Thursday, January 25, 2024

Not Owning Ubisoft+ Games

John Walker:

Ubisoft has chosen this week to rebrand its Ubisoft+ subscription services, and introduce a PC version of the “Classics” tier at a lower price.


You can subscribe to Game Pass, or PlayStation Plus, and get a broad range of hundreds of games from dozens of publishers, or you can pay significantly more to only get the games made by one single publisher, and indeed a publisher with a very distinct style of game.


What’s more chilling about all this, however, is when Tremblay moves on to how Ubisoft wishes to see a “consumer shift,” similar to that of the market for CDs and DVDs, where people have moved over to Spotify and Netflix, instead of buying physical media to keep on their own shelves. Given that most people, while being a part of the problem (hello), also think of this as a problem, it’s so weird to see it phrased as if some faulty thinking in the company’s audience.


Tremblay goes on to say to, “But as people embrace that model, they will see that these games will exist, the service will continue, and you’ll be able to access them when you feel like.” But...we know that isn’t true! We know how often services don’t continue, how many games are no longer available.

Via Timothy Geigner:

We’ve done a metric ton of posts here over the years pointing out one unfortunate trend that has come along with the move from physical products to digital purchases: you don’t own what you’ve bought. In some cases, it’s you don’t own what you think you’ve bought, because nobody actually reads EULAs and all the documentation that comes with buying things online these days, and often buried in all of that is where the language about how things are licensed, rather than owned, are. Still, the fact is that the public too often doesn’t understand how it happens that products stop working the way they did after updates are performed remotely, or why movies purchased through an online store suddenly disappear with no refund, or why other media types purchased online likewise go poof. There is a severe misalignment, in other words, between what consumers think their money is being spent on and what is actually being purchased.


Update (2024-01-30): Carlos Morale (via Hacker News):

But despite the age of digital media promising unlimited access and more options than ever, we have often seen the opposite actually happen in practice. For a pressing recent example, most of the Star Trek films were taken off of Paramount+ in the United States at the start of 2024, with only the newest trilogy of films starring Chris Pine remaining on the service. Paramount may have promised that their in-house streaming service was theplace for all your Trek needs, but if you want to watch the first 10 films on streaming, you’ll have to fire up HBO Max.

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