What The Video Game Industry Can Learn From Netflix

“The best way to combat piracy isn’t legislatively or criminally but by giving good options.”

These are the words of Netflix “Chief Content Officer” – let’s call him boss – Ted Sarandos. And it’s a simple truth told in a recent interview. Piracy is a problem everywhere – movie industry, music industry, book industry, and of course the video games industry. For many years, the big players in the industry preferred going to courts – remember the old Napster and poor Lars Ulrich?

Now it’s more about lobbying governments to introduce harsh anti-piracy regulations and to force all ISPs to store all our data for years – and making it available to the vultures of the industries, lawyers. But then again, some people have woken up and realised you can make money with making your customers happy – think about Spotify, Netflix and their likes. Certainly, that’s the future. Why would you download movies or TV shows via Bit Torrent when you could also watch them instantly? Of course, people with slow internet connections don’t profit, but they weren’t able to pirate stuff beforehand, too. And yes, Netflix also suffers from late additions to its roster for various reasons (especially outside the U.S.), and new movies are still a rare sight. Oh, and there should be more Jackie Chan flicks!

Now let’s have a look at the video games industry. Nintendo knows nothing about online marketing, that’s for sure, and Microsoft still sticks to paying for Xbox LIVE Gold without us getting anything worthwhile in return. That’s the last century approach. Sony, however, got it right with PlayStation Plus; pay a minor fee and get a couple of free games (or more) a month. This just sounds like the future.

If we have to rely on streaming or downloading games (a prospect not exactly welcomed by collectors of physical media such as Rabidgames), this future should at least contain value for money. And Sony’s approach definitely sounds better than the traditional “pay 40 quid up front” if we cannot sell it again if the game is crap.

Rabidgames wonders: The content world has changed – be it for better or worse. And it is up to the three giants to react to that change. One option is always online and no more second hand games, yes. But is treating gamers like criminals and idiots really the right approach? Is PS Plus a sign of things to come? Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo should embrace change. Yes, you can!


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