Does Gaming Really Need A Netflix-style Service?

That’s the million-dollar question. Or, rather, $138.4 billion dollars, which is the estimated value of the gaming industry right now.

You’ll find solid arguments from both sides. But with music, audio books, TV, film, and even groceries transitioning to subscription-based services, it only seems inevitable that video games would follow suit.

Right now the idea of a Netflix-style service still feels like an experiment to many people. So to answer this big question, let’s break the issue down into four topics that will — hopefully — point us to a clear answer. 

What Sort Of Gaming Subscriptions Exist? 

Basically every game publisher or hardware creator has some sort of paid, premium tier, so there are a half-dozen ways to answer this question. In the name of focus, let’s restrict the options to subscription services that provide access to games for a monthly fee, rather than the normal $60 purchase cost.

The heavy-hitter in this discussion is Microsoft’s Xbox Game Pass. But before we dive into the pros and cons of this particular gaming subscription service and how it’s changing the industry, we should at least mention the other competitors in the space.

Yes, Game Pass is the option everyone is talking (or debating) about. Ubisoft+ and EA Play are fairly direct competitors, giving players access to each publisher’s library of games for a monthly subscription fee. And PlayStation Now lets players stream old games without buying them a la cart.

We’ve also got some less successful alternatives to point out. Google tried to get into the gaming with Stadia, but after an underwhelming launch, Google already stopped developing games for the service. Meanwhile, Amazon quietly launched a game subscription called Luna, but things have been mostly silent ever since that initial beta release.

After Xbox Game Pass, perhaps the second most successful and influential service is Apple Arcade. This platform works on any iOS device, and has a pretty extensive catalog that covers games in every genre.

While a lot of “hardcore” gamers discount mobile gaming entirely, that is a colossal mistake. I’ll let the numbers do the talking here:

All of this to say that yes, the Netflix-style subscription service is here to stay. The sheer number of competitors proves that publishers are going to continue to implement this structure, hoping to incentivize players to shell out a few dollars every month to “save” themselves from the big $60 purchases.

What Is The Logic Behind A Gaming Subscription Service?

There’s more logic behind this sort of service than trying to save players money, of course. From the publisher side, the main goal was to increase engagement: Players who play more games spend more money. And how often have you signed up for a subscription and then forgotten to cancel it, leading to paying for something you rarely use?

But the biggest question in the current digital era is about product ownership. When you download a new song, a movie, or a game, you don’t actually  own that product. Access to digital media is dependent on the distributor, which means it’s almost like we — and consumers — are paying to use these items while they’re available.

If you have a physical copy of Super Mario, you could play it forever as long as your NES works. But any game you buy now is dependent on live services, which means you could lose access forever.

This is one reason why Netflix and Spotify rose to prominence while the sales numbers of physical media have plummeted. People would prefer access to a large catalog of content rather than paying for individual products that they could lose access to without warning.

We pay recurring subscriptions to watch movies, listen to ad-free music, and even order food without thinking about it because of the subscription. And so it was almost inevitable that video game publishers would dabble in the SaaS model as a way to keep players engaged (and, more importantly, paying money) for longer periods of time.

What Benefits Do Subscription Services Provide?

Oddly enough, video games were primed for the SaaS model more than any other industry. Many gamers were already used to massively multiplayer online games (MMOs) like World of Warcraft, which require a monthly subscription to play.

Similarly, PlayStation Plus and Xbox Live have been around for more than 15 years, giving players access to important quality-of-life features for a recurring fee. Both subscriptions also offer free games as a “perk” for joining the program, even if the services themselves are all but required to play and enjoy many of the most popular games each year.

But it’s worth noting that subscription services do bring a lot of value, whether you’re a gamer, a developer, or a publisher. (A lot of the data out there centers on Xbox Game Pass since it’s the biggest name in this particular content, so most of the research and statistics will highlight this subscription.)

Game Pass members spend 20% more money on games, which is great news for developers and publishers. And subscribers played 40% more games, which is obviously exciting for players looking to get the most out of their time and money.

