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You should be cautious about PlayStation Store game rentals

by on March 14, 2014
 

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If I were you, I’d temper my expectations about a rental service from Sony through PlayStation devices. The ability to rent games digitally through your console is fantastic for people who don’t want to spend money on full priced games, but if history means anything, the feature is unlikely to be as sweet as it sounds.

Remember online passes? Although they’re almost all gone now, that doesn’t mean they can’t come back in other forms. Publishers are still businesses, and they still want your money. That’s why we have things like season passes and post-release DLC. Considering they were so adamant about locking you out of multiplayer if you bought a game used or rented it, I find it shocking that they would wholly support letting people rent their games without any caveats on PlayStation devices.

Whether that means they won’t include their games on the service, which the images posted by MP1st suggest will be a part of PlayStation Now, or that they won’t include multiplayer, remains to be seen. That could mean it could have a very limited selection. It’s difficult to see a future where you could rent the next Call of Duty for, say, the launch weekend, because Activision would much rather have you buy it and keep it for as long as possible so it can sell you DLC.

A publisher can’t really impress investors with rental numbers, that’s why it would prefer you purchase the game. Without solid sales numbers it might lose incentive to create sequels or games of that type, which could be dangerous for the industry.

And that’s why you should be careful before you jump to conclusions about the digital games rentals. For now, it’s all going to depend on how it works, how much it costs, and what games are available–all things we don’t know enough about yet. We may know more soon, as Sony might announce it at the Game Developer’s Conference next week. But given the realities of businesses, and the unlikeliness that a game publisher would rather you spend less money on their products, I’d be cautious.

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  • jb226
    March 14, 2014 at 1:15 PM

    Some of these comparisons are a little off…For one thing, companies were trying to entice people not to rent in the past because they didn’t see much money from licensing, only a small percentage, whereas a direct rental changes those figures drastically. As for the selection of games that would potentially be available, look at Playstation Plus, they have paid developers first, second & third party so they can offer fairly current games wholly for free, so it definitely stands to reason that they can get publishers on board for rental services, even if they only go into effect a couple months after the release dates. Bottom line is publishers are seeing that any money at all is better than none, and they realize that many gamers will forego purchasing a title completely w/o a clear understanding from playing it, and as other rental services die out, so too do these opportunities to convert naysayers. A 5$ rental that could potentially entice players to buy the next full title is better than hoping people drop full price sight unseen, and if anything that would be a huge benefit to gamers, forcing devs & publishers to make quality games when they are less easily duped by the endless hype machine. Also, as far as mp & sp modes, the rental could split games up accordingly but where’s the harm in that? As it stands, if the service only includes Playstation’s exclusive library, then that’s most definitely a great thing, I really don’t see what there is to be “cautious” about in this situation? This is just another service that could potentially offer great gaming experiences catered to the type of budget a gamer would prefer to spend, no more, no less while also opening up a wide audience to titles that they otherwise would never pay full price to try. There is literally not one single “bad” thing that could come from this for all parties involved, and a whole plethora of great things that most likely will.

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