GWJ Conference Call Episode 630

Red Dead Redemption 2, Fallout 76 Beta, Mutant Year Zero: Road to Eden, Diablo 3, Chasm, GWJ Donation Drive Launched!, Checking in on Game Subscription Services, Your Emails and More!

Click here to download!

This week Shawn, Allen, Amanda and Julian check in on current game subscription services and where they fit into their gaming lives. We also go into details on the new GWJ Donation Drive!

To contact us, email [email protected]! Send us your thoughts on the show, pressing issues you want to talk about or whatever else is on your mind.

  • Subscribe with iTunes
  • Subscribe with RSS
  • Subscribe with Yahoo!
Download the official apps
  • Download the GWJ Conference Call app for Android
  • Download the GWJ Conference Call app for Android

Comments

As enjoyable as ever. Particularly enjoyed the diverging opinions as the Crew get further into Red Dead Redemption 2.

One thing though: has the podcast always been sponsored? Perhaps I've never paid attention properly before, but this is the first time I've noticed adverts.

I absolutely don't have a problem with the podcast (and, by extension, the site) being better funded and the GwJ team being remunerated by the way. In fact, I think it's a good sign of a sizeable listenership.

On average we run an ad once every couple months or so. Basically when our podcast host Libsyn throws one our way, we don’t really go looking for sponsors.

The website itself is ad-free and the podcast doesn’t have 5 minutes of ads every week thanks to the donations drive.

00:01:35 GWJ Donation Drive
00:10:00 Red Dead Redemption 2
00:21:27 Diablo 3
00:31:16 Fallout 76
00:40:24 Chasm
00:44:38 Mutant Year Zero: Road to Eden
00:50:48 Game Subscription Services
01:04:34 Your Emails

As someone who doesn't really want to play RDR2 anyway, my FOMO is assuaged by hearing of rabbit and Sands' experiences.

Unlike Spider-Man, which I could play with and in front of my kids, RDR2 is definitely be a game I could only play after the kids are in bed, and in those circumstances I'd only be able to play for an hour or so at a time. It doesn't feel like I'd be able to get enough done in an hour to feel any sense of progress or reward – "Well, someone at camp spoke to me about fishing and I polished my gun, time for bed".

What was the switch grip that Alan was talking about?

I have regular size hands, but mobile switch in bed gives me numb hands anyway.

Felix Threepaper wrote:

As someone who doesn't really want to play RDR2 anyway, my FOMO is assuaged by hearing of rabbit and Sands' experiences.

Unlike Spider-Man, which I could play with and in front of my kids, RDR2 is definitely be a game I could only play after the kids are in bed, and in those circumstances I'd only be able to play for an hour or so at a time. It doesn't feel like I'd be able to get enough done in an hour to feel any sense of progress or reward – "Well, someone at camp spoke to me about fishing and I polished my gun, time for bed".

I've kind of swung back on RDR2 due to everyone talking about the slow pacing this time around, but as a lull period game, like end of December through to the spring or the dead of summer. Sort of the times I'd be playing Skyrim.

Rat Boy wrote:
Felix Threepaper wrote:

As someone who doesn't really want to play RDR2 anyway, my FOMO is assuaged by hearing of rabbit and Sands' experiences.

Unlike Spider-Man, which I could play with and in front of my kids, RDR2 is definitely be a game I could only play after the kids are in bed, and in those circumstances I'd only be able to play for an hour or so at a time. It doesn't feel like I'd be able to get enough done in an hour to feel any sense of progress or reward – "Well, someone at camp spoke to me about fishing and I polished my gun, time for bed".

I've kind of swung back on RDR2 due to everyone talking about the slow pacing this time around, but as a lull period game, like end of December through to the spring or the dead of summer. Sort of the times I'd be playing Skyrim.

Skyrim and FO4 are my lull games, too.

For those curious, the Switch grip I got is the Satisfye Pro Gaming Grip https://satisfye.com/products/switch...

