Part of what makes Amazon Prime so great is that you don’t need it, because it’s luxury. Non-subscribers can use Amazon the same way that subscribers can, and the company doesn’t purposely detract from the regular experience in an effort to bully its users into paying for premium experience. It looks like that’s starting to change, however, as Amazon has started locking a number of video games behind a Prime membership, meaning you can’t even purchase the games on Amazon if you’re not a Prime member. Pair this with the reports that Amazon has been slowing down shipments to non-subscribers, and you’ve got some early warning signs of a disappointing trend.
Pop over to Amazon and you’ll currently find a few games that are now only purchasable if you have a Prime membership. Go to the product page and you’ll get this message: “This item, sold by Amazon, is currently reserved exclusively for Prime members.” The games include FIFA 16, Dishonored: The Definitive Edition, Minecraft, Assassin’s Creed Syndicate, Battlefield Hardline, Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor GOTY and Metal Gear Solid 5: Ground Zeroes. It’s an odd list. Minecraft and FIFA are obviously big deals, but the rest are a bit older so not exactly ‘must haves’ so it’s hard to see the attraction for anyone thinking of signing up. Although there is a logic: if The Division or Dark Souls 3 suddenly became a ‘Prime Exclusive’ people would likely be getting pretty upset about now. The Prime exclusives aren’t even great deals. FIFA is £34.95 new, via Amazon. Click on the option to “see other buying options” and you’ll discover you’re saving a huge three pounds. It’s the same for the rest – what savings there are is minimal and if you don’t mind a used copy then all the Prime prices can be beaten. Given that Amazon deliveries have apparently slowed for non-Prime customers due to the retailer’s focus on the subscription service, and now this, the company clearly want you to stump up that £79/$99. Or go somewhere else. I’ve contacted Amazon for more info.