Streaming Service Overload Is About To Hit Gamers, Too

Netflix completely managed to reshape Hollywood by providing a new business model that every studio now wants to emulate. Create a streaming subscription service full of exclusive content and some curated favorites, get a bunch of monthly subscribers, count the cash. It's not nearly as easy as it sounds, but it's now the model that everyone wants to follow and, as it turns out, this is beginning to extend beyond the realm of TV and movies. The subscription model is about to hit another gigantic industry, specifically the video game industry, in a gigantic way. Get ready, gamers: the streaming service overload is coming for you as well.

Microsoft already provided a big shake-up to the industry with Xbox Game Pass, a monthly subscription service that allows players to pay $14.99 per month for access to a gigantic library of games that they can download and play at their heart's desire without having to pay for the games individually. This even extended to "Halo Infinite," the latest entry in the company's marquee franchise, which is now a big show on Paramount+ as well. It's basically Netflix for video games! It didn't take long for Sony, the company behind PlayStation, to craft its own version of this service, which is officially getting revamped as of today.

PlayStation Plus previously allowed access to select titles each month that would be available in a gamer's library in perpetuity as long as they stayed subscribed. Now an updated, tiered version of the service will give users access to a whole library of games for a monthly fee. According to PlayStation, there are three different tiers: PlayStation Plus Essential, PlayStation Plus Extra, and PlayStation Plus Premium. They all are priced differently and come with varying benefits. The particulars are laid out in the post, but it tops out at $17.99 per month/$119.99 yearly. It's cheaper than buying new video games frequently, but it's yet another subscription service to worry about. And there is a bigger problem that is likely to emerge.

The exclusivity problem

As we've seen with the streaming wars between Netflix, Disney+, Apple TV+, HBO Max, and everyone else, exclusivity is king. Do you want to watch "The Mandalorian?" Subscribe to Disney+. Have an interest in seeing "CODA," this year's Best Picture winner at the Oscars? Get Apple TV+. That's the way it goes and that is the way this will all continue to go until something very dramatic changes.

I think you gamers out there can see where I'm going with this, but with Xbox Game Pass and PlayStation Plus (not to mention Nintendo Switch Online) now vying for subscribers, the notion of exclusivity in gaming is about to get more serious than it's ever been. Yes, console exclusives have always been a thing. You can only play "The Last of Us" on PlayStation, and you can only play "Mario Kart" on Nintendo. That's the way it goes. But this subscription service model is going to force each company to get more competitive and aggressive with exclusives to entice subscribers.

We've already seen the beginnings of this, with Microsoft making its massive $68.7 billion acquisition of Activision Blizzard earlier this year. Once the deal closes, it will put huge franchises like "World of Warcraft" and "Call of Duty" in the hands of Xbox. One has to imagine that the folks at Sony are going to look for acquisitions and deals to make as well. More exclusivity means more tough choices for gamers to make. If you're a die-hard Xbox guy it may become tougher to not have a PlayStation, and vice versa. Be prepared because this is the world we're now living in.