Here’s a list of statistics about Game Pass activity:

  • 90% of Game Pass users played a game they wouldn’t have tried outside of the subscription.
  • Around 30% try games from genres they haven’t played before.
  • Game Pass members spend 50% more on downloadable content for games.
  • After joining Game Pass as an additional perk, EA Play (EA’s gaming subscription) saw a 200% increase in activity on that service.

Xbox Game Pass introduced Netflix-style gaming subscriptions in a way that just makes sense for many gamers. It’s a chance to try more games in more genres. People are buying more games, including titles that are “free” as part of Game Pass.

And as an added benefit, Xbox Game Pass is the first subscription service that makes sense for developers. Which means they’re able to make more games, get more people playing their games, and somehow still sell more copies of their games even within the Game Pass framework.

Subscription-based gaming makes sense for players to get access to more games than ever before. It helps developers get their games in front of people (and get some money from the subscription system). And it encourages the publisher to keep adding games to the service, which means more games for us to enjoy.

Gamers are throwing their support behind these platforms: EA play had around 13 million subscribers in 2020, and Xbox Game Pass is already up to well over 23 million active users (as of April 2021).

So when you’re wondering if gaming really needs a Netflix-style subscription service, the answer seems to be trending “yes.” It’s safe to say that this model is here to stay. And for once, it seems to be a system that benefits everyone involved.


Drew Gula is a copywriter at Soundstripe, a company that provides content creators with a range of background music like upbeat music for their videos. He’s also a lifelong gamer who is happy to talk about any subscription service that lets him play more games while spending less money.

Mill Creek Entertainment Announces the Launch of Moviespree, a New On-demand Streaming Service

Mill Creek Entertainment has established itself as the leading independent home entertainment studio in North America. From special edition Complete TV Series releases including The Shield, Married…With Children, and Roseanne, to special edition SteelBook® release of Mothra and an entire lineup of Retro VHS-style movies on Blu-ray, Mill Creek’s extensive catalog contains both mainstream and cult entertainment offerings that have exceeded performance expectations at retail despite the declining packaged media industry reports.  And now has joined the bandwagon with an all new on-demand streaming service which offers value-priced movie bundles, TV Series, and Premium Entertainment Options. New customers can build a vast digital library and receive an offer to redeem 100 free movies which will be added to their library.

This new streaming alternative gives movie buffs and cord-cutters an exciting new destination to build a digital library. With apps now available on RokuApple TVAmazon Fire TV, and Android devices, movieSPREE is available without long-term contracts, subscription fees or advertisements. movieSPREE has a robust assortment of bingeworthy film and TV bundles, genre-based collections and specially curated compilations including Lonesome Dove, The 10th Kingdom, The Kids in the Hall, Documentary Now!, Benji, Gone in 60 Seconds and over 2500 hours of entertainment. 

Many of Mill Creek Entertainment’s DVD and Blu-ray releases include digital redemption offers which will allow end users to add to their movieSPREE library. Content can be streamed from the movieSPREE apps and website using your phone, tablet, laptop or supported OTT devices. movieSPREE also features exclusive content and offers that do not have a DVD or Blu-ray counterpart or availability on other streaming platforms. Unlike many streaming services, this one doesn’t seem to be much of a gamble. It is a sure win if you are a fan of getting free movies, this is a smart move. If you are looking for a gamble, you can check out the Smart Casino Guide to accompany your time while you are streaming this content and a way to win some extra money!

movieSPREE has collaborated with leading OTT content distribution provider ViewLift to create a cohesive customer experience across web, mobile, and connected devices. ViewLift’s end-to-end distribution and monetization platform provides a comprehensive solution that allows real-time publishing across all movieSPREE apps and sites. 

4 Tips To Renting A Party Bus For A Celebration Of Life Service

Photo by Charl Folscher on Unsplash

Do you have someone special you want to celebrate? It may be a friend or relative who has just completed their studies or is getting married or has a birthday party. Whatever the occasion may be, a party bus will crown the event for you. If you have a group of people with you, you’ll need to rent one.