I’m not sure who was saying they couldn’t see what audience would want a service like Gamepass or why, but yikes is that shortsighted. How about anyone on a budget, people new to the system, people who like Microsoft first party games? Not long ago Amazon had a deal which basically made Gamepass half off. So for the price of a single game, you get everything first party plus a boatload of other stuff, for a year. I know A LOT of people who subscribed solely in anticipation of Forza Horizon 4 coming out. EA Access can routinely be found for $25 for a year. That’s all current (not brand new) EA games. Plus you get 10 hour trials, day and date of release. Both of those services are too good to pass up for the price.

I think there was a serious conflation between novel purchasing methods, like Humble Monthly, and true subscriptions, where you're left with nothing the moment you stop paying.

I think there's places for both, but they're chalk and cheese in my opinion. The former is a very limited Steam sale once a month, the other is Netflix for games.

Jonman wrote:

I think there was a serious conflation between novel purchasing methods, like Humble Monthly, and true subscriptions, where you're left with nothing the moment you stop paying.

I think there's places for both, but they're chalk and cheese in my opinion. The former is a very limited Steam sale once a month, the other is Netflix for games.

I think you've hit the nail on the head here, Jonman! The rise of the subscription gaming service is part and parcel of the steady transformation to a rental economy. Whether its cars, music, tv shows & films. Even clothes.

It's great for companies providing goods and services. Subscriptions are pretty sticky. Subscriptions deliver for smoother revenues (which can be securitised). Subscriptions allow for 'long tail' revenues. Rentals give companies greater control over second-hand sales.

I'm not convinced that they're as good for consumers.

I find that I tend to need to stitch more of them together in order to get the range of products and services that I want... which works out more expensive for me in the medium term. For example, in order to watch what I want on TV, I subscribe to several services: BT Sport; Netflix, Amazon, and the NFL. In addition, my partner subscribes to SKY. So we're paying at least £150 per month for the very narrow range of content that we actually watch.

Also, as Jonman points out, you're left with nothing when you stop paying. It's for this reason that I still try to buy physical copies of the media I consume; I want some value to remain with me after purchase and consumption.

detroit20 wrote:

Also, as Jonman points out, you're left with nothing when you stop paying. It's for this reason that I still try to buy physical copies of the media I consume; I want some value to remain with me after purchase and consumption.

This is another gold point that was barely touched on - whether someone wants to be left with something at the end or not.

Personally, when it comes to video, I have no desire to have any kind of a "library" - the rental model of Netflix and Hulu suits me down to the ground, as in most cases, the value of a piece of video to me drops to zero the second the credits roll. The only video content I purchase is kids movies that aren't on the rental services, which is mostly limited to Disney/Pixar movies.

When it comes to games, I'm the opposite, though I'm not entirely sure why - my "library" is littered with discarded games I'll never go back to, and The Pile is enormous - there's no need for me to have paid to own that Pile. I think that my gaming tastes are a lot more specific and niche, so I have a feeling that opting into a given rental model wouldn't obviate the need to buy more games to suit those tastes. Maybe that's just a reflection of the immaturity of the models, in that there's no One Service To Rule Them All which would offer me more content that I could possibly want, a la Netflix.

detroit20 wrote:

Subscriptions allow for 'long tail' revenues. Rentals give companies greater control over second-hand sales.

To be honest, "long tail" is largely the reason behind both rental models and the novel purchasing models like Humble. It's not costing Microsoft anything in lost sales to toss a bunch of 360 games onto Xbox Game Pass, for instance. But it certainly adds value to the rental proposition it's offerring (and yes, I realize that's a bad example as you get to keep those 360 games even after your Game Pass expires). Likewise, most of what's appearing in the Humble Monthly are games who are a long way down that long tail curve already.

I've been a Humble Monthly subscriber since day one, and I've been pretty happy with it.

