Xbox Game Pass, the Netflix-like subscription service for games that Microsoft is trying to push with strong investments, was the main topic of a panel hosted at Gamelab 2019 (transcribed by GamesIndustry). Former Playdead boss Dino Patti, who has recently founded Coherence and Jumpship, said:
With subscription models, there are two angles: the consumer angle and the developer angle. Consumers want as many games as possible, as cheaply as possible... But the developer needs to look at what the deal gives them.
For me -- and I might be a bit biased -- but I think the way the business is with Game Pass is the first time subscription is what could be considered fair for developers. All other business models that have been suggested with subscriptions have never worked out because they didn't know what developers actually need.
With Game Pass, Microsoft is doing it correctly, I feel, for the developers.
However, not everyone feels this way. For example, Paradox CEO Fredrik Wester shared a very different sentiment on Xbox Game Pass from his studio's point of view.
Spotify pays you depending on how many times your song is played. Netflix pays you a fixed fee, depending on what it thinks your TV series is worth. They are fundamentally different things, and that's what you see with Xbox Game Pass as well.
OnLive, for example, they said, 'You can have your game on our service, we're going to attract a lot of customers, and we're going to deliver you money based on how many hours people play your game.' Now, at Paradox, we love that business model, because people play our games for 3,000 or 4,000 hours... While the Game Pass model -- to us -- is still a decent model, but we think we're not getting paid enough, because people play our games more than they play very single-player and narrative-driven games.