To guide you further, here are 4 tips to renting a party bus for a celebration of life service:

1.    Know The Number Of People You’ll Be Carrying In It

The purpose of the party bus will be to carry people and so you want to rent one that has enough capacity to hold everyone you plan to have on board. It is important that you know the number of people you intend to carry in the party bus to avoid any inconveniences.

You don’t want to hire a 50 seater bus and yet you’ll be carrying 20 people since the renting cost will be higher or hire a 33 seater bus yet you have a group of 50 people with you. Determine the right capacity before hiring the party bus.

2.    Know The Cost

The cost of hiring a party bus will cut across several areas. The company renting you the bus will most likely charge you on an hourly basis. It’s important therefore to know the total time span you’ll have the bus with you.

Other charges that you may incur include gratuity to the party bus driver, taxes, and other costs such as fuel or parking fees at your target destination depending on the terms of the agreement.

Defining these costs earlier in advance will help you raise the money to rent the bus more so if you are sharing the cost with the people who you’ll be going with to the celebration of life service.

3.    Know Your Destination

You’ll definitely be driving off on the party bus to a specified destination or several destinations. It is advisable that you map out these destinations earlier in advance and discuss them with the rental company.

They’ll be able to advise you on which bus best suits your needs in terms of flexibility moving around, comfort, safety, and speed in getting to the various destinations. It also helps the rental company to prepare the bus driver in advance on the routes which will be more convenient to use.

4.    Comfort And Entertainment

Your main purpose for renting the party bus is to celebrate a life. As such, entertainment is a necessity to crown the whole agenda of the day. You’ll want to rent a bus with good looks to start with. The bus should have some class and glamor with comfortable seats and enough room for everyone to pump up and have some fun.

Music is a must-have. You want a bus with a good music system. Satellite television is also a plus to have on the bus for those who would want to watch, say, a game. Entertainment also comes with refreshments such as drinks and snacks. You can organize for these with the rental company.

Conclusion

There you have it. These four tips will guide you as you seek to rent a good party bus. If you’re not sure which rental company to approach, here’s one with the best party bus rentals.  

 

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Blu-ray Review “Kingsman: The Secret Service”

Starring: Colin Firth, Samuel L. Jackson, Michael Caine, Mark Strong, Taron Egerton, Mark Hamill
Director: Matthew Vaughn
Rated: R (Restricted)
Studio: 20th Century Fox
Release Date: June 9, 2015
Run Time: 129 minutes

Film: 4 out of 5 stars
Blu-ray: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Extras: 3 out of 5 stars

After “Kick-Ass”, I was pretty much on board for anything from the minds of Matthew Vaughn and Mark Millar. Honestly though, I did have much interest in “Kingsman: The Secret Service” during it’s theatrical run but I did here a lot of good praise. Well, damn was I missing out. This movie is a real trip. Bond meets Kick Ass except a little more edgy. “Kingsman: The Secret Service” is a blast to watch with great performances from Colin Firth and even a nice cameo from Luke Skywalker himself, Mark Hamill. The church scene is worth watching the film alone. Easily of the best fight scenes since Kill Bill’s Crazy 88 battle. One of the best surprises I have seen so far this year, don’t miss it.

Official Premise: Based upon the acclaimed comic book and directed by Matthew Vaughn (“Kick Ass“, “X-Men First Class”), Kingsman: The Secret Service tells the story of a super-secret spy organization that recruits an unrefined but promising street kid into the agency’s ultra-competitive training program just as a global threat emerges from a twisted tech genius.

The Blu-ray is outstanding with an exceptional 1080p transfer. The action is captured and shot beautifully. The visual effects are sharp and the colors are crisp. The star of the film is the DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1, which is outstanding. This track works perfectly with the film’s music and score. Also the action sequences literally were shaking my picture frames, which was super cool. The special features are decent but a little light. “Kingsman: The Secret Service Revealed” runs about 90 minutes and is split into six featurettes covering the film’s production. There is also a Gallery focusing on the sets and props. Lastly there is a Theatrical Trailer.

