As you may have heard from other bloggers, the Xbox Ultimate Game Pass is an extremely good deal. Even if you do not partake in all the Xbox Gold shenanigans – purchasing cheaper game months and then upgrading them to Ultimate via this $1 deal – it is kind of a no-brainer. I looked at the list of available games that I might be interested in and… well, see for yourself:
- The Outer Worlds
- Darksiders 3
- RAGE 2
- Halo: Master Chief Collection
- Gears 5, 4, etc
- Into the Breach
- Metro: Exodus
- Middle-Earth: Shadow of War
Will I be able to complete all of those games before my three months are up? Probably not. I can barely complete a goddamn dungeon in whatever game I happen to be playing at the moment. However. Just the fact that I’m playing The Outer Worlds for $1 is enough to justify everything else.
As an aside, I was initially thrown off by the advertised “$44.99/quarter” price once this $1 thing runs out. Then a calculator showed me that that’s $15/month. The PC-only “beta” version of the Game Pass is advertised at $5/month, “marked down” from $10/month. Everyone knows I am downright cruel when it comes to pinching pennies, but goddamn. People were talking about how Stadia was going to change gaming forever, but the Netflix future for gaming is already here.
Humble Bundle has released a new pricing structure and tacit plan to keep people subscribed:
Basically, if you are currently subscribed you are grandfathered into the same $12/month plan you have always had. The upswing is that there will be no more mystery: you will know exactly what games are on offer each month.
For everyone else, you get jacked. Well, relatively. At the $15/month subscription plan, you get to see all 10 games and pick 3 that you want. Or pay $20/month and get nine. Not sure if there will be 10 games on offer or just nine, given the Classic subscription. Neither scenario makes sense.
There are several very weird elements to this change, aside from the Netflix-esque price increase.
The biggest in my mind is… doesn’t this just directly compete with the normal Humble Bundles? For example, there is currently the Post-Modern bundle that includes 8 games that you can all buy for $15. Granted, $15 is only for the top tier game – you can opt for four games for just $1. I would have to assume that the Monthly bundle would not include the “lower tier” games in the offering, because that would be quite the slap in the face if you had to choose just 3 and only one was worth it. But with the mystery gone, are we really going to assume that every bundle is going to start including three (or more) high-tier games for one low price?
Even seeing all the choices gives me pause. So… we’ll be able to see all the choices ahead of time with ample opportunity to cancel/pause the subscription, right? So we’re really just deciding on whether to buy three games for $15 or nine games for $20? I know that technically the subscription has other benefits, e.g. 20% off store purchases and the like, but let’s be real here, that discount barely covers the immense risk you take by purchasing Steam keys from a retailer you cannot easily (at all?) refund through.
Supposedly you can pause even your Classic subscription if there is a dud month, but I have no particular faith that that will last more than a year. And if you accidentally cancel instead of pause every month, you get kicked out of the club and have to pay $8/month more than you did before. Nevermind how many subs HB will get from people wanting to be grandfathered in “just in case.”
None of this really matters in the abstract, I know. But it’s nevertheless fascinating seeing all the novel ways game companies/retailers come up with to part you with your hard-earned cash. Makes me wonder why gamers are such a special case when the rest of the world is still selling boxes.
This question may be be moot by the time anyone can read/respond to it, but…
If you had zero next-gen consoles or games, which one (1) console would you purchase?
- Xbox 360 250GB w/ Halo anniversary and Forza 4 ($199)
- PS3 Slim 250GB Console with Uncharted 1 & 2 and Infamous 1 & 2 ($219)
- Nintendo Wii Console with Wii Sports and Wii Sports Resort ($119)
- None (see below)
I have zero interest in the Wii U or any of the handhelds – I’d be using the console as a Netflix box for a 32″ TV at a minimum. I am heavily leaning towards PS3 right now between the number of exclusive titles that I have some interest in, but I am also aware of how many times PS3 owners have been screwed over in terms of updates, game ports, etc. My PC will still be my primary gaming rig, but if I wait until 2013 and the next-next-gen, then my 32″ TV will be quite out of place attached to my PS2.
Then again, I haven’t actually bought the 32″ TV yet ($180), so technically I could just do nothing at all and wait all this shit out like I have been for the last 6-8 years. Sigh.