or will we start to see signs of things to come?
The State of Subs in 2024
Let’s take a quick look at where we are right now.
Netflix, Disney and Amazon have all added or are about to add adverts to their subscription services. In their quests for eternal growth they are sacrificing content and adding advertising to their paid product. We all remember how that worked out for cable companies a few years ago.
Gaming subscriptions remain largely unchanged. Both PlayStation and Xbox have recently put up their prices. PlayStation jumped a whopping 20 per cent. And while many corners of the internet are still bitter about that (especially given the lacklustre offerings on PlayStation Plus since), it is still a decent offering. You’ll still end up saving money in the long run, although I wouldn’t blame anybody who cancels. I’m just waiting out my pre-paid months and then I’ll be dropping it myself.
PlayStation Plus adds games to its catalogue once a month, with additional “essential” games also added once a month. Game Pass do two drops. Nintendo don’t really do drops, just pop their heads out from under their mountain of cash to drop a legendary retro game or two or a Mario Kart map pack once in a while. I can’t wait to see their online offerings with the Switch 2. It won’t be much better, but it will be much more expensive.
How Will Things Change in 2024?
Doomsayers – I have bad news. Things are almost certainly going to get better before they get worse. And that’s not discounting the fact that long-term, things could get worse. We’re just not at that point yet.
Let’s start with the obvious one: Xbox and Game Pass. This year will see a decent selection of AAA and AA first-party games being added to the Game Pass library. That’ll likely include Indiana Jones, if recent rumours are to be believed, as well as Avowed, Senua 2 and Towerborne. But that’s not all. Activision games will start to trickle in over the coming months, and that’s not even taking into account any unannounced games from the house of Call of Duty.
Even without third-party stuff, that is enormous value. The price could go up and it’d still feel like a steal. Although I hope it doesn’t.
In the Insomniac leaks, a PowerPoint presentation revealed Sony knew its PlayStation Plus offering was behind the times. I’m not expecting much in the way of changes to their actual offering. Actually, I wouldn’t be surprised if you were waiting longer for their games from here out. But they are looking to increase the value of their offering. That’ll be some free stuff in other games, or additional services within your membership. Except the first sight of that this year.
Nintendo is the wild card. Their subscription is cheap, cheerful and does what you need it to do. Expect that to change. With a new Switch on the horizon, it’s a good time to upgrade what they offer. This could go in any direction, including but not limited to just increasing the price and saying they’ve done some stuff behind the scenes. It’s exciting to see where they go next.
Subscriptions in 2024 – Conclusion
Remember when paying a monthly fee for something on your game console was seen as excessive? Now it’s required, and oftentimes we want to pay. And we’re not yet at the point where that is going to change.
The coming year will be big for gaming subscriptions. And while TV and film streaming will get more annoying or more expensive, gamers will still have a smile on their face by 2025.
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