Subscription services have majorly changed every facet of the entertainment industry, but games. Between Xbox Game Pass, the new PlayStation Plus, and more, it looks like that may finally be changing. And as it does, many are warning that it's not going to be a positive change for the industry. The most notable of these people is former Microsoft executive Ed Fries, who helped release the original Xbox back in 2004.
Speaking in a new interview, Fries compared Xbox Game Pass to Spotify and admitted that the subscription service scares him. Why? Well, because of what subscription services have done to spaces like music.
"The one thing that they're doing that makes me nervous is Game Pass," said Fries. "Game Pass scares me because there's a somewhat analogous thing called Spotify that was created for the music business. When Spotify took off it destroyed the music business, it literally cut the annual revenue of the music business in half," the former Microsoft exec claimed. "It's made it so people just don't buy songs anymore. People don't buy songs on iPhone for example, because why would you? They're all on your subscription service app. Apple's said they're going to take away buying songs because no one's buying them anymore. So we have to be careful we don't create the same system in the game business. These markets are more fragile than people realize. I saw the games industry destroy itself in the early 80s. I saw the educational software business destroy itself in the mid-90s... they literally destroyed a multi-billion dollar market in a few years. So Game Pass makes me nervous. As a customer, I love it. I love Spotify as a customer: I have all the songs I'd ever want... it's a great deal as a customer. But it isn't necessarily great for the industry."
If this warning sounds familiar, it's because Fries is not the first to sound the alarm bell involving Xbox Game Pass and what it means for the future of the industry. For now, it's a mystery. Xbox Game Pass and similar gaming services are very likely to reshape the industry, but only time will tell if it will be for better or for worse.
As always, leave a comment or let me know what you think via @Tyler_Fischer_ over on Twitter. Do you think Xbox Game Pass is good for the industry or bad?