How To Use Game Streaming Services to Decide Which Games to Buy

By Todd Russell Jan16,2024

We continue to be more than casual fans of game streaming services here at PGM, but with a wary eye when it comes to ownership of games versus renting (more on that later in this article). We also can/will cancel game streaming services when they lose key licenses – cough, Antstream Arcade, cough (Breaking: Antstream Arcade Losing Warner Bros. / Midway License)

One of the biggest strengths of some of these services (Game Pass, Ubisoft+), is allowing us to experience both new — day one releases, in some cases — as well as older games. If you buy AAA games at launch, the cost of these games, the deluxe editions usually, are approaching or even exceeding $100 USD!

That’s a lot of money for a game we might not like and, fortunately, this article tackles a way to use these game services to our advantage.

Also, subscribing to multiple game services can also get expensive if you’re not regularly using/enjoying. A good tactic our family uses with movie streaming channels is to subscribe for a month, binge watch what we’re interested in, and then cancel. For the price of buying one movie (physical or digital), you can watch dozens or more.

Good news: this works for playing some (wish it was “all”) brand new games. Even some AAA games.

Repeatedly, here at PGM we’ve brought up the value of using game streaming services to decide the games you want to buy. Recent examples of AAA games available day one on streaming have been:

This attractive feature of game streaming services, is being noted as a benefit of subscribing. An interview with Ubisoft’s director of subscription, Philippe Tremblay, explains and highlights subscriber behavior activity:

Some sign-up to trial one game for a month or two, while others come in, stick around and play numerous titles.

“There are multiple behaviours,” he explains. “There are definitely a lot of people who come in for one game and then decide to buy it after [the subscription ends]. That’s part of the reality and that’s ok with us.”

The new Ubisoft+ and getting gamers comfortable with not owning their games | GamesIndustry.biz

See, credit smart gamers. When possible, we see the value in being able to play full release AAA games for a fraction of the cost of buying them at launch. Ubisoft+ offered Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora, the ultimate edition, which was selling for $120 USD as part of their subscription service for $16+ tax. If you wanted to play it cross-platform, then the $19 Ubisoft+ sub would allow you to play on console or PC as much as you wanted for a month.

After a month of play, most gamers should have enough time to decide whether or not to buy a game.

Curiously, another quote from this article that deals with ownership vs. renting on the streaming market is garnering newsbuzz the morning I write this on 1/16/24:

“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].

Um, sorry, this is not a shift that “needs” to happen.

Rather than rehash here why renting vs. owning games is a bad idea (preservation!), will simply point you, friendly gamer readers, to this prior PGM article which splits that pig wide open: OPINION: Sony reminds us that the illusion of “owning” Digital Movies and TV Series are lessons in Hollywood Thievery — but that explains the bevy of articles this morning showing on Google News decrying the concept:

This is textbook poke the bear. Newsflash: gamers don’t want to rent games versus owning them, Mr. Tremblay.

Speaking of Ubisoft, and in a more positive light than the ugliness above, they are adding Activision/Blizzard games to their service at some point in the future, as part of the merger Microsoft inked a 15 year deal for streaming rights.

If the merger goes through, Microsoft would transfer “cloud streaming rights for all current and new Activision Blizzard PC and console games released over the next 15 years to Ubisoft Entertainment SA, a leading global game publisher. The rights will be in perpetuity,” Smith added. That means Microsoft wouldn’t be able to make Activision Blizzard games exclusive for Xbox Cloud Gaming, nor have any say on how they’re released on rival services. It will also allow Ubisoft to offer Activision Blizzard cloud gaming services on Apple and other non-Windows systems.

Microsoft will sell Activision Blizzard streaming rights to Ubisoft in attempt to win UK approval (engadget.com)

Have you tried using a month of a game streaming service (Game Pass, Ubisoft+, etc) to check out newer (or older) games to decide which you want to buy and then cancel? Or do you prefer to subscribe month to month?

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