Sponsored By

Larian boss Swen Vincke says subscription-based future could be "savage"

The studio founder believes that bringing Baldur's Gate 3 and other Larian titles to subscription services could result in a critical failure.

Chris Kerr, News Editor

January 17, 2024

2 Min Read
A monster emerges from the dark in Baldur's Gate 3
Image via Larian

Larian had already ruled out the possibility of Baldur's Gate 3 heading to Xbox Game Pass, but now we know the studio has no intention of bringing the acclaimed RPG to any subscription service.

Responding to an IGN post that highlighted the recent Ubisoft+ rebrand and comments from a company exec that indicated subscription services would only flourish when players have gotten over the notion of ownership, Larian CEO Swen Vincke offered an opposing view.

In a lengthy thread on X, he suggested developers should always look to sell "direct" to players and claimed it's going to be a "lot harder" to produce stellar games if subscription services become the dominant model.

He essentially believes subscription models will usher in a reality where studios have to convince (or pay) the companies running those platforms to back their projects rather than courting players directly. That's an issue, because players are the ones who ultimately decide if a video game lives or dies.

"Idealism needs room to exist"

For Vincke, that would be a "huge setback" for devs. "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," he wrote.

"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. 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."

All of the above is why Vincke says Larian won't be bringing its titles to any subscription service, although he said he understands why some developers take that route. "I respect that for many developers it presents an opportunity to make their game," he added. "I don't have an issue with that. I just want to make sure the other ecosystem doesn't die because it's valuable."

Read more about:

Top Stories

About the Author(s)

Chris Kerr

News Editor, GameDeveloper.com

Game Developer news editor Chris Kerr is an award-winning journalist and reporter with over a decade of experience in the game industry. His byline has appeared in notable print and digital publications including Edge, Stuff, Wireframe, International Business Times, and PocketGamer.biz. Throughout his career, Chris has covered major industry events including GDC, PAX Australia, Gamescom, Paris Games Week, and Develop Brighton. He has featured on the judging panel at The Develop Star Awards on multiple occasions and appeared on BBC Radio 5 Live to discuss breaking news.

Daily news, dev blogs, and stories from Game Developer straight to your inbox

You May Also Like