Posted in Gaming

Would You Rent PC Games Via a Monthly Subscription Model?

steam_originYesterday, EA announced the new Origin Access service which is a $4.99 monthly subscription to a library of EA games through the Origin client. Currently, the Origin Vault contains 15 games including games like the Dragon Age series, This War of Mine, Sims 3, Sims City, and games from the Battlefield series. Other perks listed in the service is a 10% discount on Origin game and DLC purchases and “Play First,” the ability to try out new games before their released so you can get a taste of whether you enjoy it or not before purchasing. The site notes that more games will be coming to the Vault in time.

That Origin Client

Now, like many people, I’m not a fan of the Origin client. I deal with it because it launches my Sims 4 games, and it’s a forced integration. This makes me antsy in a similar way Steam used to, because I ask the same question I did when I first heard about Steam – What happens to my games when Origin is no more or the company decides to stop supporting it?

Now, doubts and dislike aside, I wanted to write this article because I find the overall concept of the Origin Access subscription service an interesting one. I’m not fully up on all the info, but I doubt they’re the first to try such a thing. Still, it’s the first large gaming client that I know of and use that has chosen to offer a subscription to a library of games.

I don’t think $4.99 is a bad price for a month’s worth of game access. Heck, to put it in perspective, we used to pay something similar for a few days of console game rentals at Blockbusters of old. But something about it still bugs me a little, even if the concept is interesting.

Maybe it’s just their Vault isn’t that appealing to me. I already own Sim City, Sims 3, and This War of Mine. I also own Dragon Age Origins, and have yet to get very far into it, so I’ve got little interest in the rest of the series until I find time for the first game I already own. The rest of the games, such as Battlefield, Fifa and Plants vs. Zombies, don’t really interest me. So there’s very little I’d want to play in their Vault at this point. Especially not when I can plunk down $5 for good indie games at Steam, and already have a huge backlog I haven’t tackled there.

But What If…

However, speaking of Steam… If it was Steam that was releasing a $4.99 subscription for access to even a fraction of the Steam library (maybe a rotation of games every month?), I might actually be pretty excited. Think about sampling Steam games, and just the wide variety of games you could try out.

I know that many of the games in my backlog rarely see above 4-5 hours of play. Either I’ve completed them in that time, or I’ve had my fill of them, and have put them down to play something else. So a monthly sub to a wide Steam library would not only eliminate the backlog problem, but would still give me access to games for just as long as I’d usually play them. Then, if I found a real gem, that would go on my wishlist to buy and keep forever.

What Do You Think?

I dunno. There’s still something about renting single player games and never owning anything that bothers me slightly, despite the fact I pay a sub to MMO games without blinking an eye. But the further we get into the realm of digital game distribution, the more we’ll start to see things evolving in these ways. Origin may not have an appealing Vault of games (to me) for their sub model, but they’re taking an interesting step in a different direction.

How do you feel about the idea of renting your PC games in a sub model like this?