Larian Studios’ award-winning RPG Baldur’s Gate 3 is now on almost every major platform since it came to Xbox in December after first launching for PC and PlayStation 5 in August and September, respectively. It was one of our favorite games of last year, and months later, it’s still creating buzz thanks to Larian’s continued support. However, if you were holding out buying it in the hopes that the Dungeons & Dragons RPG would be freely available on Xbox Game Pass or PlayStation Plus in the near future, it sounds like you’ll be waiting forever—Larian isn’t interested in bringing its games to subscription services.
In a post on X (formerly Twitter), Larian CEO Swen Vincke responded to the news that Ubisoft’s Philippe Tremblay wants players to be “comfortable” not actually owning the video games they play. Tremblay’s initial comments came after many expressed concern with the amount of Ubisoft+ and other video game subscription services that have sprouted up in the last decade. Vincke expressed concerns that the rise in subscription models could result in “a select group” deciding what games actually make it to market. Rather than allow subscription curators to act as gatekeepers between games and players, Vincke expressed that direct transaction between developers and players is the way forward.
“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,” Vincke wrote. “Subscription models will always end up being cost/benefit analysis exercises intended to maximize profit. 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.”
Vincke went on to flatly state Larian’s games, Baldur’s Gate 3 or otherwise, won’t appear on subscription services like Xbox Game Pass or PlayStation Plus, while acknowledging that launching on those platforms has given other games a larger audience. He says that both models can exist, but selling games for full price is “valuable” and shouldn’t die out.
I appreciate the idealism and that he notes some games live or die by whether or not they appear on a subscription service at launch that opens their audience up. It’s easy to imagine a timeline in which Rocket League didn’t become a huge phenomenon because it didn’t launch on PlayStation Plus in 2015. But as PC Gamer points out, while the video game industry is bringing in billions of dollars, smaller projects are getting canceled at an alarming rate, and we’re two weeks into 2024 and have already had thousands of layoffs in the space. Everyone’s trying to find some way to turn a profit, and every situation is different.
For more on Baldur’s Gate 3, check out Kotaku’s review.