For $12/month, I can be reasonably sure than anything from mid-tier indie to all but the most blockbuster of AAA games eventually finds its way into my Steam library if I'm just patient enough.

Rare is the month it doesn't knock at least something off my wishlist.

I am a Game Pass subscriber and I love it. From a promotion this summer I got my first month for $1 and also bought six months for $30, so effectively $31 for 7 months and it's an extremely reasonable price. I suspect, like XBL and PS Plus memberships, I'll be able to keep renewing Game Pass at below-list prices if I pay attention.

The value for me is having access to a wide variety of games, including things I wanted to play but never got around to purchasing on their own. A few examples:

I had always been intrigued by Elder Scrolls Online but never quite wanted to pull the trigger, even at $10 or $20. But it's part of the library so I downloaded it this summer and ended up putting 50+ hours into it and had a great time completing the main quest line.

The Division is a game I liked a lot when it first came out, but I fizzled out on it about 80% of the way through the campaign way back then, and ended up trading my disc copy in so I could move on to the next thing. But when the game was added to Game Pass I downloaded it and picked up where I'd left off two years ago and got another 20 hours or so of fun completing the campaign.

It's also been a good way to test several MS releases that I probably wouldn't have bought otherwise. I put 10 or so hours into Forza Horizon 4 and was spared my usual feeling of wastefulness when I get bored with car games very quickly. I played some of Sea of Thieves and may still come back to it, likewise State of Decay 2.

It's also got lots of quality indie games that I've sunk a few hours in: Westerado, Kingdom New Lands, Graveyard Keeper, Final Station and several others.

In short, Game Pass is good because it has a really strong library and gives me excuses to try stuff that I wouldn't otherwise bother to spend $5-10 on as a download or as a used copy. I plan to be a subscriber for a long time.

I just wanted to add a few things to the FO76 Beta talk.

You may have discovered this for yourself already since you planned on trying again, but I played with two friends and the game is a blast that way. All those times in Fallout or Skyrim where you wished someone was there to see it with you? Now they can.

Also, everyone gets their own loot. If you're exploring a building and find a chest or first aid kit or whatever, everyone can get something from it (and not always the same things). Same with enemies; as long as you got a hit on it, you can loot the body.

On the other hand, this game is going to be a spectacular mess, even by Bethesda standards. The launcher actually deleted the downloaded game and forced everyone to download it again. I tried to name my character "Sara Lee" (because no one doesn't like Sara Lee!) and it crashed to desktop every time I hit enter. Turns out it didn't like that embedded space.

Plus, as one of my friends found out, it doesn't display your character name over your character; it displays your account name. Which, in his case, was his real name. And you can't change that.

So yeah, this thing is going to be buggy even by the standards of Bethesda games. It's going to be a glorious mess for a while.

But... It says Fallout. So of course I'm buying it and playing it day one. (I'm "tanstaafl" there too; friend me up! We'll explore the wasteland.)

I was a Gamepass skeptic and now I’m a convert. Here are a few reasons I stayed on board after my free trial was up.

- indie games. I like games such as Octodad, and I am Toast. But I rarely buy them. They usually cost about $29.99 and that’s more than I’m willing to pay for something that feels like a tech demo or mini game. Gamepass has those in droves.

- old ass triple A games. I see this as a good thing. There are a multitude of big budget games that I want to play but just never have time for. Sometimes I can buy these for a song during sales, but bargain hunting is time consuming. Which leads me to this point...

- time saver. I can find some of the Gamepass offerings on sale. If I look. But browsing the Xbox store is not fun. And I’d rather spend my time playing games not shopping for them.

- games tourism. Being a games tourist can be expensive. Not so much when you use Gamepass.

And I still buy full priced when I want to. But during a lull I can mess around with Gamepass to my heart’s content.

When Gamepass first came out, many in our forums felt that it would be great for someone who is a newcomer to the Xbox ecosystem. You get to play a few new 1st party games as they launch, and you also have access to a greatest hits playlist of older games. So true.