The ESA has commissioned a new survey for what younger gamers want, and the results are once again, very surprising.
As reported by GameRant, the survey starts off with the result that 73 % of children interviewed wanted something related to video games. Video game subscriptions then topped the list of the kinds of products that children actually wanted, followed by dedicated game consoles. We’ll break down the numbers below:
- Video game subscriptions – 39 %
- Video game consoles – 38 %
- Video game accessories – 32 %
- In-game currency – 29 %
- Retail physical games – 22 %
So, I don’t think people will question the popularity of items like video game consoles, or in-game currency. So why are subscriptions overwhelmingly more popular with kids over everything else?
Looking at the range of subscription services available, Apple Arcade is a cheap, dedicated service for mobile games, Switch Online serves a niche for retro game fans, and there are a host of PC subscriptions that offer tons of games. These include Nvidia’s GeForce Now, Ubisoft’s Ubisoft Plus, and EA’s EA Play.
Towering above those options is clearly Game Pass, which can run natively on both PC and Xbox consoles, and can run on the cloud on both these platforms, and also on mobile. Sony’s PlayStation Plus has a lot of the same options, but it just doesn’t match Microsoft feature for feature.
But then, the question arises; why is there an interest for any of these game subscriptions. Let’s set aside the question of which company has the best or is the most successful in this regard, because this is the real question of the moment.
The value of subscription services is more than accessing online services for game consoles. Rather, it is the chance to access and try out multiple video games all at once. If the PlayStation 3 / Xbox 360 generation was awash with demos of games; now, subscriptions make way more sense. Gamers get to choose to pick up and drop off on whatever games they are playing, at their leisure.
The fact that subscriptions have rotating libraries benefits the game companies as well. Gamers who would not have wanted to install a one hour demo, would have been more willing to play five hours of the main game on a subscription, and then paid full retail to continue playing after the game is removed from the subscription.
Subscriptions are definitely not going to make full retail priced games going away, but they are changing the way the industry is selling games. We may see a future where more games being played are rented than bought up front, but with more money going into the industry overall.