Baldur’s Gate 3 boss says gamers don’t want mass subscriptions

Baldur's Gate 3 director and Larian CEO Swen Vincke reacts to the idea that we should get used to subscriptions, saying content is king.

Baldur's Gate 3 subscription model: Karlach from BG3, with her red skin and pointy ears

Baldur’s Gate 3 director and Larian CEO Swen Vincke says all distribution platforms switching to paid subscription models will see the discoverability of new games become “savage.” Vincke also champions the notion that “content will always be king,” adding that it’ll become harder to see good content if every platform relies on the subscription model.

Vincke’s comments come after Ubisoft’s director of subscriptions said players need to start “feeling comfortable with not owning your game,” amid the rise in videogame subscription services like Game Pass. The director of Baldur’s Gate 3 at Larian, which funded and published the 2023 smash hit RPG itself, thinks the prevalence of this model will become disastrous for the discoverability of great releases.

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

“Getting a board to ok 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.”

Baldur's Gate 3 subscription model: Larian CEO Swen Vincke writing about videogame subscriptions

“There is nothing wrong with that but it may not become a monopoly of subscription services. We are already all dependent on a select group of digital distribution platforms and discoverability is brutal,” Vincke adds. “Should those platforms all switch to subscriptions, 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.”

This discussion follows Ubisoft’s director of subscriptions Philippe Tremblay telling GI.biz that gamers need to get more comfortable with not owning their games as subscription models grow. “So it’s about feeling comfortable with not owning your game,” he says.

Vincke adds that he doesn’t have an issue with other developers using subscription services to get discovered, just that Larian’s games like BG3 won’t feature on them because he wants to ensure that the other ecosystem – where a developer brings a game directly to its players – stays alive.

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It’s hard to argue with that considering Baldur’s Gate 3’s massive success. It launched in early access in 2020 and was published by Larian itself, with this level of control helping Larian release one of 2023’s biggest critical and commercial success stories. BG3 and Larian are proof that we don’t need subscription services for games to get seen, and that oftentimes letting the people who are making the game sell it works just as well.

If you’re in the midst of your Sword Coast adventure and want some help we’ve got all the best Baldur’s Gate 3 builds for you, alongside some excellent Baldur’s Gate 3 mods to spice up your playthrough as well.

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