The video game industry, much like any other industry, is bound to have big changes that adapt to modern technology. We’ve seen jumps before when it comes to not only visuals of a video game but how they are played. From cartridge-based games to disc and even digital downloads, the video game industry is quick to adapt. For collectors that want their physical media, it may be a sad trend, but for others, it’s an exciting future to potentially prepare for. When you ask Microsoft’s gaming service head, Ben Decker, the future would be less focus on the actual hardware or name brand but the subscription service you pay for.
Much like the video streaming model where you have a variety of services like Netflix, Amazon Prime, and Hulu, there is exclusive content on each which the companies hope that viewers will sway new subscribers. That’s more or less what’s going on right now with certain video game streaming services like PlayStation Now, Xbox Game Pass and even the up-and-comer, Google Stadia. While the former two are mainly filled with video game titles that had a past physical release, exclusives are coming out to Google Stadia that are streaming-based only such as Tequila Works, Gylt. So as we move more into a realm where streaming content is just as fluid and accessible as buying a physical copy, perhaps we’re going to start seeing these streaming services take more of a central focus.
During Gamescom 2019, Ben Decker spoke with GameReactor and stated that ideally, Xbox Game Pass would be available across all platforms. This would be an ideal dream for Microsoft to see the service even on competing platforms like Sony’s PlayStation platforms. This is just a comment made by a single person, but this could come to fruition down the road if streaming services start to really take off in the video game industry. One area, in particular, that would cause some gamers a bit of stress is the fact that once we move into an age of just digital media or streaming, there is the potential of losing out on video game titles completely. We’ve seen it before where a particular video game licensing runs out and as a result, the video game is removed completely from stores. A good example of this would be DuckTales Remastered that was recently removed online. As a result, having a physical copy would secure your game forever.