Film Review “Kingsman: The Secret Service”

Starring: Colin Firth, Teron Egerton and Samuel L. Jackson
Directed by: Matthew Vaughn
Rated: R
Running time: 2 hrs 9 mins
20th Century Fox

Our Score: 2.5 out of 5 stars

1997. Several members of an elite British spy organization are interrogating a terrorist suspect. Refusing to answer the bad guy produces a previously hidden grenade. In a split second, one of the Brits jumps on the grenade, taking the brunt of the blast and saving his comrades. Back in Britain the young hero’s wife and small son are presented with a medal for valor, with a number engraved on it. Should they ever need anything, they only have to call.

2014. Following the kidnapping of a climate professor (Mark Hamill) and the brutal murder of another spy, the agency known as Kingsman begins a hunt for a new member. At the same time we meet Gary “Eggsy” Unwin. Gary was the young boy who lost his father seventeen years ago and has run afoul of the law. Asking to make a phone call, he pulls a chain from around his neck on which hangs his father’s medal.

A curious mix of comedy and drama, “Kingsman: The Secret Service” starts out well when it introduces Harry Hart (Firth), code name Galahad, a suave, sophisticated spy with all of the coolness of James Bond and the badness of Jack Bauer. Harry reports to Arthur (Michael Caine) and informs him he’d like to submit Eggsy (Egerton) to fill the position that is open. When the candidates assemble, it’s obvious that Eggsy will have his work cut out for him. The other young men in attendance have proper names like Rufus and Digby. There are also two young ladies in the class. They are met by the course leader (Mark Strong) and informed that their first task is to write their names and next of kin on a provided body bag. Failure to succeed is pretty severe.

While the kids are playing spy, the organization is dealing with stopping a crazy billionaire who is offering the world free cell phone service and internet through an item he is giving away. Named Valentine (Jackson), he’s the stereotypical movie bad guy, though Jackson makes him interesting by playing him as a lisping Mars Blackmon. When Harry discovers that Valentine’s product will cause people to literally kill each other he decides to intervene. And here is where the film goes off the tracks. Harry attends services at a white-supremacist church and soon finds himself in a battle for his life. In an amazingly filmed, but so over the top that you don’t care, scene, Harry literally kills EVERYONE in the church, but every means available. Gunshots to the head and a flag pole in the chest are two of the many interesting and gory ways the parishioners die. While a great display of some nice visual effects, this scene, which seems to go on for 30 mins, just takes you out of the film totally. Any sense of believability runs out the exit door. Which isn’t good when there’s still a lot of movie left to go. Firth does a good job as the proper English spy and looks like he’s having a good time. Sadly I couldn’t say the same.

Win Passes to the Kansas City Screening of “Kingsman: The Secret Service” [ENDED]

Media Mikes has teamed up with 20th Century Fox to give (50) lucky readers (and a guest) the chance to be among the first to see the new film “Kingsman: The Secret Service” in Kansas City.

The screening will be held on Tuesday, February 10, 2015 at the Screenland Armour Theatre in North Kansas City. The film, which stars Colin Firth and Samuel L. Jackson, will start at 7:30 p.m.

Just go to http://www.gofobo.com/kingsmedia and register. On Sunday, February 8th, (50) random winners will be selected from all entries. Those chosen will receive a pass for two to this advance screening. Good luck!

“Kingsman: The Secret Service” opens nationally on Friday, February 13, 2015

Official Site: KingsmanMovie.com
Facebook: www.facebook.com/KingsmanMovie
Twitter: @KingsmanMovie #Kingsman
Rating: Rated R for sequences of strong violence, language and some sexual content.

Synopsis:
Based upon the acclaimed comic book and directed by Matthew Vaughn (Kick Ass, X-Men First Class), Kingsman: The Secret Service tells the story of a super-secret spy organization that recruits an unrefined but promising street kid into the agency’s ultra-competitive training program just as a global threat emerges from a twisted tech genius.