Larian Studios games won’t be on subscription services, says CEO Swen Vincke

You won’t find any Larian Studios games on a subscription service, said its CEO Swen Vincke.

In a thread on X, formerly Twitter, Vincke shared his views on subscription models in response to yesterday’s news that Ubisoft is evolving its service. Ubisoft’s director of subscription Philippe Tremblay said players need to be “comfortable” not owning games when discussing the range of consumer behaviour.

“Whatever the future of games looks like, content will always be king,” said Vincke. “But it’s going to be a lot harder to get good content if subscription becomes the dominant model and a select group gets to decide what goes to market and what not. Direct from developer to players is the way.”

Baldur’s Gate 3 for dummies: Basics for EVERYTHING You Need to Know (But Were Afraid to Ask)Watch on YouTube

Vincke believes subscription models “will always end up being cost/benefit analysis exercises intended to maximise profit”.

He continued: “There is nothing wrong with that but it may not become a monopoly of subscription services. We are already all dependent on a select group of digital distribution platforms and discoverability is brutal. Should those platforms all switch to subscription, it’ll become savage.”

As a result, the “preference of the subscription service will determine what games get made”.

He concluded: “You won’t find our games on a subscription service even if I respect that for many developers it presents an opportunity to make their game. I don’t have an issue with that. I just want to make sure the other ecosystem doesn’t die because it’s valuable.”

Other members of the industry have also shared their opinions on subscription service.

In response to Tremblay’s view, Josh Fairhurst, CEO of Limited Run Games, said: “I absolutely hate this, but I think the unfortunate reality is that within the next ten to fifteen years, cloud streaming and subscription services will be the primary distribution method for games. We’ll continue releasing games physically until the bitter end, though.”

Samuel Deats, director of the Castlevania Netflix series, compared games and video. “I need the gaming industry to understand that the whole monthly subscription streaming deal is not a business model to chase; it’s a freaking mess over here,” he said. “It is a BLESSING that video games are direct purchases. Never let it go.”

Vincke previously stated the studio’s Baldur’s Gate 3 would not be released on Game Pass. “We made a big game, so I think there’s a fair price to be paid for that, and I think that that is okay,” he told IGN back in December when the game launched on Xbox. “Upfront it’s a big meaty game. So I think that should be able to exist as it is. This is what allows us to continue making other games.”

In a leak last year, the cost Microsoft pays to add games to its Game Pass subscription was revealed. Games were rated under parameters like wow factor and “expected partner ask” and given a suitable cost: Microsoft estimated it would take $300m to get Star Wars Jedi: Survivor on Game Pass, while Mortal Kombat 1 and Suicide Squad were estimated at $250m. Baldur’s Gate 3 was also considered, but estimated at just $5m.

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