Software as a service or in this case membership and usage as a service is knocking on the door. The days of buying a game for $30 and playing it forever may be on the way out. All the big companies out there see a subscription model as easy money, like the cell phone companies do. Microsoft is about to launch a $99 Xbox with a monthly sub of $15. There will be a nasty termination fee if you lose your job and need to back out of the subscription.
If my hunch is correct Microsoft will someday do away with the $299 Xbox and only go with just the $99 + $15 per month box. I say this because you can get a 12 month Xbox membership for around a $48 right now which can be used with your $299 XBox. In the eyes of Microsoft $4 per month is much too little when you can get $15 per month by just eliminating the way a person can go the $4 per month route. The early termination fee will guarantee Microsoft won’t lose money on the deal even if they have to give away an Xbox for $99 to get you on board.
Other problems I see with this include the state of high speed internet in the US, in a nutshell it sucks compared to other countries. The US ranks 28th in the world when comparing Internet connection speed. The US should have high speed internet to almost everybody, but it doesn’t come close. I can understand if a person lives really far out in the sticks and they don’t have access to high speed Internet. I know a person who lives just 12 miles from downtown Grand Rapids who has no access whatsoever to high speed internet, and there are probably people who live closer that I don’t know about.
Big ISP’s who don’t see enough profit in laying copper down a road simply don’t do it. Yes there already is copper there but getting a DSL Remote Terminal into the neighborhood seems like way to big of a pain for them to actually do it. This is the problem Microsoft doesn’t seem to realize, they must think everyone lives in the land of 20 down and 10 up speed and a gaming subscription is going to be easy money for them.
If Microsoft , Sony, and Nintendo all plan on doing consoles that require a monthly subscription maybe they should help blanket the US in high speed Internet. And another thing they had better be on board with is fighting ISP’s that intend to traffic shape what is going down the pipe. An example would be if Comcast decides it doesn’t like Netflix traffic on it’s network because it is taking away it’s customers, and then somehow limits Netflix traffic. This is something that should really concern Microsoft, Sony, and Nintendo. They had better put their foot down and make some noise, because they could be next.
I don’t like subscriptions no matter what they are. Magazine subscriptions, newspaper subscriptions, coffee of the month, underwear of the month, popcorn of the month, beef jerky of the month. They are all designed to create a never ending revenue stream for the maker and before you know it in 5 years you are out $900 in subscription fees. I may be totally wrong with my prediction, but will be happy if this subscription service that Microsoft is trying to implement does indeed fail.