For the past few years, Xbox Game Pass has been a nifty add-on subscription service that provides gamers with access to a library containing hundreds of different titles. Recently, the service has undergone a multitude of updates, receiving a plethora of additional games, including some that were historically PlayStation exclusives.
With the crossover between Xbox Game Pass and Project xCloud (for those who subscribe to Xbox Game Pass Ultimate), and the expansive amount of heavy-hitting games joining the library, Xbox Game Studios can be confident that this service solidifies their brand’s future success.
Xbox Game Pass has always functioned as a library gamers used to essentially rent games that they can access as long as they pay their subscription. Any saves and achievements are attached to players’ profiles and remain tracked, even if their subscription expires and they renew it later.
However, X019 brought a lot more to the table for Game Pass, as Xbox Game Studios will be adding a profusion of games to the virtual athenaeum. Halo: Reach, The Witcher III: Wild Hunt, and Rage 2 are a few of the new titles making their way aboard the service.
With a lineup that is already extensive and ever-expanding, Xbox Game Pass hits harder than even Sony’s PlayStation Now service, which functions similarly to Xbox Game Pass, but with a far more limited selection that sometimes suffers from input delays when playing certain titles (even if the given game is not one that is played in an online environment with other players).
A protracted amount of games available for a monthly (or annual) subscription fee is a great deal for gamers who don’t mind not outright owning each title they play. This business model allows fans to download and play a vast sea of games at will, ultimately permitting them to try out a legion of titles without spending $60 before knowing whether they even enjoy playing them.
Microsoft profits off the subscriptions, and consumers save money by not being forced to purchase every single game they wish to play. Moreover, with a combination of fan favorites and games that are relatively new arriving on the service, an influx of subscribers is surely to result.
Former PlayStation Exclusives
One of the biggest announcements for Game Pass from X019 is the addition of several titles that were formerly PlayStation exclusives. The three grandest franchises making their way to the service are the classic Final Fantasy games, the Yakuza series, and Kingdom Hearts 1 & 2.
While these additions don’t solve Xbox’s exclusivity woes, they do add a bit of nostalgia for gamers, offering something for those fans who used to purchase PlayStations specifically to play the aforementioned games. Furthermore, this move shows a bit of solidarity and cooperation between Microsoft and Japanese developers and publishers who traditionally offer their games to Sony first.
By giving Xbox fans a taste of what PlayStation loyalists have been playing for decades, Xbox Game Studios has allowed Game Pass to stand out from its competitors. One won’t see the Halo or Gears of War franchises, even the older installments, on PlayStation Now anytime soon. Thus, Xbox Game Pass gives gamers all of Xbox and a little bit of PlayStation.
With more to offer from their primary competitor’s repertoire, Xbox Game Studios brings Game Pass to a whole new level.
Project xCloud is the pet project on which Xbox Game Studios has been working for several months. As a direct competitor to the likes of the Nintendo Switch (bringing portability to Xbox games) and Google Stadia (streaming games over the cloud without much input lag due to connection issues), xCloud offers Xbox fans the opportunity to play their games on the go from their phone and, eventually, their tablets and other mobile devices.
Working in conjunction with the Game Pass, Xbox Game Studios is offering to include Project xCloud to those who subscribe to an Xbox Game Pass Ultimate subscription. This means that those with that particular subscription will be able to stream all of their Game Pass titles over Project xCloud, allowing them to get the most out of their elephantine library by accessing it on the road.
This feature is perfect for those gamers who travel a lot, whether for work or vacation, but don’t want to take their console with them. The combination of Game Pass and xCloud allows them to save money by preventing them from purchasing individual games they may not have enough time to play on a consistent basis. This way, they pay their subscription and can access the virtual registry from anywhere when it is convenient for them to do so.
Combining these two services is a smart move by Xbox Game Studios, giving fans more bang for their buck. Once Project xCloud is no longer in a beta state and enjoys a full release (hopefully after most of the kinks have been resolved), this will be a devastating combination that gives the Xbox brand a leg up on all forms of competition in the console market.
Convenience and Storage Capacity
The beauty of Xbox Game Pass is its convenience factor. Subscribers can log into their account on any Xbox One or PC and immediately have access to their subscriptions and, by extension, their virtual library. The digital age has heralded the near obsolescence of purchasing physical copies of games outside those fans who love to collect and feel a sense of nostalgia.
In addition, Xbox Game Pass almost eliminates the worry for exceeding one’s storage capacity on their Xbox (or external storage device)—installing titles via Game Pass works almost identically to installing digital games that one owns (find them in the Ready to Install section of one’s Game Pass subscription). However, without a physical disc, the tedious exercise of keeping track of one’s game is defeated, allowing one to delete and reinstall games at will to keep players from running out of room on their console.
Even if deciding to visit a friend’s house, one merely needs to sign into their account on that friend’s console and pick which title from the Game Pass library they wish to install and play (provided their friend’s Xbox has enough storage space). Game Pass is the perfect option for those who like to play a little bit of everything, or maybe for those who can’t afford to purchase every expensive AAA title that comes out during the year.
With its considerable library, the inclusion of former PlayStation exclusives, synchronicity with Project xCloud, and convenience and storage factors, Xbox Game Pass is the future of the video game industry. The only downside is that players don’t outright own many of the games they play (unless they choose to purchase specific ones for whatever reason they deem worthy), and are therefore at the mercy of Xbox Game Studios as to which games stay in the library and which ones leave.
Xbox Game Pass is a service that is useful to every version of gamers, from the casual RPG enthusiast to the hardcore eSports competitor. In direct competition with the versatility of Sony’s PlayStation Now, Nintendo’s portability with the Switch, and Google Stadia’s streaming-over-the-cloud functionality, Game Pass solidifies Xbox’s future success in an expensive industry.