The gaming industry is now the dominant media sector globally after having grown definitively larger than the music, and even film industries, over the past decade. This amounts to an impressive degree of choice for gamers today, with a wide variety of platforms and service providers all vying for consumer attention.
However, there are some downsides to “mainstream” in the industry. Production costs on the flagship versions have increased significantly, and it is inevitable that these higher prices will be passed on to the end user. This is one of the primary reasons why the new Triple-A versions for the PS5 and Xbox series are shipping at $70.
While many are happy to invest this in popular games, there is no escaping the fact that this price hike could make these titles more difficult to access for those with less consumable income.
Fortunately, there are alternatives to this situation. There are a number of ways players can have their cake and eat it when it comes to accessing great experiences without breaking the bank. We’ll look at three great examples of this below.
Free games to play
As the name suggests, Free to Play games do not require you to pay to access them. These games differ from freemium games, as they do not force players to watch ads, take breaks, or pay for basic features.
Instead, Free to Play games make their money with aesthetic microtransactions such as character clothing and weapon skins. This allows people who want to pay to customize their character to do so without affecting the basic game functionality for those who don’t. You don’t have to spend a penny to enjoy the full game experience for free.
Promotions, Trials and Open Betas
Top developers are well aware that the asking price of new games can be a challenge for some players, and as a way to encourage uptake of new titles, many studios have been offering free trials of their games for a long time.
This is the same business model used by OTT media services like Netflix, which will allow users to access their platform for 7 days for free, before being billed for a subscription tier. Some of the experiences that games offer are much longer than that. EA’s Knockout City initially launched with a one-month free trial to allow players to get used to, and hopefully be interested in, the experience before asking for payment.
Promotions can also be a very effective way to enable users to access games and platforms at a lower cost. This is something the iGaming industry has become specialized in To get the most out of promotional codes For online casinos, such as those bundled together through comparison platform OddsChecker, players can access titles at competitive and reasonable rates.
Another feature that has come to prominence in recent years is the Open Beta. In such cases, a game, in an incomplete state, is offered to the public free of charge for a specified period. This allows players to enjoy the game early on, which increases the hype for its eventual release. It also enables developers to capture data and resolve errors, which is beneficial to both parties.
Cloud gaming subscriptions
Cloud gaming services are growing in popularity, and for good reason. These platforms, such as Amazon Luna, PS Now, Xbox Cloud Gaming, and the recently canceled Google Stadia, stream gameplay content online to the end user.
This circumvents the requirement that the player has local hardware that is powerful enough to play the respective games, and instead gives them the opportunity to access Triple-A games on smartphones and mid-range laptops.
Given the initial costs of buying a new console worth more than $500, with gaming PCs easily asking for twice that price, cloud gaming bypasses the biggest economic barrier to entry for gamers.
What’s more, some platforms, such as Xbox Cloud Gaming, are shipped as part of Microsoft Xbox Game Pass Ultimate Subscription, lets players dive into over 300 games, right away, all for one monthly subscription fee.