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Baldur's Gate 3's Swen Vincke Says Larian's Games Won't Appear on a Subscription Service

With the debate around the future of video game subscriptions heating up, one high-profile developer has come out strongly on the side of the traditional method of selling games.


Multiple subscription services have emerged in recent years, with the likes of Microsoft Game Pass, Sony’s PlayStation Plus, and Nintendo’s Nintendo Switch Online all providing access to a library of games for a monthly fee. But the potential dominance of subscription services from just a handful of companies has sparked concern about video game ownership, visibility, and preservation.

The thorny issue of video game subscription services was once again thrust into the headlines this week after
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.


It’s fair to say those comments did not go down well with those who prefer to buy their video games on-disc as opposed to downloading or streaming them. Now, Swen Vincke, boss of Baldur’s Gate 3 maker Larian Studios, responded to offer a developer’s view in
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that came down hard against a potential future in which subscription services are the dominant model.

“Whatever the future of games looks like, content will always be king,” Vincke began. “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.”

He continued: “Getting a board to okay a project fueled by idealism is almost impossible and idealism needs room to exist, even if it can lead to disaster. Subscription models will always end up being cost/benefit analysis exercises intended to maximize profit.”

Whatever the future of games looks like, content will always be king. 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.
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— Swen Vincke @where? (@LarAtLarian)
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“There is nothing wrong with that but it may not become a monopoly of subscription services," Vincke continued. "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.”

“In such a world by definition the preference of the subscription service will determine what games get made. Trust me — you really don’t want that.

“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.”

Vincke’s confirmation that Larian’s games will never go into a subscription service echo prior comments he made in an interview with IGN in which he said
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.

"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,” Vincke told IGN. “We don't charge you any micro-transactions on top of it, so you get what you pay for. 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.”

Vincke isn’t alone in casting doubt over video game subscriptions. During the Federal Trade Commission’s battle to block Microsoft’s $69 billion acquisition of Activision Blizzard, PlayStation boss Jim Ryan claimed
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. Rockstar and 2K owner Take-Two and Activision have also expressed concern about releasing their games day-one into subscription services, a tactic Microsoft employs with its first-party games and Game Pass.


However, some developers have said subscription services such as Game Pass are invaluable to their success and even their survival. Miles Jacobson, boss of Football Manager maker Sports Interactive,
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. "Every studio is going to have different opinions on this," he said. "Different studios will have different data, because different games work well in different situations. For us, it's nothing but positive on all three platforms.

"The simple fact is Game Pass and Apple Arcade have brought new people to the franchise that never played it before. I'm confident enough in our games to believe we will now have those consumers for a long time, whatever platforms we're on. Fiscally, it makes sense. Creatively, it makes sense."


Wesley is the UK News Editor for IGN. Find him on Twitter at @wyp100. You can reach Wesley at [email protected] or confidentially at [email protected].

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