Shut Up About Game Pass

SHUT UP. SHUT UP. SHUT UP.

[placeholder GIF -
will find better one before posting]
Greg Miller: Role Model, Icon
Ugh. I just got done listening to the latest PS I Love You XOXO podcast about PlayStation, and if I took a shot every time they said the words "Game Pass," I'd be on a stretcher as paramedics try desperately to revive me. "Cripes! HOW MANY shots of Apple Pucker?" I listen to that podcast to hear about PlayStation. And Shu. And Knack. And the Water Man. Not how Xbox is trying to ruin the industry. And yes, I said "ruin" because I feel that Game Pass is dangerous to my favorite hobby. And am I the only one who sees this? Am I somehow immune to Bill Gates' vaccine nanobots and I'm now in a technology-based version of They Live? Why is everybody green with Zune logos on their foreheads? It's everywhere: Twitter, ResetEra, Kinda Funny... I can't escape.

Netflix vs. Game Pass

The comparison is always there. Microsoft's Game Pass is the gaming version of Netflix. Blah blah blah. Guess what? Not everyone loves Netflix. I only subscribe because my wife thinks we'll be missing out on something if we don't, even though we use it less than Hulu, Amazon Prime, Disney+, TV+, HBO Max, Peacock, Paramount+, Spike TV+, UPN+, TNN+, WGN+, QVC+, Channel Listings+, YouTube Red, Quibi, Ebaum's World, Turbo Tax, showering every third day and any other streaming service you can think of.

Why? Because it's all mediocre. Netflix's model was: buy up a bunch of high-value movies/shows, get everyone to subscribe, jack up the price incrementally every year, drop the high-priced exclusives, buy up everything that's cheap, throw them at the wall, see what sticks and drop the best stuff when the contracts to renew get too pricey. Wonder why your favorite shows get dropped by Season 3? #@%& You! That's why.

I spend more time scrolling Netflix trying to find something that won't suck, than actually watching anything there. It's all 6s and 7s now, with one or two 9s they can point at and say, "hey, if you unsubscribe, how will you see Stranger Things season 5 in 3 1/2 years?"

And you want this to be the future of games?

Because MS is following that exact playbook. They are buying up studios left and right, you can get a decade's worth of Game Pass for the price of a pack of Ramen noodles and have admitted that the service isn't making money. How much longer before they start jacking up the prices and forcing their studios to produce cheaper/faster games to bloat the service? 

7. The answer is 7. 

And this leads me to my next rant...

Microsoft Buying Up All the Games

Microsoft acquired Bethesda! Everyone scream out in joy until we cough up blood! YAAAAAAAAAAAYYYYY...-hack- aaaaayyyyy...-spit- ugh. I need a lozenge.

This is like cheering on Anheuser-Busch for buying up all the independent craft beer. "Hey bro, if they buy them up, they can make them cheaper. Win-win, broseph." [crushes can of Goose Island IPA on forehead]

Or they buy them up, force them to cut corners, ruin what made them great and shut them down when they under perform. But yeah, let's do this to the best video game devs in the business too.

But, but, but... Mr. Complainy McComplainyface, Game Pass will pay for all these acquisitions and more. 

How?

MS spent $4 billion on Bethesda alone. And that's not a one-time fee like everyone imagines it is. Now MS has to cover salaries, overhead, office space, computer and equipment, upgrades, raises, bonuses, insurance, benefits, Doug's anniversary party, balloons, cake, refreshments, napkins, but if you want name brand cola you need to bring that yourself, Susan. Where was I? Oh, yeah. These studios will take continuous funds to keep going. And they bought what... 24, 25, 153 of these things? I lost count.

And every one of these studios is supposed to give away their games for $15 a month with no additional sales or revenue coming in? Okay. 

And the part that's the most terrifying... they have the money to buy any studio they want. And Nintendo and Sony do not. So, we could live in a future where MS owns EA, Activision, Ubisoft, THQ, Midway, LJN, Tiger Electronics and Pong. And you'd have to bend the knee to them or give up gaming entirely. And that's not a world I want to live in—riding around in a wasteland, killing people for AA batteries to power my Xbox controllers and wearing spiked, leather chaps and being friends with Mel Gibson. No thank you, sir. 

And this is why the future is so bleak...

Sony & Nintendo Will Need to Answer

I like my PlayStation exclusives. I don't want Sony to either feel the need to compete and copy Xbox, thus watering down their best games or throw up their hands and walk away.

I don't want free-to-play Uncharted with micro-transactions for shoelace colors and horse armor. I don't want The Last of Us: Fortnite. I felt sick even typing that. I should erase that. Nope. If I have to hurl chunks thinking about that future, you all are hurling with me.

I have no horse armor in the Nintendo race, so just insert your Nintendo Future Apocalypse Horror theories here. I'll wait. 

Are you still typing?

Well, I guess I could check Instagram. Oh look, a kitty being naughty. You are a very naughty kitty. Wait. A boomerang video... I'm done. You've ruined a cool, memorable shot with a cheap effect. Shame on you. Back to my rant...

And this will affect game sales. It's already altering them on Xbox. Most sales of multiplats (not on Game Pass), go to PlayStation now. 80% of RE8? That's because everyone in the GP ecosystem wants everything for free now. You can't expect them to actually dish out their mommy's hard earned perm money for games these days, do you? The "I'll wait until it's on Game Pass" syndrome is contagious too. This can bleed into PS and Nintendo sales eventually. Xbox is fostering a Generation Entitlement. And frankly, I've already ranted on that.

And the worst part of all of this is that I have to hear and read the words "Game Pass" on a daily basis. I don't hear the word "Netflix" every 12 minutes. Why? Because once you've finished The Queen's Gambit in an afternoon, you are back to bingeing shows on better services rather than endlessly scrolling through drivel like Another Life, Bright, The Ridiculous 6 and Attack of the Clones. Which is a complaint I'm already hearing about Game Pass... it's bloated with stuff people don't want to waste hard drive space to even try once.

How Does Sony Answer? 

The most hilarious way Sony could answer is to allow Game Pass on PS5. That one move would kill the Xbox console instantly. Sure, Game Pass would thrive, but the console would die. The only people who would buy an Xbox after that would be Phil Spencer's closest relatives, Snow Bike Mike, Parris and Major Nelson. And anyone who got vaccinated with the Bill Gates™ COVID-95 Bluescreen vaccine. Cuz why would you NOT buy a PlayStation at that point? You'd get all of Sony's exclusives AND Game Pass. Done. One console and you'd have everything except Mario. And Zelda. And uh... oh yeah, Metroid. Sure. Metroid. 

Or... don't do Netflix. Do Disney+ or TV+. Don't back up a truck of 7s and dump them into a giant pile of 7s. Put out AAAAAAA games—less frequently—but everyone buys your service because you have to. I mean, who wants to be the one person who hasn't seen WandaVision or Ted Lasso. I'm looking at you, Ryan.

Game Pass, I'll admit, is great if you are on a budget, have kids or an endless amount of time to play average games, but DO NOT RUIN GAMES FOR THE REST OF US!!!!!!!


tl;dr:

Don't use Boomerang on your videos. Nobody likes that. Nobody. I'm looking at you, Doug.


Love,

Captain Curmudgeon

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Cutting the Cord—or—Charter is like Syphilis, Except There's a Cure

How I Spent My Tuesday Night