Microsoft has just revealed that is highly-anticipated subscription gaming service, Xbox Game Pass, will officially kick off on June 1. If you're an Xbox Live Gold member, you can start playing right today -- right now! From the official announcement:
"Earlier this year, we announced Xbox Game Pass, a new digital gaming subscription service that gives you unlimited access to over 100 Xbox One and Backward Compatible Xbox 360 games for $9.99 USD per month. To ensure Xbox Game Pass provides the best experience possible for gamers, we rolled the service out first to the Xbox Insider Program, with a limited number of titles to test the features. Thanks to the positive feedback we received from the community, we’re thrilled to launch Xbox Game Pass broadly to the Xbox community in 31 markets and share the entire catalog of over 100 great games."
Subscription services are the bees knees, these days. Younger consumers have proven that they're much more willing to commit to an all-in-one service to consume their media as opposed to buying multiple full-priced products, but for whatever reason game streaming services have struggled to take off.
If Xbox Game Pass is going to succeed, it's going to have to offer great games to play. We know a handful of games that will be coming to Game Pass straight away. Here's what's been confirmed so far...
The press release and official announcement state that there will be over 100 games on offer right at launch, so we assume that means that Xbox Live Gold members have over 100 games that they can play starting today. From the trailer and the announcement the following games have been confirmed:
- Halo 5: Guardians
- NBA 2K16
- Payday 2
- LEGO Batman
- Viva Pinata
- Mega Man Legacy Collection
- Streets of Rage
- Pac-Man Championship Edition
- Bioshock franchise
- Gears of War 1-3
- Gears Ultimate
- Perfect Dark Zero
- Saints Row IV: Re-Elected
- The Golf Club
- Resident Evil 0
- XCOM: Enemy Within
- Mad Max
- Knight Squad
It's a fairly beefy and diverse list of games for sure, and there are even more. A full list of games included can be found right here.
So how is this different from what Sony is offering with the PlayStation Now service? There are two huge differences that will either seal the deal for potential subscribers, or turn them off completely.
Microsoft has stated that, every single month, new games will rotate into the Game Pass catalog, and unlike PlayStation Now, you don't have to stream any of them. They're downloaded right to your console.
"Our commitment to an exciting catalog goes well beyond launch – each month, Xbox Game Pass will add a new set of games to the catalog so there is always something new to play across a diversity of experiences, genres, ratings and more. For gamers, this means endless play of full-fidelity gaming experiences without having to worry about streaming, bandwidth or connectivity issues."
It is a rotation, though. When a game exits the Game Pass catalog, you won't be able to play it anymore unless you purchase it. Games playable through PlayStation Now remain playable for as long as you subscribe. With the Xbox Game Pass, if you discover that you really love Halo 5, you'll have to eventually buy it to keep playing. The good news is that Game Pass members get an exclusive discount on games that rotate through the collection:
"As an added benefit, Xbox Game Pass members can purchase all Xbox One games in the catalog – and related add-ons – at an exclusive discount, allowing you to dive deeper into the Xbox Game Pass titles you love most, and make them part of your permanent library."
This may sounds great to some of you, but it's also going to turn a lot of you off. It's an interesting trade-off. Are you happy about this model, or do you think Microsoft should let you keep playing these games as long as you're subscribed? Which model is better? Let us know in the poll below: