My recent return to college was about as annoying as I expected, with my first class mostly a rehash of information I learned in other classes back when I was attending the local community college. My second class, though labeled as a business course, is more like an English class with business-type projects. The course, BUS-225, Critical Business Skills for Success, seems to be hated by all who have to take it, which is any student majoring in business of any kind. Project One should have been split across three weeks, but I made it through and the research was used for the other major projects in the class: an automobile engine manufacturing company diversifying into another industry. I went with the aircraft industry after doing a bit of research on trends and forecasts.
All of that had me craving to play an aircraft game, immediately thinking of Microsoft Flight Simulator. I paid a dollar for a free one-month trial of Xbox Game Pass, making this my third trial since my husband and I bought our new gaming PC in 2021. The game took forever to install, and I am not a patient person, so I played other games on Steam until I could finally play Flight Sim. I was not very impressed and lost interest quickly, mainly because the controls are just a bit too realistic for me. Some would say “well duh! It’s a flight simulator!” to which I reply “I know, but it’s still a game! They could have had the option for easier controls!”
In satisfying my very brief desire to fly a virtual airplane, I discovered a couple other games on Game Pass that I wanted to play, and by “a couple,” I mean two: Slime Rancher 2 and Age of Empires IV, which I know I am going to buy someday anyway. I also discovered that I can easily use my PlayStation 5 controller with my PC, which I find so much more comfortable than the Xbox One controller. There is nothing wrong with the Xbox One controller, I’m just used to using the PS5 controller when I play games that just don’t work well with a mouse.
I canceled my Game Pass subscription right away, giving me one month to play whatever I wanted to play. It didn’t take anywhere near that long. I often read posts about how great Game Pass is, and yet I thought it was lacking in anything I desired to play. Is it because I already own a lot of the games on PS4/5, Xbox One, or PC? Or is it just that many new games are not appealing to us old school gamers? It would be cheaper to just buy the two games I was interested in than to continue paying a monthly subscription over time. Is this what the world of gaming is coming to: streaming/on-demand game services instead of buying them?
I am reminded of the old Sega Channel back in the 1990s: you paid a monthly subscription to your cable provider and had access to a library of games. It was great for trying new games, except if you found one you really liked, it would be gone in a month and you couldn’t play it anymore. Maybe you could find it at a used game store, but usually you just waited for the next month and hoped it returned. There were so many games my brothers and I discovered that we loved, and then we were never able to play those games again.
Right now Game Pass has your games, but what about in the future? What about when the game manufacturer decides they don’t want their game on a streaming service? What about when Microsoft decides there should be multiple tiers at different prices? When does it end? Are we really okay with not “owning” our games? We push it with digital because it’s easier and takes up less space (and is less to dust), but we still kind of own the game. Or at least we have purchased the rights to play the game whenever we want. Are we really ready to give that up?
With Microsoft pushing gamers toward their "on-demand" service, all I can say is one thing: I’m glad I switched to PlayStation when I did.