Microsoft and their console division are the heavyweights of the gaming world. Alongside Sony, they produce the biggest selling games and hardware in the market, and now they are looking to take things one step further with the introduction of a subscription game service named Xbox Game Pass.
Announced by Xbox Head Phil Spencer on the official news page, Xbox Game Pass is described as you being able to “discover and download the full titles directly on your Xbox One. That means continuous, full-fidelity gameplay without having to worry about streaming, bandwidth or connectivity issues.” It will give you full access to over 100 titles from developers such as 2k Games, Microsoft Studios and Capcom among many other top-name companies.
Phil Spencer tells us that before Xbox Game Pass is released to the whole community in the spring, it will be tested by the Xbox Insider Program members. Their feedback will be used to refine and streamline the experience. It will then be offered to Xbox Live Gold members before the wider release, with firmer dates promised as time moves on. Becoming a member of the Xbox Game Pass service will not only give you access to the big name games included in the package, but will include discounts of 20% on all games from the Xbox catalog and 10% for their related add-ons.
The price is $9.99 a month, with new games being added each month. This does mean, however, some games are removed each month as well.
Subscription game services are not a new concept, although things like OnePlay, and particularly PlayStation Now, have their critics. Perhaps the Xbox Game Pass service can offer a broad enough range of titles to keep people interested, and justify the monthly fee. Their model of offering the full download is clearly one in the eye of PlayStation and their service, which gives streaming as the method of delivery. Only time will tell if it takes off, especially considering there is already the premium Xbox Live Gold service. Maybe customers will feel they are paying enough to play their Xbox already. Microsoft will hope not.