Baldur’s Gate 3 director and Larian Studios founder Swen Vincke has decided to share his views on the whole ‘subscription services eventually becoming the dominant way people access their games’ thing, offering a pretty admirable justification as to why you won’t see BG3 being distributed in that fashion.
In case you’re out of the loop, Ubisoft’s director of subscriptions Philippe Tremblay recently kicked off a bit of a discourse by suggesting in an interview with GiBiz that players need to get more comfortable with the idea of not owning their games in a traditional fashion in order for subscription services to continue to take off in the gaming space. As you might expect, this hasn’t gone down too well with a lot of folks in and around the industry.
One of the most interesting responses to it so far has come from Vincke, who’s posted a lengthy twitter thread explaining his stance on the issue of subscription services versus the traditional method of pitching and releasing a game.
“Whatever the future of games looks like, content will always be king,” the developer kicked off by saying, “but it’s going to be a lot harder to get good content if subscription becomes the dominant model and a select group gets to decide what goes to market and what not. Direct from developer to players is the way.”
He went on to outline that, in his view, “subscription models will always end up being cost/benefit analysis exercises intended to maximise profit”, something which isn’t necessarily an issue right now, but could become one if those services end up monopolising the gaming market. “Getting a board to ok a project fueled by idealism is almost impossible and idealism needs room to exist, even if it can lead to disaster,” Vincke explained.
The developer also added that an increase in subscription service prominence could make discoverability even more of an issue for developers.
He finished by saying: “You won’t find our games on a subscription service even if I respect that for many developers it presents an opportunity to make their game. I don’t have an issue with that. I just want to make sure the other ecosystem doesn’t die because it’s valuable.”
As Vincke alludes to in that conclusion, the issue of subscription services like Xbox Game Pass and PS Plus versus the traditional model is one that’s a bit complicated, even if a monopoly scenario involving the former would clearly do more bad than good.
For just about every premium release like Baldur’s Gate 3 that’s able to take off on its own and gain the kind of legs it might not have had it been inextricably linked to a subscription service, there’s an equally unique game like Pentiment that might not have even been pitched without the likes of Game Pass existing.
As much as it’s a bit of a cop out opinion to hold, the ideal scenario probably lies with having developers be able to choose between both methods, rather than being locked into one ecosystem, as they try to get players’ eyes on their next cool project.
In other Baldur’s Gate 3-related news, the Xbox update that’s designed to rectify the game’s save issues on that platform is now available.