Subscriptions, they're everywhere and more seem to appear all the time. So, what IF Valve were to announce their own Steam Game Pass to give you access to a great many games?
Let's be realistic here though - Valve doesn't need one. Steam is and will be for a long time to come, a money printing machine because of the user share they have across PC platforms (Linux, macOS and Windows). However, Valve do have competition increasing all the time. Not just from the Epic Games Store but thinking more on the likes of the Xbox Game Pass Ultimate - which includes a ton of games along with upcoming game streaming support too. That has proven extremely popular for Microsoft and services like that absolutely will pull people away from buying more games on Steam. Why would you, after all, if you can get 100+ (and growing) AA/AAA and indie games often close to release in a single subscription?
It's something I've been thinking on for a long time, and I've probably mentioned it in some previous articles. I speculated a little back when the subscription and rewards features for Steam leaked out. Although that turned into the points shop and allowing the likes of EA Play and the Crusader Kings II - Expansion Subscription. So now Valve allows other developers to use subscriptions but what about Valve directly though? Are they going to bring out their own, should they do it and would you actually use it?
Many questions! Some of which I posed to our Twitter followers (#1, #2) with the results being quite surprising. A small sample with the majority thinking Valve aren't doing one but 50/50 for people who want it versus not wanting it. I actually expected the question of people wanting it or not to swing quite hard one way which it clearly didn't.
For gamers, it might work out to be more cost effective to have a subscription. Thinking on the cost of these subscription services, it can work out at the price of 1-2 AAA games a year to gain access to tons. You would have to play quite a few of them to actually make it worth it - but a lot of people would probably forget about that part. Even if you're only interested in a few of the games, it could still work out as reasonably good value. For a store like Steam, compared to streaming services, being able to choose between outright buying and subscribing to have access gives the best of both worlds (compared with the likes of Stadia, where it's streaming-only and if it's gone, it's gone even if you "buy" it).
The drawback for developers though is monies. It all depends on the revenue split of each subscription, likely based on how much time is put into each title which could end up being worse for smaller developers who often struggle on Steam as it is. There's a lot of different angles like that to think on. What sort of levels would the subscription have? It could be interesting with different selections like Indie Gems, AAA classics and so on. Could even be an additional bit of marketing for developers as people might spots games from the lists they want to actually buy from it. Also, as a reminder, you don't actually own what you buy on Steam, as per the Steam Subscriber Agreement you get a license to play it.
A Steam Game Pass would probably be quite popular if Valve actually did it though, but will they?
Over to you in the comments: what are you thoughts on if Valve actually did a Steam Game Pass system?